Today is Friday, the twenty-fifth of February, 2022, in the seventh week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,360

We never did get any snow, here. I honestly don’t know if there was any snow in the DFW area at all. It’s still cold, though, and, contrary to the initial forecast, never got above freezing, yesterday. In fact, I don’t think it got above 30 degrees. I ventured out for Sonic drinks around 4:30 PM, and it was, I think, 29 degrees. Currently, at almost 8:00 AM, it is 21 degrees.

As far as I know, the library is scheduled to open at regular time, this morning, so I will be there, ready for my day in the Computer Center. There may be some shelving on the side, but that depends on if any of the regular shelving people show up to make up lost time from yesterday. If they do, I may just be sitting at the computer desk all day, which is also fine with me.

As for the weekend, at this point, there are no plans. I assume we will have our little congregation gathering on Sunday morning. Some good news, I suppose. We have begun planning for a Night of Worship on March 12, two weeks from tomorrow. This will be the first one in well over a year, I believe . . . possibly two? I can’t remember if there has been one at all since the pandemic began. We haven’t discussed location, but, as far as I know, this one will be at the usual host’s home, which is also where we meet on Sundays.


"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! 
Praise befits the upright. 
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; 
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; 
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 
For the word of the LORD is upright, 
and all his work is done in faithfulness. 
(Psalms 33:1-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the sunshine
2. for the joy of the Lord
3. for the fingerprints of God all over my life
4. for wilderness and desolate places in my life
5. that God always brings me back from those

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Yesterday, we looked at the request, “Your will be done,” and today, the follow-up phrase, “On earth as in heaven.” As we associate our desire with the will of God, it extends to spiritual things as well as physical. While these things have to do with “the other world,” they are also “events that take place here below, in time.” We discussed, yesterday, this idea that we must be okay with the things that have happened in the past, as they must, in some way or shape, be within God’s will. We must extend this into the future, as well.

One way a former pastor of mine used to frame this statement was to consider the state of things in heaven. We know from Biblical promises that there will be no tears in heaven; we know that there will be no pain in heaven; we know that there will be no sickness in heaven. Therefore, when we pray this prayer, we are, in a sense, asking for those things to be true on earth, as well. We know that God’s ultimate will is to eradicate pain and sickness and poverty and hunger. And this is why we pray this prayer. We long for these things to come to pass, “on earth as in heaven.”

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

God can do anything, you know—
far more than you could ever imagine
 or guess or request in your wildest dreams! 
He does it not by pushing us around 
but by working within us, 
his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 
Glory to God in the church! 
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! 
Glory down all the generations! 
Glory through all millennia! 
Oh, yes! 
(Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
(Jeremiah 18:5-6 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is “wilderness.” The Scripture reference is Luke 5:16:

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
(Luke 5:16 NLT)

The ESV calls it “desolate places.”

But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
(Luke 5:16 ESV)

Time is short, so I must move one. Wilderness seems to have a bad connotation, but it doesn’t have to. In the case of Israel, it was a place of correction, perhaps punishment, as they wandered around in wilderness for decades, after refusing to go into the Promised Land as directed.

But it was also a place of healing. In Jesus’s case, it was place to be alone. “Desolate” means, ” deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.” The purpose for this is to avoid distractions. If there are no people, there are no demands. If there is “dismal emptiness,” there is nothing else to distract one’s attention from God.

So we need those times of “wilderness” in our lives, in order to get our attention back on the Lord.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I am grateful for times of wilderness and desolation in my life, in my past. But I am also grateful that You have always brought me out of those, stronger than before, with eyes focused more on You. Help me to be more focused on You and on Your will in my life and in this world. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as in heaven. I pray for all things to come to pass in perfect time and in perfect order, even if some of those things are not pleasant, or don’t seem to be what we desire. Help us to mold our desires to fit Your will and not to try to get You to do the opposite.

Your will is supreme, no matter what it causes us in this world, and we must, we simply must be okay with that, as Your children. This is something that the world simply cannot understand.

At the same time, this does not release us from our obligation to do the things that Jesus told us to do to and for “the least of these.” Help us to have more compassion for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the hungry, the sick, the naked and homeless, and all of those kinds of people. Give us the love and compassion of Jesus for those, and the willingness to share our resources with them.

I thank You, Father, that I can see Your fingerprints all over my life. I pray that this never stops.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Everything comes from him; 
Everything happens through him; 
Everything ends up in him. 
Always glory! 
Always praise! 
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
(Romans 11:36 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

Today is Corn Fritters Day. Can’t say as I’ve ever had any of those. Now, apple fritters . . . there’s a different story altogether.

Not much to report around here today. No news on Christi’s thing yet. Oh, Stephanie’s probably getting her wisdom teeth out in a few weeks. Christi took her for a consultation yesterday. It will probably take three to four weeks for everything to be processed and approved by Medicaid. We also started working on Steph’s room last night. Cleaned it out and moved furniture to one half of the room to start tearing out the grossest carpet we have ever seen in our lives. I think we’re going to go ahead and put down the laminate that we have in most of the rest of the house. We thought about just leaving bare concrete and staining it, but Stephanie doesn’t like that idea.

