Undignified

Today is Tuesday, the fifth of October, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,217

Seven days until our anniversary!!

The biggest news since yesterday is the Great Facebook Outage of 2021! It crashed somewhere around 10:00 CDT, yesterday morning, while I was in the middle of composing my blog, and didn’t come back up for at least six hours. But it turns out the only reason I missed it was because I was unable to share my blog post and prayer request post and gratitude list until late afternoon.

It turns out that we can actually live without Facebook.

The other big news is that I FINISHED A DANCE WITH DRAGONS LAST NIGHT!!!

Seriously. That was a true “slog.” If you care, you can read my review on Goodreads. So now, I’m moving on to another book I checked out from the Hurst Public Library, Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. This book contains the entire libretto of the musical, along with notes and stories about its creation and production. I plan to listen along as I read, whenever possible.

Tonight is the Wild Card playoff game between the Red Sox and Yankees, at 7:08 CDT, in Boston. The only place to watch the game, apparently, is ESPN. I work from 4:15 to 8:15, tonight, so I won’t get to watch the beginning. I may actually tune in as soon as I get home.

Today is World Teachers Day. Say a prayer for all the teachers you know, today.

The word for today, appropriately, is inculcate, a verb which means, “to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.” (emphasis mine)

Today’s quote is from Milton Berle, American comedian. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Significant birthdays on October 5:

Jonathan Edwards, Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian, 1703-1758
Chester A. Arthur, 21st U.S. President, 1829-1886
Larry Fine, American actor and comedian (3 Stooges), 1902-1975
Ray Kroc, American fast food entrepreneur (McDonald's), 1902-1984
Allen Ludden, American gameshow host (Password) and husband of Betty White, 1919-1981
Bil Keane, American cartoonist (Family Circus), 1922-2011
Bill Dana, American comedian (Jose Jimenez), 1924-2017
Steve Miller, American rocker (Abracadabra, The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle), 1943 (77)
B.W. Stevenson, American singer (My Maria), 1949-1988
Bob Geldof, Irish singer (Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays"), 1951 (70)
Clive Barker, English author (The Damnation Game, Hellraiser), 1952 (69)
Guy Pearce, British-Australian actor (Memento), 1967 (54)
Kate Winslet, British actress (Mare of Easttown, Titanic), 1975 (46)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Grace to you, and peace;
Giving thanks to God for you;
Love is increasing.
(2 Thessalonians 1)

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I finished A Dance with Dragons last night (egad)
2. for all the saints, as we grow in faith together
3. that our love for one another increases as we walk in Christ
4. that You care nothing for appearances, but examine our hearts
5. that You are my rock and fortress, and bring me the comfort of joy when I experience anxiety

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY THREE

INVITATION

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
(Psalms 33:5 ESV)

I pause, now, to reflect on Your steadfast love, and how it feeds us, the saints, enabling us to love one another and grow in our faith. Thank You, Father!

BIBLE SONG

Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Can a corrupt throne be allied with you— a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.
(Psalms 94:16-23 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
(2 Samuel 6:12-16 NIV)

David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
(2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I remind myself of Your presence, this morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the reading and meditating of Your Word. Teach me, Father, as I read Your Word.

I believe that the question posed in Psalm 94:16 is coming from the unnamed psalmist, not the Lord. In fact, the implication is that it was the Lord who, in fact, helped the psalmist stand against evil. And, as the psalm continues, I believe it is important to note the last verse. It is God that repays them for their sins, not humans.

There are many well-meaning people in the Church who believe it is their mission to rid the world of evil. I don’t see any Scripture that corroborates this opinion. And I see the quest to remove evil from the world as a serious hindrance to the completion of one of our two main jobs, that of loving people.

If we live and walk with the Lord as our fortress and Him as our Rock, we have nothing to fear from evil. This was discussed at some length in our church gathering, this past Sunday, as we discussed 1 John 4:18.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 NIV)

Psalm 94:19 also seems to give us this message as we find joy in the consolation we get from God when we experience anxiety. And, in regards to verse 20, asking if a corrupt throne could possibly be allied with the Lord, we can certainly apply this to any form of human government, and I believe that all human governments of the twenty-first century are corrupt. There is no “throne” in our world today that is allied with God.

Our reading in 2 Samuel picks up where yesterday’s left off. When David saw that the household of Obed-Edom the Gittite was being blessed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, he decided to go ahead and have it brought home.

One of the first things we see is that it appears to have been carried correctly, this time. I can only assume that, but it looks to be true, as the verse speaks of “those who were carrying the ark.” This implies to me that it was being properly carried by staves, on the shoulders of footmen.

