A Hope and A Future

Good morning to you! Today is Friday, the nineteenth of November, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,262

Six days until Thanksgiving in the U.S.

We are continuing to have an awesome time up here in Indy! Yesterday morning, we all got ready and headed over to pick up R & J at their house. From there we went to the Nine Lives Cat Café, where we had a glorious time sipping coffee in the midst of a dozen or so cats, mostly kittens. It was quite calming and relaxing. And the coffee was pretty good.

This is Aspen. If we lived in Indianapolis, he would have gone home with us, yesterday.

After the kittens, we dropped off S back at our rental (after running through the Mickey D’s drive through), and headed downtown to the escape room location. This was also a wonderful time. Somewhat exhilarating, in fact. We had sixty minutes to “save the world,” and it came down to the wire, but we made it. Our guide was incredible, too. He made it even more fun, as he interacted with us constantly, throughout the process. That is one thing that makes the experience more fun, because the guide is obviously keeping up with us and watching as we go through it.

We had to solve puzzles, open lock boxes with both keys and codes. One time, we had to crawl through a tunnel. Hahah! But we all made it just fine.

After the escape room, we went to a nearby place for lunch. It was called The Rathskeller, featuring German food. I had a Frikadelle sandwich, which, according to the menu, is a “very tasty concoction of ground beef, pork, and German wurst grilled to order and served on a Kaiser roll.” It was, indeed, quite tasty, and came with a choice of a side, for which I chose a potato pancake. Afterward, we had another cup of coffee at a coffee shop in the same building.

We headed back over to R & J’s house, where we played a game for a while, which was great fun. C and I decided to find the only Sonic in the area (maybe in the whole state, I don’t know), which we did, and we waited well over thirty minutes for our three drinks. S was duly surprised and elated, though, when we got back to our rental with Sonic drinks. We ordered pizza for dinner.

Today, we are having breakfast with R & J at 10:00. We have to take our car back to the airport and exchange it, because the brakes started grinding (in the rear on the right side), yesterday afternoon. Then, this evening, at 7:00, we are meeting a couple of other friends that live in Indy, whom we have not seen in probably close to thirty years. That should be fun. Tomorrow, we will have a sort of “Thanksgiving” lunch with R & J. But we’re ordering BBQ to be delivered to their house. We’re still calling it Thanksgiving.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
(1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV)

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you clothed me,
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.
(Matthew 25:35-36 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You are constantly watching over us, You who need no sleep and will not slumber
2. for the wonderful time we continue to have on our trip
3. that You have put generosity in our hearts, and we are willing to try to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help the sick
4. that when we seek You with our whole heart, we will find You
5. for the encouragement of Your plan for our lives, plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans for a hope and a future

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY-SIX – DAY SIX

INVITATION

Your deeds of kindness are known in the heavens. No one is like you!
(Psalms 71:19 CEV)

I pause, at this time, to settle my spirit and realize the presence of the Lord.

BIBLE SONG

Praise the LORD.

Praise the name of the LORD;
praise him, you servants of the LORD,
you who minister in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.

I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
(Psalms 135:1-5 NIV)

Your name, LORD, endures forever,
your renown, LORD, through all generations.
For the LORD will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
(Psalms 135:13-14 NIV)

BIBLE READING

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
(Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I remind myself of God’s presence, I read these passages again. I look for how God might be speaking to me through His Word, dwelling on words or phrases that jump out at me. I allow my heart to respond, and take refreshment in His presence.

Psalm 135 is a praise psalm, simply calling for the servants of God to praise Him. In it, we acknowledge the greatness of the Lord, that He is greater than all. His name will endure forever, and we know that He will bring justice and compassion on all of His people, on all who serve Him.

The Jeremiah passage includes a favorite passage, actually a couple of favorite verses.

Verse 11 declares the Lord’s plans for His people. While it is explicitly directed at Israel, I believe we can know the same for us. Of course, the Lord does not plan harm for us, but only good. Romans 8:28 bears this out, proclaiming that everything works for the good of those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Then verses 12-13 show us that, when we are whole-hearted toward Him, when we call on Him, He will hear us and answer us. We will seek Him and we will find Him. Again, these are verses directed to Israel, but can hold some comfort and encouragement for us, as well. Perhaps we have been led into “captivity” in a particular area of our lives. God will deliver us when we turn to Him with our whole hearts.

What does this mean? I truly believe it means something different to each individual. Not saying that we each have our own version of “truth,” mind you. That’s a popular thought, these days, that each of us has “my truth.” There is only one Truth. But what it means to seek the Lord with our whole heart . . . in truth, it may not be possible for a fallen human to seek God with his whole heart. But He remembers and knows that we are only dust.

When we seek Him, truly and honestly seek Him, with no ulterior motives, seeking Him for His own sake, I believe that He will reward that.

Father, I praise You for Your great love and compassion toward us, and Your plans for our good. Thank You for this great comfort and encouragement that we get from Your Word. I acknowledge Your greatness and goodness; Your compassion and righteousness, and that You will, indeed, seek and do justice for those who fear You and serve You. May my service to You be acceptable.

I pray for the Christlike ability to deny myself and serve others. I pray for the same commitment that You have to do justice and show mercy. I also pray for those who struggle with peer pressure, a horrible monster in our culture. Help people to realize that it is useless and worthless to be concerned with what other people think about us.

"Prospering God,
teach me to seek You in my praying.
I'm not asking for the right words,
because prayers can be proper,
even beautiful,
yet reveal nothing of my heart.
I'm asking for the right heart,
a beautiful desperation for You -
born out of my ragged need,
holding nothing back - 
that sends me on a full-out sprint for You and Your grace in Jesus.
Amen."

BLESSING

Please bless my descendants and let them always be your chosen kings. You have already promised, and I’m sure that you will bless my family forever.
(2 Samuel 7:29 CEV)


He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
(Psalms 121:3 NIV)

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
(Psalms 138:3 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!

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.