Today is Saturday, the first of May, 2021, in the fourth week of Easter.
Eight days until Mother’s Day
It seems like this past week was longer than usual. Which, of course, is silly, because it was the same length as any other week. But perception is everything, isn’t it? The stress and anxiety levels seemed higher, and I may have been, to a degree, piggy-backing off of C’s incredible stress levels, as well. Hers was much more than mine, and continues this morning.
In fact, she will not be accompanying me to our WW workshop, as she needs to be available for work. Hopefully, they won’t need her.
She stopped by the grocery store on the way home, yesterday, and picked up most of our groceries for the coming week. I’m taking a truncated list of things that she wasn’t able to get, and will stop by Albertson’s on the way home from WW. Why Albertson’s? Because they carry Nick’s ice cream, that because why. On a possible discouraging note, C noted that all of the Halo Top ice cream was on clearance at the WM Neighborhood Market, yesterday evening. I hope that doesn’t mean it is going away. It’s one of our favorite treats (second to Nick’s, of course).
Nothing much else is planned today, especially since C has to remain available for work. So I will spend my time, this afternoon and evening, playing games and/or music and/or reading. I’m very close to finishing Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. In fact, I’m done with the actual text of the book and into an Appendix. I have no idea what I’m reading next.
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)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
(Revelation 21:3-7 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the promises and hope in the above passage
- for the weekend to rest and refresh for the upcoming week
- that You are making everything new
- for the making of music to proclaim Your great love
- that You chose me and put me on the path of life
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EASTER – DAY 28
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:14 NIV)
I’m pausing for a moment to reflect on the hope of future grace, as we look toward the day when we will be Home.
A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day.
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts!
(Psalms 92:1-5 NIV)
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
(Psalms 92:12-13 NIV)
“‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
(Ezekiel 34:11-16 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself that I am in God’s presence, I linger over these passages, inviting the Holy Spirit to speak truth into my soul.
It is, indeed, good to sing and make music, proclaiming the praises of the Lord. I confess that I have missed this aspect of traditional “church” life. While I do like the model we are using for our gatherings, there are some aspects of the traditional church gathering that I do miss, and the singing of worship songs together is one of those. I think I just said the same thing twice. Oh, well.
But the unidentified psalmist goes beyond that, even. He (or she?) may be speaking of solo worship, right? There is no mention of a congregation joining in. He simply speaks of making music, proclaiming God’s love in the morning and at night, using different types of instruments. I have no “ten-stringed lyre” or a “harp.” But I have a guitar, a piano (not exactly working very well), and an electronic keyboard. There is nothing preventing me from making music to the Lord in the morning and the night. I can come up with excuses, but that is truly all they are.
I want to flourish like the palm tree, abiding in the presence of the Lord. Oh, Lord, let me be planted in Your “house.”
The Ezekiel passage, of which I am not as familiar as some other passages, speaks hope and promise into my soul. These are comforting words as the Lord lets us know of His great love for His sheep, and what He will do to rescue them, gather them, and protect them with His justice. What great rest is promised!
Father, I thank You for these comforting words, this morning. My soul has been troubled, during this past week. It has been agitated. These words calm my spirit. They speak peace to my soul. Thank You for being our Shepherd and making us lie down. Praise to You for searching for the lost, bringing back the strays, binding up the injured, and strengthening the weak. Thank You for shepherding Your flock with justice.
Thank You for the music, Lord. My gratitude for Your putting this music into my soul cannot be adequately expressed. I confess that I have lost touch with it, recently, and I’m endeavoring to regain it. Help me to remember; help me to remember the value of praising You, proclaiming Your great love in the morning and at night. Intensify the desire of my heart to worship You with music, Lord. “O Thou who changest not, abide with me!”
Sovereign God, we need true leaders, not pompous windbags or self-appointed religious experts. We need human leaders who have your heart and know your ways, called servants in whom I see your wisdom, justice, and compassion. For these shepherds I pray. Amen. (Belgic Confession 31)
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 to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.'”
(Jeremiah 21:8 ESV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
(John 5:24 ESV)
There are two paths in front of each of us, every day. There is a path of life, and there is a path of death. Those of us who are believers in Jesus have already chosen the path of life, and, while we may make wrong decisions along the way, we are secure in that path. There are others who still travel the path of death. However, in the words of Led Zeppelin (I bet you never expected to see that name in a Gospel message), “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
Choose the path of life today.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
(Psalms 1:3 ESV)
Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
(Proverbs 12:12 ESV)
Father, strengthen my roots today. I want to grow in You; I want to yield fruit in season; I want my leaf to not wither. I’m not so concerned with prospering, at least not physically. I do desire to prosper, spiritually, though, in Your eyes. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your Name. Help me to stay on the path of life.
Lord, please unify Your Church and make her holy; may we know Your holiness in our lives and seek righteousness in Your Kingdom. I lift up the people in our little church community; Brandon and Kristen and Ava; Terry and Summer; Colby, Jayden, Caylee, and Brent; Lori; Lydia and Elisha; Bliss and Jared (and Charlie, scheduled to be born three days from now!); Jacob; Brandy, Lee, Jacob, John, Alison, and Melvin; S and C. May Your grace and peace rain down on all of these beautiful people today. I lift up a special prayer for all who are either newly married or about to be married. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen their unions.
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!
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(Colossians 2:6-7 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.