Worship Him

Today is Monday, the eighth of November, 2021.

May God’s peace reign in your heart today.

Day 23,251

Four days until C’s birthday!

Today’s header photo is from Paul Militaru. Please check out his photo blog.

We had a mostly nice day, yesterday. The worship time at FBC Mineral Wells was pretty awesome. We had a great lunch from Natty Flats BBQ (although slightly delayed, as they were shorthanded).

This brings up an important point. I know from experience, it is quite easy to get impatient when I have to wait longer than usual for a food or drink order. But please keep in mind . . . it is not the fault of the person/persons serving you and they are most definitely not deserving of our wrath. Many people have left the restaurant/serving industry because of how rudely they have been treated during the past eighteen months or so.

Most especially, if you call Jesus your Savior, you must be patient and kind with people.

After lunch, we had a nice time of conversation with my mother, during which many topics were discussed. Our trip home was safe, but had a few tense moments. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I’m off work today, and only have a few chores planned. I’ve already been to the grocery store, which is why I’m running a tad behind with the blog, this morning. We have a pool tech coming, sometime this afternoon, to check on why our indoor control panel won’t connect with the outside panel. That’s about it.

There have been some big changes made to WW (Weight Watchers), beginning today. My plan has changed quite a bit, based on some answers I gave to questions upon opening the app, this morning. The biggest thing for me is, based on my ongoing bout with type 2 diabetes, fruits are no longer zero points. That means I have to count grapes!! Egad! But, as a trade-off, I can now have avocados/guacamole for zero points! And, when I eat a cup of non-starchy veggies, I get to add a point back. So that’s cool. Just some adaptation to be made, but I plan to carry on and keep moving forward.

Today is World Orphans Day.

The word for today is angakok, “a shaman in Inuit society.” “Inuit” is what we used to call “Eskimo.”

Today’s quote is from Winston Churchill, British statesman. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Birthdays for November 8:

Julian of Norwich, English saint, 1342-1416
Vlad the Impaler (really!), Wallachian prince, the inspiration for Dracula, 1431-1476 (It should be noted that most sources do not provide a day of the year for Vlad's birth. My guess is that it has been put on this date because it is also Bram Stoker's birthday.)
Edmund Halley, English mathematician and astronomer (Halley's Comet), 1656-1742
Bram Stoker, Irish author (Dracula ), 1847-1912
Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychiatrist (inkblot test), 1884-1922
Margaret Mitchell, American author (Gone with the Wind), 1900-1949
Joe Flynn, American actor (McHale's Navy), 1924-1974
Patti Page, American singer (Tennessee Waltz), 1927-2013
Bert Berns, American songwriter (Twist and Shout, Piece of My Heart, Hang on Sloopy), 1929-1967
Darla Hood, American child actress (Little Rascals), 1931-1979
Ben Bova, American sci-fi author (Exiled from Earth), 1932-2020
Bonnie Bramlett, American blues-rock vocalist (Delaney and Bonnie), 1944 (77)
Bonnie Raitt, American blues singer/songwriter/guitar player (Something to Talk About), 1949 (72)
Jerry Remy, American baseball player and broadcaster (Boston Red Sox), 1952-2021
Gordon Ramsay, British chef (Hell's Kitchen), 1966 (55)
Bonnie Bramlett
Another Bonnie

I really wanted to post a video of Gordon Ramsay freaking out over raw food, but there were too many bad words.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.

All your works
shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints
shall bless you!
(Psalms 145:10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for all the saints, who are constantly giving You thanks and praising Your Name
2. that I am alive and breathing
3. for our good visit with Mama yesterday
4. for the rest You give when we step into the easy yoke of Christ
5. that my help and salvation is from You, in the Name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – DAY TWO

INVITATION

Then Jesus said,
“Come to me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28 NLT)

I pause, now, during this very quiet moment, peacefully sleeping kitten nearby, and consider the rest that Jesus gives to those who are weary. If our burdens are heavy, we need only step into His “easy yoke,” and allow Him to carry the bulk of the load. It doesn’t mean we don’t work . . . but it does mean our work is much easier.

