Forgiveness

Today is Thursday, February 22, 2018. Day 21,896.

16 days until Glen Rose.

Sparky Anderson, born on this date in 1934 (died 2010), said, “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.” It’s true. It’s amazing how good some players play in a “contract year.”
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The word for today is fantasticate. I swear I’m not making this up. It’s a verb which means, “to make or render fantastic.”

It’s right at freezing this morning, but just got to that temperature in the last hour. It’s currently not raining, but probably will be again, soon. I checked the cars, and there is no ice on them, so we should be okay, this morning. In fact, by 7:00, it’s supposed to be back above freezing, with a projected high of 44-45 today.

We still haven’t made it back to the Y, yet, but that is mainly because it has been cold and raining the last two nights. We might go this evening.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 
you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 
for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 
You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! 
Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. 
For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. 
But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. 
In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah.

Psalm 44:1-8

“For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.” The writers of this Psalm know who to trust for their salvation. They know that it is not in their power; their weapons cannot save them, nor can their own strength. Only in the Lord can they be victorious.

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
A Complaint from the Ungracious

“I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His suffering and death lose all value in their eyes, ‘because it must have been so easy for him.’ Others may (very rightly) rebuke the ingratitude and ungraciousness of this objection; what staggers me is the misunderstanding it betrays. In one sense, of course, those who make it are right. they have even understated their own case. The perfect submission, the perfect suffering, the perfect death were not only easier to Jesus because He was God, but were possible only because He was God. But surely that is a very odd reason for not accepting them? The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher; and only because it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because ‘it’s easy for grown-ups’ and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no ‘unfair’ advantage), it would not get on very quickly. If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank?’ That advantage – call it ‘unfair’ if you like – is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?” (From Mere Christianity)

I’m not sure I would ever say that the perfect life, suffering, and death of Christ were “easy” because he was also God. I think the sweating of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane proves otherwise. But I certainly understand the point that Lewis is making here.

(From Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die, John Piper)
9: For the Forgiveness of our Sins

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Ephesians 1:7
For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:28

When I forgive an offense, I do not require payment from that person. If payment was made, no forgiveness is required. The act of forgiveness “assumes grace.” Notice (I confess that I have not looked at it this way) that the word, forgiveness, has the word “give” in it. “Forgiveness is not ‘getting‘ even. It is giving away the right to get even.”

When we trust Christ, God does this for us. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43) God does not hold our sins against us. I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25) As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

At the same time, we know that forgiveness is simply not enough. We see this more clearly when the injury is greater. What if judges simply said to murderers, “Are you sorry? Okay. The state forgives you. You may go.” The state “cannot forsake justice.” Neither can God. “All sin is serious, because it is against God.” It is his glory that has been injured, and he cannot just set us free any more than “a human judge can cancel all the debts that criminals owe to society.”

“That is why Christ suffered and died.” See Ephesians 1:7 above. “Forgiveness costs us nothing. All our costly obedience is the fruit, not the root, of being forgiven. That’s why we call it grace. But it cost Jesus his life. That is why we call it just. Oh, how precious is the news that God does not hold our sins against us! And how beautiful is Christ whose blood made it right for God to do this.”

Father, again, I cannot adequately thank you for this. Yet I shall try to express my gratitude for the magnificent thing which you have done for us, as we do not deserve it. But, as stated, that is what makes it grace. Grace is you doing in and for me what I cannot do myself. Thank you, O my Father! I pray for the righteousness of Christ to infuse my life to the point that all sin is pushed away, and that temptation rolls off of me like water from a raincoat.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

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Fear Not, for I Am With You

Today is Friday, December 29, 2017. Day 21,841. The fifth day of Christmas.

Five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Only THREE days until 2018!!

Mary Tyler Moore, born on this date in 1936 (died 2017), said, “I’m not an actress who can create a character. I play me.”
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The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is pooh-bah, a noun, meaning, “a person holding many public or private offices,” or, “a person in high position or of great influence.”

Today is Tick Tock Day. Tick Tock is the sound of this year rapidly rolling to an end.

I have to work four hours tomorrow and four hours Sunday, so I don’t know whether I will do blogs or not. If I do, they may wind up being in the afternoon.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Friday–Fourth Week of Advent

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
Psalm 135:1-3
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
Psalm 140:6
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 97:9
Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done.
Psalm 64:9
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Revelation 12:1-6
Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalm 147:1-11

My verse for this year has been Isaiah 41:10.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I will soon be choosing a new one. But this has been a good one. No doubt, you’ve seen it copied numerous times at the bottom of this blog. There have been many times, this year, when I have remembered this verse and taken both strength and comfort in it. God is with me, I will not be dismayed.

Father, thank you for being with me all the time. I confess that there have been many times when I have not acted as though you were with me. May I always remember this, and always act in the truth that you are present with me at all times, even in the very air that I breathe.
Even so, come, 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.

Grace and peace, friends.

I Trust In You, O Lord

Today is Thursday, December 28, 2017. Day 21,840. Fourth day of Christmas.

Four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Only four days until 2018!

