Be Ready

Today is Friday, the 30th of December, 2022, in the first week of Christmas. It is the sixth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ be with you, always!

Day 23,668

There are two days left in 2022. It is “New Year’s Eve Eve.”

We may or may not have plans for New Year’s Eve. We may have someone over, but that has not yet been determined. I’m not working, though, so it will be a nice, relaxing day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

The law of your mouth is better to me 
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
(Psalms 119:72 ESV)

O Lord God, in exultation our hearts go out to you and your revelation of heaven, your revelation of the Spirit, who can fill our hearts so that we remain steadfast throughout our earthly life. It is still dark on earth. Sin and death hold sway, but we stand unafraid and seek repentance. In spite of all our failures we look to you and know you are our Savior. You send us Jesus Christ in your own glory. The world will be filled with light. Everywhere on earth, even among those who do not know you, the sincere-hearted will come to acknowledge that you, the Father of Jesus Christ and our Father, are God over all the world. You will show your glory to all people so that they may come to you, worship you, and walk in the light, to the everlasting glory of your name. Amen.

And Mary said: 
"My soul praises the Lord 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. 
From now on all generations will call me blessed, 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me – 
holy is his name." 
Luke 1:46–49, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for hope — no matter how dark things seem to get, there is always hope
  2. that Jesus is my savior, in spite of all my failure (hey, that rhymes!)
  3. for quiet mornings with coffee
  4. for new beginnings, as a new year approaches
  5. for the hope of the ultimate “new beginning,” which will last for eternity

"For behold, I create new heavens 
and a new earth, 
and the former things shall not be remembered 
or come into mind. 
But be glad and rejoice forever 
in that which I create; 
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, 
and her people to be a gladness. 
I will rejoice in Jerusalem 
and be glad in my people;
 no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping 
and the cry of distress. 
No more shall there be in it 
an infant who lives but a few days, 
or an old man who does not fill out his days, 
for the young man shall die a hundred years old, 
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 
They shall build houses and inhabit them; 
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 
They shall not build and another inhabit; 
they shall not plant and another eat; 
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, 
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 
They shall not labor in vain 
or bear children for calamity, 
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, 
and their descendants with them. 
Before they call I will answer; 
while they are yet speaking I will hear. 
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; 
the lion shall eat straw like the ox, 
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
 They shall not hurt or destroy 
in all my holy mountain," 
says the LORD.
(Isaiah 65:17-25 ESV)

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
(Matthew 25:13 NRSV)

I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
(Psalms 69:3 NRSV)

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.”
(Luke 12:35-36 NRSV)


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:3-9 NRSV)


singing, “We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
(Revelation 11:17 NRSV)


As 2023 approaches, there is much anticipation of better things to come. In fact, for the past three years, there has been an air of hope for things to get “better,” as each new year’s day approaches. But have they?

The image that comes to mind, as I consider national and world events, over the course of the past few years, is that of a snowball barreling down the side of a mountain, unstoppable, crushing everything in its path.

My, isn’t that uplifting.

It has become evident to many of us (perhaps not to all, yet) that things are never going back to “normal.” Whatever that is.

In spite of all of this, though, and in spite of my mindset, which might appear to be somewhat cynical to some, I see hope for the future. But that hope is not for the planet, as it is, currently. That hope is for the new creation described by Isaiah, and then later by John the Revelator. God proclaims that He is creating a new heaven and a new earth. The images that we get from both of those sources is stunning and stirring. There are images of an eternal day, where it never gets dark again. In fact, according to Revelation 21:23, the sun or moon are no longer needed, because “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

But here’s the thing. None of us has a clue when that is coming. Oh, sure, there are people who think they have clues. I have no confidence in them, though. Just recently, for example, there arose a great hubbub because the Euphrates river was drying up.

The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
(Revelation 16:12 NRSV)

“It’s going to be soon!” people cried. Never mind the fact that none of the things that are supposed to happen before that have happened yet. Also never mind the fact that Revelation is not meant to be interpreted literally. But, hey. If you insist on interpreting Revelation literally, then at least do it the favor of keeping things in the right order.

Here’s the thing. We don’t know when Christ is returning. According to Jesus, even He didn’t know!

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
(Matthew 24:36 NRSV)

So if Jesus, Himself, doesn’t know when He is returning, I certainly don’t know, and you certainly don’t know. We aren’t clever enough to figure it out, either.

But what we can do is be ready. Just like those wise virgins at the wedding in that one parable, we can have our lamps trimmed, with plenty of oil, and be ready. I used to have a t-shirt (back in my college days) that said, “Are you ready?” and referenced Luke 12:40. One day, I wore that t-shirt into a store, and a guy who worked there asked me, “What does Luke 12:40 say?”

I had no clue. How embarrassing.

But you can bet that I have known since that day.

“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
(Luke 12:40 NRSV)

I can’t say that I have lived my life, since then, in a constant state of readiness. I like to think that I am ready. But what if God’s plan was complete, and I’m engaged in some “less than holy” activity? I’ll be surprised, won’t I? I mean, I’ll be surprised, anyway, but this would be the worst kind of surprise. We’ve all heard the phrase “caught with your pants down,” right? Or something similar. I dare say we don’t want to be “caught with our pants down” when Jesus returns.

It reminds me of that line in the Paul Simon song, “Call Me Al.” It’s in the second verse:

A man walks down the street
He says, "Why am I short of attention?
Got a short little span of attention
And, whoa, my nights are so long
Where's my wife and family?
What if I die here?
Who'll be my role model
Now that my role model is gone, gone?"
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along, along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

“What if I die here?”

Have you ever been in a situation where, if you died there, unexpectedly, it would be a terrible embarrassment to you and your family?

I have decided that a great “rule of thumb” for life is never go anywhere or do anything where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead.

And I believe that is, in a way, the spirit behind Jesus’s admonition for us to be ready. Because we don’t know when He’s coming. If we knew, we could, you know, wait until the last minute to prepare, and it seems that a lot of us are doing that, anyway. But we don’t know when that “last minute” is, so we’re likely to be caught unready, like the foolish virgins in that same parable.

The picture that is presented to us is so beautiful! The new heaven and new earth is such a beautiful picture that I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to be part of it. I don’t know what we will look like. I don’t know what kind of “bodies” we will have. I don’t know if we will recognize each other as our former identities on earth. But I know it will be beautiful, it will be eternal, and it will be Home.

So I want to be ready. Pants up, arms wide open, lamp trimmed and full of oil, wide awake.

I will say that this went in a totally different direction than I was anticipating.


Father, I praise You for the visions of Isaiah and John, visions that give us such hope for our future in Your kingdom. I pray that You would help us to be ready for the return of Christ, as we do not know when it will happen. Help us, when tempted, to recall the words of Jesus, admonishing us to be wise, wide awake, and ready, so that we are not taken by surprise when that day comes.

