Lay Up These Words

Today is Monday, March 19, 2018. Back to work. Day 21,921.

TEN days until Opening Day!

13 days until Resurrection Sunday!

It’s the birthday of Wyatt Earp (1848-1929). He said, “Fast if fine, but accuracy is everything.” (BrainyQuote)

The word for today is dornick, a noun which means, “a small stone that is easy to throw.”

As mentioned above, I’m returning to work today, after my week long hiatus. It’s been a nice week, although somewhat strange, as C was working for half of it. But we got the pool heater working again, and I was able to get to the doctor for my med refills. I’m supposed to go back in six months for a followup. My A1C is still high, but it’s better than last time.

Band practice resumes tonight, and we only have four weeks until our next concert, which is the annual Southlake Art in the Square event. I’ll play that one, but I’ll sit out the July 3 concert. I decided that I would stick by what I said last year, and not play that event again. It’s too hot, anyway, and after what the Town Square did to us last year, I don’t feel like walking that far, carrying all my gear.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 
Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. 
For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 
Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! 
May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! 
So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

Psalm 61

What a beautiful prayer in the first five verses of this Psalm. “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer,” and so on. Who among us has not had a faint heart? The best thing to do when my heart is faint is so cry out to God, and ask him to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2018)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

In today’s reading, Logan Eliasen shares a time when he was taking his mother to go shopping. She was waiting for him on the “sunporch,” with her Bible propped open on her lap. This Bible, he describes, “had only half a cover. The margins overflowed with her looping handwriting. The text was highlighted and underlined and highlighted again.” Here’s a saint who took her Bible with her everywhere; doctor’s offices, soccer practices, swimming pool. “She didn’t want to waste a second,” says Eliasen.

What would we look like if we all had that same motivation for God’s word? How many of us have used our Bible so much that half of the cover is gone? I’d probably get a new Bible if that happened. But why? What does it matter if it looks new? What if I pulled out my Bible when I had a moment, instead of checking Facebook on my phone?

God commanded his people to know his commands, to learn his word, to teach it to their children and their children’s children. How can we teach people what we don’t know? I’m convicted by this reading today. Oh, sure, I read portions of Scripture every day. But I bet I look at Facebook more.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Deuteronomy 11:18
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8

And just a quickie from Charles Swindoll’s The Finishing Touch. Obviously a baseball fan, today’s reading centered on the imminent beginning of that wonderful spring/summer thing; baseball season. What he admonishes us, though, is (hide your toes) to be kind and courteous to . . . the umpires. After all, they do have the hardest job in baseball.

I won’t go into detail as to the entire reading, but I will share the scripture at the end, which convicts me, as I have a history of yelling at umps. This passage is good for more than just how we treat umpires, too.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32

Father, I pray that you give me even more love for your word. May I look to it more than I look to Facebook or the Internet or email. May I cherish it and wear it out. And may I learn it well enough that, if called upon, I could teach it to someone younger. I also pray that the truth of Ephesians 4:29-32 would be ingrained in my heart. Teach me to be courteous and kind to all people. Even umpires.
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.


Good morning. It is Monday, January 13, 2014.

Today is “Skeptics Day.” I’m skeptical about a lot of things. So let that skepticism loose today. Or listen extra carefully to someone you know how is skeptical about something. Perhaps a little healthy dialogue might be in order. Note: I did not say argument. I said “healthy dialogue.”

We had a wonderful time at my parents’ yesterday. We got there around noon-ish, and sat down for some conversation. Then we moved a couple of pieces of furniture for them, freeing up more space for my Dad to get around more easily. After that, we had a nice lunch of tuna sandwiches, chips, and my Mother’s peach cobbler Yum!! After lunch, Christi and I took my Mom to Walmart to fill up their van and look for a new outside trash can. While Christi and Mom were in Wally World, I ran the van through the car wash. When we got back to the house, we all went out to the garage, where Christi and I moved some stuff around for them, opening up some space and getting some storage containers down where they can look through them. We finished up with that, then went back to the den, where we chatted a while longer and casually watched one of the football playoff games. It was a great day, and we felt pretty good about it afterward.

Congratulations to Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams on winning Golden Globe awards for American Hustle.

On this date in 1929, “nearly 50 years after the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles at the age of 80. (Source:

Today’s birthdays are Horatio Alger, Jr., minister and author, 1832, Robert Stack, actor, 1919, Richard Moll, actor, 1943, T-Bone Burnett, musician/producer, 1948, Trevor Rabin, guitarist (Yes), 1954, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress, 1961, Patrick Dempsey, actor (McDreamy), 1966, Tabith Stevens (fictional character), 1966, and Orlando Bloom, actor, 1977.