Edgar Winter, born on this date in 1946, said, “The most profound, tangible influence in my life has been my wife, Monique. I don’t know that I would even be alive were it not for her, and I certainly would not be the person that I am today.”
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The word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is discrutator, a noun, meaning, “A person who disputes or doubts to an extreme or excessive degree; a caviller.”

Today is Card Playing Day. Who knows . . . if you play your cards right . . .

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Thursday–Fourth Week of Advent

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Psalm 95:6-7
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;
Psalm 101:6
If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 
John 5:31-36
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33:13-22

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
Psalm 31:14

Using a story about rock climbing, Karen Valentin defines trust in God. The rock climber trusts the one who holds the rope, and knows that that one will not let him fall. In the same way, I trust in God implicitly. I know that God will not let me fall, ultimately. He certainly lets me stray off of the path, as he has not created a robot that has no will of its own. And he will, if I stray far enough, allow me to stumble. But he always picks me back up and sets me back on the path.

The Psalmist said, simply, “I trust in you, O Lord. You are my God.” In the next verse, he said, “My times are in your hand.”

All the days of my life are in the hands of my God, whom I trust. I get up and drive to work in the morning because I trust God to keep me. And if he allows something “bad” to happen, he is still my God, and there is nothing that can happen to me that can take that away from me.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. 
Psalm 9:10
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Psalm 25:2

Father, I thank you for the trust that you have inspired in me. For most of my life, I have trusted you, as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean my actions have been perfect, because they certainly have not. Nor is it to say that I have never doubted you. But, for decades, my trust in you has been firm. I trust in you, O Lord. You are my God. My times are in your hands.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

My Fortress

Today is Wednesday, December 27, 2017. Day 21,839.

Three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Only five more days until 2018!!

Marlene Dietrich, born on this date in 1901 (died 1992), said, “A man would prefer to come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than to a neatly made bed and an angry woman.”
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The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is pinguid, an adjective, meaning, “fat; oily.”

Today is Make Cut-out Snowflakes Day. I haven’t done that in a long time. If I have a chance to make one, perhaps I’ll take a picture.

It’s definitely on the wintry edge of things, here, but not too bad. Current temp is 33, with a projected high of 38. Fortunately for us, all of the icy stuff stayed way west of our area. It’s just cold here. But not unbearable cold.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Wednesday–Fourth Week of Advent

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, you heavenly hosts;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Doxology
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Psalm 43:3-4
Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being.

A Song to the Lamb
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:30-38
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.
Psalm 24:1-6
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

This is just one of many verses that speak of God being our fortress, our rock, our refuge. I have long taken great comfort in the Psalms, and most especially, those Psalms that contain words such as “fortress,” “rock,” and “refuge.”

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:11
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;

Psalm 31:2-3
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.
Psalm 46:7
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
Psalm 59:16-17
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalm 62:2

David and the other Psalms writers knew the confidence that comes from believing in the Lord as our refuge, rock, and fortress. Some days, it’s harder than others to remember this. But when I do remember it, the day goes more smoothly. Not because I don’t have problems, but because when I do have problems, I remember who is guarding and protecting me.

So whatever you’re going through today, remember that, if you claim the name of Jesus, the Lord is your rock, your fortress, your refuge, and your deliverer!

Father, thank you for these words of Scripture that constantly remind me that you are my refuge, and that I can always take shelter under your “wings.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Knowing Christ

Today is Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Day 21,838.

Only six days until 2018!

Carlton Fisk, born on this date in 1947, said, “I knew it was gonna go out. It was just a question of it being fair or foul. The wind must have carried it 15 feet toward the foul pole. I just stood there and watched. I didn’t want to miss seeing it go out.”
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I assume he’s referring to this:

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is afterglow, a noun, meaning, “the pleasant remembrance of a past experience, glory, etc.” Many people, especially children, will be basking in the afterglow of yesterday’s festivities.

Today, of course, is Boxing Day in Canada and UK countries. What is Boxing Day? There are several explanations, but it seems to have originated with the practice of setting out boxes of money or gifts to thank tradespeople for good service throughout the year.

Yesterday was simply marvelous. I don’t think it could have been better. We had a wonderful lunch at my mother’s house, after which we exchanged our gifts. We visited (also dozing off from time to time) for a while afterward, had some dessert, and headed home.

Back to work today, even though it’s supposed to be my Christmas Eve holiday. But at least I get some decent overtime for it.

For the remainder of this week, I will be deciding what devotional books/tools to use for 2018. One will be Daily Guideposts 2018, which I received as a gift from my mother.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Tuesday – Fourth Week of Advent

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:16
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Psalm 67:1-2
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Psalm 119:54
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:23-24
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Psalm 61:1-5

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is “A Thought to Christ.”

“There have been men before . . . who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself . . . as if the good Lord had nothing to do but to exist. There have been some who were so occupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“Let’s give a thought to Christ,” says Joshua DuBois. What was this Jesus? “What did he care about? How did he spend his time?” What can we learn about Jesus from the Bible? The point is that Christianity, the faith so many of us claim to have, is absolutely nothing without the person of Jesus.