It is too easy to become complacent, because of how long it has been. We are tempted to be lazy; we are tempted to not be diligent in prayer and worship, because we fall into the mindset that we have plenty of time to get “caught up” in these things, even though getting “caught up” in prayer is a laughable notion.

Father, You are our everything. The Holy Trinity is our essence of life, our water, our food; everything we need in this life, You have given us. You are our Creator and our Sustainer. To whom else would we turn, Lord? Please keep us awake and diligent. Please keep us ready.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

A Spiritual Sacrifice

It’s Wednesday, the 28th of December, in the first week of Christmas. It is the fourth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ dwell within your soul, today!

Day 23,666

Four days until 2023.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a rather lazy day around here. C is still off work, taking vacation, and I don’t go back to work until Friday morning.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

The insolent smear me with lies, 
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 
their heart is unfeeling like fat, 
but I delight in your law.
(Psalms 119:69-70 ESV)

O Lord God, we thank you for everything you allow us to see and hear. May our hearts become awake and alive through all we receive so that we await your final revelation and recognize your ultimate will for all people, for all nations and races on earth. Hear us in these days, for we know your kingdom is coming. Your kingdom is before our eyes. Your Word, your help, is coming, and in Jesus Christ light will dawn for all the world. Praise and honor to you for all you do! May we see it all before our eyes so that our expectation of the last days is a living expectation, full of joy and blessing. We want to wait in joy, in love, and in longing for the day that is coming to your glory. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 
Galatians 4:4–5, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for a day of relaxing with not much to do
  2. for our cats; Trixie, Rocky (Rachmaninoff), Luna, Cleo (Cleopatra), and Maggie (Magnolia)
  3. that God sent His Son to redeem us, that we might receive adoption to sonship
  4. for the sufficiency of God’s grace in the face of my weaknesses; “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  5. that the ways of God are perfect, and that He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him (Psalm 18:30)

Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
(Ezekiel 43:1-5 ESV)


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

This God—his way is perfect; 
the word of the LORD proves true; 
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 ESV)
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; 
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; 
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; 
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
(Psalms 19:7-9 ESV)

More thoughts from John Henry Newman on Christmas:

“It is a day of joy: it is good to be joyful–it is wrong to be otherwise. For one day we may put off the burden of our polluted consciences, and rejoice in the perfections of our Saviour Christ, without thinking of ourselves, withing thinking of our own miserable uncleanness; but contemplating His glory, His righteousness, His purity, His majesty, His overflowing love. We may rejoice in the Lord, and in all His creatures see Him. We may enjoy His temporal bounty, and partake the pleasant things of earth with Him in our thoughts; we may rejoice in our friends for His sake, loving them most especially because He has loved them.” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NRSV)


Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 2:4-5 NRSV)


What is a “spiritual sacrifice?” I don’t have a deep theological answer to that. But I believe it can be almost anything. What it is not is a physical sacrifice. It is not a literal sacrifice. Jesus Christ is our only literal, physical sacrifice. We need no other.

When I read the 1 Peter passage, I also think of Romans 12.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:1-2 NRSV)

We are to be a “living” sacrifice, which means that we stay alive, presenting ourselves to the Lord, “holy and acceptable to God.” How can I become holy and acceptable? Only through Jesus, by walking in His commands. I cannot become holy and acceptable by actions or works. I cannot pray enough to be holy; I cannot confess enough to be holy; I cannot abstain from anything enough to be holy. I can only be made holy by Jesus and His sacrifice for me/us.

The spiritual sacrifice involves what is presented in Romans 12:2, though. It involves not being conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. It involves discerning what the will of God is, and learning what is “good and acceptable and perfect.”

In short, I suppose it means what Jesus said when He told us that we must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. That is a “spiritual sacrifice.”

And while those photos that we see, occasionally, of some person dragging a real cross down the side of the road (sometimes cheating by putting a wheel on it), can be moving and inspiring, they are also rather pointless.

That is not what Jesus meant when He told us to take up our cross. He was not, I assure you, speaking of a literal cross. For goodness sake, He did that FOR us!

But it is also important to note that Jesus was also not talking about something that happens to us, over which we have no control. Usually, when someone says, “Well, I guess that’s just my cross to bear,” it isn’t. Because usually, they are referring to something that they cannot control or choose. A horrible disease, for example. Cancer is not anyone’s “cross to bear.” You don’t “choose” cancer.

But we do choose to not allow ourselves to be conformed to the world. We can choose to renew our minds through meditating on the Word of God, which is all of those things described in Psalm 19, above.

Another thing that is important is to know that, when we do take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus, we do it joyfully! Remember what Jesus said about fasting, which is one of those sacrificial things which we can choose to do.

“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:16-18 NRSV)

So, yes. Take up your cross. Deny yourself. Make that spiritual sacrifice. Follow Christ.

And don’t complain about how miserable it makes you. Bear the cross joyfully, celebrating Christ in all things.


Father, help us to take up our crosses, whatever it may be for each of us, individually. And help us to do it joyfully, celebrating Christ in our lives. May we never try to draw attention to our “spiritual sacrifice” or our suffering that may come because of it. If I am fasting, yes, I will be hungry. But I should not talk about how hungry I am, so as to draw attention to it.

Help me to always remember the words of Christ, who told us that, if we do those things, visibly, in order to be recognized by men, that will be the extent of our reward. Rather, let us be joyful when we do these things. Let us show the world joy in our relationship with You and Christ. No one wants to be involved with any “god” who is constantly making his people miserable. So why would we act that way?

Teach us joyfulness in all things, Father. Help us to be grateful and thankful in all circumstances, that we might display the life of Christ and spread the good news of the Gospel of Christ to all the world.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

Amen.
(St. Teresa of Avila)

Grace and peace, friends.

Revive Us Again

Today is Tuesday, the 27th of December, in the first week of Christmas. It is the third day of Christmas.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,665

Five days until 2023!

Today is my first day back to work at the library since last Wednesday. Then I don’t go back until Friday. I am scheduled off for New Year’s Eve. The library will be closed next Monday for New Year’s Day, but I never work on Mondays. I will be in at my normal time of 4:15 PM, today.

Today’s header photo is taken by Paul Militaru. Please visit his site at the link provided, and view more of his photographs!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

You are good and do good; 
teach me your statutes.
(Psalms 119:68 ESV)

Jesus tells us that God, alone, is “good.” And if we believe correctly, we believe that everything that God does is also “good.” We sometimes call people “good,” but it is only good, relative. No one but God is truly good. Once, when answering the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” R.C. Sproul was quoted as saying, “There are no ‘good’ people.” Perhaps that is a bit extreme, but in comparison to God, none of us can be said to be “good.” When we call each other “good,” we are comparing ourselves to other humans.

Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we come into your presence and ask you to show yourself to us as the true, great, and almighty God, who can shed light into our misery and change it all, letting us find reconciliation and redemption in Jesus Christ. Protect and help us with your mighty hand. Let every country and nation see your grace and see the victory over all sin and injustice. Let your justice come on earth, and let peace fill every heart and show in every life. May all that happens to us serve the good. Help us always look to you, our Lord and God, for you have power to rule everything and to turn everything to its right purpose. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. 
Luke 1:68–69, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. that some of our friends are having a wonderful time celebrating Christmas in New York City
  2. that everything that happens to us, in some way serves the good (Romans 8:28)
  3. for the possibility of peace in every heart
  4. for the love of God, that makes us His children, rather than slaves who fear Him
  5. for the Incarnation, the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 
'Prepare the way of the Lord,
 make his paths straight. 
Every valley shall be filled, 
and every mountain and hill shall be made low, 
and the crooked shall become straight, 
and the rough places shall become level ways, 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
(Luke 3:4-6 ESV)

God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children.
(Ephesians 1:5 CEV)

God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father.
(Romans 8:15 CEV)

Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are.
(1 John 3:1 CEV)


John Henry Newman writes this on the birth of Christ:

“The Son of God Most High, who created the worlds, became flesh, though remaining what He was before. He became flesh as truly as if He had ceased to be what He was, and had actually been changed into flesh. He submitted to be the offspring of Mary, to be taken up in the hands of a mortal, to have a mother’s eye fixed upon Him, and to be cherished at a mother’s bosom. A daughter of man became the Mother of God–to her, indeed, an unspeakable gift of grace; but in Him what condescension! What an emptying of His glory to become man! and not only a helpless infant, though that were humiliation enough, but to inherit all the infirmities and imperfections of our nature which were possible to a sinless soul. What were His thoughts, if we may venture to use such language or admit such a reflection concerning the Infinite, when human feelings, human sorrows, human wants, first became His? What a mystery is there from first to last in the Son of God becoming man! Yet in proportion to the mystery is the grace and mercy of it; and as is the grace, so is the greatness of the fruit of it.” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)


Will you not revive us again, 
so that your people may rejoice in you?
(Psalms 85:6 NRSV)

What is “revival?” When I read that verse from Psalm 85, I immediately thought of an old hymn, “Revive Us Again,” written in 1863 by W.P. Mackay.

We praise thee, O God, for the Son of thy love,
for Jesus who died, and is now gone above.

Refrain:
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, hallelujah! Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

We praise thee, O God, for thy Spirit of light
who has shown us our Savior and scattered our night.

We praise thee, O God, for the joy thou hast giv'n
to thy saints in communion, these foretastes of heav'n. 

Revive us again, fill each heart with thy love.
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

In my early years as a “music minister” (that’s what it was called in Southern Baptist life, back in those days), I took part in half-week to week-long meetings that were mistakenly called “revivals.” They were not revivals, I eventually learned. They were evangelistic rallies. The problem is, there usually weren’t very many people at those meetings who needed evangelizing. It was the essence of “preaching to the choir.”

I eventually learned what true revival means. You see, you can’t “revive” someone who has never been “alive.” Paul, in Ephesians, says that, before we came to know Christ, we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). I believe that this hymn captures the true spirit of revival, in the last verse.

They whole hymn is a prayer. It is a prayer of praise, primarily, but with the added phrase, “revive us again.” And then, in the final verse, comes the real prayer for revival, as we ask the Lord to fill our hearts with His love, and rekindle our souls “with fire from above.”

This is a prayer by the Church, asking for God to revive His Church, rekindling our hearts with His holy fire. In the fame way, Psalm 85:6 asks for revival, “so that your people may rejoice in you.” Revival is no more for the lost than Revelation 3:20 is an evangelistic verse. But that’s a topic for a different day.

Psalm 85 is also a prayer, as are many of the Psalms. This is fitting, that both this psalm and the hymn are prayers, because true revival will not happen without prayer.

“An extraordinary spirit of prayer, urging believers to labor fervently in their supplications, is a sure sign of approaching showers and even floods of blessing. . . . If there is to be revival–a true, divine outpouring of God’s Spirit–it will correspond with wholehearted prayer and faith.” (Andrew Murray, The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer, quoted in Power in Prayer)

As 2023 approaches, I will be spending some time reflecting on the past few years. That right there is a scary thought. For the most part, I would just as soon forget every year since 2019. And not just for the pandemic. But, as I reflect, I try to keep my spiritual eyes turned on myself, not toward others. It is far too easy to be critical of other people. I struggle with that, and always have.

My reflection needs to be on what I have accomplished or failed to accomplish. And as I look forward to another year of prayer, I will be praying for true revival in God’s people; praying that the Church can step away from nationalism and “patriotism,” and focus on God’s Spirit being active in our lives. But here’s the thing. It needs to begin in me. Hence that bit about focusing more on myself than on others (understand that I’m speaking about reflection and self-assessment, not about loving others, here). And that reminds me of yet another old hymn that says, “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”


Father, I am grateful, beyond measure, for Your great love for us, the love that has given us the right and ability to be Your children, to call ourselves by Your name, and to walk in Your kingdom. However, we get too easily distracted by the things of this earth. I love the old hymn, Father, that tells me to turn my eyes upon Jesus, so that the things of the earth will “grow strangely dim.” Lord, Your Church needs this now, more than ever.

I pray that as a new year approaches, You will send revival to Your people. I pray for a Spirit of encouragement upon us, that we might be encouraged to dwell with You as You dwell with and within us. I pray that we will truly turn our eyes upon Jesus. And let this begin in me, Lord. I have been praying for and hoping for a “love revolution” within Your people, Father. That, too, must begin here, in my heart. I cannot force someone else to love, but I can hope to inspire.

Help us to embrace the Spirit of Christ in our lives, and consider, daily, what He sacrificed in order to come to us. It was more than the death on the cross. We see that as the primary sacrifice, most of the time, but John Henry Newman gave us so much more to think about, as we consider what He left behind to place Himself in the hands of mortal human beings.

Thank You, Father, for this indescribable gift.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Unbroken Fellowship

Today is Saturday, the 26th of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ fill your body, soul, and spirit, today!

Day 23,634

Advent begins tomorrow, and there are 29 days until Christmas!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lead me in the path of your commandments, 
for I delight in it.
(Psalms 119:35 ESV)

Lord our God, in our times too you hear the prayers and cries of your children. We need to cry out, for humankind has not become your own but still lives in pain and under judgment, and many thousands have to die or undergo terrible things. They should be yours, every one of them. They should all be your children. So we cry out to you: Reveal and glorify your name on earth so that a new time may come and great wonders may be done by your hand. May your name be honored, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 
Isaiah 64:1–2, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for a very restful day, yesterday
  2. for the heart of gratitude that God has developed in me
  3. for rain received this week
  4. for the constant presence of Christ among us
  5. for the available relief from worry and anxiety; may I avail myself of this more often
  6. for the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Jesus

A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer. 

