What’s the Rush?

Today is Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Day 21,699. Only ten more days until S’s and J’s birthday!!

Quote of the Day

“A fool and his money are soon elected.” ~ Will Rogers
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Garble ~ “to sift impurities from;” “to alter or distort as to create a wrong impression or change the meaning;” “to introduce textual error into (a message) by inaccurate encipherment, transmission, or decipherment.” An example of garbled lyrics would be, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy,” instead of “Excuse me while I kiss the sky,” or “There’s a bathroom on the right,” instead of “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

Today is one of my favorite days. It is Book Lovers Day. I’m not sure where I got my great love for books. Oh, who am I kidding? I know exactly where I got it. Just look at my mother’s house! So many books; so little time!!

The floor is shaping up nicely! Yesterday, they finished the hallway and big “family room,” or whatever it’s called.

I’m not sure, but I think the plan today is the hallway and two bedrooms in the front part of the house.

Tonight is our normal bowling night, but we aren’t bowling tonight, as our team mates are in Fort Davis. We plan to make up tonight’s games next Monday night.

The Red Sox beat the Rays, 2-0, last night, behind some great pitching by Chris Sale, and the Yankees lost to the Boo Jays, so the Sox are now up by four games in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Rangers lost a close one to the Mets, 5-4. The Astros lost to the Other Sox, so the Rangers remain 18 games out in fourth place. Only four games out of the wild card race, though, which is currently occupied by the Yankees and the Rays. And Kansas City.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.

Psalm 149:2, 4
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!
Psalm 125:4
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

Psalm 72:18-19
May the LORD give you increase, you and your children!
Psalm 115:14
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:35-37

(From The President’s Devotional)

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 
And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 
And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 
Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

Luke 13:6-9

One thing this parable teaches us is to “give our strategies time to play out.” Better yet, give God’s strategies time to play out.

God’s plans usually don’t happen the way we would like them to. “The yield is not always immediate, but there may still be a harvest on the horizon.”

God is patient. Sometimes, (most of the time?) his plans “unfold over months and years.” There may be things that he has planted deep within us that need more time to become fruitful.

Never give up on God; never give up on yourself. If you are struggling with wondering why God doesn’t seem to be working in your life right now, stay faithful and wait. Many of us know the popular verses:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Also, remember the words of Dallas Willard: “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Father, give me the same kind of patience that you have. Just let me know that you are there, working. I don’t need to see immediate results. I just need to know that you are there. May it be your timing and not mine. Give me acceptance of that.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

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If the Lord Says So, Too

Today is June 1, 2017. Day 21,630. TWO DAYS until our Oregon vacation!!

“There is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.” ~ Will Rogers
The Quotations Page

Valedictory ~ an address or statement of farewell or leave-taking. I find this interesting because I always thought it had something to do with being at the top of your graduating class. So, on a whim, I decided to look up “salutatory.” Would you believe it means “an address or statement of welcome or greeting.” Huh. The things you learn.

Today is Go Barefoot Day. Unfortunately, they will not allow me to do that at work. It’s also Say Something Nice Day. They will allow me to do that. If you really want to be “special” today, go barefoot and say nice things.

We had a grand time at bowling, last night. There are somewhere around twelve teams in this summer league, and we got paired up with another couple who appear to be close to our age. They were very nice, and somewhat quiet, which we like. We bowled against a team of guys that were all quite good. In fact, one of them is a “scratch” bowler, meaning that his average is higher than the average from which the handicap is derived. They were also quite friendly. We felt very much at home in this group. We bowled pretty well, too. C bowled 141, 145, 159, for a total of 445. She set an average of 148. I bowled 148, 160, and 168, for a total of 476, setting an average of 158. I was actually surprised that I did that well. It’s also cool that we both improved with each game.

The really great thing is that I can walk this morning. 😀

The Rangers (or should I say Sam Dyson) lost in the tenth inning last night, to the Rays, 7-5. The Red Sox held off the Other Sox, beating them 4-1. The Yankees lost, so the Sox are now only two games out of first place!

I got the results from my bloodwork yesterday (did I mention that I left work early Tuesday to get a physical?). Everything was good except for the blood sugar readings. My A1C is over 8, which is bad, and my average glucose reading over the last three months is way too high, so they are increasing my medications for that. Cholesterol and everything else was fine. That was suprising.

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s passing.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 96:2-4
Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Psalm 69:16
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation
Psalm 18:46
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
Psalm 104:32
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 
And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

Acts 2:1-3

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

The verses were quoted in today’s Daily Guideposts reading, but I’m not going to talk about the reading. I’m just going to leave the verses there, and hopefully remember them to meditate on them, during the day.