Just like Joshua DuBois, I have known people who were so adamantly going about making “converts” that I truly feel that they didn’t truly know this Jesus to whom they were trying to convert people. And Jesus never commanded us to make “converts.” He told us to make disciples. There are a lot of converts walking around out there who don’t know the first thing about being a disciple. I should know. I was one of them for a long time.

“Lord, I’d like to reintroduce myself. I have not known you fully, and I’d like to know you more. Show me your character. And help me be more like you. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, I could echo Joshua’s prayer. I don’t feel like I’ve known you very well, lately, and I want to move back into a realm where I feel like I know you more. Help me to study the character and nature of Jesus more. Remind me to meditate more on his words and works, that I might emulate them in my daily walk. Help me to walk in your kingdom and in the easy yoke of Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

“Go, and See”

Today is Monday, December 25, 2017. Christmas Day! Day 21,837.

Seven days until 2018!

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” ~ Alexander Smith
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The word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionsry, is Belsnickel, a noun, meaning, “In certain North American communities, esp. those of German origin: a person who goes about merrymaking at Christmas or New Year in disguise, often visiting the houses of neighbours, friends, and relatives to play pranks or beg for small gifts or refreshments.”

It’s been a wonderful Christmas morning, so far. We all got up around 8:00 AM, got some coffee, and opened the Christmas gifts. Everyone seemed thrilled by the gifts that they received, myself included. We look forward to our visit to Mineral Wells in a little while, to share some Christmas joy with Mama/Grandma.

I wish everyone who reads this a joyous day, and safe travels, if you happen to be traveling during the season.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:23-24
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
Psalm 31:2-3
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
Psalm 31:19
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24-29
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is called “Go, and See.”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Luke 2:15-16

“Go. And see.

“If you hear of god doing a great work.

“If your curiosity has been piqued by a tale of righteousness.

“If you’ve been longing to lay your eyes on something that in the pit of your stomach or corner of your mind you believe will be a healing force in your life.

“Then don’t hesitate. Don’t second-guess. Like the shepherds–get up. Take the next step. Go, and see. You never know; Jesus may be at the end of that journey.

“Dear God, are there new places you want me to travel? New lands to explore? New people to meet? At your prompting, I am ready to go, and see. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

There are so many times in our lives that all we need to do is take a single step of faith. I have experienced the results of both taking that step and failing to take that step. I regret the times that I failed, but rejoice in the times that I followed through. Of course, there is no going back. God does not “punish” when we fail to do what we feel in our gut that he wants us to do. But we certainly miss out. Let me tell you, there are few things that compare with the joy of doing something that you feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to do. We may never see the final results of that step taken, but it doesn’t matter. The results are up to God, not us.

Father, I thank you that, in spite of past failings, you have continued to give me opportunities. I thank you that you still have work for me to do. I pray that you help me to stay connected to the “easy yoke” of Jesus, so that, when you call upon me to take those steps, he is right there with me to pull me along. May I forever walk in your kingdom. Give me the faith and strength to “go, and see.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace. And Merry Christmas, friends.

Christmas Eve Gift

Today is Sunday, December 24, 2017. Christmas Eve. Day 21,836.

Only ONE more day until Christmas!!

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” ~ Dr. Seuss
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is propine, a verb, meaning, “to offer as a present.”

Today is Eggnog Day. I had some eggnog earlier this morning, but do not have any at the moment. However, we need more milk, so who knows? We might get some more eggnog, as well.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Today is an unusual occurrence, as Christmas Eve falls on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:2-4
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 65:5
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
Psalm 91:5
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 
Mat 1:19  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25
Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113
Purify my conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in me a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity, and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
The Concluding Prayer of the Church

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

I don’t often do this, but today’s Daily Guideposts reading is so moving that I’m simply going to quote it in its entirety. The reading is by Rick Hamlin

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .
John 1:14

“I’m usually slow to get into a deck-the-halls mood. One of our sons might remember an ornament he created in the third grade, and I’ll rummage through the Christmas box on the top shelf of our hall closet and take out a crayon-scribbled star to hang from a doorjamb. The electric candles make it to the windows the third week of Advent. The twinkling lights have to wait until we get a tree, and sometimes if we jet across the country to be with family, we’ll skip the tree altogether. But the crèche goes up first.

“I put Mary and Joseph on the living room table, the wooden shepherds and their sheep in the back, an angel or two at the side. William, our older son, was always a stickler for detail, so we weren’t allowed to put out the wise men until January 6, when their visit to the newborn king is celebrated. So I put the gift-bearing kings on the piano across the room, symbolic of their voyage. The only piece that stays in the box is the baby in the manger, so the space on the table stays empty, waiting for the birth.

“Christmas Eve, whether we’re rushing to the airport or dashing back from church, I reach into the box for the missing piece, small but never hard to find. I dust it off and put Jesus right where he belongs, the Child Who changed the world. It’s always satisfying, the wait well worth it, like asking yourself, ‘What am I missing in my life?’ and finding the answer wrapped in tissue paper, sitting in a box at the top of a closet, ready to be rediscovered.

Jesus, we know You are always there, just waiting to be found.

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

Thank you, Father, for this most wonderful gift. And thank you for finding me, and bringing me with you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

Grace and peace, friends.