Majestic and Tender

Today is Thursday, August 13, 2020. Pre-Friday! Peace be with you!

Day 22,799

SIX DAYS until S turns 27!!

I really don’t have anything personal to write about, this morning, so I’ll go ahead and jump into the devotions and prayers. Just a reminder, or information to anyone who is new to this blog, the passages that I quote first come from The Divine Hours, a series of books that utilize what is called “fixed hour prayer,” similar to Church Liturgy. From there, I move into one or more of the following sources; Our Daily Bread, Daily Guideposts, and The Songs of Jesus, a year-long devotional through the Psalms, by Timothy and Kathy Keller.

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
(Psalms 81:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the peace in my spirit, this morning, inexplicable peace
  2. That You are my refuge, my fortress, my God, in whom I trust
  3. That You are also my protector and provider, sheltering me as a mother bird shelters her young, under Your wings
  4. For the cross, which displays both Your righteous power and Your tender, compassionate, sacrificial love
  5. For this new day, fresh with Your new mercies

Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
(Psalms 50:3 ESV)

I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.
(Psalms 52:9 NLT)

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
(Psalms 52:8 ESV)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:17-19 ESV)

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 147:12-20 ESV)

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.

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)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
(Psalms 91:1-4 NIV)

The two metaphors used for God’s protection in this psalm are drastically different. First, He is a fortress, a refuge, presumably made of stone and sealed up tight. Second, He is a bird, sheltering its young under His wings.

A fortress protects against spears and arrows and other implements of destruction. The wings of a bird give shelter from rain, heat, cold, and other forces of nature.

How is God both of these? There is no explanation. He just is.

“It is on the cross where we see the absolute righteous power and the tender, sacrificial love of God combine and shine forth brilliantly, both equally fulfilled.”

Some of my favorite passages in Psalms are ones in which God is described as fortress, refuge, stronghold, and so on. He is our strong tower, to which we can run. He is our hiding place.

But this psalm also displays so well the more compassionate, “motherly,” if you will, aspects of our Father’s protection over us. Somehow, he is both our strong tower, and the One who hides us under His wings with tenderness and love.

“Lord, I praise You for both Your majesty and Your meekness in Jesus Christ. ‘Let us wonder! Grace and justice join and point to mercy’s store; When through grace in Christ our trust is, justice smiles and asks no more: He Who washed us with His blood has secured our way to God.’ Amen.” (Italics from John Newton’s hymn, “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”)

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, I praise You for being my fortress and my refuge; my strong tower, to which I can run when I am in danger, or when my enemy pursues me. I praise You that You will hide me under Your wings of mercy and compassion when I am afraid. Help me to remember this, that I can always run to You. When I am tempted to stand alone and fight my battles, may Your Spirit remind me that that is not the best way.

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!

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.
(The prayer of St. Patrick)

Grace and peace, friends.