The Lord Reigns

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the sixth of May, 2021, in the fifth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,065

Three days until Mother’s Day. We’ve got cards and gifts.

I have neglected (fancy for “forgotten”) to mention that May is a bit of a special month in my family. It has two somewhat easy to remember birthdays. My grandmother’s (maternal) birthday was May 1. My grandmama’s (paternal) birthday was may 31. In addition, my parents’ wedding anniversary is May 25.

So May is one of those “mixed blessing” months. Good memories, but bittersweet to think about, as all of my grandparents, as well as my father, have passed on to their eternal home.

Not jealous at all. Nope.

Speaking of singing . . . oh, wait, I wasn’t, was I? But I was, yesterday. So go back and read yesterday’s, if you haven’t.

For once, I followed my own advice. I sang. Quite a bit. Not loudly, mind you, and a good bit “under my breath,” as they say. But I sang. Mostly, I sang “What A Beautiful Name.” A James Taylor song might have wormed its way in there, too.

I want to let you know that it made a difference in my day. A huge difference. I skated through yesterday with a great attitude. I don’t even remember getting annoyed at anyone. Not much, anyway. I figure it was mostly the Jesus song that helped, but who knows? Just the act of singing helps. So I’m going to try that again today.

But first I have to get through the morning devotion, and as usual, I’m already behind. So roll on . . .

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

In the turmoil of the sea, I find safety on my rock.
In the winds of the storm, I find shelter by my rock.
In the heat of the fire, I climb upon my rock.
In the threat of the enemy, I hide under my rock.
In the dark of the night, I find comfort in my rock.

I cling to my rock.
Letting go, I realize my rock is clinging to me.
And having persevered, I am able to share my rock.
(Daryl Madden, in On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
(Psalms 92:1-3 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for my Twisted Pine Mocha Mint coffee; it tastes especially good, this morning
  • for my Rock, upon which I find safety, shelter, protection, and comfort
  • for singing
  • that You reign
  • that there are blessings and harvests that I have yet to realize, and I will thank You and celebrate those before they appear

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

EASTER – DAY 33

INVITATION

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. . . . The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
(Psalms 126:2-3 NIV)

I pause briefly to contemplate the joy that filled my soul, yesterday, and encourage the same behavior today.

BIBLE SONG

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
(Psalms 97:1-6 NIV)

Let those who love the LORD hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.
(Psalms 97:10-12 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I linger over these passages, this morning, I strive to enjoy the presence of God. Sometimes, this means simply sitting for a moment, doing nothing else but acknowledging His presence. Breathing slowly. Centering myself on Him. Allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell and point my thoughts in the right direction.

“The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.”

This hearkens back to yesterday morning, as I envisioned the trees and fields rejoicing, yesterday, on my drive to work. I really did that. I plan to try that again, this morning.

I truly believe that God reigns. I believe that all creation sings over this truth, and rejoices in it. I wish that I could hear it. I would believe it would be the most “beautiful noise” I have ever heard in my life.

One thing I am looking forward to, in my longing for Home, is that scene in Revelation 7:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
(Revelation 7:9-12 NIV)

I know it says that they “cried out.” But is it too much of a stretch to think that they are singing? In fact, in the NLT, Revelation 5:12 does use the word “sang.”

And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
(Revelation 5:12 NLT)

I am fully persuaded that it will sound even better than this, and this gives me the biggest chill bumps ever. Go ahead . . . take ten minutes to listen to this. You won’t be disappointed.

This is a far as I’m getting, this morning. I realize there is much more Scripture to look at, but I am stuck on singing and the Lord reigning. So sing I will, celebrating the reign of our Lord and Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Trinity, One and Three at the same time. More love between the three in one than any one of us has ever experienced in our lives. May He share that love in us today!

Father, praises be to Your Name, this morning. I will sing more. I will sing now, and I will sing again. I will celebrate Your reign; Your blessing and honor, glory and power be unto You, for ever and ever. Amen!

Lord, give me more of a yearning to know You and help me seek Your face more consistently, each day. May I and all around me know the joy of Your great salvation, today! I pray for any of my friends and family who have not yet found faith in You. May I be a channel of blessing in their lives today.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

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)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:24 NIV)

One quick thing before I go. Jonathan Cahn, in The Book of Mysteries, reminds us that we should celebrate our blessings before they come. So, remember that today. As you sing about the Lord reigning, consider the blessings that have yet to appear, the harvests that you have not realized, yet, and give thanks for them.

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!

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jude 1:21 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Amen

Today is Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,965

I don’t know if I have mentioned this, but I have scheduled my six-month checkup at my doctor’s office for Monday, February 22. I’m excited to show them my progress in weight loss, and hope that I might have a low enough blood sugar to lower my meds.

Last night, C made a suggestion. We talked briefly about the possibility of taking a trip somewhere, later this year. But I currently can’t fly anywhere, because my driver’s license doesn’t have that silly star on it, yet. It doesn’t expire until 2022, but if I want to get on a plane, I have to have that Real ID star. The whole thing is totally illogical, because all you have to do to get the star is renew your DL.

