Today is Wednesday (Hump Day), the twenty-eighth of April, 2021, in the fourth week of Easter.
Peace be with you!
Eleven days until Mother’s Day.
The last components that we need (as far as we know) to get the pool going again were delivered yesterday. We got three “jandy valves” early in the day, and the new heater was delivered last night, shortly before 8:00 PM. Now we just need to wait on the availability of the repairman. And to see if there’s anything else broken either between the equipment and the pool, or around the structure of the pool, itself.
Also, it is hard to believe that April is almost over.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"O Lord, you have mercy on all. Take away my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen." (Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
(Psalms 75:1 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- this mid-week time of reflection and prayer
- the assurance that You are always with me
- that there is no one like You; You are unique
- that my eternal destiny is secure, resting only in Your hands, not in the hands of any human, including myself
- that my eyes are, more and more, fixed, not on this world, this “bridal chamber,” but on Home
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EASTER – DAY 25
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:14 NIV)
I pause in quiet reflection, pondering the nearness of the Lord, and meditating on His wondrous deeds. I work on shoving aside the troubles of the day.
A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
(Psalms 89:1-2 NIV)
The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, LORD God Almighty?
You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
(Psalms 89:5-8 NIV)
Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.
(Psalms 89:49-52 NIV)
The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:24-30 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I dwell in the presence of the Lord, I linger over these passages, repeating some of the words and phrases, maybe even out loud, inviting the Holy Spirit to move my heart and soul.
I feel that I can echo the psalmist’s sentiment in the first two verses of Psalm 89. I am confident in and will proclaim the great love of the Lord forever. Like a psalmist, I frequently sing of His great love, and have even written a few songs, during my life.
The question, “Who is like you?” is, of course, rhetorical. There is no one like You, O God Almighty! And who, exactly, are these “holy ones” of whom the psalmist speaks? I’ve often wondered this. There are other passages where they are referred to as “gods” (little “g”). Someday, we will find out who this is talking about.
The passage from John is a strong one. This passage is a bastion of the concept/doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Baptists tend to call it “once saved always saved.” Jesus declares, here, that He gives His sheep eternal life, “and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” No one. My salvation is secure, and not even I can decide that I don’t want it any more. I cannot snatch myself out of God’s hand. I am secure.
There are a lot of “yeah, but what ifs” out there, and I believe they are all answered by one little passage in one of John’s lesser epistles.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
(1 John 2:19 ESV)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, if it appears that anyone has “lost” their salvation, they either never had it to begin with, or they have simply stepped off of the path, and we can be assured that they will be back. The bottom line is that my salvation is not in the hands of any human being, including myself.
Father, I praise You that my eternal destiny was never, and never will be, in the hands of a human being. My salvation belongs to You and You alone, and in Christ I am secure. Hallelujah! Who is like You, O Lord? The answer to that question is a resounding, “No one!” You are alone (excepting of course, the Holy Trinity) in glory. You are unique. In fact, You are truly the only One who is unique. Everything else that I can see with my eyes or hear with my ears is a copy of something else. I lift up Your Holy Name, this morning, praising You for the glory that I see around me, and that I experience in Your Name every day.
Faithful Savior, I am so grateful to your commitment to me that will never let me be snatched away from you. I falter in my faith and feel the pull away from you by the siren call of sin and temptation. But you keep me standing in grace, strengthened and powerfully preserved. Fill me with your Spirit to fight the good fight today. Amen. (Canons of Dort 5.3)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)
You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
(Psalms 17:3 ESV)
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.
(Proverbs 19:20-22 ESV)
Some thoughts on the preparations of a bride.
“The more she focuses on her present circumstances, on what she’ll be leaving, the less she’ll be able to focus on where she’s going. She knows that her time in her present home is now temporary and limited. It’s not for her to grow more attached to it, but less attached. It’s for her to tread lightly. Now is her time to let go, to begin to say good-bye. Everything she once knew as her home is no longer so. It has now become her bridal chamber. She must now use everything she has to prepare herself for the wedding and the life that lies ahead of her.”
You know where this is going, right?
We are the “bride of Christ.” Therefore, everything stated in that paragraph applies to us, in our current situation. This world is the place we are leaving. Our days in this place are temporary. We must be growing less attached to it. Now is our time of letting go. “You are here to become beautiful.”
This is why I long so much for Home. This world is not Home. It is temporary, and more and more, I have my eyes fixed on what will be my permanent Home.
“The Mission: Live today as one preparing for the wedding. Use every moment as a chance to become more beautiful and heavenly.”
Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
(Isaiah 52:1-2 ESV)
that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
(Ephesians 5:26-27 ESV)
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
(Revelation 21:2 ESV)
(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)
My Lord, my God, and my Father, I thank You that You have placed this desire for Home, this longing for my permanent, eternal dwelling, in my heart and soul. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on Home today.
Lord, I lift up, this morning, all governments, world leaders, and the needs of our world, especially naming the continent of South America and all of the countries therein. I also pray for all who are prisoners and members of the crime community. May Your Holy Spirit change hearts and lives today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.