Comfort Ye My People

Today is Sunday, December 13, 2020, the third Sunday of Advent.

Peace be with you.

Day 22,921

Twelve days until Christmas

That thing up there that I say every morning. “Peace be with you.” I’m not just saying that to say it. I mean it. To all who stumble across this humbler (or sometimes not-so-humble) effort, I wish you peace. I intensely desire that you find peace.

The reason for this blog is two-fold. First, it is simply a record of my own reflections, and years ago, I decided it would be better kept in an online place, “in the cloud,” if you will, rather than paper notebooks cluttering up the study.

Second, I thought that, just maybe, someone else might benefit from my reflections.

There is peace to be had. You wouldn’t know it from reading the Facebook posts of some of my more conservative friends. They seem to think the world is coming to an end because their candidate didn’t win. They are looking in the wrong place for peace. I intensely desire that they would find peace, too.

So, yes. Peace be with you, my friends.

When I weighed in at WW, yesterday morning, I was pleased to find that I had lost two pounds over the past week! So I am now at 95.2 pounds lost since we started this journey, back in February. I have 4.8 pounds to go to reach my goal of losing one hundred pounds by the end of 2020. There are three weeks left in the year, so I want to reach that on or before our weigh-in on January 2, 2021.

C was also successful, yesterday, losing around three pounds and passing her seventy-five pound mark, which got her another charm for her key ring. We have been told, repeatedly, that we are an inspiration to others. I’m definitely not used to that.

Today, we have our Zoom church gathering, at 10:15. I will be leading the discussion again, as the guy who was supposed to lead today will be out of town. We will be out of town, next Sunday, as we will be in Glen Rose. When it is “church time,” we’ll be packing up to come home.

I have no idea what will happen for the rest of this day. It’s raining and cold outside, today, so C may not be able to get her walk in. I imagine, we will order Applebee’s for lunch, as this seems to be our practice, recently. Maybe even a “tradition,” although it is a relatively new habit.

I just realized it’s only thirty minutes until our Zoom session. Better get moving!

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)

Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
(Psalms 146:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You have put praise in my heart
  2. For the rain we are getting, this morning
  3. That You have helped me keep this daily gratitude habit up for over a year, now
  4. For the comfort You give to the broken-hearted
  5. That we can turn around and comfort others with the comfort You have given us

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
(Psalms 141:3-5 ESV)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalms 115:1 ESV)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
(Luke 2:33-35 ESV)

Psalms 13:1-6 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
(2) How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
(3) Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
(4) lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
(5) But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
(6) I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalms 70:1 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering. Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

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.

"Stir up your power, O Lord,
and with great might come among us;
and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy
speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father,
you have brought me in safety to this new day:
Preserve me with your mighty power,
that I may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

Advent: Prepare For The Coming Of The Word

Day Fifteen

Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV
(1) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
(2) to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

Isaiah 61:10-11 ESV
(10) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
(11) For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ESV
(16) Rejoice always,
(17) pray without ceasing,
(18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(19) Do not quench the Spirit.
(20) Do not despise prophecies,
(21) but test everything; hold fast what is good.
(22) Abstain from every form of evil.
(23) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(24) He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

John 1:6-8 ESV
(6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
(7) He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
(8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John 1:19-28 ESV
(19) And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
(20) He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
(21) And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
(22) So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
(23) He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

(24) (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)
(25) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
(26) John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,
(27) even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
(28) These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Psalms 34:18 ESV
(18) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Matthew 5:4 ESV
(4) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Here is more talk of peace, although these verse don’t specifically mention that.

But there are many, many people in our world who are broken-hearted today.

My wife lost a step-brother, this past week, who left behind a wife and some grown children.

My mother’s music minister lost his wife to cancer a few weeks ago.

I Facebook friend, with whom I used to work, lost a sister last week.

Popular celebrities have passed away, the most recent being country legend Charley Pride, yesterday.

And some are still broken-hearted over loss from years ago. My father passed away in 2015.

I lost a best friend to suicide over forty years ago, and I almost burst into tears, last Thursday, when I told my therapist about it.

I believe there is myth out there. Time does not heal the wounds of the heart. A broken heart doesn’t heal. It stays broken. But we can live with it, and we can, in turn, comfort others whose hearts are breaking, too.

And we get that comfort from our Father in heaven, through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV
(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
(4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
(5) For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
(6) If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
(7) Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Father, I pray for those who are broken-hearted today. May Your grace and mercy fill their souls as they grieve for those who they have lost during these days. This are so hard, right now, and the sorrow of losing a loved one during these times is compounded by the pandemic. So I pray for peace to fill the souls of those who are grieving today. And for us who still grieve losses after so many years, please continue to give comfort, and help us to know how to comfort others.

Isaiah 40:1-5 ESV
(1) Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
(2) Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
(3) A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
(4) Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
(5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Grace and peace, friends.