Today is Tuesday, the twenty-first of September, 2021.
May the peace of God reign in your lives today.
Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, the first official day of Fall.
I got everything accomplished, yesterday, that I intended to, which is always a good feeling. The ATT Internet modem was delivered to Fed Ex, and once it is in their hands, it is officially out of mine. I already have email notification that it has been returned. All of the bed linens, including the comforter and two blanket/throws, got washed and dried. It took three runs through the dryer to get the comforter dry. And the floors got swept. It had been so long since I swept the floors that it looked like we had a dog again.
Today, I’ve already had an order from Albertson’s delivered. That was because I wanted to make our Chicken Taco Soup in the crock pot, but I didn’t have any diced tomatoes. So that is now cooking for tonight’s dinner.
I work from 11:15 to 8:15 today, so C and S will go ahead and have their soup, and I will eat mine after I get home. That is late to be eating, but I will likely stay up a bit later tonight, since my shift tomorrow doesn’t begin until 1:00 PM.
Today, and the following two days, we get some fall-like weather. The high today is supposed to be only 84 degrees, with 82 tomorrow, and 87 Thursday. This will be followed by a stretch of lower nineties for highs, still not too bad. Best of all is that October is on the way.
I will also mention that, since yesterday morning, C has been experiencing some pretty bad pain, and hasn’t been able to get a lot of relief. We can’t tell if it is related to the surgery or not, and it is acting like sciatica. Any prayers would definitely be appreciated.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
In This Stilling, by Daryl Madden
In this stilling Something stirs Beyond the known Of grace occurs In this stilling Something deep Surrendering As Spirit seeps In this stilling Something prays A flowing through Of divine ways In this stilling Something above A blessing of Your word of love
Holy Spirit, please stir, in this stilling.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
(Psalms 63:4-8 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the way You move and stir during these moments 2. for Your provision in our lives 3. for the shadow of Your wings 4. for Your calling on the life of Samuel 5. for Your incredible patience in our lives when we don't realize that it is You speaking to us
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK EIGHTEEN – DAY THREE
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
(Psalms 139:14 ESV)
As I meditate in this quiet moment, I consider the way my soul clings to the Lord. For over sixty years, my soul has clung to God. It has never let go, and He has never let me go. I rejoice in this, and breathe deep the breath of God.
A psalm of Asaph.
God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
(Psalms 82:1-5, 8 NIV)
The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.
(1 Samuel 3:1-5, 10-11 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, Lord, please direct my meditations and prayers, drawing me closer and closer to You, into more and more intimacy with You, the Son, and the Spirit.
Who are these “gods” of whom Asaph sings? What is this great assembly over which the Lord is presiding? Based on the question that is asked, I can imagine that it might be politicians, world leaders. After all, who is more apt to be defending the cause of the unjust than a politician?
But God demands the opposite. “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.” The “gods,” it seems know nothing.
I can’t help it. When I read verse 5, I get this image in my head.
Some of you will get that, some of you won’t.
It is said that these “gods” are walking around in darkness, and all the foundations of the earth are shaken. Again, I’m only guessing at the meaning of these words. But I don’t have to guess at Asaph’s final words in Psalm 82. He prays for Yahweh to rise up and judge the earth.
Things were not going well for God’s people when Samuel came on the scene. 1 Samuel 3:1 is a tragic verse. “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.”
I love the story of Samuel’s calling; I always have. God calls him; he doesn’t know who is calling, so, naturally, he runs to Eli. “Here am I,” was how I learned it, when I was a boy.
God: Samuel! Samuel, running to Eli: Here I am! You called me! Eli: What are you talking about? I didn't call you! Go back to sleep! God: Samuel! Samuel, running to Eli again: Here I am! You called me! Eli: I didn't call you! You must be hearing things! I said go back to sleep! God: Samuel! Samuel, running to Eli a third time: Here I am! You called me! Eli, finally understanding what is happening: Aha! Okay. Go back to bed, and the next time this happens, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" God (miraculously not losing His cool): Samuel! Samuel: Speak, for your servant is listening! God (whispers under his breath): About time
So maybe that’s not quite exactly how it went down, and, of course, I mean no disrespect in that little vignette. But who among us has not laughed a little bit at this story?
Samuel had an excuse. He had never encountered (as far as we know) the living God before this night. He had no idea where this voice was coming from. Eli, on the other hand . . . it should not have taken him three times to figure out what was going on. But look back at the first verse. Eli wasn’t exactly the best priest. We see that God’s voice, His Word was seldom heard, and that there weren’t many visions. If you dig a little bit, you also see that Eli’s sons were pretty awful human beings, and this is one reason that God brought Samuel into the picture.
God tells Samuel that He is going to do something that is going to make the peoples’ ears tingle. And part of this is judgment against Eli and his sons. Later in the chapter, Eli makes Samuel tell him everything that the Lord said. Eli’s response is honorable: “He is the LORD; let Him do what is good in His eyes.”
Would that we would all respond this way when we receive unfavorable news from the Lord or from His Word. Instead, we fight against it; we say, “that didn’t come from God! He would never say or do that!”
See the picture above and put your own name there.
For, in comparison with God Almighty, we truly do know nothing. And when we set ourselves up as gods, we know less than nothing.
Father, I praise You for Your incredible patience with us. We are, too often, like Eli. We can only be like Samuel the first time. Every time after that, when we don’t realize it is You calling us, we are like Eli, as though we have forgotten Your voice. May it never be! Father, do not ever let me forget the sound of Your voice. Of course, I am speaking figuratively, here, as, as far as I know, I have never audibly heard Your voice. However, I have “heard” You speaking to me in many ways over the course of my 63 years. And I pray that never stops. These days, I seem to “hear” something most mornings, during these times, and I rejoice over that. It is not always something positive and uplifting. Sometimes, it is something that I need to work on, something convicting. But that is always balanced with times of refreshing and comforting; times of closeness when I rest under the shadow of Your wings. And, truthfully, even when the thing is convicting, I am still allowed to rest under the shadow of Your wings, which is why You are so beautiful!
Lord, please give us a love and commitment for the communities in which You have placed us, both physical and spiritual, for I have a neighborhood, in which I live, and a church family, as well. I pray that You help me find ways to get to know the people in my community (that’s a risky prayer, there, and it takes me waaaaay out of my comfort zone). Equip us, Father, to serve in our communities in unique ways. Give us great imaginations. I specifically lift up those who work in service to others.
"Calling God, whether in a dream or some dark night, in the hunger for beauty or the cry of the hungry, in our weakness or in sensing our potential - it was You calling out to us. Today we pray for those who have no clue what or who might be speaking to them; reveal Yourself to them so they can answer and embrace You. In Jesus' name, amen."
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
(Matthew 5:4 ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)
And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.
(1 Chronicles 13:8 ESV)
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
(Psalms 20:4 ESV)
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
(Psalms 81:10 ESV)
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
(Psalms 25:15 ESV)
With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
(Jeremiah 31:9 ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
How do you walk in a straight line? You don’t look down at your feet; you don’t look to the right or to the left; you keep your eyes fixed on your destination.
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!
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
(Psalms 119:5-6 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.