BIBLE SONG

A song of ascents. Of David.

If the LORD had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
if the LORD had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.

Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:1-8 NIV)

BIBLE READING

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:1-8 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I read these passages again, perhaps even out loud, in order to force myself to pay more attention to the words. How has the Word of God moved me? I ponder and meditate on what has connected with my heart and my mind. I pray to God what has moved me, turning my every thought to Him and quietly enjoying His presence.

Along with Israel, I can firmly say, “my help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!” Through Him, in His power, by the power of His Holy Spirit, I have escaped the “fowler’s snare.” The binding traps of the enemy have been broken.

As the Church, the new Israel, I do believe that we can confidently believe that the Lord is on our side. That means the Church, capital C, world-wide, and does not at all apply to any single country. However, lest we get too big-headed about it, we should remember that, in the big picture, the Lord is on HIS side. We should, therefore, be careful to be found on His side, as well. Let us not champion ourselves and hope that the Lord joins in. Rather, let us champion Him and His purpose, joining in His “cause,” the only cause worthy of defending.

Isaiah 6 is, indeed, a beautiful passage. When I was in music school at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it was presented as the biblical model of a worship service. I do believe there is something to be said for that, however, I don’t feel that it needs to be adhered to, rigidly.

There are certainly characteristics of the chapter that should be found in any worship service, regardless if it is in a huge cathedral or an intimate living room in a house.

First, God is central. Worship is all about God. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. Worship is not, and never has been, about us. When we make it about us, it is not “worship.” It is idolatry. Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, seated on His throne. We have no other description of what the Lord looked like, other than the fact that the train of His robe was really, really big.

Second, it is worth noting that the attending “living creatures” (these seem to be the same beings that Ezekiel saw), covered their faces and their feet with four of their six wings. I’m not sure what that means for us, to be honest, other than that we had best be careful how we conduct ourselves in worship. If the seraphim, these terrifyingly majestic beings, felt the need to cover their faces and feet, I believe we would do well to exercise a bit of humility in the holy presence of God.

Side note . . . maybe they aren’t the same creatures Ezekiel saw . . . they are only described as having four wings. He saw four of them. We do not know how many seraphim Isaiah saw, and it really doesn’t matter.

Third, the seraphim “sang” a hymn to the Lord. Maybe they weren’t singing. Whatever they were doing shook the very foundations of the temple, their voices were so powerful. This tells me that, when we praise the Lord, it needs to be

loud.

Now, this doesn’t mean the musical instruments need to be blasting through the speakers. What it does mean is that the sound of our voices should not be timid, but strong. How beautiful is it to hear the sounds of many voices, singing in unison, the praises of our God?

Side note . . . I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who preferred unison singing when congregations sang together. While harmony is pretty, unison is more powerful.

Fourth, back to humility. Note Isaiah’s response to this vision. “Woe to me! I am ruined!” While the narrative doesn’t specify this, I have a vision of Isaiah falling on his face while he cried out those things. He recognized his own impurity, his own uncleanness, his SIN! Isaiah! The called prophet of God! When we come into the powerful presence of God, there is no room for pride and arrogance! I am not calling for shame. That is a tool of our enemy, the devil. Not shame, but recognition of, acknowledgment of, our condition before Him. He is HOLY! We are most definitely NOT holy!

He is “Other.”

Fifth, there is cleansing. Now, I don’t know how literally to take this passage. I know people who are way smarter than me when it comes to theology. But could it be that Isaiah’s sins were atoned before Christ’s blood was shed? This puts Isaiah in a rather special place, does it not? But that’s what one of the seraphim told him, the one who touched Isaiah’s lips with the burning coal. I know . . . vision. Not reality. Nevertheless, before we can be sent out on mission, naturally, we must be cleansed. Our cleansing comes from the shed blood of Christ, but there must be confession, just as Isaiah did.

Finally, there is an invitation and an acceptance. The invitation comes from the Lord. It’s more of a challenge, actually. “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responded. “Here am I! Send me!”

I do not see this as an argument for the traditional evangelical invitation at the end of every service. I personally am not in favor of those, and feel they are largely unbiblical and manipulative. But that’s just my opinion, arrived at after years of observation and Scripture-searching.