Trevor Rabin has been one of the lead guitarists/vocalists that has performed with the prog-rock group Yes. Here is a clip of “Shoot High, Aim Low,” from their “Big Generator” album. Trevor plays and sings vocals along with Jon Anderson.


(From The Divine Hours)

Psalm 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 142:5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 108:3-4 I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 25:1-5 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new
day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome
by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through
Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Call on Jesus’ Life.” Jesus, though God in the flesh, still maintained an “all-consuming thirst for the Father.” We must be careful, as well, to note that Jesus’s thirst for the Father, his personal prayer, private devotions, and “delighting in God’s intimate presence” were not accomplished while, at the same time, being oblivious to the world around him and its need for “redemption, justice, and peace.” Jesus had a great desire to “reveal his father in serving the poor, the captive, the blind, and all who are in need.” Jesus’s mission consumed him, and it was the holiness of the Father that drove him. He also never stayed in one place for very long. “Others might stay behind preoccupied with security, sensation, and power, but Jesus went on without stopping, always driven by the vision of the mission that impelled him.” While the demands of our own lives and culture may not allow us to be quite so transient, we cannot afford to perform our devotions, prayers, and Bible studies, and remain oblivious to our world around us. We must engage our culture in our mission to make disciples.

Luke 8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him.

Father, show me the path to walk in which I will be most effective for you in the task of being a disciple of Christ, and of leading others to be disciples as well. I have been fearful of this task, for some reason. Give me courage to be a disciple. Give me the assurance that you will finish what you have started in me. Show me how to continue my devotion, perhaps even intensifying it, while at the same time engaging the world around me with the gospel. Show me how to present Christ to a needy world without being abrasive or harsh. Show me how to love, how to spread compassion with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I pray for this day, this Monday. I am glad to be alive today, to be walking and breathing. May our drive to and from work be safe. Give us a good work day today, giving us the grace to do our jobs efficiently and well. May we meet all challenges with grace and peace in our lives. Help us to be your peace to those around us during our work day. I pray for Stephanie, that she might be granted understanding and peace today. Show her your path for her.

I pray for Alicia, as she has to make funeral plans today, and for Brandon as he meets with a lawyer. Give them both extreme peace in the face of unpleasant and sorrowful situations. Show them your peace, fill them with your Holy Spirit.

Your grace is sufficient.

The call of Jesus is also on our lives, if we call ourselves “Christian.” We cannot remain oblivious to the needs of our world.

Grace and peace, friends.

Don’t Be A Milksop!

Good morning. It’s Saturday, July 7. We got to sleep in again today. Nothing much to do today.

Oh, my. Today is “Chocolate Day.” That is certainly worthy of celebration!

On this date in 1930, the building of the Hoover Dam began. On this date in 1865, Mary Surratt became the first woman executed by the Federal Government, because of her alleged involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. On this date in 1900, Wyatt Earp was killed in an Arizona saloon.

Last night, I learned that my Great-Aunt Peace, passed away. She was my Grandmama’s sister-in-law, sister of my Grandfather that I never knew, as he passed when my Dad was a boy. She was the last one living of those brothers and sisters, as far as I know. I wasn’t real close with her, and hadn’t seen her in a long while. However, I am Facebook friends with a few of her family members, a niece, a great-niece, and a great-granddaughter, I believe. These were closer to her than I was. Prayers would be appreciated for their comfort during this time. She was in her nineties, I believe, and had not been well for a while.

Father, I pray that you will show me something of yourself this morning.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 37. This one is another gem, full of great verses.
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
[“Befriend faithfulness” could also be rendered “feed on faithfulness” or “find safe pasture.”]
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (3-4)

That is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. Not because I believe it promises that God will give me whatever I want, because I don’t believe that. I believe that it tells me that if I delight myself in him, then he will shape the desires of my heart to match his desires. And that is what I desire.

A large part of this Psalm is counseling the reader to not let the prosperity of the wicked bother him.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Wait…patiently…words that we don’t like in our modern society.

And here’s one that gives me great comfort.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.
I will stumble, and even fall, but the Lord keeps hold of my hand.

