Today is Thursday, the 16th of March, 2023, in the third week of Lent.
May the peace of Christ fill your hearts and minds today and every day!
It’s my normal day off today, and I don’t have anything planned. We have S’s Club Metro event tonight, which she says she is going to, so C and I will have an evening out, if that happens. We’ll have to decide where to have dinner, in that case.
It’s been a pretty good week, so far. Yesterday’s work day was unremarkable. It was not terribly busy at the library. There were brief periods of activity, the busiest being right after the afternoon program, which was “Creature Teacher,” a lady who carries around some “wild” animals. I wasn’t able to attend the program, but I did get a chance to go down to the program room and see this.
She was SO adorable! And she hopped right up to me and sniffed at my hand. But then someone else came in the room and startled her, so she hopped away. But then the “Teacher” picked her up and let us pet her. She was much softer than we expected. Felt a lot like one of my cats.
We had a flurry of activity at the circ counter right after that program, but the rest of the afternoon was not very busy. And we didn’t have any lingerers after the lights went out at 6:00 PM.
I can’t remember if I displayed my birthday presents here. I don’t have pictures of all of them, especially the nice shirts that C got me. But I got a picture of my favorite thing, which was this blanket/throw.
It is so very soft. The cat in the middle looks just like our Luna. The one in the upper left looks like Rocky, and the one just below that one looks a little like Cleo, as she is Siamese. She is much darker, though. There’s a tabby on the top, which looks like S’s Maggie. The only one not represented is Trixie.
I also got these from R.
That Beatles songbook has been on my wishlist for a very long time, and I have really been wanting to read Liturgy of the Ordinary. And I’ll get something good with that PS gift card.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near; they are far from your law. Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. (Psalms 119:150-151 NRSV)
Had I been paying a little closer attention, yesterday, I would have noticed that these two verses go together. While my “enemies” are far from God’s law, He, Himself, is always near me. This is a truth that I still struggle with, knowing that God is always near me.
Dear Father in heaven, may we receive your Spirit so that we win the victory over ourselves and over the world around us, not with our human crudeness, force, and clamor, but only through your Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ. Help each of us in our own particular situation. We all know there is much evil around us; there is much we must fight. But in Jesus’ name we want to plunge right in, right into the world, right into whatever suffering is meant for us in the midst of the evil that is not yet overcome. In Jesus’ name we go toward the great victory that will come when all who are granted your joy will praise you with all their hearts, O Father in heaven. Amen.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:12 NRSV)
Today I am grateful:
- that we can, in the power of the Holy Spirit, win the victory of ourselves and the world around us
- for Jesus Christ, who “poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors,” and who “bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12
- that God speaks “Light!” into our hearts and lives
- that God’s purpose will stand and He will fulfill His intention (Isaiah 46:10)
- that our God is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)
Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention," (Isaiah 46:8-10 NRSV)
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. (Psalms 43:3 NRSV)
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, (1 Chronicles 16:11-12 NRSV)
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18 NRSV)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
(Romans 8:18 NRSV)
“So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
(John 16:22 NRSV)
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
(Genesis 1:3 NRSV)
God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared.
(Genesis 1:3 MSG)
Father, I am feeling great comfort in the Scriptures that tell me that You are near. Many people in this world are far away from Your Word, but You are always near to me, to us. You are near, especially, to those whose hearts are hurting and broken, who are “crushed in spirit.” You draw near to them and save them, healing their broken hearts. I have experienced this in a number of ways.
You are near, always. Your promise is that You will never leave or forsake us. You send out Your light and Your truth, that can guide me to Your “holy hill and your dwelling.” But You also speak “Light!” You spoke “Light!” at the beginning of everything, and there was light. I believe that You can speak “Light!” into our hearts and our lives, as well, and ask You to do this. This world is dark, Lord, and getting darker by the minute. I pray for Your light to shine. I know that it is supposed to shine through us, Father, so help us to do that.
We focus on the wrong things. We find pet causes that we care about and those become our entire existence. But You, Father, are the only “cause” worth giving a life for. Jesus died to save us and to forgive all of our sin. This is my “cause.” Worshiping You is my life, Father. Help this light to shine through me into the world around me, as I attempt to practice love, to put on compassion, to show Your great and steadfast love and mercy to a world that so desperately needs it.
Speak, Lord, speak “Light!” And then, speak “Peace!” in the midst of our storms. Your Word, Father, is the only thing that can create from nothing. And You are the only One who can make sense out of all of this chaos. We have pain, now, Father. Your disciples had pain when Jesus left them for a time. But He promises, and You promise, joy; joy that can never be taken away. So, while we have pain, now, we also have joy because of Your presence with us, in the Holy Spirit. This can never be taken from us. We can forget it, sometimes, but it is always there, just as You are always near.
I will celebrate Your nearness; I will celebrate Your light; I will celebrate Your peace; and I will celebrate Your joy. I embrace Your steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness, and pray that I can be more like Jesus today.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.