There’s a twist, here, though. If you keep reading beyond the selected passage for the day, you will see that Isaiah’s message was anything but the traditional, evangelistic message.

He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “For how long, Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
(Isaiah 6:9-13 NIV)

Father, I am grateful that I can proclaim, along with David, that You have rescued me from the “fowler’s snare,” that I have escaped from the traps of our enemy. Why do I manage, though, to find myself back in them, after having escaped?? That is a question that I will have to wait to have answered. Until that day, I will strive to keep my feet out of those snares. They are broken (the traps, I mean). . . they cannot hold me. So if I find myself back in one of them, it is my own doing, even though I am free to walk away at any time. I thank You that I am part of Your Church, a small piece of “all the saints,” who praise Your Name and give You thanks, daily. I pray for the times of worship that we have, that they will be You-centered; that our attention will be on Your glory and majesty, and that we, like the seraphim, will practice humility as we cry out praises at the top of our lungs, praises to You, who are completely and utterly “Other,” and “Holy, holy, holy!” And then, just like Isaiah, when we acknowledge our sinfulness and our unworthiness to be in Your presence, cleanse us from our impurities, and send us to proclaim whatever message You give us to proclaim. Most importantly, may we listen to You for that message, for we will not all have the same message. All praise to You, through the Son and by the Spirit!

"High and exalted God,
Your holiness crushes my pride and pretense,
and I cry, 
'Woe is me.'
Thank You for Jesus,
the cleansing fire from Your heavenly altar who takes away my guilt so I may hear Your call.
Amen."

BLESSING

LORD,
give me your unfailing love,
the salvation that you promised me.
(Psalms 119:41 NLT)

Father, take us through this day, make us humble, and make us kind to one another.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the Lord make your love
increase and overflow
for each other and for everyone else,
just as ours does for you.
(1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Adorned with Holiness

Today is Sunday, the third of October, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,215

Nine days until our 36th anniversary!

I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to baseball season, lately, and am a bit surprised to see the scenario on this, the last official day of the 2021 season. The Texas Rangers have been out of the picture since the beginning of the season. It’s been a terrible season for them, which reflects the horrible management in the organization. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. My other favorite team, though, the Boston Red Sox have bounced around all season, having been in first place for a little bit, and now finding themselves in a quite precarious situation.

Sadly, the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays have clinched the division title, and have the best record in the AL, having won 100 games. But here’s the thing: on the last day of the season, the Red Sox and Yankees (I suppose this is fitting), are tied for the two AL Wild Card spots. And the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays are tied, one game behind the Yankees and Red Sox. There are several different ways this could play out, as none of those four teams is playing any of the other. The Red Sox are playing the Washington Nationals, who are in last place in their division. Not necessarily a gimme. The Yankees, on the other hand, are playing Tampa Bay. But that also doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because Tampa has no reason to try to win this game.

Toronto is playing Baltimore, the second worst team in MLB, but that is not necessarily a gimme, either. The really bad teams always have a tendency to mess up seasons for good teams. Seattle is playing the Angels, who aren’t that great this season, either.

If all four teams win their games, nothing changes. The Red Sox and Yankees will play one Wild Card game to see who gets to the real playoffs. If the Sox lose and the other three win, there apparently will be a three-way tie for the second spot, and a series of playoff games will occur. I’m getting this from the Bleacher Report, by the way. The best thing is for the Sox to win, and it won’t matter what the other three do. But if they win, and the Yankees lose, and the Mariners and Blue Jays both win, there will still be a three-way tie for the second spot.

Does your head hurt, yet? It’s been a while since I’ve seen a WC race like this, so it’s rather exciting. On the other hand, the way the Sox have been playing, going into this time, they don’t deserve a playoff spot. First, they got swept by the Yankees last weekend, then they lost a series to the Orioles. But we’ll see what happens. I might watch, or at least listen to, some baseball today.