David was so excited that, before they had walked ten steps, even, he was making sacrifices. And then he danced. David danced so hard that he exposed himself. Verse 22 makes it clear . . . David cared not one iota what anyone else thought or how he appeared to any people. He was dancing before the Lord Almighty, and He was the only One who mattered.

David did not care at all that he appeared to be “undignified.”

We create our own anxieties over appearances. Professional workplaces don’t help. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never fathom why anyone thinks that wearing a suit has any effect whatsoever on your job performance. In fact, I think there should be a special hell for whoever invented the necktie. It serves absolutely no purpose, whatsoever, other than to choke you and make you sweat a little bit more.

God doesn’t care about our appearances. What I wear “to church” has no bearing on my standing before God. We do have the caution in Scripture to not be a stumbling block to weaker brothers and sisters, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

Any energy that I would spend in anxiety over what another human being thinks of me or my appearance, would be better spent in prayer and meditation of Scripture, and in loving my neighbor as myself.

Incidentally, Michal’s reward for being critical of David was that she remained barren to the day of her death. That’s what caring about appearances will get you.

Father, I pray for the same kind of joy that David had, that cares not how it appears to others. Let me look like a fool to others . . . I don’t care. Please replace any anxiety, that might come from worrying over appearance, with joy. I believe I can say, like the psalmist, that, if it were not for Your help in my life, I very well may have dwelt in the silence of death. I’ve made some pretty foolish decisions, along the way. But You have spared me from some of the consequences. I believe that You still have work for me to do, here, and that, as my fortress and my Rock, You will provide the strength in which I can perform that work. As for the wicked and evil in the world, I will rely upon You to take care of them. Give me dancing feet that most certainly can grow from a praying knee.

I pray for a love for and commitment to the communities in which You have placed me. Please equip us to serve in unique ways in our communities and workplaces. I pray that You grant strength to any of Your people who serve in the news media.

"Joyful Jesus,
forgive me for the ways I can reduce life with You to fine worship or stately buildings,
dignified gatherings or efficient organizations,
influence or importance.
I pray that Your church and my life would be reckless with love for You,
captive to the rhythm of Your kingdom joy,
glorying and enjoying You.
Amen."

BLESSING

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
(Revelation 7:13-17 ESV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Time Is, Most Definitely, Not On Our Side

Today is Thursday, September 30, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,212

Twelve more days until our anniversary!

Today is the last day of September! My favorite month begins tomorrow!

Today is my day off, this week. I have a few errands to run, during the day, such as a Kroger run, mostly for bananas and grapes, but I’ll probably pick up some bread and a few other things while there. C has a couple of prescriptions at the CVS right across the street, as well. And, of course, Sonic is just up the road from both of those places. Depending on the time, I will probably pick up Subway for lunch, as well.

For dinner tonight, I’m planning to cook a recipe that S picked out from a WW cookbook. It’s a mac and cheese recipe that is a bit complex, but doable. It’s 6 points per serving, so C and I will likely have some tuna with it, or make sandwiches to go along with it.

It is currently 73 degrees in our area, with a projected high of 88, and a less than 30 percent chance of light rain today.

I’m down to about 250 pages left in A Dance with Dragons, book five in A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin. I really want to get it finished by the end of the weekend. It is truly quite a “slog.” What the non-readers don’t realize is that the series is not called “Game of Thrones.” That is the name of the first book, and HBO chose to call the whole series by that name. The series is and has always been called A Song of Ice and Fire. This makes perfect sense, because the main character groups revolve around winter, along with terribly harsh cold conditions, and dragons, which, of course, produce fire.

The next book that I plan to read is a large book, size-wise, but won’t take long to read, as it is basically the libretto for Hamilton, the Broadway musical. It’s always good to read something easy and light after something as long and cumbersome as a George Martin book.

Today is International Podcast Day. I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to, because I’m not driving as much. I do still love them, though. It’s a great means of entertainment and information. Of course, just like any other source of media, they can be great sources of misinformation, depending on which ones you listen to.