With my voice I cry out to the LORD; 
with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. 
I pour out my complaint before him; 
I tell my trouble before him. 

When my spirit faints within me, 
you know my way! 
In the path where I walk 
they have hidden a trap for me. 
Look to the right and see: 
there is none who takes notice of me; 
no refuge remains to me; 
no one cares for my soul. 

I cry to you, O LORD; 
I say, "You are my refuge, 
my portion in the land of the living." 
Attend to my cry, 
for I am brought very low! 
Deliver me from my persecutors, 
for they are too strong for me! 
Bring me out of prison, 
that I may give thanks to your name! 
The righteous will surround me, 
for you will deal bountifully with me.
(Psalms 142:1-7 ESV)

Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
(Exodus 3:5 NRSV)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV)

Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20 NRSV)


And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
(Matthew 8:23-27 NRSV)

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:5-7 NRSV)


For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:19-20 NRSV)


A couple days ago, one of the central passages was one where Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world.” (Paraphrased)

We are entering one of the most anxious seasons of the year. The holidays are a source of anxiety for many people, and for many different reasons. I’m not even going to begin to try to list them all.

The psalmist appears to be a bit anxious in Psalm 142, doesn’t he? And Jesus’s disciples were certainly anxious in that little boat in Matthew 8. What makes their anxiety even more preposterous is that Jesus was in the boat with them! And they knew it!

We find ourselves in that same “boat,” don’t we? We start worrying about things (I’m not exempt from this, believe me), and Jesus is with us, in the form of the Holy Spirit. Okay, the Holy Spirit is not “Jesus,” and vice versa. But all of them are “God,” as they make up the Holy Trinity. That’s another one of those mysteries that we will simply be unable to comprehend until we meet Him face-to-face.

Jesus also gave us many promises of His presence, one of which is above, in Matthew 18. Now, granted, these days it seems to be quite difficult to get two or more to agree about anything! But Jesus promises His presence in our midst.

In Galatians, we have that wonderful and popular verse that declares that our lives are actually lived by faith in Christ, as we are crucified in Him, and He lives through us. “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

Many people desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but what is their motivation? Sometimes we seek Him for “obtaining more power for work, more love in our life, more holiness in the heart, more light on Scripture or on our path.” I fear, sometimes, as well, that many seek the Holy Spirit for attention; if you have the more visible gifts of the Spirit, people will notice you.

Andrew Murray says, “But all these gifts are subordinate to the great purpose of God. The Father bestowed the Spirit on the Son, and the Son gave Him to us for the purpose of revealing and glorifying Christ Jesus in us.

“The heavenly Christ must become for us a real and living personality who is always with us and in us. Our life on earth can be lived every day in unbroken fellowship with our Lord Jesus.” (Andrew Murray in Living a Prayerful Life, quoted in Power in Prayer, emphasis added)

I want to emphasize that one sentence even more.

“Our life on earth can be lived every day in unbroken fellowship with our Lord Jesus.”

Now, to be clear, this is not something that is easy or can happen automatically. This is one of those things that reflects the need for Spiritual Disciplines in our lives. We have to practice this presence, as indicated by Brother Lawrence in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God. Frank Laubach also had the belief that it was possible to acknowledge the presence of God constantly in one’s life. He wrote a little pamphlet called The Game with Minutes, in which he encourages us to acknowledge God’s presence at least one second in every minute of our waking day.

Again, this is not something that is easy to accomplish, because we are “trained” differently. We are accustomed to being anxious. In fact, we seem to be encouraged to be anxious about things. We are taught to always be in a hurry (at least in Western society; there are other societies that are much better at time management than we are). We are encouraged to always be accomplishing something. My own wife struggles with this. She feels guilty for simply sitting and relaxing for any length of time, on weekends.

But anxiety is a mental thing. Again, Dallas Willard tells us that humans have the unique capability to control what we allow our minds to dwell on. Therefore, we also have the ability to direct our minds to dwell on Christ and His presence in our lives. We can have that unbroken fellowship of which Andrew Murray speaks!


Father, I thank You for the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Jesus! I pray that I might realize this through the practice of the Spiritual Disciplines in my life. I realize that this is not something that can happen instantly, nor is it automatic. Perhaps it should be almost automatic for the believer/follower of Christ, but, alas, because of worldly influences, it is not.

Help me to practice this rightly. Let Your Spirit remind me, constantly, of Your presence in my life. I pray for the influence of the Trinity, constantly, daily. And then let this influence, this presence, shine out from me like the brightest of lights in a world that seems so dark.

There are many of us, Father, who look around us and simply see a world that is “on fire.” “The world is burning,” we seem to be saying, constantly. But let us not focus our eyes on this. Rather, let us focus our minds, our spirits, our souls, on Your presence, so that we might light our world on a different kind of fire!

I desire that unbroken fellowship, Father, but I’m not whole-hearted enough. I pray that You “fix me,” because I’m broken. As are we all, Lord. Heal our brokenness with the salve of Your grace and mercy, and fix our eyes on You, the author and perfector of our faith.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


The LORD bless you and keep you; 
the LORD make his face to shine upon you, 
and be gracious to you; 
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, 
and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Power In the Blood

Today is Friday, the 25th of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,633

30 days until Christmas!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Give me understanding, 
that I may keep your law 
and observe it with my whole heart.
(Psalms 119:34 ESV)

Lord our God, we turn to you, for you are our help. Hear our prayer, we beseech you; let our cry rise to you so that you may send your mighty help in our generation. Continue to protect us from all evil, from death and destruction. Protect us because we are your children. As your children we turn to you, the almighty God, who can make everything work together for good. Be merciful to us, O Lord God. Help us for your name’s sake. Help, Lord, for you alone can bring everything to a good end. So we stand before you in Jesus Christ, holding to every word you have given us and knowing for certain that you hear us. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; 
let the distant shores rejoice... 
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, 
and all peoples see his glory. 
Psalm 97:1, 6, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the wonderful day we had yesterday, celebrating Thanksgiving with family
  2. for the joy we experience as we observe the heavens declaring the righteousness of God
  3. for the blood of Christ, sacrificed for the cleansing of our sins and the creating of new life within us
  4. for the participation in that blood when we receive Communion at His table
  5. for the patience of the Lord

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
(2 Peter 3:8-10 ESV)

A Psalm of David. 

O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! 
Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, 
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! 

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; 
keep watch over the door of my lips! 
Do not let my heart incline to any evil, 
to busy myself with wicked deeds 
in company with men who work iniquity, 
and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; 
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; 
let my head not refuse it. 
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds. 
When their judges are thrown over the cliff, 
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant. 
As when one plows and breaks up the earth, 
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol. 