My day at the library was good, yesterday. Most of the day was spent at the circulation desk, with an hour processing new books, and another hour (a little more, actually) clearing the book drops. I also found out that I’m still not perfect (that’s a joke . . . I’ll never be perfect, but I certainly want to be). Several scenarios occurred in which I needed help from the assistant librarian, who was more than happy to help me. I like this lady. She can be intimidating if you don’t understand her, but she is just very direct with her answers. It’s not personal. It’s just the way she is. You ask a question, and you get an answer. It might sound like she’s being impatient, but she really isn’t.

Oh, and I was also given a nice shirt, yesterday. There’s this patron, a lady who comes in pretty much every day and spends a great deal of time in the computer center. She apparently has a history of being very appreciative towards the library staff, and she already likes me. So she gave me a rather nice polo-style shirt, yesterday. I checked with the circulation manager to make sure it was okay for me to accept it. In some companies, that’s not allowed. But she said as long as I was comfortable accepting it, it was okay.

My next work shift is Tuesday evening, 4:15-8:15.

Today, we have our zoom church gathering. Last week, some people actually met in person at the host home. But this week, the other two leaders are at “the ranch,” and it is one of their turn to lead, so we will be zooming, only, today.

Today is Change A Light Day. I realize that the concept represented is switching from incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient sources. But it does remind me that we have a few bulbs, in our house, that are burned out.

The word for today is fetching, an adjective that means, “charming; captivating.” Harold thought himself quite fetching in his new corduroy jacket.

Today’s quote is from Winston Churchill: “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

Significant birthdays on October 3:

James Herriot, English veterinarian and author (All Creatures Great and Small), 1916-1995
Ken Berry, American actor (F Troop, Mayberry RFD), 1933-2018
Eddie Cochran, American rock musician (Summertime Blues), 1938-1960 (car crash)
Lindsey Buckingham, American rock musician (Fleetwood Mac), 1949 (72)
Dennis Eckersley, American baseball HOF pitcher, 1954 (67)
Stevie Ray Vaughan, American blues guitar player, 1954-1990
Gwen Stefani, American singer/songwriter (No Doubt), 1969 (52) (SEVEN years older than Blake Shelton)
Shannyn Sossamon, American actress (A Knight's Tale), 1978 (43)
Stevie

I did not remember to sing a song of praise, last night, before going to bed. But I did sing one, this morning. I played and sang this one:

“Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? It is.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Thy Will Be Done, by Daryl Madden

A lesson to pray
Taught by His Son
When we say our Father
Let Thy will be done

What is this will?
It’s Gods’ concrete ways
Of how He loves us
For all of our days

And as we pray more
In many ways shown
The will of His love
To us is made known

Begin now to see
The beauty within
The small, hidden life
That Jesus dwells in

Let Your will be my will
May actions align
Knowing in the finding
We live a life divine

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.

Today I am grateful:

1. for a time to worship You with other saints, if only by reading Your Word and pondering it
2. for songs of praise, declaring the infinite worthiness of Your holy Name
3. that You love righteousness and justice and that the earth is filled with Your unfailing love
4. that I can say, along with Jesus, "Thy will be done"
5. that holiness dwells within the saints
6. for the ocean and its representation of Your awesome power

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY ONE

INVITATION

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
(Psalms 33:5 NIV)

During this quiet moment, I pause and consider the worthiness of Jesus Christ, to receive blessing and honor and power and glory from every human being and all of creation. Is He worthy? He is!

BIBLE SONG

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty.

Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.
(Psalms 93:1-5 NIV)

BIBLE READING

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.'”
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
(2 Samuel 5:1-5 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I continue to be aware of Your presence with me, this morning, I ponder these Scriptures, seeking Your face within them, looking for Your truth and a path to follow. Holy Spirit, guide me!

Psalm 93, attributed to no author that we know of, stands as a majestic hymn of praise to our God. The theme is stated in the first three words, “The LORD reigns.”

The word pictures are tremendous. “He is robed in majesty.” And again, we are reminded of the timeless nature of our God. His throne was established “long ago,” and He is “from all eternity.”

