God of Wonders

Today is Thursday, the seventh of April, 2022, in the fifth week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,401

I’ve got a thing or two that I want to get done before I go to work today, this being my first Thursday to work at the library. I’m due in at 11:15 and will work until closing time. The entire shift will be in the Computer Center, as this is replacing my previous Friday shift. I don’t work this Saturday, so my next shift will be next Tuesday evening.

I really don’t have much else to mention, this morning. I actually just got one of the things done, which was starting the soup we will have for dinner tonight. In case anyone is interested, we call it “Chicken Ranch Crockpot Soup.” All it has in it is three chicken breasts, three cans of cream of chicken soup (we usually use the 98% fat-free variety), a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix, and a can of water. It cooks in the crockpot on low all day, and we shred the chicken right before serving. Delicious and easy!

Oh, and one more thing. I haven’t mentioned it, lately, but today is Opening Day for baseball season. The Red Sox and Yankees were supposed to play today, but have been postponed until tomorrow. The Texas Rangers open their season in Toronto tomorrow. I reckon we will be watching.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(1 John 4:7-11 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for love; for the love God has for us and the love that I have for Him and the love He has placed in my heart for you
2. for the wonder of God's creation
3. for baseball, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox
4. that my treasures (and my heart) are not on this earth
5. that, when I walk in the kingdom of God, this world is a perfectly safe place for me to be (Dallas Willard)

Today’s prayer word is “wonder.” Now, there’s a word I can be fully behind. In this case, I see the word as a noun, meaning, “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” I really like the last half of that. “Something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” That is a great way to describe the wonders of God and His creation.

You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
(Psalms 77:14 NLT)

Like the writer of today’s reading, I haven’t seen any seas parting or rivers drying up or water coming from a rock or turning into wine. But I have seen things like this:

That was beautiful and unexpected and inexplicable.

I choose to celebrate God’s wonders, and I also wonder at His beauty, love, and faithfulness. So, you see, “wonder” can be either a verb or a noun, and both ways work equally well.

And I believe this song has always said it pretty perfectly.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
(Matthew 6:19-20 ESV)

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
(Proverbs 23:4-5 ESV)

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Luke 12:32-34 ESV)

In other verses in that Matthew 6 passage, Jesus points at some of the “wonders” of creation in His efforts to get people to take their eyes off of themselves and their problems. And, truthfully, once I have witnessed the grandeur and majesty of God’s creation, in “wonder,” how can I even consider laying up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal?

Father, I revel in Your many wonders. I am reminded of the hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” especially that bit about seeing the stars and hearing the rolling thunder, “Thy power throughout the universe displayed.” I thank You for the wonders that You have created and for the wonder that You placed in my heart when I gaze upon these things. I am still grateful for the opportunity that we had to visit those mountains in the photos above. You have blessed us with so many opportunities to see Your beauty, just in our country alone (and a few in Mexico, as well). How someone can gaze upon these wonders and refuse to open their hearts to Your love and grace is beyond my comprehension.

I thank You that You have led me to not place my trust in the “treasures” of this world. The older I get, the more generous I get with the resources that You have provided. This is partially because I know the truth of the old phrase, “you can’t take it with you.” But I don’t really want to take it with me, either, because I believe that my inheritance in heaven will be so much greater, beyond my wildest expectations and dreams. In fact, it too, I believe, will be wondrous. I look forward to Home, Father, wherever that will be and whatever it will look like.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Wonder

Beauty awakens our hearts, stirs, quickens, and thrills us, “because there is an extraordinary, magic power in the least thing: a tiny plant burgeoning in spring, a shade of the sky at a given moment of the day, a calm, cold night brilliant with starshine–all things that ravish the heart.” These are but a small taste of “Paradise Lost on earth where so many things are torn and tearing.”~~From Reflections for Ragamuffins, by Brennan Manning

Looks like we made it, all the way to Friday! Friday, January 10, 2014. 36 days until pitchers and catchers report; 80 days to Opening Day.

Today is “Bittersweet Chocolate Day.” Oh, yeah, baby! I LOVE me some bittersweet (aka “dark”) chocolate! What I didn’t know until this morning was that it was originally derived from a drink! Click on the link and read the brief history. Fascinating.


Well, today is the day that Christi’s weight-loss challenge at work begins. We plan to hit the gym, tonight, for the first time this year. We might even go inside and work out after we hit it. Point is, it’s on! I gained about 30 pounds over the course of last year, which is not good. Time to get serious again. We will all be participating along with Christi, just out of solidarity. Right Stephanie? Right?? 😀

We were supposed to have thunderstorms all night last night, but I never heard any. It’s currently 60 degrees outside, with a projected high of 70. Is this part of the “polar vortex?” Looks like it’s supposed to rain, though, until around 3pm. Fortunately, we only have five trucks to load at work today. When it rains, we have to load them inside the building, so we can only load two at a time. They go on flatbeds, you see, so there’s no cover.