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; 
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! 
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me 
and from the snares of evildoers! 
Let the wicked fall into their own nets, 
while I pass by safely.
(Psalms 141:1-10 ESV)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
(James 1:17 NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 NIV)


“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” ~ G.K. Chesterton, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin


Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
(Matthew 26:27-28 NIV)

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
(Leviticus 17:11 NIV)


Every Sunday morning, the pastor that leads the Communion at Living Word Lutheran Church opens their arms and says, “You are all invited to this Table of Grace.” Then, for the next few minutes, the congregation, in orderly fashion, proceeds to the kneeling benches around the altar to receive the body and blood of Jesus.

For at least five years (maybe longer), Communion (or, as we came to call it, the Supper) has been the central piece of the worship time for me. Everything leads up to the climax of that moment, in my opinion. And in the Lutheran service, it all begins with the declaration of the forgiveness of sins. First we confess, then we worship in various ways, and we end it by receiving the body and blood of Jesus.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us!” Observe the great blessing that He has given us, the truth that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Also observe His great patience in holding off the end of times, because He is not willing that any should perish.

“When I partake of that blood, I have a part in the atonement that it established, the forgiveness it secured. I have a part in the life of Jesus, surrendered on the cross, raised from the grave, and now glorified in heaven. The spirit of Jesus’ life is the spirit of my life. How powerful, how heavenly must that life be that is nourished by the new wine of the kingdom and communion with the Son. May I ever be thankful that Jesus shed His blood for me.” (Andrew Murray, in The Lord’s Table, quoted in Power in Prayer)

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)


Father, once again I am thankful for the cross, for the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that brings me into participation into the divine presence. I thank You for the mystery that is the body and blood of Jesus, present in the bread and wine of Communion. I pray that, as we receive this each week, we would realize more strongly the connectivity between us all, provided by and enabled by Your Holy Spirit.

As we take Communion each week, we are participating in something that is so much bigger than the congregation with whom we are worshiping. We are participating in something that spans the globe, and that also spans all time. When I consume the body and blood of Christ, I am consuming the same body and blood that John and Peter and James consumed. I am partaking in the same presence in which Polycarp and Ignatius and Clement and Augustine partook.

And I am connected, as well, with every believer who will walk the face of the earth in years to come. This mystery is similar to the mystery that is spoken of in Psalm 139; it is too wonderful for me, too high; I cannot attain it.

But I will, nevertheless, embrace it. So, this coming Sunday, Father, when I receive the bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus, may I not take it lightheartedly or be aloof about it. May it carry with it the weight of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and may it empower me to live another week under the grace, and in His strength.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

For All People

Today is Tuesday, the 22nd of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul, today!

Day 23,630

Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; 
let me not be put to shame!
(Psalms 119:31 ESV)

Lord Jesus, hear our prayer and reveal your hand in our days. May those things be done that bring your future nearer and that let the world see you as the Savior who can lead us to our Father. Bless your Word within us. May our hearts be strengthened, and may we always live in your presence. We draw our life from your Word, from your promise, and we set our hope on you, our Lord and Savior. Show your might, Lord Jesus, and carry out the will of God over all the world, so that we may rejoice when we see God’s glory appear and his will being done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Be patient, then, my brothers, until the Lord comes. See how patient a farmer is as he waits for his land to produce precious crops. He waits patiently for the autumn and spring rains. 
James 5:7, TEV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for this time of year, when many people’s thoughts turn toward thanksgiving; may they continue giving thanks, going forward
  2. for the strengthening of my heart through God’s Word and presence in my life
  3. that we draw life from His Word, and His promises
  4. for the challenge in 1 Timothy to pray for all people
  5. for the confidence that the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, whatever that may be

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
(1 Peter 5:5-9 ESV)
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
 before the gods I sing your praise; 
I bow down toward your holy temple 
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, 
for you have exalted above all things
 your name and your word. 
On the day I called, you answered me; 
my strength of soul you increased. 
(Psalms 138:1-3 ESV)
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; 
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. 
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
(Psalms 138:8 ESV)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV emphasis added)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
(Ephesians 6:18 ESV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
(James 5:13-16 ESV)


“Most of the inconveniences that make men swear or women cry are really sentimental or imaginative inconveniences–things altogether of the mind.” ~ G.K. Chesterton, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin


As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV)

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
(Ephesians 1:17-18 ESV)


Paul and James give various and multiple admonitions to pray. And both of them are challenging to us.

First is Paul’s instruction (urging) to pray (supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings) “for all people.” Not just the people you like; not just your family; not just your brothers and sisters in Christ.

All people.

As I’ve seen it said many times, “All means all.”

Paul goes on, though, and includes (even though he has already said “all”) “kings and all who are in high positions.” Why? “That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life.”

Has anyone noticed that things in this country (I live in the United States) have been anything but “peaceful and quiet” for a number of years? Could it be that we, the “faithful” (I use that term loosely) have not been obeying this “urging” from Paul? I dare say that at least half of the “Christian” community has NOT been praying for our President, over the past couple of years. And, just to be clear, praying for him to die or be removed from office doesn’t count.

I’ll confess. I have not been diligent to pray consistently for our public servants, our elected officials. I’ll admit that. I have, from time to time, when reminded, lifted up our President and everyone surrounding him. But I don’t do it enough, and Paul’s admonition, here, convicts me. I need to spend more time praying for him, for the governor of the state in which I live, for those who serve in our city.

But along with that, looms that three word phrase, “for all people.” That’s a lot. I recently heard that the world finally passed eight billion in population.

No wonder Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.”

But, in all seriousness, we have to, at some point, acknowledge that it is virtually impossible to pray “for all people.” And, frankly, I don’t think saying, “Dear God, I pray for all people” quite cuts it. I mean, it can’t hurt, but still . . .

So how do we do this?

I was moved by Daily Guideposts 2022 writer Rick Hamlin, today. My initial reaction was that what he was about to say was silly. But the more I read it, the more it made sense. Before he goes to sleep each night, he starts at the beginning of the alphabet and works his way, all the way through Z, naming someone for each letter. Sometimes, it’s the same person for some letters, each night. Sometimes, they change. Yes, he struggles with X, sometimes, but manages to come up with something. And, when he gets to Y, he is reminded to pray for himself. Because, as much as I hesitate to do so, at times, it is acceptable to pray for yourself.

I may or may not begin to employ that practice, but it makes me think . . . what better way to fall asleep, than at least trying to follow Paul’s urging to pray “for all people.”

