Not Just “Something to Get Through”

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the twenty-ninth of April, 2021, in the fourth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,058

Ten days until Mother’s Day

We were threatened by a storm, last night, but the threat turned into nothing but some noise and a little rain. The worst part, including the alleged tornado rotation, passed by us to the north.

Our weather sirens went off somewhere around 7:15, as we were watching an episode of Kim’s Convenience on Netflix. We paused, and switched to regular TV, looking for weather interruptions. At first, there was only President Biden’s speech, but it was shortly interrupted by the weather.

I swear, the weather people must live for moments like this. Pete Delkus was so excited I thought he was going to pee his pants. Never been a fan, so we switched to another channel, and that guy wasn’t much better. He informed us that sixty-five mile an hour winds could blow windows out of our house.

Seriously.

Dude. I sat through 110 mph straight-line winds one night, back when we lived west of White Settlement (yes, that is really still the name of a Texas town) and no windows were blown out.

Anyway, Delkus was advising us all to take shelter, and the guy on the other channel was telling us to put on bike helmets, and all the while, C and I were watching the radar map thinking, “this thing is going to totally miss us.” Sure enough, it did. I’m not sure how close it was, but it most definitely went north of us. I can’t really celebrate too much, because other people were still in its path. I don’t know if there was every a real tornado on the ground.

It’s raining like crazy, here, this morning, though, and looks like it may rain all day. This means I should strive a little harder to get done with my devotional on time. Which never happens. So here we go.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Purpose of A Song, by Daryl Madden

The purpose of a song
Music to us bringing
Isn’t to get it done
But the joy the singing

Nor swaying to a beat
A movement of romance
Is not to finish it
But the love of dance

Same be true of prayer
Not something to complete
Our treasure found within
With our God, we meet

And what about each day
Not something to get through
With Gods’ love and joy
Our life has true value

The main reason I chose to share this one, this morning, is that last stanza. All too often, I look at the day, especially the work part . . . okay, exclusively the work part . . . as “something to get through.” I’m convicted by Daryl’s words, here. Looking at the day as something to get through, I believe, dishonors God and His handiwork. If I walk in the truth of Ephesians 2:10, then I need to see that day filled with opportunities to walk in good works that God has prepared beforehand for me.

That could be the entire devotion for the day.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that I am Your workmanship, and this day, only just begun, will be full of opportunities; open my eyes to them and help me to not see it as “something to get through”
  • that we were spared from the worst part of the storm, last night; praying that no one experienced storm damage or injury
  • that the day is not just something to get through, but will be full of opportunities; open my eyes, Lord
  • that by Your stripes I have been healed
  • that real transformation is possible

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

EASTER – DAY 26

INVITATION

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:14 NIV)

I pause, briefly to reflect on my attitude about the coming day.

BIBLE SONG

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
(Psalms 90:1-6 NIV)

If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:11-12 NIV)

BIBLE READING

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
(1 Peter 2:19-25 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I try to rest in God’s presence, this morning, with distractions hitting me from many directions, I linger over these words, inviting the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations toward any word or phrase that He wants to teach me.

God is eternal; the prayer of Moses uses good descriptive language in the first two verses, I believe. Before there were mountains, before the world was “brought forth,” “from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Are

Not “were” or “have been.” Present tense. From eternity past to eternity future, You ARE God! Just as Jesus said, before Abraham or Moses, “I AM.” Our Father exists outside of time; He exists at all times at once. This is why it can say in following verses, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”

And the, ironically, it turns around and tells us, in verse 12, to “number our days.” This is something worth pondering, I believe. By the way, that verse is why I give the number of days I have been on this earth, back up there at the beginning. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, mind you . . . I don’t really believe that this verse literally means that we should count our days.

What I do believe (and am certainly open to correction on this) is that it could have something to do with not taking our life for granted or taking it lightly. I don’t think we should be overly serious about everything, either, but our days are most assuredly numbered. Look at verses 5-6.

Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
(Psalms 90:5-6 NIV)

Father, I celebrate Your being, this morning, as You “are” in existence, before all things and after all things. Help me to take better stock of my days as I live through them. Help me to look at each day, not as something to get through, but as a field of opportunities to serve You and people. Help me look for the blessings, rather than the curses. My brain, for some reason, seems programed to find negative things. Transform me, Father, helping my brain to look for the beauty and the positive. Not that I want to be blissfully ignorant of the negative; I just don’t want to dwell on it. So help me to shut out the sources of negativity in my life, be they people or events. And please transform me, as I do not wish to be one of those sources of negativity.

Thank You for the example and work of Jesus Christ, who teach us how to react to those people and events, not retaliating when insulted or threatened, but trusting “him who judges justly,” which would be, of course, You. Help me to die to sins and live for righteousness, as I have been healed by His wounds.

Father,
grace is what drew me to you and saved me.
Don't let me become a graceless moralist or a master of spiritual self-help;
keep, 
continue, 
and complete this work of grace in me.
Remind me that my job is to stay fully engaged in grace,
dwelling in the gospel,
meditating on its words,
warnings,
and promises,
and feeding on its comfort in the sacraments.
Amen.
(Canon of Dort 5.14)

BLESSING

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)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)

Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.”
(1 Chronicles 28:20 ESV)

For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:31 ESV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 ESV)

At the risk of sounding cliché, these passages remind us that, no matter what the problem, God is bigger. He will not leave us without solutions, and will always turn something that looks “bad” to us into something good for us (if, of course, we are walking in His truth and love Him and are called according to His purpose). And remember, courage is not the absence of fear . . . it is rising up and doing something anyway, in the face of that fear.

Father, these passages above seem to go in line with the other teachings, this morning, teaching me about courage and fear, and how You will never leave me or forsake me. This helps me in the quest to view the day as opportunity rather than drudgery. Keep my eyes open today, both physically and spiritually, for opportunities to serve You and others. This day is not just something to get through.

Lord, I pray that You grant me (as well as all of Your Church) spiritual renewal today. In Your grace, grant me deep repentance, and please, Father, make Your people willing to work for racial reconciliation.

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!

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.