Anyone who knows me for very long knows that I am a fan of the ocean. I love the ocean. I had a conversation with a new friend at work, last week, where we discussed our like or dislike of the beach. She is not a fan of the beach, primarily because of sand. At first I said I love the beach. But I amended that. It is not the beach I love. I can take it or leave it. It’s the ocean that I love.

The sheer enormity of it; its vastness and power; it is truly intimidating. Yet we puny mortals bravely venture out into it, sometimes on foot, to play. And sometimes, tragedy reminds us of our mortality, just as the ocean reminds us of its power.

The psalmist reminds us that, as powerful and majestic as the ocean is, our God is mightier. “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty.” (Verse 4)

Maybe that is why I love the ocean so much. It’s the closest thing I can see, on earth, to the power and majesty of God.

The psalmist then closes out with a simple truth. The statutes of our God stand firm, they will never be moved. And His house is adorned with holiness.

One thing to consider . . . where is God’s house? It is not a building made with brick and mortar, or with timber and nails.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
(Revelation 21:3 NIV)

The dwelling place of God, by the Holy Spirit, is within the heart and soul of humans. Consider, too, then, that this “house” is adorned with holiness. We may not act very holy, sometimes, but it is there. Holiness is within us, because holiness dwells within us.

Father, I praise You for this truth. I pray that You would help me remember it more often. Like every minute of every day, so that I would stop acting in unholy ways. I thank You for the ocean, and its representation, faulty as it is, of Your awesome power. And, as powerful as it is, we can see your rule over it, as it has a line that it generally does not cross, even though there is no wall to stop it. And, at the same time, when man attempts to stop it with walls, it laughs at us, just as You laugh at mankind when we try to box You in or thwart Your plan. You are worthy, Lord, of all blessing and honor and glory!

May resurrection hope and joy fill our lives today, Father, and may we be faithful to share the good news of the Gospel of Christ.

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.

"Son of David,
throned on a cross,
crowned with thorns,
and coronated amid tears and taunts,
You appeared nothing like a king.
But through Your obedient sacrifice,
You are my eternal King,
my selfless Sovereign,
my loving Lord.
Willingly I bend the knee,
asking You to govern me by Your Word and Spirit,
to guard and keep me in the freedom You have won for me.
Amen."

BLESSING

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 NIV)

He said to [the Pharisees], “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
(Luke 16:15 NIV)

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 NIV)

Verses like this call for humility, as we tend to get all puffy and self-righteous. Yes, as the “house of God,” we are adorned with holiness, but this does not give us cause to flaunt this in self-righteousness. We need to be careful what we value.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
(Matthew 13:44 NIV)

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Luke 18:22 NIV)

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
(Philippians 3:7-9 NLT)

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
(2 Peter 1:4 NLT)

“But the treasure is so great, that if you truly receive it, if you realize what you have, it will lead you to do everything you can, to use everything you have, and to give everything you can in response to having found it. If you’ve truly found this treasure, then it must lead you to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love others as yourself, to forgive as you have been forgiven, to give as you have been given to, to make your life a gift of love, and to do all this in joy in light of the treasure that has now come into your life. “

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

I truly love the contrast of Philippians 3:7-9 with Luke 16:15.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Power In the Blood

“The worth and power of that blood are the worth and power of the life of Jesus. Every drop of His blood has in it the power of an endless life.”

Today is Thursday, November 8, 2018. Pre-Friday!

Day 22,155

FOUR days until C’s birthday!!

SIX days until Fallout 76!!

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Winston Churchill, British statesman, 1874-1965
BrainyQuote

The word of the day is volute, “a spiral or twisted formation or object.”

I had a nice meeting with a brother in Christ last night, after work. We met at a coffee shop and just had some coffee and conversation. It was very cool, and I think we should all do more things like that. It’s inconvenient, of course, because we all have our routines. But it is a valuable thing to just sit, listen, and talk with people. Especially one-on-one.

I don’t have much else to talk about, so on with the devotional.

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

“Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, emphasis added)

And in reference to that bit about walking in holiness, let us remember the good definition of holiness that I found, a couple days ago. “Holiness is not different action but different being.” (Dallas Willard)

(From Power in Prayer, Andrew Murray)
The Blood of Jesus

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 
for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:27-27

Andrew Murray begins this reading with a prayer.

