I Am Broken

Today is Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Day 22,329


Quote of the Day

“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”
William Blake, English poet, 1757-1827

Word of the Day

Guddle ~ to catch (fish) by groping with the hands, as under rocks or along a riverbank. (Dictionary.com)

We finished off April with some “April showers.” Will they bring May flowers? That remains to be seen. Especially since the April showers appear to be lingering into May. We are in a flash flood watch with an 80% chance of more precipitation (and thunderstorms) today. Apparently, there were a few tornadoes in the area, last night, but none close to us. One touched down briefly in Denton, where R & J live. R said they spent about an hour in the bathroom, while eating dinner. Reminds me of a night in March many years ago. It was the night that the Bank One building in downtown Fort Worth was hit by a tornado. We had been putting together a basketball goal for R’s birthday when the storm began. We heard the sirens and huddled in our bathroom, eating the pizza that had just been delivered. The tornado was heading straight for us. But it took an unusual turn and, instead, headed straight into downtown. It was after 5:00 PM, so there were very few people down there.

The Texas Rangers gave up a three-run lead to lose to the Pirates, last night. In eleven innings, they lost 6-4. Jesse Chavez took the loss for the Rangers. Adrian Sampson had a good start, though. The Rangers are back at .500, at 14-14. Still in third place in the AL West, three games out. Weather permitting, they will play again at 1:05 this afternoon, with Shelby Miller taking the mound.

The Red Sox beat the Athletics again, so they win the series, regardless of what happens today. They won 5-1, to improve their record to 13-17. They remain in fourth place in the AL East, seven games out. They play again today at 12:05 PM, with Hector Velazquez taking the mound.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 
The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 
Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Psalm 25:16-18

Today I am grateful:
1. For an upcoming vacation to a place I’ve never been (Vegas)
2. That the vacation means days away from work
3. For the way the Lord is molding my character
4. That I know my weakness and imperfection
5. That in my weakness, He is strong

O Lord, arise, help us;
And deliver us for they Name’s sake.

O God, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have
declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their
days, and in the old time before them.

O Lord, arise help us;
and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy
Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

O Lord, arise help us;
and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

From our enemies defend us, O Christ;
Graciously behold our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts;
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favorably with mercy hear our prayers;
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ;
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.
(The Book of Common Prayer, The Great Litany,The Supplication)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Be Honest About Who You Are,” by James Bryan Smith.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

We have to acknowledge the truth about ourselves and accept ourselves the way we are. This is not about the world’s view of “self-acceptance,” which proclaims that everything is fine with me, I’m fine just way I am. Nothing could be more wrong about that philosophy. I am most definitely NOT fine the way I am, and that is what I need to accept about myself. “We do not need to beat ourselves up or call ourselves names or excessively confess our sinfulness. All we have to do is be realistic.”

I am not perfect. I am dependent. I have “no claims and no rights.” I am a sinner. If I pretend any other way, I keep God from doing the work he needs to do in my life.

The Apostle Paul knew who he was, and it caused him to be more reliant upon the grace of God. He even boasted about his weaknesses. “The truth that we must accept if we are to be healed is the truth that we are weak and broken and imperfect, for that is who we are.”

The enemy of our spiritual lives is the inability to admit this truth. “Paul would often boast, but not of his own abilities, his wisdom, or his accomplishments. God’s love and acceptance rested on him, a man who did not deserve it.” Paul, in turn, gave his life back to God.

“Paul was proud not in himself but in God, for he understood who he was and the truth of God’s undeserved acceptance.”

Father, show me, remind me, of my weakness, that I might draw from your strength. May I, like Paul (though I am really not much like him), boast only in your strengths, revealed by my brokenness and imperfection.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Grace and peace, friends.

The Grace to Forgive

Today is Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Day 22,314

Tuesday of Holy Week

Twenty-three days until our Vegas trip!!

Quote of the Day

“The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel’d to heaven is no artist.”
William Blake, English poet, 1757-1827

Word of the Day

Bouquiniste ~ A dealer in old and used books. (Wordsmith Word A Day)

Anyone who doesn’t live in a cave or under a rock knows the big news yesterday was the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral. The spire and most of the roof are gone, but officials say that the main structure was saved. The cathedral was undergoing renovations and the fire was likely a result of something accidental. Many people are immediately accusing Muslim terrorists. I’m holding out my opinion on more facts. I work hard to not be a bigot, so I’m not immediately blaming anyone. I do acknowledge that something of this magnitude happening on Monday of Holy Week seems more than coincidence. But I haven’t heard any reports of anyone claiming responsibility, and terrorist groups normally do that pretty quickly. At any rate, it’s a terrible event, on an architectural and historical scale. The cathedral is almost 900 years old, and has survived, among other things, two major world wars.

