Today is Tuesday, the twenty-third of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Twelve days until Resurrection Sunday!
Last night, we had our weekly Applebee’s for dinner, as expected, since we did not have it Sunday for lunch. And then we replaced our old Amazon Fire TV box with a new Fire TV “stick.” The difference is, the stick plugs into an HDMI port on the TV, and is less than half the price of the box. One downside of the stick is that it has no audio outlet, so the sound comes through the TV instead of the stereo. However, I also got an “optical” audio cable (that just sounds so strange to me . . . “optical” and “audio” are not words that go together in the same sentence) to connect the TV to the stereo, so the TV sounds comes through our stereo. Problem solved.
And, the SyFy app works, which we were not able to get it to work on the old box. The stick has the newest release of Fire TV on it, while I don’t even remember how old our box is. So we were able to watch the first episode of “Resident Alien” last night, featuring Alan Tudyk from Firefly (as the alien), and Corey Reynolds from The Closer, as the sheriff. We enjoyed it quite a bit and look forward to more. It may be our imagination, but we both thought the picture looked better, as well. I think the stick is 4K while the box was probably only 1080p, at best.
Tonight will be our night for our homemade chili, which we usually have on Monday nights. I’m not sure if it works on Tuesday. I guess we will find out.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. (Christ Has No Body, Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582)
Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is.
(Psalms 66:1-2 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- that I am alive and awake
- for prayers that have been answered and the wonder of this truth, that You hear our prayers at all
- for resurrection hope and the hope of Home
- for true freedom, which frees me to serve, rather than demand my own way
- that You promise not to forget our service to others, which is equal to loving You
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 30
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)
I’m taking a moment to quietly reflect on the nearness of the Lord, to rest in His holy presence.
Father, I pause, right now, to ask for clarity. My mind is a jumble of things, this morning, both holy and unholy. Please give me focus, for the next few moments, on the one thing that matters most.
In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.
I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
(Psalms 25:1-3 NIV)
Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.
(Psalms 25:20-21 NIV)
The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”
(Ezekiel 37:1-14 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, reflecting on what moves me, I keep being drawn to that bit in Psalm 25 (in case you haven’t noticed, these Psalms have been repeating throughout Lent, each week) about not being put to shame if we put our trust and hope in the Lord. ” No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame,” it says.
I believe this to be completely true. And if, for some reason, I am put to shame, it is because my hope was in something or someone else. Or perhaps, I was putting hope in nothing at all, which is even more tragic.
The passage in Ezekiel is a rather famous passage, with at least one old spiritual song being written about it. “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones . . .” I seem to remember an episode of The Munsters where Herman got stuck on that song.
But I digress.
The passage is pretty much strictly about Israel. But how can it apply to us today?
I believe it speaks of resurrection. And this is appropriate, as we are in the ending days of Lent, in preparation for what should be the biggest celebration in the Church, Resurrection Sunday.
The Lord proclaims, here, that He will open up the graves, and bring His people up from them. Then He will bring His people Home.
There is a lot of speculation on where this Home is. You know what? I don’t give a flip where it is! Because wherever it is, is where He will be! And if I am with Him, then I am Home!
This is hope, my friends. This is true hope. The hope of resurrection; of our graves being opened up and us being brought out of them and taken to our “Home Permanent.” (That was a shoutout to Terry Scott Taylor and Daniel Amos, by the way.)
Father, this hope has given me rest, this morning, rest in Your great love, grace, and mercy. And You have answered my earlier prayer and centered my thoughts, my busy, busy brain, on You and Your truth. Thank You for the hope of life; true life; life eternal in our Home, wherever it may be. As long as You are there, that is enough for me.
“My hair points to the sky; the place I want to be.” Terry Scott Taylor
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
The greatest among you will be your servant.
(Matthew 23:11 NIV)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:45 NIV)
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
(John 12:26 NIV)
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 NIV)
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
(Hebrews 6:10 NIV)
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 NLT)
Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
(Hebrews 12:13 NLT)
Father, help me to be a better servant, today, and, in doing so, love You. Thank You for the freedom that comes in Christ, not even remotely related to that mythical thing we call political freedom, which seems to be nothing more than thinking we can do anything we want with no consequences, and no care for our fellow man. True freedom in Christ frees me to serve; it frees me from any care of what other people think about me as I walk in Your kingdom. Give me this freedom today, Father! May I revel in it, as I revel in the lavish grace You have poured out on us! Make my walk in Your kingdom straight and unwavering.
Lord, this morning, I pray that all of Your children would have a love and commitment to the communities in which You have placed us. Please equip us to serve Jesus in whatever area You have given us, in as public a way as is appropriate for us to do. I especially lift a prayer, today, for sacrificial service of police officers, other law enforcement, and emergency workers. May You place Your protection upon them, Lord.
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.