Today is Saturday, the nineteenth of June, 2021.
May the peace of God reign in your life, today.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day.
But, perhaps, the bigger news is that today is Juneteenth, and, thanks to legislation recently passed by the U.S. House and Senate, and signed into law by President Biden a couple days ago, for the first time in history, Juneteenth is a federal holiday. Personally, I believe that is a good thing. I do not expect that my company will provide it as a paid holiday, however, in future years. I might be surprised, though. Who knows?
C is home!!! C is home!!! I felt like Balki on Perfect Strangers, wanting to do the Myposian Dance of Joy. Her flight actually landed about a half hour early, in DFW, so she was home before, or at least right around 10:00 PM.
Today will be a full day, with WW workshop at 10:30, followed by a visit (I think it’s still on) from R & J, with lunch. I’m thinking that I stand to lose maybe a pound or two, this morning. That will put me close to where I was before the unexpected gain, due to medication changes.
Speaking of medication changes, I have been off of blood pressure medication since Monday, and for most of the week, it has been right around 112/65. Until this morning, when it was 99/65! I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be taking Lisinopril any more. I just hope I don’t wind up having to take something else to make it go up!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
You bless me here A misty morning A stirring breath Silence adorning You bless me here A gentle light Of colors depth Of beauty bright You bless me here A moments’ being Of dwelling in A vision seeing The light of love Of Spirits way In Your embrace I long to stay (Embrace of Morning, by Daryl Madden)
So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!
(Psalms 31:24 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
1. that C got home safely last night! 2. for the weekend, to rest and refresh for the coming work week. 3. for visits with family. 4. for the many gifts that You have granted me through Your Spirit 5. that You desire justice for the poor and uphold the cause of the needy
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK 4 – DAY 7
“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”
(Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV)
I pause for a moment to reflect on the embrace of love that I experience from my Father, and the hope that I put in Him.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.
They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.
(Psalms 140:1-3 NIV)
I say to the LORD, “You are my God.”
Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy.
Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD; do not let their plans succeed.
(Psalms 140:6-8 NIV)
I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence.
(Psalms 140:12-13 NIV)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
(Galatians 6:7-10 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I sit here, this morning, in God’s presence, I read these passages again, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and meditations, and my prayers.
The passage from Psalm 140 is a tough one, and tricky, too. I mean, who among us would not agree that it is good to pray that the wicked not be granted their desires, and that we need to be delivered from “evildoers?”
The problem is that we are not all in agreement about who/what is “wicked.”
For a good idea on that, keep reading, looking at verses 12-13. There are a lot of ways that “wicked” can be defined. I believe that the best way is to consider those who do not acknowledge God, through Jesus Christ. Yet not everyone who considers themselves an atheist is really all that “evil,” are they? That sentence was grammatically awkward and I’m not going to try to fix it.
But in verse 12, it says that the Lord secures justice for the poor, and He upholds the cause of the needy. Let’s use that as a context for defining “wicked.” In my opinion, someone is “wicked” who does the opposite of verse 12.
Then who is righteous? Whoever works with the Lord to do the things in verse 12, and then whoever does the things mentioned in verse 13.
And, ironically, there is almost a seamless transition between the Psalms passage and the Galatians passage. Seriously, go up there and read them, maybe out loud and don’t stop or pause when you get to the end of Psalm 140, but just keep reading right on into Galatians 6.
It really flows. It’s almost like the Holy Spirit was guiding the person who put this reading together!
God is not mocked. And He is not deceived by our platitudes. We reap what we sow. Verse 8 is powerful.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:8 NIV)
I’ve been in both places. Sometimes on the same day. That makes for a rough day, let me tell you. But if we spend our lives hoarding resources, being selfish, and only looking after our own interests, we will find ourselves alone at the end of our lives.
What are we building? Are we building something out of wood, hay, and stubble, that will all burn to the ground at the end of days, or are we building something out of gold and silver, that will live on?
I’m reminded of the parable of the rich fool, from Luke 12.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:13-21 NIV)
Also 1 Corinthians 3.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
(1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NIV)
Galatians 6:10 sums it up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
(Galatians 6:10 NIV)
Father, help me to be one who does good to all people. Once again, this idea flows right into the two jobs that we have, as we walk in Your kingdom. Loving You and loving people, especially “those who belong to the family of believers.” May I never be numbered among the “wicked” in anything that I do, think, or say. Sometimes that is a struggle. I know and acknowledge that even this morning, I struggled with wicked thoughts about a particular person. Forgive me, Father (I know You already have), for those thoughts, and help me to be one who pushes for unity, not division, through our mutual love for You in Jesus Christ. Help me to always “walk the talk,” and may my speech be sincere in all things, never filled with meaningless platitudes.
Lord of the harvest, it's not a question of "if" anything is growing in my life but "what." Help me to know that the root of what I see in my life is found in the quiet planting of thoughts, words, looks, desires, and gestures. Guide me to examine those quiet, hidden places of my life and to sow the Spirit, so that my life contributes to the growth of your good kingdom, for all to see and enjoy. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 105/106)
[May you be] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:11 NIV)
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(1 Peter 4:10 KJV)
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
(Romans 12:6-8 NLT)
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.
(1 Corinthians 12:4 NLT)
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.
(1 Timothy 4:14 NLT)
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
(Luke 16:10 NLT)
All of this to simply say, exercise the gifts you have been given. You don’t need to take a “spiritual gift inventory” to know what you should be doing. Just do the gifts, which may, in my opinion, vary, depending on the circumstances. But if you enjoy doing a thing for someone else, then do that thing, and do it gladly, and do it well.
Father, thank You for the gifts You have given me. Help me to be more cognizant of them, especially when circumstances arise which would allow me to exercise a gifting. Help me not worry so much about a “vocation” or what I should be doing with the rest of my life. Just guide me by Your Spirit, into areas where I can use the gifts You have given me. All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Lord, this morning, I pray for “creative and risk-taking ministry in the church that engages the community,” even and especially for smaller house-churches like ours. I pray desperately for unity and holiness within Your Church, Father. I specifically pray for all who are newly baptized into Your Church, or who are preparing to be baptized, this weekend, or soon. May Your Spirit fill and encourage them.
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.