Proverbs 3:5-6 have been “hidden in my heart” for decades. They are great verses (not to insinuate that other verses are not great), and worthy of our meditation. Very simple. Trust in God. Don’t trust in your own understanding of things, because, unlike God, your understanding is not perfect. Acknowledge God in everything you do. The result will be a straight walk with him.

Proverbs 16:9 cautions us that, while it is okay to make plans, it is the Lord who finalizes things.

Father, help me to remember to think about these verse today. Help me to remember the truths represented therein. Help me to trust you and not me. Help me to acknowledge you in all my ways, so that you can make my path straight. And then help me to remember that all my plans depend on the simple phrase, “If the Lord says so, too.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Least of These

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), May 11, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~ Will Rogers

Word of the Day

Saudade ~ (in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.

Today is Twilight Zone Day. Here’s a brief clip of one of my favorite episodes, staring William Shatner.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Psalm 95:6-7
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.
Psalm 101:6
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 
  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. 

Psalm 33:20-22

(From The President’s Devotional)

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
Matthew 25:35-40

“Martin’s soul grew glad. He crossed himself, put on his spectacles, and began reading the Gospel just where it had opened; and at the top of the page he read: ‘I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.’ And at the bottom of the page he read: ‘Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me’ (Matt. XXV). And Martin understood that his dream had come true; and that the Saviour had really come to him that day, and he had welcomed him.” (Leo Tolstoy, “Where Love Is, God Is”)

There are people in this world who are looking for a Savior to come to them. Jesus has shown us how to be his “avatars” in this world.

“Nourishment to the hungry. Water to the thirsty. Shelter to the stranger. Covering to the naked. Healing for the sick. Comfort for the prisoner. Our King declares, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, remind me of these truths as I walk through this world. Keep my eyes open for opportunities to serve you by being your representative and spokesperson on earth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Enjoying God

Today is Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ~ Will Rogers

Word of the Day

Holus-bolus ~ all at once; altogether.

Today is that day when we mourn the loss of one of a pair, so frequently blamed on the dryer, but probably the fault of the washing machine. Yes, today is Lost Sock Memorial Day

Real quick recap/update. Band practice was pretty awesome last night. I’m not sure why, but I had a blast, and I felt like I was playing well.

For Mother’s Day, with the approval of my mother, we will be staying around our home for the day, hopefully visiting with our own kids. Since we will be spending the next weekend with my mother and uncle and cousins, my mother said that we didn’t need to come out to visit her this Sunday. This will work out nicely, especially since I have a band concert late on Saturday evening. We’re playing our Disney show again, outside at a local amphitheater, but it’s not beginning until 8 PM. Ugh. I’d like to have a conversation with whoever thought THAT was a good idea!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. 
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. (The Divine Hours)

(From Solid Joys)

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Psalm 63:1-3

What does it mean to love God? Certainly, it means to obey his commands; it also includes believing his words (not just believing in him), and thanking him for all of his gifts. But John Piper says that the “the essence of loving God is enjoying all he is. And it is this enjoyment of God that glorifies his worth most fully.” What is it that Piper is famous for saying? “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Think of it this way. Would you rather have someone love you out of duty or because they are delighted in your presence? You shouldn’t have to think long. Unless you are a sociopath.

None of us has reached the perfection of this state of satisfaction in God, although I have known one or two people in my lifetime that come close. But I do long for the day when I can truly say that God’s steadfast love is better than life. There are some days that I can proclaim that sincerely. There are other days that I barely think about God. Guess which days are better days!

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

Father, teach me to enjoy you. Teach me to love your “hesed” better than my own life. I long for the day when there will be no more temptation to sin, no more inclination to obey the flesh and disobey your will and your word. Truly, I cannot even imagine being in that state, but I believe that I will be, and that it will be the most marvelous state of being I have ever experienced. I long for that, and because of that, I say, most sincerely,
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Word To Us

Today is Thursday, March 30, 2017. FOUR more days until Opening Day.

Quote of the Day

“There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” ~ Will Rogers

Word of the Day

Transpicuous ~ clearly seen through or understood.

Today is Take A Walk In the Park Day. That would be nice. I wish I could do that today, but probably will not have time.

We have our bi-weekly Night of Worship Missional Gathering tonight (I don’t care for that word, “missional,” as it really isn’t a word, but it is what it is). We’re all bringing our own food for an evening of fellowship and fun. Tonight, the NoW leader and I will be planning out the set list for this Saturday’s event, which will begin at 6:00 PM Saturday evening, April 1. I told him we should start out with an old hymn and then say that we are going to do all hymns for this one. April fool!

The Texas Rangers will be coming home from Arizona today. They will have a couple of exhibition games with the KC Royals over the weekend, then the season begins Monday. Hard to believe it’s already here. Once again, however, I will confess that baseball hasn’t had quite the same appeal to me since April 20, 2015.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! 
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. 
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. 