The Texas Rangers jumped all over the Angels last night. After falling behind 4-0, the Rangers battled back to tie and then go ahead, winning the game 12-7. Kyle Dowdy got the win in relief, and Jose Leclerc notched another save. They must have relaxed the save rules a bit, because I thought a save was in effect if the team was three or four runs ahead, not five. In my mind, if one batter can’t cause you to lose the game (for example, if the bases are loaded and the batter hits a home run), then it’s not a “save.” But MLB says it was a save. The Rangers are now 8-7, and with one win, they jumped to third place in the AL West. They play the Angels again tonight at 7:05.

The Red Sox didn’t fare so well. They lost their Patriots Day game to the Orioles, 8-1. Hector Velazquez took the loss for the Sox. The Sox are 6-11, tied for fourth place in the AL East. They play the Yankees in New York, this evening, at 5:35 CDT.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

Today I am grateful:
1. For another day to walk in his kingdom, even though I seem to be developing a chest cold
2. For the power of the Gospel to change lives
3. For the impact of Holy Week
4. That I have been forgiven
5. That I have the grace and power to forgive others

“O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an
instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of live:
Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly
suffer shame and loss for the sake of they Son our Savior Jesus
Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Tuesday in Holy Week)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Forgiving in the Name of God,” by Henri Nouwen.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

“We are all wounded people.” So simple, yet so profound. Yes, we are all wounded, in some way. We are all broken, in some way. And often, the people who have wounded us are the ones who are closest to us. In my experience, it is seldom a total stranger who wounds us. This is one of the great tragedies of life. I believe it is because you can most easily be wounded by someone you have trusted. When you trust or love someone, you let down your guard.

The typical human reaction is this: “You, who I expected to be there for me, you have abandoned me. How can I ever forgive you for that?”

But Jesus calls us to something different. We are called to forgive. Not only by this simple verse in Ephesians, but by the very words of our Savior.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15

These are serious words, not to be trifled with.

“Forgiveness often seems impossible, but nothing is impossible with God.” The God who resides within us gives us grace and power to “go beyond our wounded selves and say, ‘In the name of God you are forgiven.'”

If we still struggle with that, we should consider the “incomprehensible reality that the God of the universe has forgiven every unloving, hurtful, wounding act we have perpetuated against him.” We should be ready and willing to treat others in the same way.

I have been the recipient of forgiveness, both from God, and from people I have wounded. How could I not, then, forgive others who have wounded me? That would be the tragedy.

Father, may I always be forgiving, because you have forgiven me, and because you have given others the grace to forgive me, as well. Search my heart, and if there is anyone in there whom I have not forgiven, please show me, then effect that forgiveness within me, by your grace, and by your Spirit.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.

Grace and peace, friends.

How To Get Answered Prayer

Today is Wednesday (already?), August 24, 2016. 51 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out.” – William Blake

Word of the Day

Thrummy – of or abounding in thrums; shaggy or tufted.

Today is Pluto Demoted Day. Maybe a presidential campaign should be “Make Pluto a Planet Again!” Poor Pluto.

For an added bonus (no extra charge), it is also International Strange Music Day I think this qualifies.

There is more to celebrate for R’s success. As noted yesterday, she got her LPC license. She has also been offered more guaranteed hours at the hospital in Denton, where she has been working on an “on-call” basis. So she is able to quit her data entry job, which is in Carrollton, and a second shift job. Plus she gets a raise at the hospital because she now has her license! Things are finally going well for her, which I think I can safely say she deserves, because she has worked very hard for all of this. We will be celebrating big, this weekend, for these things, as well as for J’s birthday, which was the same day as S’s.

The Red Sox held on to beat the Rays 2-1, last night, maintaining their first place tie with the Boo Jays. Clay Buchholz actually pitched well. We do believe in miracles! The Rangers, on the other hand, continue to struggle with the last place teams, losing to the Reds (whose record is almost exactly the opposite of theirs) 3-0. Dutch Oven returned, and seems to have pitched quite well. He just got no run support. They play one more tonight, before coming home to face the Indians, who now have the best record in the AL.

Tonight is our Anchor prayer gathering. Twice a month, we gather in someone’s home to pray for needs of the church and our world. If you have anything you would like us to pray for, leave a note, either here or on Facebook.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity.
Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive.
Psalm 106:40-46

We typically connect cause and effect with the word therefore. In our case, though, God connects them with the word nevertheless. We expect damnation for our sin, but when we believe Jesus Christ, we get salvation. “‘Nevertheless’ is one of the most important words in Scripture, for it miraculously joins human sin with God’s salvation.”

