Nearby

Today is Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Day 21,649.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Berthold Auerbach
BrainyQuote

Today’s word of the day is confusticate (pronounced [kuhn-fuhs-ti-keyt]), slang, a verb meaning, “to confuse or perplex; bewilder.”

Today is World Refugee Day. Violence and tyranny are constantly forcing people to flee their home countries. The UN recognizes the need to help refugees around the world. Today is a day to simply be mindful of this and to encourage leaders to be willing to help refugees.

Band practice went well, last night. I was pleasantly surprised when The Liberty Bell March showed up in our repertoire, as the director has decided that we don’t have time to prepare “Hoedown,” by Aaron Copland. I have never had the opportunity to play this march, by John Philip Sousa. The reason it makes me so happy is that the first strain of Liberty Bell is the theme music for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Turns out it’s pretty challenging, but mainly because of some insane mute changes. I’m still not sure how we’re going to pull that off.

Not much else going on around here.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! 
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Psalm 47:5-8
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Psalm 119:147
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 
They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 92:12-13
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 
For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 33:1-5
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 1:8

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

In today’s reading, Patty Kirk writes of visiting a friend who was in the final stages of cancer. She hesitated, because she had the same problem most of us face in such a situation. What to say.

As she sat on the edge of the hospice bed, she held her friend’s hand while listening to her friend’s husband describe the past few weeks. She made those noises we all make when listening. “Oh.” “I see.” “Uh-huh.”

She noticed that her friend had closed her eyes. “‘Listening,'” her friend explained, “‘not asleep.'”

As the visit progressed, it drifted into what Patty called “a rhythm of okayness.” Suddenly, it occurred to her that maybe her friend wasn’t listening to her husband, but to God.”

“‘Is God talking to you?'” she asked her friend.

“Her eyelids flew open, and she nodded.”

“‘What’s He saying?'”

It took visible effort to get the words out, but her friend said, “‘Not how it should be. Nearby.'”

This was repeated several times to make sure Patty understood. Her friend’s face was bright with hope.

We all go through times of sorrow as we lose loved ones. We are currently struggling with a brother in our church as his wife lays in a hospital bed, liver and kidneys failed. They took her off of the ventilator yesterday, but she continues to breathe on her own. The doctors have decided that any further treatment would be futile.

This is not how it should be. This kind of suffering is not God’s plan for our lives. This is all a result of our enemy’s work in this world. Yes, the Psalms say that the death of a saint is precious in God’s sight. But pain and suffering were not his plan for us. Yet, he is nearby. On that we can depend.

No matter what we are going through; no matter what kind of suffering; no matter what kind of pain; and, most especially, when things appear hopeless; he is nearby.

Father, we thank you for your abiding presence in our lives. All of the pain and suffering is bringing me down. Yet I know the truth. You are always nearby. And all of this makes me pray even more desperately . . .
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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