The word for today is aureate, an adjective meaning, “golden or gilded.” “The golden statue veered in the changing breeze, menacing many points on the horizon with its aureate arrow.” (Sixes and Sevens, by O. Henry)

Today’s quote is from Thomas Merton, an American author: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Significant birthdays on September 30:

Buddy Rich, American jazz drummer and band leader, thought by many to be the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), 1917-1987
Truman Capote, American author (In Cold Blood), 1924-1984
Johnny Mathis, American singer, 1935 (86), born in Gilmer, Texas
Marc Bolan, British guitar player and singer (T-Rex, Bang A Gong), 1947-1977
Jack Wild, British actor (Oliver!, H.R. Pufnstuf), 1952-2006

About halfway through the writing of this blog, I realized that I have lost my wedding ring! I just happened to look at my left hand and it was gone. I had known that it was getting dangerously loose. I mean, I’ve lost over a hundred pounds in the last eighteen months. We’ve looked in the bed, I’ve checked the laundry . . . I honestly can’t remember the last time I noticed it, but I usually touch it several times a day. I may be taking a trip to a jewelry store today. It’s not really that big a deal. C has had a new one for a couple years, now. It’s just alarming to look down and realize it’s missing.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

May the Lord make you
increase and abound in love
for one another
(1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
(1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You created me with a love for reading
2. that You created me with a love for music
3. that I have all of my senses, with which to enjoy Your creation
4. that You exist outside of time; from everlasting to everlasting, You ARE God
5. that Jesus takes in all who are in debt, in distress, or discontented and becomes their refuge and deliverer

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK NINETEEN – DAY FIVE

INVITATION

Praise God with shouts of joy, all people!
Sing to the glory of his name; offer him glorious praise!
(Psalms 66:1-2 GNB)

As I pause during this quiet moment, I reflect on, and then give thanks for the fact that I am blessed to still have full use of all of my senses, with which to enjoy the creation of our Father. I also thank Him that He gave me a love of music and reading, further enhanced by the life I had with my parents.

BIBLE SONG

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
(Psalms 90:1-6 NIV)

If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:11-12 NIV)

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalms 90:17 NIV)

BIBLE READING

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.
But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
(1 Samuel 22:1-5 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I remind myself that I am in the presence of Almighty God, dwelling in His creation, living by His grace and kindness, and benefiting from His great goodness, I read these passages again, looking for things that catch my attention. I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide my meditations and prayers.

Psalm 90 is a rare Moses psalm. It is worth noting that the subtitle heading calls Moses “the man of God.” I believe it to be a worthy aspiration to have people say that about me, years after I have left this plane. But the emphasis should be on God, not me. If I can be considered a “man of God,” it is not because I have done godly things, but because the grace of God abided in me, strengthened me, and enabled me to do His work.

Moses speaks of the infinite nature of God. He has been the place of our dwelling “throughout all generations.” And Moses also uses the present tense in his description, not unlike Jesus, who later said, “Before Abraham and Isaac, I AM” (my paraphrase). Moses wrote, “Before the mountains were born . . . from everlasting to everlasting You are God” (emphasis mine).

Before I ever existed, God is. Not “God was,” but “God is.” And this is even further illustrated in verse 4 when Moses writes, “A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” God is not contained in time. I’m not sure when “time,” as we know it, was invented. I realize that in the poetic story of creation, days are mentioned as “evening and morning,” but that is the only designation of “time” that is used. There are no “hours” or “minutes.”

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! ABOUT TO GET PHILOSOPHICAL!

All of this makes me ponder a question of life after death. When we all get to heaven (what a day of rejoicing that will be . . . ), will we still experience “time?” In our current, fallen state of being, we experience time in so many different ways. I have heard it said that there is a huge difference between spending five minutes sitting on a hot stove and five minutes with your best friend. Both are only three hundred seconds, the exact amount of time. But one seems much longer than the other.

We also experience time as boredom, if we perceive that we have nothing to do. This is never true, of course. There is always something to do. Yet we get bored, and this is usually caused by the way we experience time. Usually when I am bored, I am waiting for something to happen, or waiting for a specific time to pass. It almost always involves “waiting.”

Another experience of time that involves waiting is anxiety. We get anxious about things. We might be waiting for test results; we might be waiting for news about something; we might be waiting for an event to happen. And anxiety can be over something exciting that we are waiting to happen, or the fact that we are dreading something that is imminent.

And all of these things involve an aspect of time simply known as “waiting.” Isaiah speaks of waiting in a favorite Bible verse.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV)

I do like how verse 28 prefaces this with the questions, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” Those should have multiple question marks after them, as the sense seems to be a kind of amazement that we haven’t known or heard these things?

The Hebrew word for “wait” in this verse (again, I don’t know a bloody thing about Hebrew . . . I’m simply using the tools I have at my disposal) is actually a word for the phrase, “wait upon,” or “wait for.” In fact, the NIV uses the phrase “hope in,” and the NLT says, “trust in.” In Hebrew, it is qavah. The meanings presented are interesting. “A primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), that is, collect; (figuratively) to expect: – gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).”

But the point is that involves time. Without time, there is no such thing as “waiting.”