“What a happy discovery, O God, to find that each act of confession is not an occasion for condemnation but an experience of your forgiveness: ‘Make mercy in all of us, out of us all/Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King’ (Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Spiritual Index

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Matthew 7:9

In this illustration of prayer, Jesus speaks of “a good child asking for a good thing.” We tend to think about prayer “as if God heard us irrespective of the fact of our relationship to Him.” Rather than proclaiming that it wasn’t God’s will to give us what we asked for, perhaps we should step back and “find out the reason, turn up the index.” There is always someone proclaiming that God doesn’t answer prayer, but if you look at their lives, you see why. Why should God answer the prayer of someone who is consistently disobedient to him??

Are we rightly related to our family, to our work associates? What about other matters? Are we asking God for money when we haven’t paid someone we owe? Are we expecting liberty when we have not granted someone the same? And what about forgiveness? Are we expecting God to forgive us when we refuse to forgive someone in our lives? So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

“I am a child of God only by regeneration, and as a child of God I am good only as I walk in the light. Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God.”

When Jesus said, “Everyone that asks receives,” he was speaking of people who are “good children.”

Father, I pray to be a “good child.” I will spend part of this day, as already planned, being specifically obedient to something that you have placed in my heart. I pray that this will reap answered prayers. I am confident that it will reap closer devotion to you through Jesus. Let my prayer/reading times today be deep, drawing me into closer communion with you.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

A Thirsty Tongue

“A thirsty tongue is liable to be a murmuring one. When Israel was not satisfied, she tested God with her lips. So with me, and how often I have known this, when I have not been wholly satiated with the water of life in the morning, the tongue is apt to move loosely in criticism of God’s children, His ways of leading, His apparent slowness to provide.” (From The Journals of Jim Elliot, March 6, 1948)

“In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”~~Erich Fromm
“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”~~William Blake

Today’s WotD, from Dictionary.com, is commodius. While it may sound as if it is referring to a particular piece of bathroom furniture (in a Roman form, even? “Marcus, I must visit the commodius!?), it, in fact, means “spacious and convenient; roomy: ample or adequate for a particular purpose.” Perhaps you have a commodius house, or a commodius office at work.

Today is White Chocolate Cheescake Day. Why? Because chocolate!

We had a very nice time at the Irish Festival, yesterday. We drove to a nearby train station in Dallas and hopped on the Dart Rail for $10 ($5 each for two Day Passes). The train dropped us off right in front of the gate of the Fair Park. Parking at the Festival was $15, and we probably would have had to walk a mile to get there from the car. So that was a “win/win” situation. I realized, while on the train, that a $5 Day Pass also provides some people with a pseudo comfortable place to sleep for the day. You never know what you are going to see when you ride the train. The important thing is to not panic and realize that anything you might see on the train is “normal.”

The festival was fun. We heard a lot of good music as we walked around, even though we never really stopped to listen to any for a significant length of time. It was just everywhere. There were also a number of food booths with free samples. We even bought some of the food products, too. We bought some really good jelly/jams, some salsa mix, and some beef jerky for Rachel. Then I got a nice Celtic “Circle of Life” t-shirt and a new hat. I’ll be wearing those to church this morning. The hardest part was deciding what to eat, though. I finally settled on a Scottish sausage sandwich, and some “gravy french fries.” I was disappointed that the gravy was brown, but they were okay. The sausage was okay, but not great. Christi got a patty melt at one booth that was out of this world. She shared it with me. Afterward we bought a funnel cake and a couple of Diet Cokes. The miraculous thing is that we planned it out and didn’t have any of the food/drink coupons left! That never happens!

The one thing that disappointed me is that they didn’t have any Mead this year. The closest thing that had was some apple cider, so I had a cup of that. It was pretty good. But I really wanted mead. Oh, well. Scarborough Renaissance Faire is right around the corner.

This morning, we have our worship gathering at 10:15. Christi isn’t running the Mac today, so we don’t have to be there early. Our church, The Exchange, meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N Beach, in Fort Worth, TX. Come join us if you are nearby.


By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:6-9

“Do words really make any difference?” Eugene Peterson asks. “Does talk ever cause anything to happen?” I doubt that, when he wrote that, he knew that I would be reading this in the middle of one of the strangest and, perhaps, worst Presidential campaigns we have ever experienced; one where words seem trite and meaningless, and, at times, even obscene and insulting. But they are words that are definitely attached to deeds. Empty promises. But the words of God, that’s a totally different story. We have here, “a biblical witness that traces the very world we live in to the word of God.”

“O God, by men who make promises that they never keep and by people who make statements that they do not mean, I begin to treat words as ‘mere words.’ And then I look around at what happens in creation and in salvation when you speak, and I’m ready to listen again, especially to the ‘Word made flesh’ in whose name I pray (John 1:14). Amen.”

