Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the twenty-second of April, 2021, in the third week of Easter.
Peace be with you!
28 days until our trip to Glen Rose
I’m already running behind, this morning, thanks to some issues I’m having getting new music uploaded into iTunes. I’ll figure it out, eventually. Rangers won, Red Sox lost. Moving on to the devotions.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
(Philippians 1:3 NLT)
Today, I am grateful:
- for all of you, out there
- that, the older I get, the less threatened I am by vulnerability
- for the fellowship of the saints (we need more of this)
- that when I am in distress, I need only cry out to You and You will answer me and set me free (Psalm 118:5)
- that all barriers between You and us are removed
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EASTER – DAY 19
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)
I pause, for a moment, to quietly reflect on the grace of God displayed in the people with whom He has connected me.
A song. A psalm of Asaph.
O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.
See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
(Psalms 83:1-4 NIV)
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:17-18 NIV)
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
(John 21:1-14 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, I consider how the Word of God has moved me, this morning. What word or phrase has stood out to me? What is the Holy Spirit wanting to speak into my life, this morning?
I frequently utter a prayer that is similar to the one in Psalm 83:18, ” Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” How I would love to see God make His name known, in our society, in our culture, in our day.
But it occurs to me that the way He has chosen to do this is through us, His Church. So, if His name is not known throughout the world, who is at fault? Are we too busy with things that truly do not matter? Are we caught up in things that, although they might actually matter, they do not matter most?
Who knows what was going through the minds of Peter and the other disciples when they decided to go fishing again? Nevertheless, Jesus appeared to them in what, according to John, was the third appearance after His resurrection.
Jesus, I believe, is letting His disciples know that He has not abandoned them. In today’s reading, there is no profound teaching event (we’ll get to one of those tomorrow). Jesus just shares breakfast with His “tribe.” It is a beautiful picture of a truth that we fail to recognize, often times.
That truth, I believe, is that, sometimes, it’s okay to just get together with no agenda. Baptists, over time, have been pretty good at this, I think. I can’t speak for other churches, because I’ve pretty much been Baptist all my life. But we would frequently have “fellowships” (we didn’t use the word “party”) where the only activity was eating. Of course there would be a prayer, but that would just be to “bless” the food. I have fond memories of those times. Sometimes there would be games. But there was no teaching, no preaching, just fun and food and fellowship with one another.
These days, we seem to have lost that, at least from where I sit. Maybe it’s because I’m not part of an institutional church, right now. But even our little house church normally only gathers to either have a Night of Worship, or our usual Sunday morning gathering where we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread (the Supper) and prayer.
Jesus met with His disciples that morning, with no apparent purpose other than to simply engage with them. I think we need more of that. And I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. Something to think about in the days ahead.
Father, I do pray that Your Name will be known around the world, and that people would know that You are the Most High over all the earth. I also pray that You would show us, once again, how to engage with one another, and to just enjoy one another’s company, in Your presence, with no agenda. Show us how to make this happen, Father.
Resurrected Lord, your crafty Holy Spirit gets into the deepest places of human lives, loosing locked-down hearts and softening crusty ones. You turn evil to good, overhauling stubborn resistance into a life yielded to you so that I produce good fruit. I praise you for this surprising good work. Amen. (Canons of Dort 3/4.11)
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
(Ephesians 6:24 NIV)
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
(Psalms 121:3 KJV)
He gives prosperity to the poor and protects those who suffer.
(Job 5:11 NLT)
In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free.
(Psalms 118:5 NLT)
Here is a truth that we would do well to walk in.
“For those who are in Messiah, there are no more separations, no more judgment, no more rejection, no more shame, no more guilt, no more curse. It means that whatever was separating us from our purpose, our blessing, and our redemption is gone. It means that every barrier separating us from God is removed. It means the way is open . . . the cherubim are gone . . . and we can come home.”
“The Mission: In Messiah all barriers are gone. Move forward this day in that power, through every veil, wall, separation, hindrance, and cherubim.”
After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:24 NLT)
“For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.”
(Exodus 26:31 NLT)
And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
(Mark 15:38 NLT)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(Romans 8:31-37 ESV)
(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)
Father, I praise You for the tearing of that curtain. And, while we may not be able to locate or return to “Eden,” we are “home” in You when we walk in Jesus Christ. Thank You for this truth, and help me walk in this today.
Lord, please bring spiritual renewal to our souls, bestowing deep repentance and gospel-based humility to our lives. I pray that You might bring new relationships with “outsiders” into our lives, but prepare us first.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; heal our nation, and heal our world. We pray for this pandemic to end. We pray for racial injustice to end. We pray for a love revolution.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.