Today is Wednesday (Hump Day), the seventh of April, 2021. Easter Wednesday in the first week of Easter.
Peace be with you!
43 days until our trip to Glen Rose
It is currently 70 degrees here, with a projected high of 77, and a 54% chance of scattered rain showers today.
We successfully got S her second vaccine shot, yesterday. The drive through set up at Texas Motor Speedway is very impressive. The rest of the day contained nothing of any significance, other than I finally finished a book I had been reading for a couple weeks. It was a book about Manson and the sixties, some secret government organizations, LSD, and even the Kennedy assassination. It was wild and crazy read. It was called CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. You can read my review of it at my other blog.
We have made plans to gather (still safely, though) at Mama’s house on Saturday, to celebrate some birthdays. Her birthday is tomorrow, R’s was on March 31, and mine was back on March 13. We have not really been able to properly celebrate, of course, and you all know why. No need to go into that, eh?
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.
(St. Teresa of Avila)
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.
(Psalms 71:4-6 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- that I have leaned upon You from before my birth
- for the mystery of the “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3)
- that whoever has You has enough; You alone suffice
- for praise from the lips of children and infants
- for Your steadfast love, mercy, and grace, lavishly rained down on us
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EASTER – DAY 4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1 Peter 1:3 NIV)
I am pausing to quietly reflect on the mystery of the new birth, given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
(Psalms 68:1-3 NIV)
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
(Luke 24:13-19 NIV)
“. . . but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
(Luke 24:21-32 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself that I am, truly, in God’s presence, I read these passages again, asking the Holy Spirit to draw me in and speak truth to my soul.
I do find solace in the third verse of Psalm 68. I do hope for gladness and rejoicing before God, for the “righteous,” keeping in mind that our only possible righteousness is from the aforementioned mystery of the new birth in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have no righteousness which I may call my own. I am happy and joyful when I consider the righteousness of Christ, and when I consider the prayer of St. Teresa, with which I began my devotional today. I have God; I lack nothing.
I feel, at times, that we (or just me, maybe? Can I truly speak for anyone else?) are “foolish” and “slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” as Jesus, incognito, said to the two travelers on the road to Emmaus. We have even less of an excuse than they did, because we have the whole story, from beginning to end. We have the same prophets they had, with the addition of the New Testament, yet we constantly wonder around in a fog, not sure what to believe.
My faith, while it may be strong enough to get me by, is weak, still. It is incomplete. Not because God isn’t enough. I’ve already covered that, this morning. I have the Lord, so I lack nothing. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack.” If I lack anything it is because I am foolish and slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Strangely, these words give me hope, this morning, rather than a feeling of condemnation. I can only credit the Spirit for this. The hope rests in the truth of what Jesus has spoken. I am not alone in my slowness to believe. I know this because of the common testimony of others with whom I fellowship and worship. We all struggle with the same things. And I also know that there is hope for it to be better.
I know the words of Jesus. I know much of the prophets’ writings. (I am far from a prophecy expert, however.) I know Paul’s writings and am familiar with the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. Therefore, I have no real excuse to be foolish and slow to believe.
Father, help me to act on the available wisdom that comes from Your Word and Your Spirit. Show me Your face, as Jesus revealed Himself to the two on the Emmaus Road. Complete my faith and eradicate my foolishness. I have You in Christ, through the Spirit. That is enough.
Lord God, I'm sluggish in faith, thick of head, and I need your Holy Spirit's power to help me see Jesus in all the Scriptures and in the breaking of bread. Kindle in me a burning heart of rich faith that opens my eyes and recognizes you as Lord. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 65)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
(Matthew 21:16 NIV)
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
(Matthew 18:3-5 NIV)
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 NIV)
“Where you look is where you go.” (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries)
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 NIV)
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
(Ephesians 4:1 NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
(Colossians 3:1-2 NIV)
“The Mission: What is the direction of the calling of your life? Today, dwell only on that which leads to that destination, and on nothing that doesn’t.”
Father, today, direct my eyes only in that direction toward which I should be moving. Help me to not look toward things that are unhealthy for me, either physically or spiritually. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name. You are enough. Nothing is lacking. Take away my foolishness and slowness to believe. “I believe! Help my unbelief!”
I lift up our communities, this morning, national and local, that Your presence would be felt in their midst. I pray for the continent of Africa, that You would be provider and protector for all of Your people there. I pray for our governments throughout the land, federal, state, and local. May You give all of our elected leaders Your wisdom. More importantly, I pray that Your Spirit would draw them to seek Your wisdom 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!
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
Grace and peace, friends.