So back to the philosophical (perhaps it’s even theological) question concerning the “hereafter.” Will we have to “wait” in heaven? Before you jump in with a resounding, “yes, of course,” consider that time, as we know it, will likely no longer exist there. The Bible says that we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And He is timeless, existing outside of time.

The very fact that I cannot even begin to imagine the concept of “eternity” says a lot. Have you ever just sat and tried to comprehend the fact that God has always existed?? I have. It is a mind-blowing thing. As is the act of trying to conceive of myself never existing.

If you’re still reading, remember I warned you.

I have convinced myself, because of Bible passages like Psalm 90:4, that we will not experience time in eternity. Have you ever heard someone opine that heaven might be boring if all we did was sit around and sing hymns “all day?” If there is no time, there will be no waiting, and, therefore, boredom will not be possible.

Can you even imagine never being bored? If you can, I salute you, because you’re accomplished something I can’t accomplish.

My train of thought has been effectively derailed, as it was precisely at this moment that I realized that my wedding ring was missing from my left hand. I was in the middle of trying to explain my brain on the subject at hand, to C. I’m not even going to try to regain the momentum, and it’s probably for the best.

Suffice it to say that the truth of Psalm 90:4 is very important in our understanding of all things involving our heavenly Father. He exists outside of time, which is why a thousand years would be no different than a day for Him. It is also why Moses could say, “from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” And all of this helps me appreciate or better understand what we will experience in heaven.

The only thing I will say about the 1 Samuel passage also involves waiting, and, more than likely, anxiety. David is running from Saul, now. Saul knows that David is going to replace him as king, and has frequently tried to kill David. But look at verse 2 of 1 Samuel 22.

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
(1 Samuel 22:2 NIV)

Doesn’t that sound similar to what we experience with Jesus? All of us who follow Him are, or have been, in distress, in debt, and discontented.

Father, I pray for more understanding of this concept of time and how it affects our being. I do hope that I’m getting this right, and that, when we enter eternity, to spend it with You, being able to see You as You are, that time as we know it will cease to exist. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of time. I believe it causes many and more of our issues. But while we are here, we must navigate it, so I pray that the Spirit will help us with that task.

Lord, please give us an ever increasing understanding of the Gospel. May we have the full experience of adoption as Your children.

"God of grace,
I know a place like Adullam -
it's my church!
And I thank You for it -
that I am accepted as I am,
a living member of this community of grace,
not because of my record but because of the gospel.
Gather Your church,
Jesus,
protect it from those who would make it a holier-than-thou body,
and preserve it in the gospel.
Amen."

BLESSING

“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!”
(Matthew 5:5 GNB)

Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
(Psalms 121:4 NLT)

(Yet more evidence of His existence outside of time)

But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
(Psalms 31:14-15 NLT)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

By Your grace I breathe;
Because of Your love, I love;
Love abides, love rules.

Grace and peace, friends.

There Is No Other

Today is Monday, the sixth of September, 2021. Labor Day in the U.S.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,188

Sixteen days until the end of summer (Autumnal Equinox, September 22)

I’m a little late with this, today. Oh, well. Nothing wrong, or anything. I’m just moving slower, today, because I have no reason to do otherwise.

That, and C has been waking up in the early morning hours and moving to the living room. Last night, I got back to sleep more quickly than Saturday night. And I actually slept until almost 8:00, this morning, which is unheard of, for me.

Speaking of C, she took her first post-surgery shower, this morning, which means we took off the bandage and got our first look at the incision. It looks pretty good, nice and clean, with no swelling or redness about. Her instructions say to not re-cover it, so we didn’t. She is getting around pretty well, even walking without her walker, so that’s encouraging. She feels super-encouraged after the shower. So the next challenge will be to keep her from getting too active too soon.

She is supposed to go back to the doctor on Friday, three weeks after the surgery, which is still in September, so I will have no problem driving her to the appointment, as my Friday working won’t begin until after October 1.

There are no other plans for today.

Well, well . . . speaking of the library (I know I didn’t specifically mention “library,” but I did talk about “work”), today is Read A Book Day. I will definitely be doing some of that today. Probably not a whole book, because I’m less than two hundred pages into A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin, which is, a little over one thousand pages deep. Egad.

Today’s word is indefatigable, an adjective, which means “incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.” It is also a quality required to read a book by George R.R. Martin.

Today’s quote is from Voltaire: “It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.” That is quite profound.