On second thought, maybe he did write that during a Presidential campaign!

“A thirsty tongue is liable to be a murmuring one. When Israel was not satisfied, she tested God with her lips. So with me, and how often I have known this, when I have not been wholly satiated with the water of life in the morning, the tongue is apt to move loosely in criticism of God’s children, His ways of leading, His apparent slowness to provide.” (From The Journals of Jim Elliot, March 6, 1948)

Father, I see the truth in what Jim Elliot has written here. I pray that the eyes of my heart would be satisfied in you. May the times that I spend in your word burrow deep into my spirit, satisfying me so that my tongue does not wander into territory that it unseemly. I cannot count the number of times that my loose tongue has gotten me into some kind of trouble. Tame it, my Lord, in the name and power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

My God, Search Me Out!

“Do we believe that God can garrison the imagination far beyond where we can go?”~~Oswald Chambers

“The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel’d to heaven is no artist.”~~William Blake

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is offing. This does not, as one might expect, have anything to do with ridding the earth of one’s enemies, such as in organized crime. Rather, it is a noun, meaning, “the more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond the anchoring ground,” or, “a position at a distance from shore.”

Today is Play God Day. Judging from a number of Facebook posts, I know quite a few people who do that every day.

I had a pretty good day at work, yesterday. I might almost call it a “great” day. It was a good way to wind up a pretty tough week, and, as an added bonus, we all got to go home on time! On a Friday!! It was legen . . . wait for it . . . DARY!! We wound up having BBQ for dinner and watching the series premier of Angel from Hell, Jane Lynch’s new series where she plays a woman who claims to be another woman’s “guardian angel.” It was interesting. We’ll watch a couple more, at least, to see where it goes. I’m not sure I can see it having much staying power, though. Lynch was pretty good in her role, though. We watched a couple more Criminal Minds, and then I played Fallout 4 for a while, having not had a chance to play since last Sunday.

This morning, Christi is putting a bookshelf together while I do my rambling in here. Not sure what we will do after that. I think we are planning to go see Star Wars with Rachel and Justin tomorrow afternoon, so we will probably hit up the grocery store later.

The Powerball lottery is up to an unprecedented $900 million for tonight’s drawing. Officials claim that 65% of the possible combinations have been sold. I rarely buy lottery tickets, but I have for this one. No harm in throwing away a few bucks for a chance to win nearly a billion, right?

On this date in 1493, Christopher Columbus, while sailing near the Dominican Republic, mistook three manatees for mermaids, writing that they were “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

Today’s birthdays include:

1554–Pope Gregory XV
1901–Chic Young, American cartoonist, Blondie
1913–Richard M. Nixon, 37th President of the United States
1925–Lee Van Cleef, American actor, spaghetti westerns
1928–Judith Krantz, American author
1931–Algis Budrys, American author
1933–Wilbur Smith, Zambian-British novelist
1934–Bart Starr, American football player
1935–Dick Enberg, American sportscaster
1935–Bob Denver, American actor, Gilligan’s Island, Dobie Gillis
1936–Anne Rivers Siddons, American writer
1939–Susannah York, British actress, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
1941–Joan Baez, American singer/songwriter
1944–Jimmy Page, British guitarist, Led Zeppelin
1948–Bill Cowsill, American singer
1950–David Johansen, American singer, New York Dolls
1951–Crystal Gayle, American country singer
1955–J.K. Simmons, American actor, The Closer
1965–Joely Richardson, British actress, Nip Tuck
1967–Dave Matthews, South African singer/musician
1967–Steve Harwell, American singer, Smash Mouth
1967–Carl Bell, American musician, Fuel
1968–Joey Lauren Adams, American actress
1973–Angela Bettis, American actress, Carrie
1982–Kate Middleton, yes, that Kate Middleton
1989–Nina Dobrev, Bulgarian actress, Vampire Diaries

Wow, that’s a lot of birthdays! It is very difficult to pick just one of those to highlight . . . let’s see . . .

I’ll surprise everyone, here. Bart Starr was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in the mid to late sixties, along the same time frame that my all time favorite quarterback, Don Meredith, was the QB for the Dallas Cowboys. My strongest memory of Bart Starr is in this infamous game against the Cowboys in 1967. With 16 seconds left in the “Ice Bowl,” the Cowboys led 17-14. Bart Starr performed his now famous “Quarterback Sneak,” scoring a touchdown. The Packers would win the game, which was, at that time, the “World Championship” (there was no Super Bowl, yet), 21-17.

