Faith in the Testing

Today is Saturday, the thirty-first of July, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,151

Nineteen days until S’s birthday! She starts her countdown today!

I am officially “retired.” Let me tell you, it is an odd feeling, quite surreal. I was given a nice little “sendoff” party, around lunch time, yesterday. I wasn’t sure if they would do anything, so I was pleasantly surprised, and they pulled it off without me having a clue it was coming.

Of course, I cried a little bit. I was asked to say a few words, which was tough. I had worked with some of these people the whole seven years I had been at that location. I worked with CEVA for a total of ten years, over three different accounts, and with the Raytheon account the longest.

I told them that I loved them all, and then pointed to the shirt that I chose to wear for my last day. I purposefully selected my t-shirt that says “Love one another.” As I pointed to it, I stated that I had chosen that shirt on purpose. I simply emphasized that I loved them, and that this was what we all needed to do, as our world is so fractured right now. I believe it was well-received.

Then there was cake. And it was delicious cake. Of course I ate a piece. Someone who knows of the journey I have been on, over the last seventeen months, quipped that it was low-carb cake. I said I didn’t believe him, and I didn’t care. There was a card, actually two. One from my receiving team, and the other from the whole group. There were very kind words on them both.

I also received a few gifts, from various people. One of the Kitting leads gave me a couple of books, as we had bonded a bit over reading, during past months. He gave me Travels with Charlie, by Steinbeck, and Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch. One of the receiving ladies gave me a nice insulated tumbler, along with a Hershey’s bar, and one of the departments gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card.

As I walked out of the building, at the end of the day, with one of my closest friends walking me to the car, having surrendered my badge and all access to the building, there was this moment of almost panic, when I wanted to run back, bang on the door and yell, “Wait! I’ve made a huge mistake! I changed my mind! Let me back in!”

But I got over that.

When I checked yesterday’s mail, there was an envelope addressed to C, that contained a $200 refund from one of her recent medical procedures. I’m not one that tries to find “signs” in everything that happened, but I couldn’t help but believe that that one was, indeed, a sign from God that it’s all going to be fine.

This morning, as soon as I get done with this, we are traveling to Mineral Wells for a bittersweet gathering. R & J will be there, as we have an early celebration for J’s and S’s birthday (both August 19). R & J will be moving to Indianapolis next weekend, I think, so it will likely be our last chance to visit with them before they move. C has already declared that we are going to somehow manage to see them at least twice a year. I’m not sure how we will make that work, but I’ve never been to Indianapolis, so there’s an opportunity for me to visit a new place. Plus I have that silly star on my driver’s license, now, so I can fly again. On a plane. Well, in a plane, actually. I don’t think anyone actually flies on a plane. It would be hard to hold on . . . not to mention freezing cold.

Time to move on.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Of A Prayer, by Daryl Madden

When frustrations
In this day, appear
Instead of complaining
Let’s offer a prayer

When a soul comes to mind
We dislike or we care
Let’s cover them now
With a blessing of prayer

When our thoughts arise
Of worry or fear
Let’s give them unto
Our Lord, with a prayer

When we are bored
Opportunity here
To fill our soul
With the joy of a prayer

A practice this day
Of our lives to share
The love of our Lord
With the gift of prayer

This is a beautiful poem!

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD.
(Psalms 40:1-3 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, as I wait patiently for You, You hears me and lift me up;
2. for whatever comes next in my life, as I know it will be a gift from You;
3. that You will give me a "new song to sing," and that others will be inspired by Your works in my life;
4. that You are my refuge, my rescue, my rock, and my fortress, and that You will lead and guide me for Your Name's sake;
5. for the faith exhibited by Abraham when You tested him.

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TEN – DAY SEVEN

INVITATION

Our LORD, you keep your word and do everything you say.
(Psalms 145:13b CEV)

You may have noticed that I decided to feature different translations of the invitation verse(s) this week. The other Scriptures continue to be in New International Version, as that is the version used by the book.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.
(Psalms 31:1-5 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
(Genesis 22:1-2, 6-14 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to lead me closer to the Trinity, as I walk in the Kingdom of God today.

The passage from Psalms is full of those descriptive words that I love to use about God; refuge, rock, fortress. And then there’s the reason for God being all of things to me; “for the sake of your name.”

I keep coming back around to this, lately. We have to remember that everything that God does is for His own Name’s sake. For the sake of His own glory, He will lead and guide me along the right path. Put simply, if I screw up, it looks bad on Him, right? And God is going to protect His own Name, above all else.

So why, then, does He allow people like Jimmy Swaggart to mess up and get caught in hotel rooms with sex-workers? I can’t answer that question, because I’m not God. But I suspect that it may have something to do with them persisting on taking their own way instead of His. I do believe that, even though I can never completely “fall away,” if I persist long enough in taking my own path, God will eventually say, “Fine, then. Go that way. But suffer the consequences.” When this happens, it will be me that is fully discredited, not God.

Now, there are people out there, who mistakenly won’t believe in God because of the actions of a few foolish people who claim to be following Him. I would plead with those people to, rather, examine the life of God incarnate, rather than a few foolish human beings. Jesus Christ is the example to look at, not Robert Tilton or Benny Hinn or Jimmy Swaggart or Joel Osteen. I could name more, and I’m sure you have a few in mind, as well.

Look to Jesus. You won’t find anything wrong, there.

In the meantime, I pray that the Lord will keep me on His path, for His Name’s sake, and not allow me to persist on my own way. Even more so, I pray that “my own way,” would actually be His way, so there wouldn’t be any problem, there.

That’s the part about keeping me from falling into any traps (verse 4).

Regarding the testing of Abraham, I find it interesting that the compiler of the devotional book chose to leave out verse 5 of Genesis 22. I believe that verse 5 is one of the more important verses in the passage.

He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
(Genesis 22:5 NIV)

There is a very important word that is used twice in the verse.

“We.”

Abraham says, “We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

There was no doubt in Abraham’s mind that Isaac would be coming back with him.

Father, I pray for the faith of Abraham, especially as I stare straight into the unknown today. I remember someone’s quote: “When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.” Nietzsche, I think. Well, the abyss is staring back at me, and I am not deterred. Because I trust in You. I trust in You because You have proved Yourself worthy, time and time again, not only in my life, but in the lives of countless myriads of people before me, from the beginning of all time. I thank You for the record that we have, most effectively highlighted in Hebrews chapter 11. Thank You for being my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. And thank You for the life of Jesus Christ, who, besides being my redemption, is also my example for how to live my own life.

Lord, I also pray that Your Church would have a “deep missional identity.” May You give her servant leadership, kingdom vision, and godly stewardship. I also pray for all who may be new “members” in a church community. I pray that Your people would treat them with compassion and kindness and love, showing them the true way to walk in Your kingdom.

"God my provider,
loosen my grip on all that I hold dear in my heart.
By faith I release them to you and bind my will to yours,
trusting that your will alone is good.
I offer my life to you because I see how you did not hold back your son from me.
In his name I pray,
amen."

BLESSING

I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering.
(Jeremiah 29:11 CEV)


Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
(Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them;
(Deuteronomy 11:16 ESV)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 ESV)

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!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.