Today is Wednesday, the twenty-first of April, 2021, in the third week of Easter.
Peace be with you!
29 days until our Glen Rose weekend
It is uncharacteristically cool, this morning, here in north central Texas (DFW). It is 37 degrees and clear, which is perfect condition for frost. And frost is something we don’t need right now, because plants are budding, and we just recently transplanted some Four O’Clocks and Gazanias to the front flower bed. Digits juxtaposed. I checked outside, when I got up, and there was a very thin layer of frost on the top of C’s car, but none on the windows. So I’m hoping everything will be okay. At least we aren’t west of the line where temps got down to freezing or below, this morning.
I made it through the day fairly well, yesterday. The morning was tough, and I was really thinking I should have stayed home for the day and taken a PTO day. I even thought about taking off at noon, at one point. But our other expedite clerk was out, yesterday, and I would have felt bad doing that to our lead. And, somewhere between noon and 2:30, things got better. No explanation as to why, but my whole mindset improved. Someone, somewhere, must have prayed for me.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (The Prayer of St. Francis)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
(Colossians 3:17 NLT)
Today, I am grateful:
- for Twisted Pine Hawaiian Blend coffee (for coffee in general, but especially that one) 🙂
- for whoever prayed for me, yesterday afternoon
- for grace extended to me; may I be faithful to extend it to others
- that the Gospel of Christ is a key, not a hammer
- that death will end, but life goes on for ever
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EASTER – DAY 18
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)
Pausing to reflect briefly on the fact that I am a representative of Christ, and that all that I do or say today will reflect on that truth.
A psalm of Asaph.
God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
(Psalms 82:1-8 NIV)
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
(Luke 24:44-49 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I rest in God’s presence, this morning, I linger a bit over these passages, looking for the Spirit to lead me toward greater understanding and wisdom.
In the Psalms passage, there is a clear call to defend and rescue the weak and the needy, and to stop defending the unjust. This seems especially timely, in light of yesterday’s verdict in the George Floyd case.
Who are “the ‘gods?'” I’m not wise enough to fully understand this. I have my thoughts, but I’ll keep those to myself. Suffice it to say that they are, though, those who “know nothing,” who “understand nothing,” and “walk about in darkness.”
Jesus made a statement to which attention should be paid. He said that everything was written about Him must be fulfilled. Now, He only mentioned the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. I believe that there were things written about Him after He left our plane that must also be fulfilled. But those had not been written about Him when He said this.
The point is, prophecy must be fulfilled, and will be fulfilled. This doesn’t mean that I need to become obsessed with prophecy, as some folks are. What it does mean is, going back to previous affirmations, God will do what He says He will do, and I am fully persuaded that He is able to do this.
But, once again, this begs the question, why don’t I consistently live like I believe this?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer to that question. I’m still working on that one.
Father, I pray for the strength of Your Spirit, to enable me to live my life like I say I believe. And, truly, it is more than just “say.” I do believe! Help my unbelief! Make my life more consistent with my beliefs, which are firmly based on Your Word! And make me more faithful to help, defend, and rescue the weak and the fatherless and the widows and the needy; those to whom You are drawn and whom You defend. I want to be on Your side; I don’t ever, ever want to be fighting against You, Father!
God of grace, the gospel is like a key that opens up all of heaven and unlocks dead-bolted human hearts. As you send your church to declare the good news, remind us that we carry a key and not a hammer; convince us that the gentle gospel promises fit the contours of human life, opening minds to know and receive the forgiveness of sins through what Jesus has done. Today, unbolt my heart to accept the grace of Jesus. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 84)
“We carry a key and not a hammer.” I LOVE that!!!
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
(Ephesians 6:24 NIV)
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
(John 20:27 NIV)
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:6-9 NIV)
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
(John 11:25 NLT)
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
(Acts 3:15 NLT)
Death is singular; life is plural. Death will end; life goes on forever.
Father, I thank You for life! I praise You that death is limited, it will end, and has already been defeated. I praise You that life is eternal, plural, and will go on for ever. Oh, how I look forward to being Home, Lord! More and more, I feel like this world is not my home, and know that this is true. I grow weary of waiting, but You tell us not to grow weary, so I carry on. Help me to do good as much as I can; help me to always do the right thing. And help me to remember that the Gospel message is “a key not a hammer.”
Lord, this morning, I lift up all governments, leaders, and needs throughout the world. May Your grace and Your face shine on all people, whether they look for it or not. I lift up the continent of North America, upon which I dwell. May Your presence be felt among us all today. I lift up all issues surrounding the poor and the poverty stricken, Lord. Help us to help in any way we can. Show us how to help more.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; heal our nation, and heal our world. We pray for this pandemic to end. We pray for racial injustice to end. We pray for a love revolution.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 NIV)
Grace and peace, friends.