By the way, Starr and his wife have been married for over 60 years.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

Compared to the universe, human beings are midgets, in physical size; barely noticeable, specks of “cosmic dust.” However, in spiritual terms, they are giants. In the purposes and plans of the Creator, “crowned . . . with glory and honor.”

“Lord, I look at the skies and am humbled–I am such a minute item in your creation. Then I listen to your word and am exalted–I am such an honored child! ‘How majestic is thy name in all the earth!’ Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

“The great mystical work of the Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality which we cannot get at.” I think it is worth reading that sentence a few more times to get the gist of it, to truly comprehend what Chambers is saying, here.

Chambers paraphrases Psalm 139, one of my favorites:

Thou art the God of the early mornings,
the God of the late at night,
the God of the mountain peaks,
and the God of the sea;
but, my God, my soul has further horizons than the early mornings,
deeper darkness than the nights of earth,
higher peaks than any mountain peaks,
greater depths than any sea in nature–
Thou who are the God of all these,
be my God.
I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths;
there are motives I cannot trace,
dreams I cannot get at–
my God, search me out.

“Do we believe that God can garrison the imagination far beyond where we can go?” We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. But “if that means in conscious experience only, may God have mercy on us.” To “garrison” means to defend or to guard, to place troops around. Do we truly believe that God can, by way of the Holy Spirit, defend our innermost being? “Cleansing from sin is to the very heights and depths of our spirit if we will keep in the light as God is in the light, and the very Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life or our spirits.”

These are some amazing truths that we should allow our minds to dwell on more than we do.

Father, stretch my mind and my spirit to truly believe these truths. I have read this particular devotional reading at least four times in my life, probably more. Every time I read it, it staggers me. Yet, I continue to walk away and forget what I have read. I pray for this truth to stick with me, this time. Garrison my imagination! Take it farther down than I could ever go, to places that i cannot reach, to those motives that I cannot trace and those dreams I cannot get at. Search me, O God, and then cleanse me, inside and out. My heart’s desire is that I not only be cleansed from outward sin, but that my very being would be cleansed from ever desiring to sin again.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Soul and Body Resting Together

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”~~Andre Gide

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is pandiculation

Today is Small Business Saturday. Many people braved the crowds to feed the capitalist giants yesterday. Let’s give a chance to the small business owner today.

We had the most marvelous day, yesterday. While I was finishing yesterday’s entry, Christi took Rachel and Just over to the local Payless Shoesource (on Black Friday–*gasp*), and bought some shoes. Boots, actually. As for it being Black Friday, she said there was one other customer in the store. Afterwards, we drover over to my mother’s house. I took my mother to The Booksatchell, a local used book store. It has been a favorite place of ours for many years, but they are closing their doors on Christmas Eve of this year. My mother had about $40 of trade credit there, so she wanted to be sure and use it up before they close. We spent about an hour there, while Christi, Rachel, and Justin went in search of coffee and/or hot chocolate.

They wound up at a place called Jitterbeans, which is a coffee shop that is part of a movie rental store. They are located in a building that was Calhoun’s Furniture store when I was growing up. The movie store has been there for 27 years, and the coffee shop for almost 10. While we were shopping in the book store, Christi texted me that we really needed to get over there, because it was really good. So we finished up our shopping, and headed over. I got a cup of what they call “Aztec Spice Hot Chocolate” (Justin had gotten a cup of it and said it was really good). Let me tell you, and I am not exaggerating, it was the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had in my 57+ years on this planet! So good that I bought a tin of the mix to take home. We will definitely visit the shop whenever we find ourselves in town. The owners, Brian and Laura Marsh, are very friendly people and a joy to talk to.

After all of that, we went home for some leftovers for lunch. Then Mama, Justin, and I looked at books at the house. As my mother went through them, Justin and I picked out books that we were interested in. Some of them, we will take home today, others will stay in the house until later. There are many that my mother will not part with, just yet. And there are some that she wants to read before letting them loose for me to read.

Today, we check out of the hotel, after which we will take my mother to the grocery store for a few things. We will probably all have lunch together (Stephanie really wants to go to Pastafina), and then head back to Fort Worth, while Rachel and Justin head back to Denton.

It has been a most wonderful weekend.

On this date in:

1582–William Shakespear and Anne Hathaway bought a marriage license. Funny, she doesn’t look that old!
1814–The London Times was printed by automatic, steam powered presses for the first time.
1843–The Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized by the UK and France as an independent nation.
1895–The first American automobile race took place over a 54 mile stretch between Chicago’s Jackson Park and Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea was the winner; only took him 10 hours.

Today’s birthdays include John Bunyan (Enlish cleric and author), Jean-Baptiste Lully (French composer), William Blake (British poet), Berry Gordy, Jr. (American record company owner), Hope Lange (American actress), Randy Newman (American composer), Paul Shaffer (Canadian orchestra leader), Ed Harris (American actor), Judd Nelson (American actor), Jon Stewart (American comedian), and Stephnie Weir (American comedian).

