True Love

Today is Friday, the twenty-eighty of January, 2022, in the third week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,332

It’s already getting late, this morning, so I’d best get moving. It’s a work day for me, and I am due at the library by 9:15. I’ve also been informed that I will be alone in the computer center (no supervisor/manager on duty) for the first part of the morning, as the manager has an early appointment. That shouldn’t be a huge problem, though.

Anyway, I’m going ahead into the devotional part, this morning, as I have less than an hour to get done.

I did take time to play Wordle, this morning.

Wordle 223 5/6*

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TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Blessed be the LORD! 
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. 
The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; 
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. 
The LORD is the strength of his people; 
he is the saving refuge of his anointed. 
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! 
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
(Psalms 28:6-9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that my faith only has to be as big as a mustard seed
2. that God is my strength and shield, and that my heart trusts in Him
3. for the love of my wife; nothing on earth equals this
4. for the beauty of creation and eyes to see it
5. for the night sky, visible when there are no clouds - the heavens declare His glory
“How glorious is the kingdom, where all the saints rejoice with Christ”
And he said, 
"The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 
He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 
The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, 
then the full grain in the ear. 
But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, 
because the harvest has come." 
And he said, 
"With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, 
is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 
yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, 
as they were able to hear it. 
He did not speak to them without a parable,
 but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
(Mark 4:26-34 ESV)

Jesus gives two examples of the kingdom, both from the perspective of the harvest, or the production of seeds. In the first, the farmer scatters the seeds, and the fruit seems to grow “by itself.” It’s as if it just magically appears. The second concerns the volume of growth from such a tiny seed as a mustard seed (I’ve seen one . . . they are almost invisible to the naked eye). It grows to be “larger than all the garden plants.”

Having never had much experience with gardening, planting, or growing things (I have killed many plants, though), I think that these illustrations might be perfect to help me understand how God’s kingdom works. It might also help to remember that many of the young men to whom Jesus was speaking were fishermen. One was a tax collector. I’m not sure what the vocation of the rest were, but I don’t think we are ever told that any of them were farmers.

But God’s kingdom is shown to be like the working of these seeds. The seeds are planted (Jesus uses a couple other illustrations like this) by the sower or the farmer. There might be some things he can do to prepare the soil, and he might have to tend the soil after planting and maybe do some weeding. But, for the most part, he scatters the seeds and waits. In the case of most plants, the “seeds” are much smaller than what is eventually produced.

Jesus spoke most of the stories in parables, as He spoke to crowds of people. He did explain them to His disciples when they were in private. What I am taking away from these two stories, this morning, is that God is the one who does the bulk of the work. Maybe I’m supposed to be scattering seeds. But in one of the other parables, I believe the explanation is given that God is the sower. In any case, what I do think I understand is that faith is the key. I need to understand that God’s kingdom is bigger than anything I can imagine, and grows from the smallest of seeds.

(From Pray As You Go)

I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.
(Song of Solomon 6:3 MSG)

House and land are handed down from parents, but a congenial spouse comes straight from GOD.
(Proverbs 19:14 MSG)

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
(Proverbs 31:10 MSG)

Love never gives up.
 Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
Love doesn't strut, 
Doesn't have a swelled head, 
Doesn't force itself on others, 
Isn't always "me first," 
Doesn't fly off the handle, 
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
 Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end. 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG)

The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.
(1 Peter 3:7 MSG)

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.
(1 Peter 4:8 MSG)

I don’t have any comments to add to these passages, other than to say that I have experienced these things.

Father, I thank You for these apt illustrations of how Your Kingdom works. I thank You that You have given me faith, but is it strong enough? Does my faith even equal a mustard seed? Some days, I might say, confidently, that it does. Other days, I’m not so sure. But I do know that Your kingdom is larger than any of us realize, and I also know that I cannot do anything to either make it bigger or make it smaller. I know that Your Kingdom will come, on earth as it is in heaven, which is why that is a safe prayer. So I pray, along with the disciples of Jesus, increase my faith, in the right directions.

Thank You for the love of my wife, that I have experienced for over thirty (closer to forty, now) years. You have blessed me wonderfully. I can only hope that she feels half as blessed as I do. True love has been shown me, and I am grateful for this. The love that I get from You is like unto the kind of love that we try to show one another. Help us to love each other, as that Message paraphrase says, “like our lives depend upon it.” Because, in some ways, they do.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

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.