Significant (in my opinion) birthdays on September 6:

Marquis de Lafayette, American patriot and French revolutionary, brilliantly portrayed by Daveed Diggs in Hamilton, 1757-1834
Max Schreck, German actor, played the original Nosferatu, 1879-1936
Vince DiMaggio, baseball player (the lesser known DiMaggio brother), 1912-1986
Jimmy Reed, blues singer ("Bright Lights, Big City"), 1925-1976
Jo Anne Worley, comedienne (Laugh-In), 1937 (84)
Sergio Aragones, Spanish-born illustrator (I know him best for his work in Mad Magazine), 1937 (also 84)
David Allan Coe, country singer/songwriter, 1939 (82)
Roger Waters, English bassist and vocalist (Pink Floyd), 1943 (78)
Jane Curtin, actress (Saturday Night Live), 1947 (74)
Dolores O'Riordan, Irish musician (The Cranberries), 1971-2018
Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette
Sergio cartoons from Mad Magazine
Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer, 1971-2018

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

New Mornings, by S. Michaels (LightWrighters)

Resting in
each new day’s
promises
 
©2021 S. Michaels
Simplifying
(Retro Haiku/3-3-3)

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
(1 Timothy 2:1 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that C continues to progress and improve
2. for all the people in my life . . . even the ones I don't like
3. that the reason You bless us is so that Your great Name may be known throughout the earth
4. that besides You, there is no other
5. that we, as "Gentiles," have received Your grace

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK SIXTEEN – DAY TWO

INVITATION

The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
(Nahum 1:7 NLT)

During this quiet moment, I consider that You have told me to give thanks “for all people,” and to pray for them. This broadens the spectrum quite a bit, doesn’t it?

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us— so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
(Psalms 67:1-7 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
(Deuteronomy 4:32-35, 39-40 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I read these passages again, a little more slowly, seeking wisdom from God, and instruction from His Holy Spirit.

There is some deep and good stuff in these passages, today. The thing that I notice most in the passage from Psalm 67 is in the first part. It is the reason given in the request for God to be gracious, bless, and make His face shine on us. That reason is clear; there is no ambiguity about it. “So that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

The unnamed psalmist then proceeds to let his desires known. He wants all people groups to praise God; he desires for the nations to be glad and sing for joy over the equitable ruling of our God.

The psalm then closes with yet another cry to the Lord to continue to bless His people, “so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him.”

The Deuteronomy passage, to me, seems to sort of bring this all together. If you go back to see who is talking in chapter 4, you get the idea that Moses is sort of giving a farewell speech, here.

And in today’s passage, he is reminding the people of Israel exactly who they are serving and following.

In all of history, has anything like this ever happened? Has there ever been a people who have heard the voice of God coming out of a cloud of fire, and lived to tell about it? Has any other “god” taken a people out of a larger group of people, and led them the way they have been led, and has any other people witnessed the kinds of miracles that Israel has witnessed?

These are the questions that Moses is asking them.

And then he “brings it home.”

You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
(Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV)

He repeats it again, in verse 39.

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
(Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV)

Acknowledge it, Moses says. Then he strongly urges them to keep his commands, “so that it may go well with you.”

“There is no other.”

That’s kind of an important thing to realize. It’s a sort of “big deal.”

God is God, and there is no other. He, alone, is worthy of our worship and praise.

God, and God alone, created all these things we call our own.
From the mighty to the small, the glory in them all, 
is God's and God's alone.

God, and God alone, reveals the truth of all we call unknown;
And the best and worst of man, can't change the Master's plan;
it's God's and God's alone

God, and God alone, is fit to take the universe's throne
Let everything that lives reserve its truest praise 
for God and God alone.

God, and God alone, will be the joy of our eternal Home;
He will be our one desire, our hearts will never tire
of God, and God alone.

(Phil McHugh, copyright 1984)

Would you spend some time worshiping with me? I usually listen to Steve Green’s recording of this, but I discovered this one today. It’s quite beautiful.

Father, You, and You alone are worthy of all of these things. You are the only God. There is no other. To whom else shall we go for truth? To whom else shall we turn for life? All praise and glory go to You, Lord. Thank You for all things, for every good and perfect gift comes from You. Forgive us for the times when we hold other things higher than You. Forgive us for when we give honor, glory, and worship to other people or to things. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, please free Your Church from unholy attachments. May we give worship, honor, praise, and glory, to You and You alone.

Help me to see Your work in the world around me. May my eyes be open, everywhere I look, to see Your glory, and to see Your hands at work.

"Great and wonderful God,
what a story Your holy book tells!
Thank You for making Yourself known more openly in Your Word.
Help me understand that I will know You best not by mastering Scripture trivia but by entering in and becoming part of Your salvation story,
letting it lead and shape my life.
In the name of Jesus,
the story's center,
amen."

BLESSING

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:29-30 NLT)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.