William Blake was a British poet and artist. He was born on this date in 1757. I don’t know which of his poems is most well known, but I am most familiar with two of them. One is The Tyger, and the other is either known as And did those feet in ancient times, or, simply, Jerusalem. Long before I knew it was a William Blake poem, I was very fond of a musical arrangement of Jerusalem by Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Washington Irving, Enrico Fermi, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Jerry Edmonton, Jerry Rubin, and Leslie Nielsen are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

There are two great examples of the two different purposes of petionary prayer, both found in the Psalms. If you remember, there was the external purpose of prayer, in which our prayers have an effect on our physical surroundings. Then there is the internal purpose, in which we receive peace and rest from God, as we give up control of our lives to him.

Psalm 4 is a great example of the latter of these purpose. It is an “evening prayer, oriented toward accepting what has happened that day and reflecting on it in light of God.”

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah.
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

In this case, the “submissive, heart-at-rest” prayer of Psalm 4 comes before the assertive, straightforward requests of Psalm 5.

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

The purpose of the evening prayer of Psalm 4 can be found in the phrase in the final verse, “in peace.” The purpose of this kind of prayer is to give the soul the same kind of peace that a good night’s sleep gives the body. “The soul and body rest better if they do it together.” With this kind of prayer, we attempt to hand our daily burdens and concerns over to God “so our souls do not go weighed down into the night’s sleep.”

Jonathan Edwards once summarized these ideas in a sermon outline that went like this:
“1. Our bad thins will turn out for good (Rom 8:28)
2. Our good things can never be taken away from us (Ps 4:6-7), and
3. The best things are yet to come (1 Cor 2:9).”

If we find ourselves becoming depressed or despondent as we lay our requests before God, perhaps we should spend a little more time in Psalm 4.

Father, I pray for the kind of peace that David requests in Psalm 4. May I go to sleep each night with this kind of peace in my heart, laying my burdens and concerns down at your feet, that my soul and body might rest together.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

How He Loves

Good morning. It is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, 2014.

Did you know that, in 2010, a Canadian man rescued a baby from a dumpster, only to find out that he was the father?

Haha!! Today is Buy Nothing Day! And, yes, it always falls on Black Friday. Just take a look at our culture and what happens on this day every year. Personally, I think it’s shameful. Some of the videos I saw from last year were horrifying. While I may not succeed in “buying nothing” today, I certainly do not participate in the horror that is “Black Friday.”

We had a most excellent Thanksgiving Day yesterday!! Christi’s family all showed up, along with Rachel and Justin, as well. The food was delicious, thanks to Christi and Karen (Karen is Christi’s sister, and she brought a corn casserole that everyone loves, and some oogy green jello salad stuff). I had made the dump cake Wednesday night, and baked the frozen pumpkin pie yesterday morning. We also had a pecan pie that was fully cooked, and only had to be thawed. Everything was delicious, and I ate too much. We watched some football for a while, and I was delighted that the Eagles gave a sound trouncing to the Cowboys, beating them 33-10. After everyone else left, Rachel and Justin stayed behind for awhile, and we played Cards Against Humanity. I won’t link the website, because there is currently a “bad word” on their front page. This game is awful and hilarious, and you should never play it. Unless you can turn off every single one of your offense filters. That’s pretty much what you have to do. We laugh so hard, and then feel so guilty about it.

This morning, Christi is back at it, cooking more stuff, which we will take over to Mineral Wells in a couple of hours. Rachel and Justin went home last night, but plan on meeting us in Mineral Wells, later. I think they might be spending the night here, tonight.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1925 that The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting. Originally named The Barn Dance, after a broadcast in Chicago, it was started on WSM radio in Nashville. The four-and-a-half-hour program (wow!!) became “one of the most popular broadcasts in the South.”

Today’s birthdays include Jon Stewart, Judd Nelson, Berry Gordy, Ed Harris, Randy Newman, Ryan Kwanten, William Blake, Hope Lange, Aimee Garcia, Paul Shaffer, Margaret Tudor, John Bunyan, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jeff Fahey, Dave Righetti, and John Burkett.

William Blake was was an English painter and poet, born on this date in 1757. One of his most famous poems (or at least best known by me) is probably “The Tyger.”

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Here is a song by my favorite group, Daniel Amos, that pays tribute to Blake, who had a tremendous influence on their main songwriter, Terry Scott Taylor.


(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Psalm 96:8
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.
Psalm 119:135
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
Psalm 86:8
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:7-8
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.