Psalm 81:8-10
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
Psalm 71:15
. . . but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalm 147:11

(From Living the Message)

On the topic of reading Scripture, Eugene H. Peterson says, “If the Revelation is masterful in getting us involved in a living response to scripture, it is also unavoidable in its claim that scripture is God’s word to us, not human words about God. Reading scripture as if it were the writings of various persons throughout history giving their ideas or experiences of God, is perhaps the commonest mistake that is made in reading scripture. And the deadliest.”

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.
Hebrews 4:12 (The Message)

Father, the best way for me to learn your ways is to read your words. Teach me from your words, that might life and walk might line up with the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. If I truly believe what I read, I will walk as he walked, and I will be actively participating in his “easy yoke.” I do believe. Help my unbelief!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Happiest of Discoveries

Today is Monday, October 31, 2016. Ten days until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” – Will Rogers

Word of the Day

Logophobia – an obsessive fear of words.

Today is, fittingly, Magic Day, originally sanctioned by the wife of Harry Houdini. Houdini died at 1:26 PM on October 31, 1926.

We had the most wonderful time, yesterday evening. S got invited to a sort of “reunion” set up by one of her high school teachers. The teacher simply wanted to a) catch up on what all of her former students were up to, and b) give them an opportunity to see each other again. Two of S’s favorite teachers were there, and several former students that she knew. To watch them hug and greet each other with, seemingly, no prejudices at all, was heart-warming. The teacher who organized it said that she intends to do it again, perhaps even on a semi-regular basis.

The Cubs pulled off a win in Game Five of the World Series, last night, 3-2. When I went to bed, it was 1-0, Indians, but I had a feeling that the Cubs would come back and win it. Game Six will be tomorrow night, back in Cleveland. If necessary, Game Seven will be Wednesday night. If that happens, I have a feeling that it will be the most-watched World Series game in history.

Today is Halloween, and tonight we get to have “Halloween Chili” at our pastor’s mother’s house! Today is also R & J’s seventh anniversary! Happy anniversary!! (I don’t think either one of them reads this, but just in case . . .)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. Psalm 18:46
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1

(From Praying With the Psalms)

A Song of Ascents. To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
Psalm 123

Many people have served under harsh masters, and discover that the Lord is a God who “pours forth mercy. For the person who has been treated with contempt and scorn, the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the happiest of discoveries.”

“Great God: sometimes I come to you in tense desperation, other times in relaxed gratitude, but never in fear. Your mercy is so gracious and your Lordship so blessed that I can only be filled with praise. Amen.”

I ran across a quote by C.S. Lewis that I will finish with, this morning. I get a daily email with a reading from one of his works. This one comes from a letter that he wrote to Phoebe Hesketh. “The real trouble about the duty of forgiveness is that you do it with all your might on Monday and then find on Wednesday that it hasn’t stayed put and all has to be done over again.”

Father, as I go about my day today, may I experience the grace and mercy that you so lavishly pour out upon us. May I know your presence through this work day, and all of its trials. And may I know the grace of true forgiveness, both in that which I experience from you, and that which I offer to others. May I never hold back a grace that you have give me, when it is needed to extend toward someone else.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Psalm 23

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”~~Will Rogers
(BrainQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is reify, “to convert into or regard as a concrete thing: to reify a concept.

Today is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. I love strawberry ice cream, so that sounds absolutely delicious!!

I didn’t find out the news until I got to work, yesterday morning. I’m not sure when it broke, but to see that we lost Alan Rickman only days after we lost David Bowie was almost too much to handle. I get it . . . these are just people, just like you and me. They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like me. But I loved Alan Rickman as an actor. He was brilliant in so many movies. It’s interesting to see what people remember him most for. There’s one group that immediately says Die Hard, while another group that immediately says Harry Potter. I’m more in the Harry Potter group, but I remember him well in Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Either way, there are many people in my oldest daughter’s generation who fell in love with Rickman. You can see a list of all of his work on his IMDB page.

Someone has tweeted “Everyone form a protective circle around Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.”

Today is Friday. Which means there is a chance of overtime, this evening. Other than that, not much going on, but the weekend is nigh.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Psalm 12

There is a contrast in this psalm between the lies of men and the promises of God. We use words to manipulate, saying whatever will help us get our way. “God speaks in promises that are pure, without a trace of fantasy or deceit in them.”

“I thank you, eternal God, that not one of your words to me is bloated by boasting or distorted by flattery. I take each one as simple reality. I believe what you tell me about my salvation and trust your promises, even as you speak to me in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

For some reason, I feel compelled to close this day’s devotion by simply quoting Psalm 23.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Father, make this real in my life today. Make me to understand that I shall never lack for anything that I need, as long as I follow you, my shepherd. Make me to rest, so that I can work. Establish good rhythm in my life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.