We are also admonished to be sure and pray “for all the saints.” Again, an impossible task, but I can pray for all the ones I know, can’t I? And, finally, James has some things to say about the effects of prayer. Prayer will save the one who is sick; prayer will bring about forgiveness. He tells us to confess our sins and pray, that we may be healed. And then comes that wonderful, popular phrase, in verse 16.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
(James 5:16 ESV)

Or, as many of us once learned it in KJV,

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

So let us pray. Pray, as much as we can, “for all people.” Pray for kings, princes, presidents, governors, mayors, chiefs of police . . . pray for pastors, for Sunday School teachers, missionaries, and music leaders. Pray for one another, and don’t forget to pray for yourself.

And, to quote Andrew Murray (who didn’t see this coming?), “Let us ask Him to show us what holiness is: first His, and then ours; to show us how He has set His heart upon it as the one thing He wants to see in us: His own image and likeness.” (From The Path to Holiness, quoted in Power in Prayer)


Father, I confess that I have not been faithful enough in prayer. Sure, I pray for people, and especially when they give me a prayer request in my daily post asking for those. But I confess that I do not do enough spontaneous prayer, and certainly not enough praying “for all people.” Remind me, Father, throughout this day, and especially before I fall asleep, tonight, to pray for as many people as I can. Let the prayers be genuine, though, not just a list of “bless so-and-so” for a half an hour. Maybe, if that is all I can think of, then it’s okay. Nothing wrong with praying for someone to be blessed. But what I am asking for is to be able to remember specifics. And, perhaps, bring a person to mind, someone of whom I have not thought in a while.

I pray for the community of saints, today, that we would collectively remember these injunctions to pray for all people, and especially those who are in high positions in whatever land we find ourselves in, so that, as Paul said, we might live peaceful and quiet lives.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


"We got to pray
just to make it today."
M.C. Hammer

Grace and peace, friends.

Who Are You?

Today is Thursday, the 27th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,604

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
(Psalms 119:4 ESV)

Lord God, we thank you for your voice even when it is stern and we must go through hardship and suffering. Your voice speaks to us, and in your voice we can be glad and victorious in our life on earth. Come into our lives. May each of us realize that all we have gone through has been for the good. Be God and Lord over the nations. Be a refuge for all people. Grant that the sin and distress of this terrible time may soon pass and that we may hear your words, "Be comforted. I will come soon. All these terrors must pass by. My will is being done. My name must be honored. My kingdom and my rule are coming. So take heart and at all times look to your God and Father in heaven." Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the positives in that verse; no matter how difficult the struggle, we are not crushed, in despair, abandoned, or destroyed; praise be to the Lord
  2. that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose
  3. that the Lord is my “everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4)
  4. that if I keep my mind fixed on the Lord, He will keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)
  5. that Jesus Christ makes me worthy

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV)

O LORD, you are my God; 
I will exalt you; I will praise your name, 
for you have done wonderful things, 
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
(Isaiah 25:1 ESV)

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:6-9 ESV)

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3 ESV)


Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
(Isaiah 26:4 ESV)


Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:4 ESV)

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
(Matthew 25:40 ESV)

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
(Romans 15:1-2 ESV)


In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
(John 16:23-24 ESV)


The Lord will keep us in perfect peace, if we keep our minds fixed on Him. That is a Bible promise. It is a truth. If we are not in peace, then we don’t have our minds fixed on Him.

This does not mean that we never think about anything else. This does not mean that we become “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” One thing it does mean is that we claim and accept that we are the “Beloved Daughters and Sons of God,” and, in doing so, we stop living “as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us.” (Henri Nouwen)

If you are a follower of Christ, then you are a beloved daughter or son of God. And if we can accept this, live in it, and walk in it, one result is that we no longer feel the need to constantly be judging others.

“Imagine having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone’s behavior.”

This comes from a devotional I read yesterday from Henri Nouwen, called The Burden of Judgment. You can read the whole thing at the link, there.

Then, this morning, I ran across this poem from one of my favorite poets, Daryl Madden.

A Person’s Value

To value a person
Based on money
All that it does
Is to devalue me

If I value a person
Upon their mental state
The lesson I’ve learned
Is that mine isn’t great

If I value a person
Based upon what I see
My view in the mirror
Shows that I am ugly

Our God, who is perfect
To each person proclaims
You’re a beloved treasure
Please help me do the same

You can read it, and visit his site for others, at the link provided.

I commented on his post that it reminded me of Nouwen’s reading from the day before.

Beloved, please know that judging is something that I have struggled mightily with for most of my life. It’s not always spiritual judging, either. I have caught myself judging others in the workplace, thinking that they aren’t doing their jobs properly. That especially comes up when I think it’s making my job harder. I’ve judge people for their politics, for their driving, you name it, and I’ve judged it.

But the truth is that I am no better than anyone else, in the grand scheme of things. I mean, truthfully, everyone is better than someone at something, and everyone is worse than someone at the same thing. I’m simply talking as human beings. It has been said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” That quote has been attributed to a number of different people, such as Teddy Roosevelt, C.S. Lewis, and Mark Twain. I’m not sure there is any real evidence that any of them said that. Nevertheless, I believe it is a worthy statement.

Why do we compare ourselves to others? I suppose it can make me feel better about myself. But it can also make me not like myself very much. Every time I go hear Phil Keaggy in concert it makes me want to burn all my guitars. But that would be foolish. I’m an adequate guitar player, and I can still praise the Lord with my guitar. He doesn’t care so much about the level of skill. He cares about the heart.

And that I keep my mind stayed/fixed on Him, not on Mr. Keaggy.

We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). God has created us in His image. Yes, that image was marred by sin, but it was not erased. And it is also said that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) He will finish what He started in us.

I will finish with a quote from Andrew Murray. “When we seek our own glory among men, we make faith impossible. Only the deep, intense self-sacrifice that gives up its own glory and seeks the glory of God wakens in the soul that spiritual susceptibility to Divine faith. The surrender to God and the expectation that He will show is glory in hearing us are essential Only he who seeks God’s glory will see it in the answer to his prayer.”

(From With Christ in the School of Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)


Father, I confess. While I believe that I have been improving and getting closer to You in recent years, I still have not lived as though Your glory is an “all-absorbing passion” in my life and in my prayers. More and more, I find that I am praying for things in light of Your glory being displayed. For that I am grateful. But I do not see myself truly living in the likeness of Your Son, as I should be, seeking only Your glory and none of my own. The evidence of this is that I still catch myself judging others.

I pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal my deficiency in these things, that I might have my mind fixed on You and You alone, so that I will not find myself judging others, but accepting them for who they are. We all have faults and flaws, and mine are no better or worse than anyone else’s. I pray that You would deliver us, Your children, from the scourge of judging one another. I pray that You would help us, by Your Spirit to accept and claim that we are Your beloved daughters and sons and walk in this truth, daily, in Your kingdom.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

The Chief Aim of Prayer

Today is Wednesday, the 26th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,603

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
(Psalms 119:2-3 ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, stand at our side and protect us in all our days on earth. Grant us an understanding of the honor that belongs to God. Help us see that you are sent so that heaven and earth shall one day bow down before God's almighty will. Stand by us so that we may hear, understand, and accept your Word. Stand by us all our lives. Be with us in suffering and in our last hour when death comes to us. May your grace be with us. Help us at all times to be firmly rooted in the will of our God and Father in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
(John 17:11 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for Jesus’s prayer for unity among His followers of the future
  2. for the blessing, honor, glory, and power that belongs to our Lord
  3. for the great compassion that God has for us
  4. that the chief aim of prayer is the glorification of God
  5. that Jesus intercedes for us

I love the LORD, because he has heard 
my voice and my pleas for mercy. 
Because he inclined his ear to me, 
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
(Psalms 116:1-2 ESV)
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; 
our God is merciful. 
The LORD preserves the simple; 
when I was brought low, he saved me. 
Return, O my soul, to your rest; 
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 

For you have delivered my soul from death, 
my eyes from tears, 
my feet from stumbling; 
I will walk before the LORD i
n the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:5-9 ESV)
What shall I render to the LORD 
for all his benefits to me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation 
and call on the name of the LORD, 
I will pay my vows to the LORD 
in the presence of all his people.
(Psalms 116:12-14 ESV)

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,”
(Exodus 34:6 NIV)

As a father has compassion on his children, 
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 
for he knows how we are formed, 
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalms 103:13-14 NIV)

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
(Romans 9:15 NIV)


“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
(Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 ESV)


Time is short, this morning. I want to briefly focus on the majesty of God. Yet, in His majesty, He is compassionate toward us. As He passes in front of Moses, who is hidden in the cleft of the rock, He declares about Himself, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

All glory and honor and power belong to Him. As Handel’s Messiah sings, “Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him, be unto Him!” He is worthy of all of our praise and worship.

And yet, He is compassionate. He loves us. He desires fellowship with us. He knows our human condition; He remembers that we are dust, and that we will stumble. Yet He picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us back on the right path.

To help us along, Jesus, the Son, sits at His right hand, interceding for us. He prayed for Simon, that his faith would not fail. He prays for us, as well. He prayed for all of us in John 17, in the “high priestly prayer.” He continues to pray for us today. And when we pray, we participate in His life.

“Prayer is participating on earth in the life of Christ in heaven.” (Andrew Murray)

And the chief aim of our prayers should be that God be glorified.


Father, thank You for the prayers of Jesus for us! It is great comfort to me to know that He intercedes for us at Your right hand. It is great comfort to me to know that You remember that I am merely dust. Thank You for hearing our prayers. By right, You don’t have to do that. You are the Creator. All glory and power and majesty belong to You. I praise You for Your compassion.

May all of my prayers have the aim of Your glory.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Mind Your Own Business!

Today is Tuesday, the 25th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you find the peace of Christ in your heart today!

Day 23,602

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Lord our God, grant that our spirit may recognize your Spirit and your love, so that our lives cannot be swallowed up by passing concerns but are lifted to something higher. Help us hold fast to all the blessings you have allowed us to experience, the blessings you will certainly continue to give, even though new battles and new troubles are all around us. Send a great light to shine among the many people whose task is to lead the way so that your kingdom may come. Send light so that your name may be honored through our human deeds and you may be known as life for all. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
John 8:12, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the Light of the world, the Light of life
  2. that our God is in the heavens, and does all that He pleases (Psalm 115)
  3. for the biblical admonitions to be patient, to be silent, and to be slow to anger; Father, please make this come to pass in Your children!
  4. that Paul tells us to mind our own business! (1 Thessalonians 4)
  5. for allergy meds; seriously, ’tis the season

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV, emphasis added)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, 
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 

Why should the nations say, 
"Where is their God?" 
Our God is in the heavens;
 he does all that he pleases.
(Psalms 115:1-3 ESV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to keep silence . . . 
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
(Proverbs 17:28 ESV)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
(James 1:19 ESV, emphasis added)

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.
(Mark 9:7 ESV, emphasis added)


“If you keep silent before God and give Him time, He will leave within you impressions that will be as the rays of His glory shining in you.” (Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)


I waited patiently for the LORD; 
he inclined to me and heard my cry. . . . 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a song of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear, 
and put their trust in the LORD. 
(Psalms 40:1. 3 ESV)

It appears that the topic of the day must be being patient, silent, and being slow to anger.

It starts up there in 1 Thessalonians, as Paul admonishes the people to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” Isn’t it odd that I don’t hear this preached about very often? I mean, right here in the Bible, Paul tells us to mind our own business!! And to live quietly.

Instead, when I look around me, I see of lot of loud, noisy, meddling.

The trend continues in Ecclesiastes. Listed in all of the things for which there is a time and a season is “a time to keep silence.” Admittedly, yes, there is a time to speak. But it may not be an accident that silence is written first. In truth, do we even have a right to speak if we have not first listened?

How often, in conversation, do you spend the time, while the other person is talking, thinking about what you are going to say next, rather than truly listening to what they are saying. Even worse, how often do we interrupt each other?? I am guilty, I know. It is a hard habit to break.

The writer of Proverbs tells us that a fool who manages to keep quiet is thought of as wise. And our brother James instructs us to be quick to hear (listen) slow to speak (keep silence), and then he adds “slow to anger.” Oh, dang. That James is a real meddler, isn’t he?

Once again, I see the opposite when I look around. Social media outlets are full of loud, angry “Christians.”

I added the verse from Mark, myself. After Jesus was transfigured and the disciples had blurted out their say (because they just had to say something, right?), that voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Listen.

That means stop talking. Be quick to hear, slow to speak.

Wait patiently for the Lord. It’s okay to pray, sure. But wait patiently, and, when applicable, quietly, silently. Stop talking and listen. That is what meditation and contemplation are for. The essence of those two disciplines are silence, which can, itself, be a spiritual discipline.

The reward is worth it. Andrew Murray left out verse 2, and I think it’s part of the reward, as well.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry bog, 
and set my feet upon a rock, 
making my steps secure.
(Psalms 40:2 ESV)

This is the result of waiting, of patience, of living quietly. That, and the new song in our mouths, a song of praise to our God.

“True patience is so foreign to our self-sufficient nature, yet so indispensable to our waiting on God.” (Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer)

“In waiting on God, it is important that we submit not because we are forced to, but because we want to be in the hands of our blessed Father.” (ibid)


Father, I have always had trouble keeping quiet. When I was in grade school, I kept getting separated from the rest of the class because I couldn’t stop talking. Do I really love the sound of my own voice that much? Or do I truly believe that what I have to say is so important?

Nothing is more important than listening to You. And it is impossible to listen when my mouth is running amok. Please help me to obey the admonitions of brothers Paul and James. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and dear God, please help me to be slow to anger. I have gotten better at that in recent years, but I still find myself getting angry over the most ridiculous things. Subway or Sonic got my order wrong. Again! How dare they not be perfect!!!

