Shout for Joy and Sing!

Today is Thursday, May 21, 2020, in the sixth week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,715

Four days until Memorial Day! I was reminded yesterday that Memorial Day will be the 63rd anniversary of my parents’ wedding.

We have a new kitten! She is a six-week old “tuxedo-ish” kitten. It has been decided that her name is “Luna.” I voted for Morticia, but S doesn’t really know who that is, so she didn’t like it as much. Oddly enough, the Internet says that Luna is the current top name for female cats. Interesting. Let’s see . . . do I have a photo? I do!

She is “totes magotes adorbs!” She and S are already bonding, which I’m very glad to see.

Today is my last work day of the week. I’m quite excited about that. PTO tomorrow, then a holiday Monday, so I’ve got a four-day weekend, followed by another four-day work week! Good times.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

I think I had a little bit more success yesterday, spending my day with Jesus. There were still a lot of “hiccups,” but it was the best attempt, thus far, this week. I need to work on my morning routine a little bit, which may or may not affect how I do this blog. The main thing is to remember to direct my thoughts to Jesus before I set foot on floor. From that point on, it doesn’t have to change much. I will say that I have gone back to keeping silence in the car after listening to the morning’s devotional on the “Pray As You Go” app. During this silence, I will be spending the time in prayer for various people that I know and love. Maybe even some that I don’t “love,” right?

Moving on.

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
(Psalms 97:12 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For kittens
2. For the joyous expressions on S’s face
3. For the promise that if I ask, I will receive; seek, and I will find; knock, and it shall be opened (Luke 11.9-13)
4. For the occasional opportunity to share my resources with a homeless person
5. For life, abundant and eternal

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
(Psalms 86:1-2 ESV)

Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
(Psalms 28:6 ESV)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:9-13 ESV)

You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
(Psalms 119:65-72 ESV)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:2 ESV)

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
(Matthew 25:35-40 ESV)

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

(Ephesians 2:12, 19 ESV)

You know that homeless guy you see every day? For me, it’s every week or so. He’s not there every day. I don’t know if that means he gets enough handouts in a day to find a place for shelter for a while. I keep hoping, praying, when I don’t see him for a week or so, that maybe he’s turned things around. But then, there he is again. I learned his name a few months ago, to make it real for me. Stephen. We chat a bit when he’s out there, at least as long as we can before the light changes. I pray for him every day, because when I arrive at that intersection, I think about him.

Maybe he’s an angel. But even if he is not, he is one of “the least of these.” And whatever I do to him, I am doing to Jesus. Think about that, my friends. Seriously.

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
(Psalms 65:9-13 NIV)

God still cares for the world He created (verse 9). He waters it, he fertilizes it. People don’t have to do anything for the natural world to survive. Sure, we have to take care of the crops that we plant ourselves, but even God handles a great deal of that. The farmer has nothing to do with the crop growing to maturity. That happens naturally.

God “is the author of all life–from the life of a flower to the new birth that saves eternally (1 Timothy 6:13).”

Because of this, we, as God’s people, “should be at the forefront of those who care for creation.” The final verses of this psalm should bring joy to our hearts. “The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. . . . they shout for joy and sing.” (verses 12-13) How much more should we shout and sing for the life that God has given us?

“Lord, help me receive the beauty and richness of nature as gifts from you that reflect your own abundance and life. Teach me how to glory in it so I rob neither you of your due nor myself of joy. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, You have given us life, just as You have given life to all creation. Help me to see this life today. Give me the grace to notice my surroundings and see Your creation through the eyes of one who has been given life, abundant and eternal!
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us Your life!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

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