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
There is a major goal of mine. If the law of God is in my heart, my steps will not slip. While it is true that this is a good justification for Scripture memorization, it is more than just memorizing. A lot of people seem to think that just memorizing Bible verses will help them in their quest for holiness or whatever it is that they are after. But we must remember…memorization is nothing more than head knowledge. This verse says that the law of the Lord is in his heart! We must learn it! This goes back to my verse for this year, which I have not visited lately. Joshua 1:8 says this: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. It’s more than just knowing the words…we must meditate on it. Chew it up. Spend time thinking about it, pondering it, and allowing the Spirit to work it into our very being.

David closes this Psalm with these words:
The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

There are so many good concepts in this Psalm that we can learn. But they take a lifetime to master. Especially that waiting patiently part.

My Utmost For His Highest

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14

“If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult.” What? But the person who led me to Christ promised me that life would be easy now! Are we guilty of this? Do we lie to people to try to get them to receive Christ? “Come to Jesus, and all your problems will be over!” But, as Chambers says, here, “The Christian life is gloriously difficult…” Our pastor, Joel Engle goes beyond that. He says, “The Christian life is not difficult; it’s impossible!” The KJV in the above verse is translated, Enter ye in at the strait gate. There are several definitions of “strait.” A more archaic definition is “strict, rigorous.” That could certainly fit, couldn’t it? But it also means “closely fitting; restricted, or tight.” The ESV and other versions render it “narrow.” Is that too simple? Here’s how Eugene Peterson translates these verses in The Message: “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easy-going formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life–to God!–is vigorous and requires total attention.” Wow. How many of us are trying to life this life in our “spare time?” That cuts right to the quick, doesn’t it? Chambers asks, “Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?” Do we? I fear that I do not!
I am saved by the sovereign grace of God, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I did nothing to earn that. But I must work that salvation out “in practical living.” This takes practice. This means that we need to be about learning those precepts (not just memorizing them), meditating on those verses. “If we obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.” We can’t just live our lives, tending to God in our spare time, and then blame him when the crisis comes and we fail! Look at The Message translation again: “The way to life–to God!–is vigorous and requires total attention.” (Emphasis mine)
“Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! … God’s grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milksops.” (An ineffective, indecisive person.) This life is impossible. We cannot do it without God; without the indwelling Holy Spirit. “It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things.” It is “vigorous and requires total attention.” It’s not a part time job.

Father, I confess that it is only your grace in my life that keeps me from throwing my hands up in the air and giving up. Yes, this life is hard. I have failed you so many times, but you keep bringing me along. As I have read these Scriptures and this reading from Chambers this morning, I realize how far I still have to go. I was cruising along thinking that I was doing okay. But I’m still treating your grace, this life, like a “part-time” thing! I am not “meditating” on these Scriptures, on these precepts. Lord, I pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit in my life, to cause me to remember these things. To make me remember during my days that I need to be pondering your words. I read them in the morning…I even pray on the way to work. Ooh… But then what? Do I remember during my work day to lift up prayers? Not very often! It’s time to get serious. I’m going to be working on memorizing some verses over the next few weeks. But I pray that they not just be memorized. As I memorize verses and learn precepts, may they get transferred from my head to my heart. Yes, Lord, this life is beyond difficult! It is impossible. But with you, all things are possible!
Enough beating myself up. Time to get moving.

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray for Christi’s health, that today, as she gets some rest (she even slept until 10am!) that she will begin to feel much better. Place your healing hand on her, Lord, that she will get over whatever is afflicting her. I pray for all of us, as we continue this journey to better health. Give us success and motivation to continue working out and eating better. Let us not slip back into unhealthy habits. I also pray for Susie, as she works on some health goals. We celebrate with her as she met her goal for last month. Give her the grace, courage, and strength to make her next goals. Thank you for making us an inspiration to others.

I pray for Nansii, Lord, a friend, who was to have her gall bladder out yesterday (that’s two friends in two weeks). I have not heard an update, so I don’t know how it went. I pray, though, that this surgery took care of the problems that she was having. I pray for comfort and strength for her husband, Bryan.

I pray for the leadership of our church, Father, that they will be constantly sensitive to the Spirit, in knowing how to direct our fellowship. This morning, I pray for Jeremy Edgar, the director of our worship ministries. He is busy every Sunday morning, running around making sure everything is working right. I pray that you give him wisdom as he leads us all in the worship ministries, and I pray that you would give me peace and help him find time to actually worship during the worship celebration time. I thank you for his leadership and the heart that he has for leading and inspiring people.

I pray earnestly that all of us, your people, will live holy lives by the power of Jesus Christ. May you help us all, by the power of the Spirit to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and help us to all make living for you a full time occupation, not just a part time job.

Your grace us sufficient.

Give your all to Christ. Don’t be a milksop.

Grace and peace, friends.