Firm Foundation

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

Today is Thursday, the twenty-ninth of July, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,149

Twenty-one days until S’s birthday!

I don’t know how much sense this is going to make, this morning, as it was at least 11:00 PM before I got to sleep last night.

S and I did have a good time, last night, though, on our first visit to Globe Life Field. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, as we were awaiting game time, the Rangers were dealing fan favorite Joey Gallo to the Evil Empire. Good ol’ Jon-boy strikes again.

And, the Rangers lost to the D-backs, as those are two of the teams fighting over the honors of being the worst team in MLB. The Rangers attempted a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but to no avail. I had a nice time sitting and chatting with Mel Kincaid, the music minister/worship leader (not sure what his actual title is) from FBC Mineral Wells.

It was cold in there.

I’m already running late, so I should move on. I have two days left of full-time employment. This all feels so surreal to me.

One last thing. The bass player of ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, passed away yesterday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
(2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
(Psalms 39:4-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, even though I know my days are numbered, and my life is fleeting, You have filled my days with Your joy and Your peace;
2. for the constancy of Your Word, and the way it fills my life;
3. to be able to ascribe to You glory and strength, as You are fully worthy of this;
4. that You are giving me strength and blessing me with peace;
5. that all of this is established on Your firm foundation.

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TEN – DAY FIVE

INVITATION

The LORD is faithful to his promises; he is merciful in all his acts.
(Psalms 145:13b GNB)

As I pause in this quiet time, I direct my mind and heart to acknowledge and rest in the presence of the Lord. I consider the fleeting nature of life, but also know that He is with me, all my days.

BIBLE SONG

A psalm of David.

Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
(Psalms 29:1-2, 10-11 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.
Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
(Genesis 18:20-32 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I continue to rest in the presence of the Lord, I ask His Holy Spirit to guide me through the reading of these Scriptures, showing me something new and fresh for my day.

The psalm is a simple worship song. There is nothing deeply theological about it, just a call for God’s people to ascribe glory and strength to the Lord. Was does “ascribe” mean? It means to attribute a characteristic to a person or thing.

When we ascribe glory and strength to the Lord, we are acknowledging those qualities about Him, of which He is well-worthy. “He is enthroned as King forever.”

I believe verse 11 to be consequences of the aforementioned actions. When we worship Him, as we ought, “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”

I have mentioned, recently, that the situation in Genesis would not have even been an issue, had Abraham fully obeyed the Lord when he was told to leave home and go to a place yet unknown. The only reason Abraham was so concerned about Sodom and Gomorrah was that his nephew had taken up residence there.

Maybe, just maybe, Abraham was really concerned about the “righteous” being swept away with the wicked, but let’s not pretend. Abraham was messing around with the Almighty in this passage, and the Almighty indulged him. The patience of God is seen to be somewhat astonishing in this passage.

How many times have I played with God like this, in my life? Don’t lie . . . we all have done it, at one time or another. We try to make deals with God.

“God if this test turns out negative, I’ll never do _________ again.”

How many of us kept that “covenant?”

I don’t make “resolutions” any more, especially at the new year. It’s silly. I don’t make promises to God. I don’t try to make deals with God, any more. I have grown past that. I’m still a sinner, but I also know grace. And here’s the thing . . . grace is not contingent on any deals with God. He is going to show grace to me because of Jesus Christ, not because of any “promises” that I make.

I will have troubles in my life. That much is assured. That is one of the few constants we can count on. Trouble will be there. But I believe that, ultimately, the Lord will deliver me out of ALL of them, just as the Psalms state over and over again.

So I don’t try to “deal” with God; I don’t play “what if” with the Almighty. I do cry out to Him. Do I ever. I was doing that for at least a half hour, that afternoon, as I sat in that CareNow exam room. I keep mentioning that, because that event was a turning point in this whole ordeal. It was a pivotal point, after which the most incredible peace came.

And that peace still abides, even though nothing is at all certain about what comes next. This I know, and am fully persuaded, that God is with me and He will provide. Maybe it will be a library assistant position, maybe it will be a bus driving job. Something is going to happen, and, in the meantime, I am trusting Him.

I am ascribing to Him glory and strength, and, as a result, He is giving me strength, and blessing me with peace.

Father, I praise You for Who You are. I ascribe to You glory and strength, and all the other attributes of which You are worthy. I long for the day when I will hear the songs of Revelation being sung in person, when I can cast my voice in with the multitudes from every tribe, race, nation, and people, as we all sing together, “WORTHY IS THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN!” I praise You for the peace that I feel right now. I praise You for the strength that I feel, this morning, even though I am tired and sleepy from a late night.

Lord, please give me a yearning to know You more, and the diligence to keep seeking You. Please allow me to experience the joy of Your salvation today. And for any family members and friends who may not know You, yet, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to them in new ways today; may Your Spirit surround them with Your overwhelming love.

"God who listens,
what would it take for me to contend with you in prayer like Abraham?
As I pray,
teach me that humility and courage aren't opposites.
Don't let me hide anything from you--
not the needs of myself or others,
not my joy,
or even my frustration with your ways.
And always,
may my bold prayers rest on the unshakable foundation that you listen to my heart.
In Christ's name,
amen."

BLESSING

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.
(Jeremiah 29:11 GNB)


But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD;
(Psalms 141:8 NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

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!

Fear not, I am with thee, Oh be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, Help thee, And cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Grace and peace, friends.

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