Anyway, C suggested that I try to do that the same day as my doctor’s appointment, since I have the whole day off. So I scheduled an appointment to get that taken care of. I need to get to work making sure I have all the documentation that you now have to carry in to do this. Several forms of ID, proof of citizenship (as if my citizenship suddenly changed after almost fifty years), proof of insurance, and so on. The cool thing is where I set up the appointment.

MINERAL WELLS!!

That’s right. The place where I got my first driver’s license! And I’ll get to visit Mama for a little bit, as well as pick up some more Crazy Water. The doctor is at 9:00 AM, and the DPS is at 1:00 PM. Might even have time for a little bit of lunch in there.

Time to pray!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

This new day You give to me
From Your great eternity
This new day now enfold
Me in Your loving hold

You are the star of the morn
You are the day newly born
You are the light of our night
You are the Savior by Your might

God be in me this day
God ever with me stay
God be in the night
Keep us by Thy light
God be in my heart
God abide, never depart.
(David Adam)

Today I am grateful:

  • That I am alive and breathing; a new day has dawned
  • That I fear no evil, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
  • For green pastures and still waters
  • That my cup overflows
  • For my faith, the ability to say “amen” to You and Your reality

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

EPIPHANY – DAY 21

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

BIBLE SONG

A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalms 23 NIV)

BIBLE READING

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
(Luke 5:27-32 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I don’t have time on any given morning to tell you what Psalm 23 means to me. It is, no doubt, the most well-known psalm, and for good reason. The first verse is probably second in popularity, only to John 3:16. In my book, Psalm 23:1 tops John 3:16. If the Lord were not my Shepherd, John 3:16 would not have happened.

Anyway . . . the comfort and peace and encouragement that comes from that passage almost has no boundaries. I need to get back into the habit of meditating on this psalm every day.

One thing that I notice in the Luke passage: in verse 28, it just says, “and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”

Now what is it, do you suppose, that made this simple, two-word statement from Jesus so powerful? All Jesus said, according to Luke, was “Follow me.” Was Jesus glowing with all the radiance of the Holy Spirit? Was he floating six inches off the ground? What was it?

Maybe Levi (later known as Matthew) had heard things. Word gets around, you know. Jesus had already called Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John, healed a leper and a paralytic. I wonder if Levi was excited at this calling.

Whatever it was, it was enough that, not only did Levi follow Jesus, he threw a big party! Invited all of his tax collector buddies!

The Pharisees and lawyers complained, of course. “Why are you eating with sinners??” Can you imagine the disgust on their faces as they said that?

Jesus’s dig at them was classic.

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
(Luke 5:31-32 NIV)

Father, I praise You, first, this morning, for Psalm 23, and for giving those wonderful words to David. Thank You for being my Shepherd; thank You for leading to green pastures and still waters. Thank You for making me rest, from time to time. I praise You that my cup overflows, and that, even in the darkest times, I fear no evil, thanks to Your presence in my life. Thank You, also for the way You called those first disciples to follow You. The life, actions, and testimony of Jesus were such that He instantly commanded action and respect; loyalty and following. Thank You for calling me to be one of His brothers. Thank You for making me aware of my sinfulness and need for repentance.

"Jesus,
friend of sinners:
in my heart I keep an updated copy
of my good references and 
better moral credentials.
But I've forgotten this only 
separates me from you because you're
among the tax collectors and sinners.
Thank you that my salvation doesn't depend
on a spotless moral resume 
but on your good pleasure.
Amen."
(Canon of Dort 1.10)

BLESSING

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
(Ephesians 5:8 NIV)

Jesus said to [Thomas], “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 ESV)

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
(John 14:9 ESV)

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
(1 John 4:16 ESV)

The Hebrew word for faith is emunah. It comes from the word emun, which “speaks of that which is sure, solid, and true.” Therefore, faith is linked to that which is true.

“Faith is a very solid thing. It isn’t a wishful thinking or an unrealistic hope. Faith is linked to that which is rock solid – the truth. Faith is that by which you join yourself, root yourself, and ground yourself to the truth. And the word emunah also means steadfast, established, stable, and steady. So the more true faith you have, the more steadfast you become, the more stable, the more steady, and the more established. So faith causes you to become strong.”

A common word in the church is “amen.” This, according to Jonathan Cahn, comes from the same root word as emun and emunah.

“Faith is to give your amen to God’s emun, His truth. So faith is to say amen, yes to God – amen to His reality, amen to His love, and amen to His salvation . . . not jus with your mouth but with your heart, your mind, your emotions, your strength, and your life. ‘True faith’ is to say amen with your entire being.”

“The Mission: Take a word from the Word of God today and give it your strongest amen, the total yes of your heart, soul, mind, and will.”

Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”
(Isaiah 7:9 NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
(Colossians 2:6-7 NLT)

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 NLT)

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, thank You for giving me faith, for even that is a gift from You. Thank You that I have faith in Your reality, that which is unshakeable, in the middle of everything around me that shakes constantly. This world is like a constant earthquake, never firm about anything. But my faith in You is strong, which makes me strong, even in the most unsure of circumstances. This is not me boasting in anything that I have within me; it is me boasting in YOU, who have granted me this gift of faith! Thank you, my God!

Lord, I also pray for a deep sense of “mission” within Your Church. May the leaders be servants, may we all have a good vision of Your Kingdom, may we have good stewardship of all that You have given us (which is, of course, everything), and may our local churches be organized efficiently for the work of the Gospel. May all of Your members have a good witness in their community.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

AMEN!

The Hope of Future Grace

Good morning. It is Tuesday, March 17, 2015. St. Patrick’s Day. 20 days until Opening Day!

Today’s word of the day is agra. Having nothing to do with agriculture (unless you use it to refer to your animals, I guess), it is a noun, and is Irish English (appropriate for the day). It is used, “As a term of endearment: ‘my love’; ‘dear’.”

Today is Submarine Day. That’s it. It was the only choice.

Yesterday was an okay day. Work went pretty well for both of us, I think. I stayed an extra hour because UPS came late in the day. They actually split our packages, bringing all the “Next Day Air” stuff early, but waiting until around 3PM to bring the rest. That was rather annoying.

Today, of course, after work, I will be driving to Mineral Wells to stay with my parents for the next few days. Tomorrow, I drive my Mother to Fort Worth for cataract surgery, then back on Thursday for bandage removal. Depending on how my Mother is doing, I will probably be back home Friday evening, or Saturday morning. That will be up to her, I think. I’ll stay as long as they need me. I have discovered that I can make my iPhone a “hot spot” for Internet, so I will take my laptop with me, just for doing my blogging. Tomorrow’s will probably be later in the day, as we will be driving to Fort Worth early.

This will be the first time I have spent nights away from home without Christi in I don’t know how long. Wait. There was that “men’s retreat last Memorial Day. Whatever . . . that’s the part I don’t like. I don’t sleep well without her near me. ❤

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Prayer’s Exclamation Point.”

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20

At first glance, this might seem like a repeat of a reading from a few days ago, but it is not quite the same.

“Prayer is a response to promises, that is, to the assurances of God’s future grace.

“Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all his promises of future grace.

“Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God of good intentions out there. Prayer goes to the bank every day and draws on promises for the future grace needed for that day.”

One of John Piper’s great phrases, over the past couple of decades, is “future grace.” This is our hope, he says, this is what we are banking on.

Once again, he separates the two halves of this verse, for further inspection. They are separated by the phrase, “That is why.” The first part of the verse is the “That is why.” “All the promises of God are Yes in Christ. That is why (therefore) we pray Amen through him, to God’s glory.”

If we turn it around, we see that we pray Amen to God, through Christ, because God, also through Christ, has said Amen to us in all his promises. ” Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ’s sake.” When we pray, we link our “faith in future grace” with the foundation of everything, Jesus Christ.

This word, “Amen,” is “a full an precious word in times of prayer.” It is more than just an add-on, an afterthought. At least it should be. It does not mean, “Yes, I have now said all this prayer.” It also is more than just an insignificant notification that my prayer is over, and you can pray now (if that’s how things are working). What it does mean is, “Yes, God has made all these promises.”

“Amen means, ‘Yes, Lord, you can do it.’ It means, ‘Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are wise. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ.’

“’Amen’ is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.”

Amen, Father! Amen! Yes, you are all powerful! Yes, you are all-knowing! yes, you are so very merciful! You, Father, all my future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Jesus Christ! Yes, your son is my firm foundation for everything in my life! All my hope is in you, through Jesus Christ. And you have shown yourself faithful. My hope has not been misplaced. I will continue to hope in this future grace, because it has been proven to be more than enough! Your grace is enough for me. I need look nowhere else. Thank you, Father!

I pray for this day, asking, as always, that our trip to work and home be safe and smooth today. In addition, I pray for traveling mercies tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday (or Saturday). This will be a lot of driving, so I pray that you keep me alert and awake the whole time. I pray for Christi and Stephanie while I am gone, that you would keep them in your hands, just as you do when we are all together. I pray for Christi’s work day today, that she will be able to accomplish whatever she needs to do, and that stress and anxiety will not be present. I pray for Stephanie, that you would give her wisdom. Help her make the right choices in her life.

I pray also, for Rachel and Justin, that you would draw them close to you. I pray that you would open the right doors for Rachel to complete her education and begin her career, and that she will be able to do that which is closest to her heart. May you grant Justin confidence and a life free from anxiety.

In all of this, I say a loud, confident, “Amen!”

“Amen” is not just an insignificant add-on to signify the end of our prayers. It is a word, full of meaning, showing that our faith is in the future grace of our Father, promised in the person of Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.