Today is Monday, the second of August, 2021.
Seventeen days until S’s birthday!
Today is what I consider to be my first official day of retirement. Yesterday evening was strange, because I didn’t know how to feel. I’m used to having this, “tomorrow is Monday and I don’t want to go back to work” feeling on Sunday evenings. And, of course, that feeling wasn’t there, last night.
I still went to bed when C did (in fact, I was there before her), and I got up, this morning, at 5:15, when C got up. I’m a person of routine, so I want to maintain that, at least for now, until I know what I’m going to be doing each day. After all, if I do wind up driving the school bus, I will have to be there at 6:00 AM.
This day will not be spent sitting around, either. I’ve already mentioned the two appointments I have. While I don’t have definite, scheduled plans, yet, I do have some things that I want to accomplish today, not the least of which is having dinner ready when C gets home from work. I’ll be looking at creating some kind of weekly schedule as this week progresses.
One thing I’m definitely looking forward to is more reading time. I already started that last night, setting aside around a half hour to just sit and read, while I drank my evening herbal tea.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
“Place of Finding,” by Daryl Madden
Within Your Presence An offer of prayer A sense of a space Of being appears Warm is the comfort Of love that is shown This place of finding Where I’m fully known In freedoms’ surrender Deep is the longing The gift of this dwelling The sense of belonging As I go on the way Be of this embrace A view of remaining To be of this place
In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
(Psalms 40:6 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for this new chapter in my life; 2. for the library interview, this afternoon; 3. that I am fully known by You (and yet, somehow, You still love me); 4. for the record of the Old Testament that shows that none of the people You used to accomplish Your purposes were anywhere close to perfect; 5. for Your constant admonishments to "fear not."
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK ELEVEN – DAY TWO
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!
(Psalms 111:10 NLT)
I pause, at this moment, in this “place of finding where I’m fully known,” to consider the day ahead. May I find You wherever I look, and wherever I go, today.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
(Psalms 33:1-8 NIV)
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
(Genesis 27:5-13 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, I look for truth to inspire my day, to enlighten my walk, and to give me purpose. May the Holy Spirit guide my thoughts, prayer, and words today.
Why are we encouraged to praise the Lord, to sing praises to Him? Why is it “fitting for the upright to praise Him?” Because “the word of the LORD is right and true,” and “He is faithful in all He does.”
Because “the LORD loves righteousness and justice,” and “the earth is full of His unfailing love.”
Because the heavens and the “starry hosts” were created “by the breath of His mouth.”
What more reason do we need? I’m sure we can find many more reasons in Scripture, but is this not enough to inspire humankind to praise Him? The very fact that by speaking a word, He brought all creation into being, should be enough to praise Him.
You try that. Go ahead. Say, “Let there be . . .” and see what happens.
In the words of Rich Mullins, “The Lord said, ‘let there be,’ and there was.”
All of these things are also reasons for the last verse in today’s passage from Psalms.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
(Psalms 33:8 NIV)
Sadly, this does not happen. Why? Psalm 14:1 provides a good answer for that question.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1 NIV)
What can we say about Rebekah? Jacob gets a lot of grief for being a deceptive cheat, and there is no denying that he was. But here we see Rebekah driving this deception. This whole scenario is so convoluted and tragic. Yet it had to happen. It was required that Jacob be the front-runner; it was destiny that Jacob get the blessing. It was God’s plan.
I don’t understand all of this, and doubt that I ever will. But it’s not my place to try to suss out the reasonings of the Almighty, is it? One thing I do know, though. And that is that if God can use a deceptive cheater like Jacob (and Rebekah), he can use me in my sinfulness, as well.
All throughout Scripture, we see God using normal folks. It might appear, on the surface, that most of God’s “heroes” were extraordinary, super-powered people, who had some kind of “holy advantage” over everyone else.
But let’s take a closer look.
Abraham lied multiple times about Sarah being his sister, because he didn’t trust God. Abraham also disobeyed God’s command by bringing his nephew along with him when he left his home and family to head to Canaan. This resulted in the whole Sodom and Gomorrah event (they probably would have gotten destroyed anyway, but there wouldn’t have been any of this pillar of salt business).
Joseph was so arrogant that his brothers wanted to murder him. Instead, they just sold him to some slave traders.
Moses was a coward. He was also a murderer. Aaron lost faith while Moses was on the mountain and allowed the fickle Israelites to sway him into creating a golden calf. Then he lied about that.
David . . . where does one start? After raping Bathsheba (let’s call it what it is, okay?), he murders her husband when his ploy to make it look like the baby is legit doesn’t work. Yet he is specifically called “a man after God’s own heart.”
Elijah ran from a woman. For forty days. Then he whined when God called him out.
Samson was not anywhere near the man of great character that I was led to believe he was in Sunday School. Samson was a creep and a jerk. Yet God used him to defeat the Philistines.
The Bible is full of weak, flawed people whom God used in mighty ways. The constant in all of those things was the Lord! He was the Source of the power and might. He used a donkey in the story of Balaam, for crying out loud.
Again, in the words of Rich Mullins (I didn’t plan this), “You never know who God is gonna use, a princess or a baby, maybe even you or me.”
So if you’re worried that God can’t use you because of the things that you have done, just read the Old Testament.
There may be, actually, one exception. I have never been able to find anything negative about Daniel. He was pretty straight up, that one.
Father, I praise You. Why? Because I have to; I am driven to; Your Spirit will not let me not praise You! No, I am not forced to praise You. Not the same thing. I am compelled, but not forced. I am not a robot, You have given me freedom of will, otherwise, I would not keep sinning. So praising You is my choice. Nevertheless, I must. Because Your Word is right and true; because You are faithful in all that You do; because You love righteousness and justice; because the earth is full of Your unfailing love; because You created everything with spoken words. I praise You; I ascribe to You honor and glory and blessing. You are worthy!
I also praise You because You have chosen, for reasons I cannot fathom, to keep me around for sixty-plus years, in spite of my sinfulness, my selfishness, my arrogance, my weakness . . . and You still have work for me to do. I call out to You to help me perform the tasks that You have for me to do – today, tomorrow, this week, and the rest of the days that I have on this earth. And if that be another thirty or forty years, so be it. May those years be lived, walking in Your Kingdom, proclaiming the truth of Your Gospel, loving You and loving people.
Lord, I pray that You give us grace as caretakers of Your creation. Make us wise in our stewardship of the physical resources You have provided. And may You inspire people with creative new ways of conservation technologies.
"God of blessing, what a mess I create when I wrestle the future out of your hand and take it upon myself. I pray for patient trust for today and good confidence for tomorrow, knowing that nothing can separate me from your love, because my curse fell on Jesus so your blessing can come to me. Amen."
May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
(Jude 1:2 NLT)
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalms 13:5 NLT)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
(1 John 4:18 NLT)
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!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.