Psalm 77:11-14
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Today’s Gospel Reading

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
Matthew 15:32-39

For years, I guess I didn’t realize that there were two separate miraculous crowd feedings, even though they are both recorded in Matthew. This one, there were about 4000 men, in the first one, there were 5000. I guess the thing that sticks out most in this account is that the disciples have obviously forgotten about the first one. Again, they ask the question about where they are going to get enough food for this many people. I mean, shouldn’t they just have been bringing what they found up to Jesus, and saying, “Here you go! Do that thing you did again!” Unfortunately, it appears that the disciples were too much like me, basically pessimists.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Personal Encounter with God’s Love.”

Brennan speaks of a “silent retreat” that he directed for “six women in Virginia Beach.” As the retreat began, he met with each woman and asked them to write down “the one grace that she would most like to receive from the Lord.” One particular woman, a married woman around 45 years old, who was well known for prayer and service to others, said that “she wanted more than anything to actually experience just one time the love of God.”

I will quote in its entirety the next paragraph.

“The following morning this woman (whom I’ll call Winky) arose before dawn and went for a walk on the beach. She noticed a teenage boy and a woman walking in her direction. In less than a minute the boy had passed by to her left, but the woman made an abrupt ninety-degree turn, walked straight toward Winky, embraced her deeply, kissed her on the cheek, whispered ‘I Love you,’ and continued on her way. Winky had never seen the woman before. Winky wandered along the beach for another hour before returning to the house. She knocked on my door. When I opened it, she was smiling. ‘Our prayer was answered,’ she said simply.”

He will love you, bless you, and multiply you.
He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground,
your grain and your wine and your oil,
the increase of your herds and the young of your flock,
in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.

Deuteronomy 7:13

Father, I thank you for this testimony of your love. We can never be too sure about how you are going to display your love to us, and that is one of the things that I love most about you. Yes, I love your grace and mercy and all the blessings that you have thrown into my life, but this thing . . . this love that you show us, and the oftentimes weird ways that you display it, I love that part about you the most, I think. I pray, Lord, that everyone who stumbles across this blog entry today will experience that love from you. I pray that they will sense it in whatever expression you choose to show them, whether it be in the actions of a total stranger, or in the beauty of creation, such as a sunrise or sunset that is more brilliant than anything they have ever seen before. I simply pray that you show your love to them and fill their hearts with wonder.

I pray for this day, that we will have safe travel to and from Mineral Wells. I also pray for safe travel for Rachel and Justin. I pray that our time together with my parents will be a blessing to them, and to us as well. May we always be thankful for the blessings you have granted, and for our time with each other. Let us not take these days for granted.

While I’ve never had a stranger kiss me on the cheek and say, “I love you,” I have most definitely experienced the incredible, overwhelming, crazy love of God. There is nothing like it. I pray you can experience that love today.

“And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.”

Grace and peace, friends.

Thank You, Lord

“Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me, I pray, a faithful steward of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.”

Good morning! It is Thursday, November 28, 2013. Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.!

Today is also “French Toast Day.” Never been overly fond of the stuff, myself. I would just as soon have pancakes or waffles. Better yet, just give me good old fashioned eggs and bacon.

Thanksgiving Day is a pretty big deal here. Lots of people start out in early November, putting up something (on Facebook) that they are thankful for each day, numbering the days. I get that. It’s fine. But what about the rest of the months? Are we only thankful in November, or do we just not say anything about it the rest of the year? Is it that much of a chore to come up with something to be thankful for each day? It’s kind of funny when they get behind. Then you get a post that goes something like, “Days 5, 6, 7, and 8 . . .” Fortunately for us, I believe God to be extremely gracious and merciful. I think that he is just glad to be getting some indication that we are thankful, whether it be one day a year, thirty days of the year, or all 365 days. I don’t join in the Facebook Thanksgivingpalooza. But I do try to be thankful the year round. I try to thank God for something every day. I may not be successful (i.e., I forget some days), but most days, I at least give him thanks for a beautiful day. Even on this past Monday morning, when the temperature was 35 degrees and it was cloudy and drizzly, I told God, “Thank you for a beautiful day.” Because I believe that any day that I am up, breathing, and driving to work, is a beautiful day.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. readers. I hope that you can find something in your life to be thankful for today. I am thankful for Christi, my wonderfully awesome wife. I am so thankful that God put us together over 28 years ago. In a few days, we will note the 29th anniversary of our first date. I am thankful that we’ve been married over 28 years, and still going strong. One other thing that I am extremely thankful for is our church family at The Exchange. Two and a half years ago, we walked into Tidwell Middle School in Roanoke for a Sunday morning worship celebration that changed our lives. The next couple of years would see us getting involved in tech team ministry, load-in/load-out ministry, worship ministry, and prayer ministry. Stephanie is involved in the children’s ministry. And my spiritual growth over those two years has been phenomenal. I am very thankful for this season of my life.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1290, Eleanor, wife of King Edward I of England, died after having fallen prey to a “persistent fever.” She was originally Spanish (her father being the King of Castile), and married Edward while he was still a prince, and living in Spain. Now, get this. They got married when she was only eight! What?? When she was ten, they moved to England. At the age of 26, she became Queen of England when her husband ascended to the throne. There is a legend that she saved his life on a crusade when he was stabbed with a poisoned knife in an assassination attempt. “Tradition has it that Eleanor saved his life by sucking the poison from the wound.” True or not, “Edward was more devoted to her than ever” to her when they returned. Sshe died on this date, while on a trip to Harby in Nottinghamshire. Her body was brought back to London for burial, and Edward then “ordered built a beautiful stone cross at each place along the way where her body had rested for a night.” There were eleven “Eleanor Crosses” carved. Only a few remain standing. “The last was placed at a town near London called Charing. The town is no more, nor is its cross, but the place where it stood is still known as Charing Cross.”