“Dear Jesus, unfold to me the secret of your life in me that you gave when you shed your precious blood on Calvary. Renew afresh this life in me as I partake of the Supper and drink the cup of remembrance of your great sacrifice. My heart thirsts for you. Come to me this day in your full power to cleanse anew and fill me with praise for the privilege that is mine to partake of your life.”

That would be an excellent prayer for right before taking the Supper. Murray then quotes Leviticus 17:11. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” The life of one, the living spirit, is in the blood. “Therefore atonement is linked with the shedding of blood.” During Old Testament (covenant) days, this was the blood of an “innocent animal.” But “under the new covenant, the shedding of Jesus’ blood meant the surrender of His life for our sins. The worth and power of that blood are the worth and power of the life of Jesus. Every drop of His blood has in it the power of an endless life.” This is most definitely worth some consideration and meditation.

Let us also consider that, when we partake of that blood, we have “a part in the atonement that it established, the forgiveness it secured.” We have “a part in the life of Jesus, surrendered on the cross, raised from the grave, and now glorified in heaven.” The spirit of Jesus’s life becomes the spirit of my life. “How powerful, how heavenly must that life be that is nourished by the new wine of the kingdom and communion with the Son. May I ever be thankful that Jesus shed His blood for me.”

Father, I am almost speechless in the face of these truths. I bow before You in trembling awe of the great salvation that You have given us in Christ. May we consider the great power that is in the blood/life of Christ, most especially as it transfers to us when we partake of that very blood through the Supper each week. There is something mystical about this, and I believe that we must consider that. While we may not adhere to the teaching that the wine literally becomes the blood of Jesus as we consume it, we still, I think, believe that it is more than just a “symbol.” Let us live in the power of the blood of Christ each day, walking in Your kingdom through that power.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Refrain
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Grace and peace, friends.

Because He Has Heard My Voice

Today is Thursday (almost there), June 28, 2018. Day 22,022 (that’s a palindrome). Only two days left in June!

Only six days until July 4!

139 days until Fallout 76!

“Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, The Quotations Page

The word for today is transmundane, “reaching beyond or existing outside the physical or visible world.” Prayer can be a transmundane experience.

I wound up going to the Y alone, last night. I don’t normally do that, but I felt the need to get up and move. C is feeling better this morning, but still struggling a little. She already had a doctor’s appointment, yesterday morning, so that worked out well. He said her throat and glands were swollen, and her lungs sounded “rattly.” Gave her a “z-pack” and a steroid shot, which was actually more to help her issue with her hands falling asleep.

The Red Sox had a little bit of a roller coaster game with the Angels, last night, and came out on top, 9-6. Their record is now 54-27, AND the Yankees lost to the Phillies, so the Sox are back on top! For now. By a half game.

The Rangers held on to the lead, last night, to beat the Padres 5-2. Their record is now 36-46, but Houston also won, so they are still eighteen games out.

The Red Sox are currently the best team in baseball, even if just barely. The Orioles are back in the worst spot. The Rangers are eight from the bottom.

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

I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 
Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” 
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. 
The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. 
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; 
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 
I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”; 
I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.” 
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. 
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. 
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 
in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 116

I suppose we all have different reasons why we “love the Lord.” Some might put on airs of being more “spiritual” and say, “I love the Lord for himself, not for all his benefits.” And I suppose that is a worthy goal. But the truth is, we are human, and we love for reasons that benefit us. And I say there is nothing wrong with loving God for what he brings to us. This Psalmist loves the Lord because the Lord heard his please for mercy. And his response is worthy, as well. “I will call on him as long as I live.”

Because God is faithful, I will be faithful. There is nothing wrong with that sentiment. Sure, it would be better if I could love him simply because of who he is. And someday, I will. But for now, I love him and worship him, as Psalm 103 tells me. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!”

