Today is Tuesday, the second of March, 2021, in the second week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Day 23,000!! Today, I have been alive on this earth for 23,000 days!
33 days until Resurrection Sunday
C’s first day back at work was okay, but she said she got less accomplished than she normally did on a day working from home. That figures, because some of her previous work time was spent driving to the office, and, when working from home, she would stay on her work computer later in the day.
There’s not a lot to share, this morning, no real significant news or anything. It’s 40 degrees outside, which is, in my opinion, close to where it should be. We are expecting a high in the low sixties today, with plenty o’ sunshine.
Baseball is being played at the Spring Training locations. The rules are weird, though. I listened to part of a game Sunday afternoon, Rangers v Royals. They only played six innings, and when the Rangers did not catch up in the top of the sixth, instead of the game being over, the continued to play the Royals’ half of the inning. It was explained that this was so the Rangers could have another pitcher get in some work. That makes sense, being that is what Spring Training is all about. It’s just weird.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know you, and desire nothing save only you. Let me hate myself and love you. Let me do everything for the sake of you. Let me humble myself and exalt you. Let me think of nothing except you. Let me die to myself and live in you. Let me accept whatever happens as from you. Let me banish self and follow you, and ever desire to follow you. Let me fly from myself and take refuge in you that I may deserve to be defended by you. Let me fear for myself, let me fear you, and let me be among those who are chosen by you. Let me distrust myself and put my trust in you. Let me be willing to obey for the sake of you. Let me cling to nothing save only to you, and let me be poor because of you. Look upon me, that I may love you. Call me that I may see you, and forever enjoy you. Amen. (Prayer to Forsake Myself for Jesus, by St. Augustine of Hippo)
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
(Psalms 97:1-2 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- That I am alive and breathing
- That righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne
- That, if I walk humbly before You and fear You, You will instruct me, guide me, and confide in me
- For the places where Your glory dwells
- That You, Jesus, are always with us, most especially should we have to suffer
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 12
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
(Psalms 145:13 NIV)
Meditate for a moment on the enduring kingdom and dominion of YHWH.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
(Psalms 25:8-14 NIV)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
(Genesis 17:1-7 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
There are several words in the psalm that catch my eye. “Instruct,” “guide,” “confide.” All of these things that the Lord will do with those who humble themselves and fear Him. Twice, it is said, of those who fear the Lord, that He will instruct them and confide in them. And in the middle of this passage, the psalmist shows his own humility by interjecting a prayer for forgiveness for his “great” iniquity.
Abram, as he became Abraham, showed equal humility, falling facedown before the Lord when it was declared that God was making a covenant between them and that his (Abram’s) numbers would increase. Abraham would be the father of many nations, and God would be the God of Abraham’s descendants for many “generations to come.”
Abraham walked humbly before the Lord, and the Lord kept His promises. If we walk humbly before God, and fear Him, He will, according to Scripture, instruct us in His ways, guide us in what is right, instruct us in the ways we should choose, and confide in us, making His covenant known to us.
Father, I thank You for these promises and truths, this morning. Help me to be one who walks humbly before You all the day long. Some days I fail miserably in this quest for humility, getting agitated and aggravated when my work is interrupted by more work, or when I get requests from people that I think are silly. It is not up to me to decide what requests are silly or what is or isn’t important. Grant me humility today, as I work, that I might fear You, and that You might instruct, guide, and confide in me throughout the day. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name, O great YHWH!
"Covenant God, thank you for your promises, which are full of blessing and life. Thank you most for your promise to send your Son, the powerful Jesus, to crush the head of the devil and to bring my life blessing. In the strong name of Jesus, amen." (Belgic Confession 17)
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 NIV)
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.
(Psalms 26:8 NIV)
“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
(Isaiah 58:5-8 NIV)
She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?
(1 Timothy 5:10 NLT)
Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
(Revelation 2:10 NLT)
Recently, we talked about how we speak to people who are suffering, and that sometimes, the words we might say could be resented, as we do not share the experience of those who suffer.
However, the words of Jesus in these letters are not like those words. He has felt everything that we could possibly feel. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the Source and He is the destination. He knows what has gone before, and He will be with us in the days to come, whatever they may bring.
This is the One who speaks to those who are suffering. He has the authority to speak, because He has endured the suffering.
In the case of Smyrna, we can piece together the nature of their suffering. They lived in the Roman Empire. They were pressured to worship Caesar. They could do anything they wanted, worship any other “gods” that they wanted, as long as they proclaimed their initial allegiance to Caesar.
The Christians at Smyrna refused to do this. “Christ is Lord,” they proclaimed and would not compromise to even give Caesar “half a place.” This created an atmosphere of persecution and extreme anxiety. They suffered economically, as well, finding it difficult to do business as merchants.
One of the hardest parts of suffering is thinking that we are suffering alone. No one wants to suffer or die alone. Jesus assures His people that this is not the case. He is with them, because He has experienced it. He will never leave or forsake anyone. “We are not isolated. We are not separated either from God or from his people. He knows, and he is with us.”
(From This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson)
Father, I have not gone through anything, recently, that I would call “suffering.” Even the time that we were without power in the sub-freezing temperatures week before last, I would not consider suffering, especially since there were many, many people who had it much worse than we did. But I thank You greatly that You are always with Your people during our suffering. Help us, though, to know this truth. Help us to have the constant knowledge of Your presence, so that, should we have to suffer, we will not forget, and we will not complain, nor will we give up hope, thinking that You have abandoned us. Praise Your great Name, that You will always be with us, and that You, Jesus, have suffered everything that we could possible go through, and that You will always share this in our lives with You. All glory to You, our great King!
Lord, I pray that we, Your children, would love and commit our best to the communities in which You have placed us. May You equip us to serve in unique ways as we live in these communities, helping us to not hide our light under a basket. I pray especially today for teachers, administrators, and all others who work in education. Give the teachers strength and patience. Give the administrators wisdom (some of them need a lot of this). Give aides and other workers love and compassion for those whom they serve.
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!
Lord, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us.
Grace and peace, friends.