God and Love are Inseparable

Today is Sunday, the sixth of March, 2022, in the first week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ be with you today.

Day 23,369

Later this morning, I plan to attend the 11:00 service at Living Word Lutheran Church with my friend, former pastor, and fellow blogger, Jacob Seay. I’m looking forward to the new experience.

Yesterday was a good day, although it seemed rather long. I remember looking at the clock at around 2:30, thinking “We still have three and a half hours!” But, as usual, things picked up during the last hour. C brought Mama up to the library just before my lunch break, so I was able to spend a little time introducing her to my friends/coworkers that were there, yesterday. Since it was Saturday, and there were no extra programs going on, we had a smaller staff, yesterday.

After work, I cooked our standard dinner for Saturday, which is burgers and fries. C only had fries, and Mama had some leftover food from lunch at Boston Market, so only S and I had burgers.

Today being Sunday, we will, of course, have Applebee’s for lunch, I’m sure. I may invite Jacob to have lunch with us. C may or may not go to the service with me. At this point she is still undecided.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Almighty God,
whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan:
Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations;
and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us,
let each one find you mighty to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen."
(Book of Common Prayer, Collect for the First Sunday in Lent)
By wisdom a house is built, 
and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled 
with rare and beautiful treasures.
(Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for an opportunity to attend a worship service outside my "comfort zone," this morning
2. for the way love is intricately associated with God
3. for the promise of God's love and His help for me to love others
4. for the promise that, if I seek Him, I will find Him
5. for the zeal of God to accomplish His purposes

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.
(Proverbs 24:17-18 NIV)

I just ran across this in my daily reading plan, and thought it worth contemplating. Everyone would do well to consider this instruction.

“The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. . . . The basic and biblical Christian conviction is that the two subjects are intricately related. If we want to deal with God the right way, we have to learn to love the right way. If we want to love the right way, we have to deal with God the right way. God and love can’t be separated.”

Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love.
(2 John 1:6 MSG)

Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
(1 John 4:15-16 MSG)

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
(1 John 2:15-17 MSG)

(From Symphony of Salvation, by Eugene H. Peterson)

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 ESV)

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
(Psalms 63:1 ESV)

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;”
(Isaiah 55:6 ESV)

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;”
(Amos 5:4 ESV)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
(Matthew 7:7 ESV)

The prayer word for today is “zeal.” This word, especially in today’s society, tends to have a negative connotation. However, the definition of the word is strictly positive. “Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Now, whether one’s cause or objective is positive or negative can certainly be debated.

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:7 ESV)

Some synonyms we might hear for “zeal” are passion, intensity, hustle, and determination. These have a tendency to be intimidating. The truth is, though, that God does not tire or grow weary. His throne will be established “from this time forth and forevermore,” and it is “zeal” that will accomplish this. “God’s zeal flows from His heart – inviting me along for the ride. Inviting me to trust Him.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

I want to add that, in my opinion, there is no cause worthy of my own zeal, other than the cause of Christ. This includes many of the “causes” that well-meaning Christian people assign the majority of their zeal toward. I may mildly get behind a “cause” that I agree with, but as far as expending major energy in that direction, the majority of my zeal goes to Christ and His kingdom.

Father, I pray for Your zeal for Christ to overtake me and consume me. I want no part of any human cause or objective, but only Yours. I also pray for Your zeal to accomplish great things in me, to accomplish whatever You desire in my life.

The words above, about love, always convict me. I have long been aware of the importance of love, and know that any true thoughts about the subject must contain thoughts about You. As Peterson stated, we cannot love truly without dealing with You, and we cannot deal truly with You without loving. Show us how to love, Father, how to truly love, selflessly, setting aside our own pride and prejudices, setting aside our selfishness and arrogance. Teach us to love.

I also pray for help in constantly seeking You. You have given us plenty of instruction and admonition to seek You while You may be found. You have let us know that there will come a day when You will not be found by those who refuse to seek You now. I cannot pretend to understand how things are going to play out at the end of days. I believe that You will have enemies who will fight against You. And I do believe that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. But I don’t know how the ending “judgment” will look, and strongly believe that anyone who claims such knowledge is delusional. Just give me faith in seeking You, Father, and help me lead others to You through Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

Grace and peace, friends.