Father, I am grateful for all of your benefits in my life. You have done more for me than I could recount in this brief space. You continue to amaze me at the way you answer prayers, even though I don’t deserve the answers. Nevertheless, though I am not worthy, I continue to pray, because you have commanded thusly. Help me to be more faithful in prayer, and more faithful in my love for you. Lead me to a path of selflessness that ends in a wide place where I love you simply because you are the only being in the universe that is worthy of my praise and worship.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

A Waste of Time

Today is Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day 21,973. Ascension Day.

Three days until Mother’s Day. I still don’t have cards. Gifts are bought/ordered, but no cards yet.

Winston Churchill (not his birthday), said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” The Quotations Page

The word for today is slumgullion, a noun, which means, “a meat stew.” Sounds delicious!

Last night’s Red Sox/Yankees game was another good, intense game. Until the top of the eighth. This, perhaps, was another lesson in how NOT to use a closer in a game. The Sox were up 6-5. The bullpen pitcher had allowed base runners, and the Yankees had runners at the corners. Alex Cora chose to bring in his closer, Craig Kimbrell. Kimbrell promptly gave up a two run triple and a two run home run. Just like that it was 9-6, Yankees. And that’s how it ended. So the Red Sox are now 25-11 and in second place for the first time since Opening Day. And the Yankees, who have been on an incredible roll, are the best team in baseball. We have one more shot at them, in this series, tonight, as E-Rod faces off against Sabathia.

We are off work tomorrow, but not for a great reason. C has a colonoscopy scheduled for tomorrow morning, and I have to take her. But that’s fairly early in the morning, so we will have the afternoon free. She’s supposed to say fairly inactive and rest for the remainder of the day, though, so we won’t be doing much of anything.

Saturday, we have a memorial service for a dear church member who passed earlier this year, after which we plan to travel to Mineral Wells to see my mother for Mother’s Day. R & J plan to meet us there, and we will get all the Mother’s Day festivities out of the way Saturday, so the mother in this house can chill Sunday afternoon and do whatever she wants to. Of course, sometimes, “whatever she wants to” in no way resembles chilling. Haha!

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

But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed. 
You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust. 
You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins. 
All who pass by plunder him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors. 
You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. 
You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and you have not made him stand in battle. 
You have made his splendor to cease and cast his throne to the ground. 
You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with shame. Selah.

Psalm 39:38-45

Sometimes, there are passages, especially in the Psalms, where there doesn’t seem to be much encouragement. We simply have to endure through those, though, because, in most of the Psalms, the light will shine by the end of the chapter.

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
The Play that God Wrote

“We think thus because we keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not know the play. We do not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. We do not know who are the major and who are the minor characters. The Author knows. The audience, if there is an audience (if angels and archangels and all the company of heaven fill the pit and the stalls), may have an inkling. But we, never seeing the play from the outside, never meeting any characters except the tiny minority who are ‘on’ in the same scenes as ourselves, wholly ignorant of the future and very imperfectly informed about the past, cannot tell at what moment the end ought to come. That it will come when it ought, we may be sure; but we waste our time in guessing when that will be. That it has a meaning we may be sure, but we cannot see it. When it is over, we may be told. We are led to expect that the Author will have something to say to each of us on the part that each of us has played. The playing it well is what matters infinitely.

“The doctrine of the Second Coming, then, is not to be rejected because it conflicts with our favourite modern mythology. It is, for that very reason, to be the more valued and made more frequently the subject of meditation. It is the medicine our condition especially needs.”

“We waste our time in guessing when that will be.” I love that line. And I agree, wholeheartedly, with it. What Lewis writes, here, is so spot on. We don’t know the play. We don’t know anything but what is in our immediate sphere of influence, which is, compared to all eternity, infinitely small. We must focus on what is immediately important, and that is the living of the gospel in our own lives. When the “play” will end, is largely irrelevant. How we “perform” in that play is totally relevant. While it is true that our final state is not so much based on that performance as it is our relationship with the Author, it is still important. So let us spend our time thinking on these things.

Father, thank you for the promise of a Second Coming, and a promise that our sufferings and pain on this earth will someday end. But forgive us for trying so hard to figure out when that will be when our own Savior, himself, said that even he didn’t know. Let us meditate on the truths of the Scriptures that pertain to our lives and focus on living a life of love and peace, full of joy, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.