I would appreciate prayers for Alicia Rojas. Not sure of her age, but she is close to Rachel’s age (our oldest daughter), and they went to school together. She has struggled a lot over the last couple of years, having trouble keeping a job, and she has a very young daughter. The father of the child has been in prison for about a year, I think. She’s been living with her mother, and they have struggled financially. Her mother passed away last night, I’m not sure from what. She had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Basically, her body just pretty much shut down. The last report I saw was that her kidneys were not functioning at all. Anyway, Alicia needs tons of prayers. Not sure what she’s going to do. If someone sets up a fund for any kind of financial aid, I will link it here later.


It was on this date in 1901 that an oil derrick at Spindletop Hill, near Beaumont, Texas, produced “an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry.” The oil was discovered at a depth of over 1000 feet. The initial flow of oil produced about 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. Beaumont became a “black gold boomtown” following this discovery. The population tripled over the course of the next three months. Within a year, there were more than 285 wells at Spindletop, and approximately 500 oil and land companies operating in the area. Among those were Humble (now Exxon), the Texas Company (Texaco), and Magnolia Petroleum Company (Mobil). (Source: History.com)


Today’s birthdays include Ethan Allen, revolutionary, 1738, Frank James, outlaw, 1843, George Washington Carver, ag scientist, 1864 (exact date unknown), Ray Bolger, actor (Wizard of Oz), 1904, Jerry Wexler, music producer, 1917, Johnnie Ray, singer, 1927, Roy Disney, film executive, 1930, Willie McCovey, 1st baseman, 1938, Jim Croce, singer/songwriter, 1943, Frank Sinatra, Jr, singer, 1944, Rod Stewart, singer, 1945, Donald Fagen, musician (Steely Dan), 1948, Pat Benatar, singer, 1953, Michael Schenker, guitarist (Scorpions), 1955, and Shawn Colvin, 1956.

Jim Croce was a singer who was popular in the early seventies. Sadly, he died in a plan crash in 1973. Here is his song “I’ll Have to Say I Love You In A Song.”


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 86:4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psalm 119:10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 7:17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Thrill of God’s Creation.” Brennan speaks of seeing snow-covered peaks in the Alps, of standing, mouth agape, in front of Michelangelo’s David, so captivated that the museum guard had to tell him that the museum was closing and he had to leave. He speaks of a brilliant sunset, seen while running along the Jersey shore. Our experiences of beauty are found in the things that surround us. We find beauty in nature, but we might also find it “in the transparency of a look or a glance that reveals a soul full of light.” Beauty awakens our hearts, stirs, quickens, and thrills us, “because there is an extraordinary, magic power in the least thing: a tiny plant burgeoning in spring, a shade of the sky at a given moment of the day, a calm, cold night brilliant with starshine–all things that ravish the heart.” These are but a small taste of “Paradise Lost on earth where so many things are torn and tearing.” In the beauty that surrounds us, we find “little oases in the vast wasteland of the world.”

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.


Father, help me to see beauty today. May I find it in my immediate surroundings as I drive to work. May I find it in that look or glance from someone I encounter today, finding that “soul full of light.” There’s a reason I start every morning’s drive to work thanking you for a beautiful day, no matter what the weather looks like or what the traffic looks like. I want to find that beauty. You made me an artist, Lord, gifting me with talents in music. I praise you for that, as it helps me find beauty in some of the most unusual places. I pray for that beauty to be evident to me today. Let me not get caught up in anything negative that we hinder the beauty of you and your creation! Help me to rediscover wonder!

I pray for this day. Give us safety as we drive to work on a foggy, wet day. May we have a smooth Friday at work, facing all challenges in your grace, drawing ultimate strength from you and our relationship with you through Christ. I pray for a restful weekend, and may we finally get to go to my parents’ house Sunday to do what we have been planning since Christmas. Keep us well and healthy through this season, Lord. I pray, also, as always, that you grant Stephanie some understanding and show her the path you have for her.

I pray for comfort for Alicia and her family in her mother’s passing. I pray that there will be people who can step up and give assistance to them in this time of sorrow for them. Be close to her. I pray that this would not turn her bitter against you.

Your grace is sufficient.


As you go about your day today, try to rediscover something that we seem to have lost: wonder.

Grace and peace, friends.