Grace, Father. Help me to display the same grace that You have displayed to me and all the saints. I cannot be perfect, I know. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

I pray for the patience to wait on You as Scripture teaches. I know the dangers of praying for patience. It’s like praying to have faith increased. As soon as one prays for something like that, one should be prepared for immediate testing. But, in this case, I am praying for the ability to patiently wait on You, and to do so by honoring silence. I believe silence can be sacred. So help me to observe that, and to obey Your commands to us.

I also pray that we would do a better job of minding our own business. We seem to be working real hard to create laws to keep people from doing whatever we disagree with. And we are loudly and angrily expressing our opinions while doing so. I believe this harms the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to get back in focus, Lord, to do the things that are really important, which is love You and loving others. Help us to trust You with the rest of it.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Oh How I Love Your Law”

Today is Monday, the 24th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you know the peace of Christ, that passes all understanding, today!

Day 23,601

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that with our poor, faulty, sinful, and death-ridden lives we may find shelter in your love. We thank you that we are your children. We thank you that whatever we are, however depressed we are about ourselves and the inadequacy of our own nature, we are still your children. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Holy Spirit, penetrating our whole nature, our flesh and blood, keeping us firm in faith under all temptation and distress. Give us your Spirit to fill us with hope as we look to the future, to fill us with certainty in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come, whose victory is before our eyes so that we never waver or become afraid. Give us your Spirit so that we may live in this certainty and prepare ourselves more and more for your coming into the world. May we come to know that your loving-kindness is at work today, that in the end your deliverance will come quickly, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. 
John 16:27, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. new “adventures” in worship and faith
  2. that, in spite of our faults and inadequaces, we are still children of God
  3. for the Holy Spirit, who helps keep us firm in our faith
  4. that the Lord is a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3)
  5. for Psalm 119

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. 

Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea! Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.
(Isaiah 17:10-14 ESV)
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, 
at the presence of the God of Jacob, 
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
(Psalms 114:7-8 ESV)

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
(Psalms 3:3 ESV)

The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone. 
This is the LORD's doing; 
it is marvelous in our eyes. 
This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Save us, we pray, O LORD!
 O LORD, we pray, give us success! 

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! 
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
(Psalms 118:22-26 ESV)

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
(Philippians 4:5 ESV)


“We must understand how our communion with the Father is conditioned by the active and personal presence and working of the Lord Jesus. It takes time to become fully conscious of the need we have of Him in every approach to God. But we can have confidence in the work that He is doing in us and assurance of His intimate love and presence as we make intercession.

“So too the Holy Spirit, working in the depth of our heart, is the One who is able to reveal the Son within us. Through Him alone we have the power to know what and how to pray. Through Him we have the assurance that our prayer has been accepted.

“Dear Christian, it is in tarrying in the secret of God’s presence that you receive grace to abide in Christ and to be led by His Spirit. What food for thought–and worship!”

(Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)


Oh how I love your law! 
It is my meditation all the day. 

Consider how I love your precepts! 
Give me life according to your steadfast love. 

My soul keeps your testimonies;
 I love them exceedingly. 
(Psalms 119:97, 159, 167 ESV)
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, 
to keep your righteous rules.
(Psalms 119:106 ESV)

Psalm 119. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible, in the midst of the longest book in the Bible. If you took a standard Bible, with no concordance or extra material in the back, and opened it up in the exact center, you would be very close to this chapter. You might find yourself in Psalm 119, depending on the version you have.

I have long said that I do not think it to be coincidence that the Psalms are in the middle of the Bible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to it as the “Prayerbook of the Bible.” I love the Psalms, and it has been my favorite book of the Bible for many years.

Psalm 119 is an incredible chapter, the more I learn about it. Long ago, I learned that it is an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. Naturally, that doesn’t show up in our English translations. But it is divided into sections of eight verses each. Each section is headed up by a letter of the alphabet, and I have read that every verse in that section begins with that letter. For example, here are the first eight verses.

Aleph. 

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, 
who walk in the law of the LORD! 
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 
Then I shall not be put to shame, 
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 
I will praise you with an upright heart, 
when I learn your righteous rules. 
I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
(Psalms 119:1-8 ESV)

Here is a screenshot of that segment in Hebrew and English, side by side.

Considering that Hebrew is read from right to left, you can see (I realize it is small, but maybe it will enlarge if you click on it) that each verse begins with the same letter.

Don’t misunderstand me . . . I am far from an expert in Hebrew. I’m not even a “rank amateur.” I just know how to look stuff up.

Another thing that I find fascinating about Psalm 119 is that, out of 176 verses, almost every single verse refers to the Word of God, in some fashion. It might be called precepts, commandments, or law, or any number of other designations.

So what we have here, besides being rather artistic in nature, is a huge work of homage to the Word of God, the very book in which it finds itself in the center.

Andrew Murray has also noticed this. “Those who would like to know how to study the Bible according to God’s will ought to make a careful study of Psalm 119.” (Murray, The Believer’s Daily Renewal, quoted in Power in Prayer) “The Word of God becomes a rich and inexhaustible basis for holding communion with God.” (ibid)

As we meditate on God’s Word, His promises, commands, and precepts, as indicated in Psalm 119, we become more dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit within us, as He reveals Christ to us and in us, as the previous quote by Murray says. We learn more of this God, before whom Psalm 114 tells us to tremble.

I wonder when the last time any of us trembled before God Almighty.

I know it’s been far too long for me.

Heh. I just remembered an old, old commercial for Wolf Brand Chili (still my favorite canned chili), in which an old cowboy says, “Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steamin’ bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Heheh. Well, that’s too long.”

One more quote from Murray (in case you can’t tell, I rather like him). “Begin to work into your morning prayers the devotional life found in this Psalm. Let God’s Word lead you into communion with God every day and before everything else.”

That’s why I’m here, writing this blog, every day.


Father, while I can’t claim to love Your Word as much as the psalmist who penned Psalm 119, I do love Your Word. I love it all, but I especially love the “prayerbook” in the center. And I love Psalm 119, which speaks of one particular psalmist’s own love for Your Word. Thank You for this lengthy discourse on Your Word, Father. Help me to, once again, make it a daily part of my life, going forward.

Help me to love Your law, and meditate on it daily! Help me to love Your precepts, and by them, know and revel in the love that You have for me! Help me to love and obey Your testimonies, Your “righteous rules.”

May these words lead me into intimate communion with You, daily. May these words also lead me into more of a relationship with You, that causes me to tremble in both reverent awe and adoration. I love You, Lord. May that be reflected in everything I do.

Thank You for being a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Help me to make my “reasonableness” be known to everyone. Help me to always be gentle with all people, and to love all people as Christ has loved me.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.