Today is Monday, the twenty-sixth of September, 2022, in the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ abide in you today!
I’ll be updating Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit immediately following this blog.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, we are your children, who come before you and stand in your presence. Be with us and be our light in all situations of life, in all hardships and grief. Be our light, as you have always been. Reveal your power so that the world may know you as we have come to know you. Give us joyful readiness to persevere until your day comes, for the brightness of your day will shine through all darkness and will end all evil, to the glory of your name. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; if we consider that Scripture tells us that “God is love,” then we can also associate these same character traits with God
- for the brightness of the Lord’s day, which shines though all of the darkness
- that the Lord has cast all our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19)
- for Jesus’s assurance that the Father will give us the things that we ask for
- that the Lord will deliver those who love Him (Psalm 91)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-11, 20-21 ESV)
It could not possibly be clearer.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Psalms 91:1-2 ESV)
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. (Psalms 91:9-12 ESV)
"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation." (Psalms 91:14-16 ESV)
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13 ESV)
This verse is at the end of the talk wherein Jesus told His disciples, “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (verse 9)
The principle at work, here, is worthy of consideration. “If you then, who are evil,” He said. This might shock us. He just called His disciples “evil.” But we are, at our roots, evil beings. In our unregenerate state, we are, simply put, bad.
This doesn’t mean we are all, you know, serial killers or rapers, or something like that. (For the record, I will no longer use the word “rapist,” after watching a comedian on TikTok say that she thinks the word should be “raper,” which sounds more like “murderer or killer,” as opposed to “rapist,” which sounds like “therapist, artist, or florist.”) We don’t all do terrible, horrible things. But here’s the thing . . . we could.
Don’t ever think that you are not capable of doing some very bad things. We all need to remember that phrase, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
So we are evil, yet we know how to give good gifts to our children. The comparison, then, is made with God. And, in this instance, the “gift” is specifically the Holy Spirit. And this business of asking, seeking, and knocking is none other than prayer. Prayer is what makes it happen.
Andrew Murray says, “Of all the gifts of the early church to which we should aspire, there is none more needed than the gift of prayer–prayer that brings the Holy Spirit into the midst of believers.”
“Prayer,” Murray says, “links the King on the throne with the church at His feet.” I love that line. It’s powerful and true. While it is also true that Jesus Christ is our link to the Father, the means of communication between us is, and always has been, prayer.
The Holy Spirit comes to us in answer to our prayers, and we get our divine strength and power from the Holy Spirit. “Where there is much payer, there will be much of the Spirit; where there is much of the Spirit, there will be ever-increasing prayer.” (Murray)
Father, I am asking; I am seeking; I am knocking. Help me to be more faithful in prayer; more consistent. Bring the Holy Spirit down on Your Church, that we might have the strength and power that is spoken of. Help us to know, to have confidence in Jesus’s words that You will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we ask. Yes, I realize that the Spirit dwells within each of us, beginning on the day when we believe in Christ. But, for some reasons, we lack power, much of the time.
So, while it may not be entirely accurate to ask You to send the Spirit, I know that we need the power and might of the Spirit in our lives. You understand what we mean when we pray, even if our words aren’t quite right. In fact, we have the confidence that it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf when we don’t quite know how to voice our prayers.
Thank You for Your great love and infinite mercy, Father. Thank You for the promises that You give us, promises of deliverance for those who love You; promises of safety for those who dwell in Your Word and abide in You. Help us to avail ourselves of these promises, and to abide by the conditions by which they will occur. Help me to abide in You and in the Words of Christ; help me to walk in Him, daily.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
(The Jesus Prayer)
Grace and peace, friends.