Psalms

Several months ago I set out to read one of the Psalms each day and spend some time quietly thinking about it afterwards. I have missed a few days here and there but have mostly stuck with it.

I’ve been struck by how deep into depression David sank. Yet he never loses sight of God’s supreme authority over all creation or the love he has for us. Strangely, while going through a rough time myself, I think these sometimes rather gloomy sounding prayers were very helpful.

Now, as I near the end of them, I experience some sadness that I must leave them behind for a while. At the same time, it’s like the end of a race and I feel energized. I have to resist the urge to rush through the last few.

ἐπιεικής

Greek word for the week, ep-ee-i-kacé.

This word is Strong’s #1933 and means mild, gentle, moderation, or patient.

It is found in Philippians 4:5 where we as Christians are admonished to live in such a way that this is a trait we are known for. I read that verse and it made me wonder, how can I be sure if I am known for something?

I attended a co-workers memorial service the next day and listened to everything that was said about her. Those were the things she was known for.

I thought about whether or not at my funeral people would say “he was gentle and mild” and I’m not too sure they would. Would they for you?

May we who call ourselves be known for being mild, gentle, and patient. What a mark that would make, especially in today’s social environment.

Six Minute Comedy Show

If you’ve never seen them, sequoias and redwoods are truly majestic trees. Growing throughout Middle-Southern California, these ancient giants tower above the ground in a way that has to be seen to be believed.

We spent a few days recently camping in the Grant’s Grove Village. We stayed in a “rustic cabin” which was basically a square room with three beds, a couple of lights, and a heater. No plumbing at all which made the late night trips to the restroom in cold mountain air, uh, invigorating.

It also required that all showers take place in a common shower house that only cabin renters can open. Inside were several token operated shower stalls. I’d never used such a device and was prepared to take a nice, warm, relaxing shower, even if it was only for six minutes, that was the time you get for each token.

I opened the door and the first thing I noticed was a slot for depositing your token. It looked very similar to a car wash, the type with the high-pressure wands. I thought, “I’ll put my token in, hang up my clothes and step into the warm water.” So… I dropped it in and…

CLINK.

That’s when everything went downhill. No warning whatsoever that turning loose of that little golden disc would result in all of Hades being released into that one little stall. Instead of waiting for me to press an “on” button, the shower immediately went into spray water everywhere mode.

I had expected that since the stall had two separate sides that the one without the shower head would stay semi-dry. I mean, there were hooks for clothes and a little bench. It may have worked out that way if the shower didn’t spray water everywhere like a tightly-packed sphere of angry dolphins with hyperactive blowholes. I think you could’ve showered in the next building off of my one token.

I tried quickly to salvage what little dry areas my clothing still had and shoved them into the only dry spot. It was about the size of a deck of cards. Clothing somewhat safe, I stepped into the shower.

Sweet Mary! I thought immediately of a car wash again. Did people normally step in here with road tar stuck on their legs? I quickly tried to recall if I had seen multiple fire hoses hooked to the backside of the building.

Of course fire hoses probably don’t feel like a million little Thor’s hitting you with spikes hammers every second. The sting from each little stream left me checking myself for injury. Why? Why would you need water to spray out with that much force in a national park?!?

I quickly washed and rinsed. Fastest shower ever. Anything to get out of this wet torture chamber.

Alas, to my dismay I discovered that not only could I not turn it on, I couldn’t turn it off. The spray bouncing off me was making everything in sight wet. The extra-high ceiling? Soaked. Only the little playing card area was remotely dry and if I moved, the spray hit it.

With no way of escaping, I resolved to wait it out. It wasn’t too bad after I found a place to stand where the water only splashed off me and onto a wall. It felt like having a bowl of fire ants tapes upside down to my back. The pain started to subside and eventually went away. It was replaced by a numbness that creeped into my mind as I stood wondering who in the name of all that’s good thought it would be smart to put such a device in this tranquil wilderness.

Finally, the longest six minutes of my life was up. The only other experience I could compare it too was when the law enforcement agency I worked for got Tasers and I volunteered to be shot with one.

I dried off as best I could with my wet towel and wondered whether the moisture on my face was water or tears. I put on my sort of dry clothes and ventured back to the cabin in the 45° night air, broken and ashamed.

Beef Jerky

Low-carb eating goes really well with a smoker. And the two of them go great with an unexpectedly cool, still morning. That’s what I was blessed with this morning, the first time I tried my hand at smoking some jerky. Why was I doing that? I love jerky but finding any pre-made without sugar is near impossible.

While I was at it, I decided to read outside this morning. Today was Psalm 19 that starts with “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” The birds were giving some proclamation off in the distance as well. This little video sort of sums up how the whole process made me feel.

Joy of Cooking

My much better half took the kids to an evening event. After a long day at work it was nice to be in a quiet house for an hour. It was nice to spend that time cooking for the ones I love.

When they got home I was able to have chopped steaks, sweet potato fries, and green beans waiting for dinner. Healthy, made from scratch, relaxing, and delicious.

We Better Check Ourselves

Jesus is frequently portrayed as nothing but soft, sensitive, and never offensive. I think Jesus wasn’t that way. Do you view him that way? His followers won’t view him as a convenience, a comfort, or a merit badge you put on and say, “Ah, now I have Jesus.” He has us! We don’t add him to our life, we let him take over it.

He’s to be viewed as a precious treasure which we give up everything for 1. He’s to be so overpowering in our lives that our consideration for our own life and family might as well be hate when compared to him 2.

Do you feel this way about Jesus? If not, contemplate the Lord’s very own words in Matthew 7:21-23. He says “many.” He doesn’t say “some” or say “few”.

If your friends don’t think you’re at least a little too fanatical about serving Christ, why is that? Can your co-workers tell any difference between you and the rest of their peers? We should check ourselves to make sure we are doing the will of the Father. That’s as plain as it can be. You can say “Lord, Lord” but lip service won’t work. Only the ones doing God’s will make it.

I shudder to think of Jesus plainly telling me, “I never knew you.”

Notes:

  1. Matthew 13:44
  2. Luke 14:26

Getting a Jesus Hug

Different parts – Same body

This seems to be one of a few themes running through my devotionals and sites I regularly read. Reading in Galatians 2:4 last night with the family I looked at the study note. The comment there was that they came in and did that because people can’t stand to see freedom in others.

Don’t let others control your freedom through conformity. It doesn’t really matter if that conformity comes from their pressure or your own comparisons.

Don’t compare too much to others, but do what feels natural, do what honors the Lord, do what really draws you closer to Him, even if that is perhaps a little more intellectual, a little less emotional than you might see modeled or hear described by other people.

 

Low Carb Goodness

I have been, shall we say, less than dedicated to eating healthy for a while. That is as a result of a poor reaction to some major stressors in my life.

I’m glad to say that I have started back. I don’t know why I ever quit when eating a meal like this on the patio with my wife is part of healthy eating!