Today is Monday, January 4, 2021, the eleventh day of Christmas.
Peace be with you.
Today, we are finally back to a “normal” work schedule. And, while I have most certainly enjoyed the time off, I find myself a little glad to be back on schedule. The challenge is going to be found as I continue to work with my new devotional materials for the new year. I’m still working to nail down the timing.
I’m still mentally dealing with yesterday’s challenge from The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn. He calls them “missions.” It was to step out of old ways, old habits in this new year. I haven’t quite done that, yet. Perhaps an actual plan might be in order.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
I want to begin today’s prayers by sharing a poem from fellow blogger Daryl Madden. I have been following his blog for a bit, and find his poems to be quite deep and inspiring. This one, from yesterday morning, is called “Settle Now.” It is my opening prayer for this morning. Shared with permission.
Settle now in stilling Focus be of here Emptiness outpouring In silence, be aware Settle now in Presence Focus of the light Covering so precious Grace of Your insight Settle now in dwelling Focus of the deep Savor the sweet fragrance Letting Spirit seep Rooted now in love Enwrapped in sacred prayer Holiness of being One of soul to share
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
CHRISTMAS – DAY 11
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)
BIBLE SONG – PSALM 3
A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
BIBLE READING – TITUS 3:4-7
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
There are a number of words that hit me in this brief passage. “Kindness,” “love,” “mercy,” “grace.” All characteristics of God and/or things He lavishes upon us. And the, at the end, “hope.”
It is very clear here, as well as plenty other places in Scripture, that our salvation is not because of anything we have done. It might even be implied that it is in spite of unrighteous things that we have done.
The Holy Trinity is represented quite sell in this passage. The Father saved us, through the “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Through all of this, we are justified by His grace, becoming heirs (remember, we read about being heirs a couple days ago), and we have hope!
“Hope” is not just wishful thinking. We use the word differently, in our language. We “hope” we get to go on a trip this year, somewhere. We “hope” for that raise from our employer. But in this case, “hope” is more of an assurance that something is going to happen. One of the definitions of hope is “grounds for believing that something good may happen.” I would replace “may” with “will.”
We have it on good authority, solid ground for believing, that we will experience and possess our inheritance of eternal life. This is true hope!
Father, there are so many words in this passage that thrill me and fill my soul. I will walk away from this session today with that hope, solid in my soul, of eternal life, and the inheritance that awaits me in my eternal Home. I long for that Home, Father, that place where there will never again be pain, tears, loneliness, or sorrow. That place where “evil” will not be allowed to dwell, in any of its forms. I thank You for Your kindness and love, Your grace, Your mercy, and for providing us with this hope.
"God of mercy, whenever I lose sight of you and my faith falters, whenever I'm tempted to doubt your heart or misconstrue your motives, turn me again to the clearest sign of your generous mercy: your only Son, Jesus. Remind me, too, of the sign of my baptism into Jesus, that I am washed clean and reborn through Christ; grow me up into all of its promises and blessings. Amen." (Westminster Larger Catechism 167)
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 NIV)
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
(Luke 11:5-8 NIV)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
While [Peter] was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”
(Matthew 17:5 MSG)
One of the ways that Holy Spirit is described in Scripture is with the word “wind.” There is a Hebrew word for that, Ruach. As a simple illustration, if you go outside and walk against a strong wind, it is difficult to make progress, and you get weary faster.
But if you turn around and walk with the wind, progress is much easier, and the wind actually helps you move.
So it is with walking in the Spirit. If we walk in the same direction the Spirit is moving, we will find it much easier to make progress, and we will not get weary. In a way of speaking, when we walk in the Spirit, or with the Spirit, we have the wind at our back.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:8 ESV)
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
(Acts 2:2 ESV)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
(Galatians 5:16-17 ESV)
The Mission: “What part of your life is against the direction of the Spirit? Today, turn it around and start walking with the Wind at your back.”
Father, help me to walk in and with the Holy Spirit today. The Spirit is Holy, so the direction He is moving is toward holiness. Mold my heart and spirit today toward holiness.
Father, I pray for humanity’s role as caretaker of Your creation. May we see You in our world around us, as we go about, doing whatever it is that You have given us to do. Give us eyes to see You and to see Your beauty everywhere we look. I also pray that we would be better stewards of the creation that You have given us.
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!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(Psalms 100:4 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- For the first work day of a new year
- For the hope that I have within me, which is the result of Your kindness, love, grace, and mercy
- Once again, that You have made me an heir, with an assured inheritance which includes eternal life
- For consistency in prayer
- For the Wind of the Holy Spirit
May your joys be as bright as the morning, And your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have… Enough happiness to keep you sweet, Enough trials to keep you strong, Enough sorrow to keep you human, And enough hope to keep you happy. (An Irish New Year's Blessing)
Grace and peace, friends.