“… just an island of quiet for the middle of the day: 
3 simple lines, one quiet prayer, for all the loud days…
‘Lord, please make me …
Radical about Grace
Resolute about Truth
Relentless about Love.
In the name of Jesus, Amen…'” (Ann Voskamp).

Not a bad prayer for Tuesday, whether it feels like Monday Part II or if it’s just another day of the week or if it’s your best day ever.

May we be radical about grace but never compromising our convictions and confessions of the truth.

As I have heard more than once lately, may we seek to share the whole Gospel with the whole person at anytime with anyone anywhere.

That’s a good place to start. Even on a Tuesday.

Things I Want My Daughter to Look for in a Man

I don’t have a daughter. I do have a cat. But that aside, I do think there’s some real merit to what Brant Hansen, a Christian radio personality, wrote. Here are his words that I think everyone, women and men alike, should read. If you have a daughter, you will appreciate these words, but I think that just about everyone can take away something to apply from this:

“1. He takes responsibility

He’s not an excuses guy. He doesn’t run away from his own mistakes. He doesn’t see himself as a victim. This, to me, is the essence of masculinity. 

There’s a word for a man who will not take responsibility: A child.

2. He practices self-denial

This can be shown in many ways: He can successfully work a job he doesn’t like. He shows discipline with his money. Or – how about this: He listens to people even when they’re not talking about something he enjoys. 

3. He doesn’t respond in anger

Some men think acting in anger is a mark of manliness. Quite the opposite is true. Self-control, perspective, and forgiveness are marks of strength.

4. He gives attention, respect, and kindness to NON -attractive females

A very important, related question: How does he treat people who can do nothing for him? 

If he tends to ignore (or mocks) them, you’re very possibly dealing with a narcissist. Run away. Now.

5. His instinct is to protect, not hurt

He doesn’t take advantage of you when you’re weak. 

And when he encounters the vulnerable… he doesn’t make fun of them. He defends and befriends them… even when no one’s looking.

By the way: Even if a man seems ‘church impressive’, check for this stuff. Being on stage, leading worship, talking a great Christian game, being admired in public, leading a ministry – that’s neato. 

But it has nothing to do with being a great husband.”

Another Wacky Winter in Tennessee

Yes, it has been another wacky winter in the state of Tennessee. So far, there have been a few days with cold temperatures, some days that felt like spring, and some storms. Oh, and lots and lots of rain.

I’m all for variety, but this is ridiculous. At least it hasn’t been dull.

I’m still holding out hope for one good snow this year. No ice, mind you. I don’t want to get caught driving in it (or trying to drive in it) with all the other people who lose their minds on icy roads. Just snow, please.

The early look at next week’s forecast shows more rain and no snow. But this is Tennessee, so that could all change as early as tomorrow.

Stay tuned for further updates that will most likely be just as useless and inaccurate. You’re welcome.

Miracles Still Happen

It was 20 years and 3 days ago that the Music City Miracle happened. The Tennessee Titans collectively took a kickoff to the house for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills to advance to win the 2000 AFC Wild Card game.

This year, the a whole new cast of Titans took on the mighty Baltimore Ravens who sported the best regular season record in the league. Honestly, I didn’t have high expectations. My thought process going into the game was to watch it until it started to get out of hand and then switch to Doctor Who or a movie.

Well, it got out of hand . . . for the Baltimore Ravens. The 6-seed Titans pulled off the upset of the year over the 1-seed Ravens. This time, it wasn’t a fluke play at the end of the game but a well-executed game plan from start to finish. Not to mention a Steamroller named Derrick Henry who rolled to 195 rushing yards and even threw a touchdown pass.

That’s why they play the game. You don’t have to be the best in the league to win. You just have to be the best team on the field on that particular day. You just have to take it one game at a time.

I confess that I prayed a lot during the game. Mostly my prayers consisted of “Lord, please help the Titans to win tonight.”

It’s encouraging to see how much a little self-confidence and success can do to a team. This team halfway through the season looked like a long-shot to even make the playoffs, but going into this game, they were a group of players who believed in themselves and each other. And it showed on the field.

Here’s hoping and praying for at least one more win. Two would be nice. Thanks, God, for that one. I surely do appreciate it.

Your Peanut Update for January 2020

Peanut has her own little studio apartment now. At least that’s what I call the little cabinet space with blankets that she inhabits from time to time. I think she goes there when she needs a little alone time.

She’s gotten quite adept at finding all the comfortable spots around the house. In fact, you know it’s high quality comfort level when a cat graces it with his or her presence.

She still loves her belly rubs in the morning. She still likes to investigate my bathroom before I go in to take my shower, especially the faucet that she inspects by rubbing her little face against it. She gets in my lap most mornings when I’m having my quiet devotional time (and I imagine she prays for more tuna in her diet).

She’s just under 10 pounds, but she has a supersized personality (with 0% of meanness). I still have yet to hear her growl or hiss in the 2 1/2 years that she’s been around.

Look for more updates in the weeks and months to come because Peanut is quite the fascinating little gal.

The Valley of 2020 Vision

This year, I have chosen The Valley of Vision as my devotional. For the unacquainted, it’s a collection of Puritan prayers (and boy howdy, could those Puritans pray!)

I believe that sometimes when you have no words of your own to pray, you can borrow the words of others, especially those of an earlier and wiser age. Here’s one of my favorites so far:

“O God whose will conquers all,
There is no comfort in anything apart from
      enjoying thee
  and being engaged in thy service;
Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what
  to me thou makest them, and no more.
I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,
  or should be in all respects,
And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair,
  I would choose to refer all to thee,
  for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,
  as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,
  and it delights me to leave them there.
Then prayer turns wholly into praise,
  and all I can do is to adore and bless thee.
What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?
  I am in a strait betwixt two, knowing not
  what to do;
I long to make some return, but have nothing to
  and can only rejoice that thou doest all,
  that none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;
I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed
  but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul
    and body to thee,
I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith,
  that the whole work of redemption is thine alone,
  that every good work or thought found in me
  is the effect of thy power and grace,
  that thy sole motive in working in me to will
  and to do is for thy good pleasure.
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much
  about man’s creaturely power and goodness,
  when, if thou didst not hold us back every
  moment, we should be devils incarnate.
This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me
  concerning myself.”

Doctor Who in 2020

The Classic Doctor Who Quest Part II continues into 2020. I’m still aware that the special effects are on occasion cheesy and low budget, but there’s also still a kind of magic about the old episodes.

I’m up to where Leela and K9 are traveling with the Doctor aboard the Tardis. It’s interesting what you pick up on the second time that you might have missed the first time, or for me, how much I appreciate certain people on the show more the second time around.

Leela is an interesting character who is billed as a “savage,” but has the keenest sense of intuition and gut instinct of any of the companions. She’s also quite savvy and very adapt at picking up new concepts and ideas. She had a hard act to follow in Sarah Jane Smith, but she ranks up there as one of the best companions of Doctor Who in my book.

Also, K9. That robotic dog that they keep referring to as “he” instead of “it.” I wish the new series would bring him back.

There will be further updates as the quest continues. Carry on and watch Doctor Who!