Charing Cross
Charing Cross
This is a replica of the original cross at Charing. One of the Eleanor Crosses still remaining is at Waltham.
Waltham Cross
Waltham Cross

Today’s birthdays are John Bunyan, 1628, Jean-Baptiste Lully, 1632, William Blake, 1757, Berry Gordy, 1929, Hope Lange, 1931, Randy Newman, 1943, Paul Shaffer, 1949, Ed Harris, 1950, Jeff Fahey, 1952, Jon Stewart, 1962, and John Burkett, 1964.

William Blake was a lot of things. He was a poet, a painter, and a printmaker. Perhaps his most famous poem is “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in deep forests of the night. . .” Here is a song tribute to him by my favorite band of all time, Daniel Amos.


Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
Psalm 81:1-4
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11 (This is my “life verse.”)
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
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! Psalm 147:7
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:25-30

“Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.” The Gloria

“Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me, I pray, a faithful steward of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.” The Divine Hours

Today’s reading in A Year With God is “Teach Me, and I will Be Silent.” The scripture reading is Job 6:24.

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.”

In yesterday’s reading, we saw that Job’s friends came and sat with him for seven days and seven nights, in complete silence. No one said a word the whole time! Then Job starts speaking, pretty much railing against God for the unfairness of his plight. And, in all honesty, Job had a good argument. Except that he was dealing with the Almighty, who “is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3) At the point of today’s passage, though, he shows that he is willing to listen and learn about where he may have “gone astray.”

“How willing are we to receive teaching that points out our mistakes and misconceptions?” Do we make excuses or do we listen? There’s a guy that I work with that always has some kind of excuse when he is confronted with an issue that he may have caused. Do I do that? I like to think that I’ve always been a person who will accept responsibility for my mistakes. But we don’t like to have them pointed out, do we? I do realize that some people are better at graciously pointing out mistakes than others. But either way, I need to be willing to be silent and listen when something is pointed out to me. I need to have the attitude that Job had is this verse above. “Teach me, and I will be silent.” Not, “Point out my mistake, and I will tell you why it’s not really my fault.” I used to have a t-shirt that said, “I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you.” It’s meant to be funny, but all too often, it is truth. We ought not be that way. When confronted with error, we should invoke silence and listen. We might actually learn something.

Father, I thank you for challenges. I thank you that you are never satisfied to just leave us alone where we are. I cannot rest for very long in a particular place in my life, because you continuously challenge me to move further and deeper with you. These teachings on silence have been seriously challenging me, and I am grateful for that, as it draws me deeper into your heart. I desire to be ever growing closer to the center of your holiness. Teach me to listen when someone is critical. Teach me to be silent when someone points out my mistakes. “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” That is an honest plea from my heart. “Make me understand!”

Father, on this date when the thankfulness is in full swing, I pray that we would have thankful hearts all year round. I know many of your people who do that. Even the ones who only put it out there for all to see during November, truly have thankful hearts the year round. Make us more thankful for the things that we have. Help us to not focus on our “first world problems” when things don’t go quite the way we want them to. In truth, so many of the things that we see as “problems” are not at all. They are simply inconveniences caused by the excess of our lifestyle. I am so very thankful for everything that you have placed in my life. Your blessings abound, and I can’t be thankful enough! I believe that I could not count all of my blessings in the days that I have left on this earth.

I pray for this day. Keep us safe as we travel to Mineral Wells, later, to visit and celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents. Give us rest over the remainder of the weekend, as we have extra days off. Most of all, keep making us thankful.

Grace and peace, friends.