Pressing On

Good morning! Today is Thursday, the sixteenth of December, 2021, the third Thursday of Advent!

Peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,289

Only nine days until Christmas!

Yesterday turned out to be a fun day. Right after I finished my devotional blog, I texted C and asked if she wanted to have lunch. She said, “sure!” So I got dressed and headed her way. We roamed around a bit before discovering a strip shopping center that had a couple of possible destinations. There was a New York pizza place, and, to my delight, Fred’s Downtown Phillies. I know Fred’s from Carrollton, nearby where I used to work. I never actually went there, because one of our other associates used to go pick them up for us. But I knew they were delicious. So we went there. They did not disappoint. They are even better, fresh at the restaurant! The bread was hot and toasty, and they chop up all the ingredients with the steak, so it’s all mixed in. Their fries are delicious, too. I had their “Philly Toothpicks,” which are a combination of onion and jalapeno strips, breaded and fried. But the fries, which C had, were better. I have a feeling we will go back there.

After lunch, I dropped C off at the front of the building, and headed over to the ITRC pro shop, where I had left a bowling ball to be drilled, actually before C’s back surgery. They were closed, but there were people in there (one of which I knew, as he is one of C’s work friends), so they got my ball for me. I paid for the drilling and proceeded to bowl a couple games at the lanes, there. I got a free hour of bowling with the drilling. I loved the drilling job, as well as the ball. It had been C’s ball, but she wasn’t using it any more, so she let me have it. It is the best drill I have ever had on a bowling ball. And what I learned from the pro at the shop is that, if the ball is drilled properly, you do not have to grip the ball! Amazing!

I’ve talked to C, and I plan to check out local bowling leagues that bowl on weekday mornings, after the first of the year. I could bowl on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday mornings, as I am always off work at those times.

Our bedroom fan quit working at around 6:00 this morning. So I have a task for today. I will head up to the local hardware store after I finish the blog, to see if they have any fans available. Hopefully, they will have some box fans, which is typically what we have in our bedroom. Fortunately, we have a little noisemaker box that simulates a box fan, for the noise.

The weather continues to be unseasonably warm around here. It’s been windy down here, but nothing like some of the northern and midwestern states are experiencing. I read in Brother’s Campfire that Colorado is having winds that could knock eighteen-wheelers over. And we all have heard about the tornado devastations in Kentucky and surrounding areas, earlier this week.

I can finally see a weather forecast for Christmas day, though, and it is supposed to be a high of 51 and mostly sunny. Should be a beautiful day. Today is mostly cloudy, with a high of 71, and 35% chance of precip.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

This new day You give to me
From Your great eternity
This new day now enfold
Me in Your loving hold

You are the star of the morn
You are the day newly born
You are the light of our night
You are the Savior by Your might

God be in me this day
God ever with me stay
God be in the night
Keep us by Thy light
God be in my heart
God abide, never depart.
(David Adam)
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, 
and they were filled with great fear. 
And the angel said to them, 
"Fear not, 
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy 
that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day 
in the city of David 
a Savior, 
who is Christ the Lord. 
(Luke 2:9-11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the words of that angel
2. for candy, especially Christmas candy
3. for my family, most especially C
4. for Your mercies, new every morning, and Your great faithfulness
5. that Your love stands firm forever
And he who was seated on the throne said, 
"Behold, I am making all things new." 
Also he said, 
"Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 
(Revelation 21:5 ESV)
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness. 
(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
(Psalms 18:36 ESV)

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
 But one thing I do: 
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I press on toward the goal 
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
(Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)

We had a pastor once, who talked about this thing he called a “one percent grade.” The point being, if you keep moving up, it doesn’t matter how steeply you climb, as long as you are climbing. It doesn’t matter how fast you walk forward, as long as you walk forward. There is an old proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It’s true. What is also true, though, is that those steps have to keep coming.

“The small upward steps, taken every day, will end up lifting you to the heights. God has called you not only to love, but to keep loving; not only to believe, but to press on in believing; not only to do right, but to persevere in doing it.

“Don’t ever judge your life or what God is doing in your life by how it appears in the moment on the journey. . . . Walk this good road, and no matter what . . . keep walking it. Never give up, but keep walking, and you will end up standing on heights you never dreamed you could have attained. “

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

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

ADVENT – DAY NINETEEN

INVITATION

How wonderful it is to see a messenger 
coming across the mountains, 
bringing good news, 
the news of peace! 
He announces victory and says to Zion, 
"Your God is king!"
(Isaiah 52:7 GNB)

I pause during the quiet of this morning, considering the journey I have been on, combined with the great faithfulness and mercies of our God.

BIBLE SONG

 I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; 
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known 
through all generations. 
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, 
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. 
You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, 
I have sworn to David my servant, 
'I will establish your line forever 
and make your throne firm through all generations.'" 

Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— 
and I will not lie to David— 
that his line will continue forever 
and his throne endure before me like the sun; 
it will be established forever like the moon, 
the faithful witness in the sky." 
(Psalms 89:1-4, 35-37 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
(James 5:7-11 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, perhaps out loud, I look for ways in which God’s Word has moved me. I ponder and meditate on what has connected with my heart or my mind, praying these things to God, turning my thoughts toward Him and enjoying His presence.

Father, I will sing of Your great love forever. This I have believed, for many years, and will continue to do so. This goes along with the thoughts of pressing on, presented in other readings for today. The journey begins and continues. How fast it goes is not important. The important thing is that I press on and stay faithful in believing, in loving, and in doing right, continuing to move forward in my faith, trust, and hope in You.

I will make these things known with my mouth, and I will make them known through my fingertips, as I type on this computer keyboard, sending these words out into the blogosphere, where anyone You decree may find them. I am grateful for the permanence and assurance of Your promises, exemplified in Your great promise to Your son, David. You have kept Your promise to him, through the arrival and Lordship of Jesus Christ. I believe that You will be faithful to keep all promises made to all people. Give me wisdom to know which promises are directly applicable to me, and which are not.

Give us patience, as we wait on You, Father. During this season of Advent, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we also look forward to His second coming, His return, in which He will make all things right and fix all the effects that sin has had on our world, on Your kingdom. We look forward to the arrival of Your kingdom on earth, and pray that Your kingdom will come and Your will will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us patience and perseverance, as we know that You are full of compassion and mercy. All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Father, give us spiritual renewal and help us to maintain the joy of our salvation, as we walk in Your kingdom. May the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit be manifest within us. And keep us ready to give a reason for the hope that we have.

"Ancient of Days,
You had a beginning as a child;
infinite God,
You weren't ashamed to take on our frail and finite humanity.
I praise You,
eternal God,
for becoming one of us,
because my salvation and resurrection depend on the reality of Your body.
Amen."

BLESSING

"Let us praise the Lord, 
the God of Israel! 
He has come to the help of his people 
and has set them free."
(Luke 1:68 GNB)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.