Today is Friday, June 19, 2020, in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you.
Today is Juneteenth, the date that commemorates when slaves were declared free, under the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.
Two days until Father’s Day!
As is our custom, the company is providing lunch today. This time, I chose a “Keto Southwestern Chicken with Mexican Vegetables Powerbowl.” Not that I’m really into Keto . . . it just sounded really good. I can’t remember all the ingredients, though.
R & J are planning to come down tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to that. I’m not sure what we will do, other than have some lunch together. Whatever may come, it will be nice to be together.
C and I finished watching the first season of Broadchurch, last night. It’s a British mystery series, and was copied by an American version called Grace Point, which we saw a number of years ago. Broadchurch was much, much better. There are two more seasons, so we will watch those next.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalms 34:8 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- That I have tasted and seen . . .
- That You are a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11)
- That You are my Shepherd, and I lack for nothing
- That I am always with You
- For Your amazing grace
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
(Psalms 71:3 ESV)
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
(Psalms 88:13 ESV)
God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
(Psalms 7:11 ESV)
“Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.
“If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.”
(Luke 6:46-49 MSG)
The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah.
(Psalms 9:15-20 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.
"Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; 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)
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:7-11 ESV)
A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalms 46:10 ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 ESV)
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
(Psalms 73:21-23 NIV)
Says Timothy Keller, “The antitoxin for envy and self-pity is humility.” Right away, in verse 2, the psalmist acknowledged that his sin was hurtful to himself. later, he acknowledged that it also hurt others.
This is an important thing to know. Even though what David said in Psalm 51, “Against You and You only have I sinned,” is technically true, it is also true that our sin has far-reaching implications and ramifications (that’s one of those “preacher” words), far beyond harming our self only.
But then, the psalmist realizes that he has also been arrogant toward God! Our sin cannot harm God, as He cannot be harmed. But see in verse 22, the psalmist describes his behavior toward God as that of a “brute beast.”
Augustine acknowledged that he once stole some pears because it was “forbidden fruit.” That was the only reason he did it. “Deep in us something snarls, ‘No one tells me what to do.'” And isn’t that the basis of the whole rebellion against the current pandemic regulations? I have never seen such a clamor over something as simple as wearing a face mask. Yet we happily don shoes and shirts so we can visit our favorite restaurant.
But I digress.
“No one tells me what to do” seems to be the Western mantra. But when we admit this darkness in our souls, the work of grace can begin. That beautiful word “yet” at the beginning of verse 23 . . . almost as beautiful as the two most glorious words in all of Scripture (this is my opinion), “But God . . .”
“Yet I am always with You!”
“God never let him go. Only when we see the depth of our sin will we be electrified by the wonder of grace.”
“Lord, the deeper the darkness, the more visible and beautiful the stars. And the more I admit my sin, the more Your grace becomes a reality rather than an abstract idea. Only then does Your grace humble me and affirm me, cleanse me and shape me. Make Your grace amazing to my heart. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)
Father, I am almost speechless at this, today. Almost. I am so very thankful that You have made me taste and see that You are good! I praise You for bringing my sin to light and helping me to see the darkness in my own soul, but then shining the light of Your “electrifying grace” in my soul. May I walk in that light today. May my countenance be as electrifying as Your grace, regardless of the challenges that come my way today.
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Amazing grace, How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, But now am found Was blind, But now I see! (John Newton)
Grace and peace, friends!