I realized that I forgot to link to a different blog yesterday. I was planning to try to do that on a regular basis, but it may not happen that way. Today, I direct your blog-reading to a blog that is, often times, very deep. “All Along the Watchtower” is not a blog about Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix. It is, in fact, a mostly theological/historical blog that is administered by Jessica Hof. However, there are several people who write regularly on this blog. The most recent entry was written by Geoffrey Sales, who is a “Baptist in the Independent tradition.” But this comes from Great Britain, so that’s a different kind of “independent” Baptist than we U.S. people are used to. Other contributors are “Calcedon451,” a convert to Catholicism, who typically writes articles about the early church, and Malcolm, who is an ordained priest in the Church of England. I find Malcolm’s entries to usually be very inspiring. Jessica, I believe, is a Catholic student (I might be mistaken on this, I hope she will correct me if she reads this). As an evangelical Christian in the U.S., I don’t always agree with what is written, but frequently find inspiration and interesting historical information here. Jessica’s original post states that “This is a blog about Christianity under siege.”

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

In the year 711, an Arab chief named Tarik led his warriors across “the eight-mile channel that separates Morocco from Spain,” and landed at a point that, according to this book, still bears his name, Jebel-al-Tarik. Over time that name has been corrupted to “Gibraltar,” and is the peninsula at the southern end of Spain. Anyway, the Arabs (or Moors) advanced over the next 500 years, until they ruled most of Spain.

In 1158, Alfonso VIII inherited the throne at the age of three. As he grew older, he became increasingly determined to “rid the peninsula of the Moorish.” In 1212, “he finally acted decisively.” He gained the support of Pope Innocent III, who had already instigated two crusades to the Holy Land. Innocent promptly proclaimed another crusade and “urged the rulers of Aragon, Navarre and Portugal to join the Castilian army under Alfonso’s leadership.”

On this date in 1212, their army met the Moors “at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.” The victory, led by Alfonso, was complete, and is said to have been one of the “decisive battles of European history.” From this day forward, the Moors were in retreat, and the threat of Muslim-ruled Spain was over, at least until over 300 years later.

Today’s birthday is “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, born on this date in 1887. Shoeless Joe was a slugger for the Chicago White Sox, setting a rookie batting average of .408 in 1911, a record that still stands to this day. He led the league in triples in 1912, 1916, and 1920, and in 1917, he and the White Sox won the World Series. However, in 1920, he and seven other members of the White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 series for money in the infamous “Black Sox Scandal.” This was chronicled in the 1988 movie, Eight Men Out. Even though Jackson was acquitted of all charges by a judge, the first commissioner of baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, went against this ruling and banned all eight men from baseball for life. Shoeless Joe died in 1951.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.” (This “quote” probably never happened.)

Honorable mentions go to Will Ferrell, 46, Corey Feldman, 42, Ginger Rogers, 1911-1995, Jayma Mays, 34, Barbara Stanwyck, 1907-1990, Phoebe Cates, 50, Stewart Copeland, 61, Orville Redenbacher, 1907-1995, Michael Flatley, 55, and Pinchas Zukerman, 65.


Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Psalm 96:1
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. Psalm 67:1
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. Psalm 65:5
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore. Psalm 93:5
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Psalm 84:1-2

Father, I praise you for a new morning, in which you have brought me before you, seeking to learn from you and from your words. I pray that you will, indeed, be gracious and make your face to shine upon me this morning, and answer me with your righteousness. My soul longs and faints for treasures from your word. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “In the Wilderness.” The scripture reading is Luke 4:1-2a.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.

“The solitude of the wilderness gives Jesus strength.” I’m not sure I agree 100% with that statement, although I agree with the general principle behind it. It was not the solitude that gave Jesus strength. It was the “preparation and perception” gained by intimate interaction with the Father during the time of solitude. It was the absence of “human power structures and controls” that enabled him to be more in touch, more in communion with the Father. “The spiritual formation process requires time spent in the wilderness.” That I can agree with, as long as that time is not just spent wandering aimlessly. “It is in the wilderness that we are most aware of our need for God’s provision and protection.” Yes, indeed, that is true. when we are out of touch with the rest of humanity (which gets more and more difficult in our techno-age), we are more in touch with our need for God and his touch. It is easier to hear God in a place that is lonely and quiet. Biblically, the wilderness seems to be “God’s special meeting and training place for his people.” We must view those “wilderness experiences” in the same way. They are not our undoing. They are times of preparation for what is ahead in our lives. They are opportunities for more intimate communion with our creator.

Here’s a quote from Gifts from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

“It is a difficult lesson to learn today–to leave one’s friends and
family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day
or a week. For me, the break is the most difficult. Parting is inevitably
painful, even for a short time. It is like an amputation, I feel. A limb is
being torn off, without which I shall be unable to function. And yet,
once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly
precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than

Father, I thank you for wilderness times, which, when we are in them, seem so desolate and hopeless, but then, looking back, seem full of you and opportunity. May we always think of them in this way, seeking the most from times when we are able to be more intimate with you and commune with you in a way that is almost impossible at other times in our lives. I pray for some time in the near future when I might be able to be utterly alone with you for at least a brief period. Not that I seek to be away from my family. I love them more than I can say. But the need to commune with you in a more pure way is becoming more evident to me.

I pray for this day, Father, that Christi might get some news. May her work day be productive and good today, and may you surround her with your steadfast love. I pray the same surrounding for Stephanie today. Give her a hug today, through your Spirit. May my work day also be a good day, and productive. May I continue to learn and excel at the things that I am supposed to be doing now.

Your grace is sufficient.

When we go through “wilderness” experiences, we need to recognize them as times for more intimacy and learning from God.

Grace and peace, friends.