Today is FRIDAY! January 15, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Yesterday was one of those day. One of those “orange” days. But at least this time, there was a reason. Not a good one, mind you. It all started with Facebook. Go figure. Read something that I disagreed with. If that wasn’t enough, I read the comments. Then there were little things at work that aggravated the already souring mood.
But at one point, I stopped and cried out to God. The slide was arrested. The day was still a struggle, but it got gradually better. Then, about thirty minutes before time to go home, I returned to my workstation to find a little note that someone had made on a label maker.
“Have a blessed day, Jeff!”
A dear friend had stealthily blessed me.
God and I had a conversation on the way home from work. Some progress was definitely made, and maybe even a decision or two. More on that, when it’s more firm.
I finished a book, yesterday. It was number 17 in The Dresden Files series, by Jim Butcher. Battle Ground. It was pretty fierce. And it made me cry at the end. Actually, it also made me cry in the middle, too. Part of this was because I really thought (although why, I’m not sure) that this was the last book in the series. But I checked the author’s Internet site and he has an estimated eight more planned. And that’s good, because there were definitely some loose ends to tie up at the end of this one. I’ll be posting a review, this weekend on my other blog.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
(Hebrews 13:15 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- That it is Friday!
- For the peace that passes understanding
- For Your unfailing love
- For the baptism of fire (Luke 3)
- For the opportunity to choose kindness over evil
- That someone chose kindness to me, yesterday
- That You called me out of darkness, into marvelous light
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EPIPHANY – DAY 10
The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalms 118:24 NIV)
BIBLE SONG: PSALM 13 (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.
BIBLE READING: LUKE 3:15-17 (NIV)
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
My thoughts, this morning, are captivated by both readings. In Psalm 13, I was especially caught by verse 2. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” Now, I don’t have sorrow in my heart every day, necessarily, but I assure you, I most definitely “wrestle with my thoughts,” pretty much every day. That is what causes those moods like I had yesterday. That is why I’m seeing a therapist.
But I am also looking to God for answers, and Psalm 13 is an excellent passage to pray back to Him. I am, as anyone who has read this blog for very long will know, very much in favor of praying Scripture back to God, especially Psalms. They are, by inspiration, His very words. So why not pray them back to Him?
But then, verse 5 comes along. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”
Yes. Amen. So be it.
In the other passage, which is almost the same as the passage read yesterday, the word “fire” catches my attention.
All John can do is immerse in water. But One is coming; One who has more power than John. Water can only wash off the outside dirt. But the Holy Spirit has access to the heart and soul, our very being. And fire, used in the casting of precious metals, melts down the metal, separates it from the “dross,” or impurities, and allows it to be molded into a different shape.
But then the fire has a different purpose. The “chaff” is the hull of the wheat, that which is inedible. The fire that cleanses, purifies, and helps to mold us, will burn up and consume the chaff.
Father, I thank You that, when I wrestle with my thoughts, I can bring them to You, praying Your own words back to You. I pray for this constant immersion in the Holy Spirit, and that You would continuously “baptize” me with fire, always cleansing the dross from my heart and my soul. All glory to You, Lord!
"Holy God, you promised the renewing presence of the Holy Spirit, and today I ask you to fill me again. Renew my life, deepen in me a humble repentance for my sins, and empower me to pursue a holy life. May your beauty in my life be obvious to all. Amen." (Heidelberg Catechism 70)
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
(Romans 8:15-16 NIV)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:21 NIV)
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
(Proverbs 31:12 NLT)
Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.
(John 5:29 NLT)
She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?
(1 Timothy 5:10 NLT)
Every day, we have multiple choices to make. Will we choose kindness? Or will we choose to be unkind? I daresay, I have made both choices multiple times, throughout the day.
Yesterday, a friend chose kindness in leaving that little note for me. It blessed my soul, and it completed the turnaround from the morning’s mood.
We have the ability and opportunity to be kind to someone today, and to have a drastic impact (we never know how much that can be) on their life.
Holy Spirit, help me to choose kindness today. Every time.
Jonathan Cahn, in today’s reading, discusses something that I have been fascinated with for a number of years. That being the difference between the Western day and the Hebrew day.
Our day, in the West, is typically though of as going from day to night. Our “day” begins in the morning and ends in the night.
But the Hebrew day began at sunset. Why? Look at Genesis, friends. When God created the world (and this is not a debate about how long it took), “evening and morning were the first day.”
Words are important. Evening came first. Thus, the Hebrew day begins at sundown.
Says Cahn, “The children of this world live from day to night. But the children of God live from night to day. They are born again in the darkness and move to the day. And if you belong to God, then that is the order of your life. You are to go from darkness to light, from weakness to strength, from despair to hope, from guilt to innocence, from tears to joy, and from death to life. And every night in your life will lead to the dawn. So live according to God’s sacred order of time . . . that your entire life be always moving away from the darkness and to the light.”
“The Mission: What darkness is in your life, the darkness of fear, of sin, of problems, of gloom? Today, turn away from it and to the light of day.”
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
(Genesis 1:3-5 NLT)
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalms 30:5 NLT)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
(Ephesians 5:8 NLT)
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 NLT)
Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.
(2 Peter 1:19 NLT)
Father, thank You for the truths learned today, and the inspirations that will color and affect my life today. May I constantly live as though moving from darkness to light, as You have called me out of darkness into Your marvelous light!
Lord, I thank You for the calling You have placed on my life, to follow Christ in my home, my neighborhood, and my workplace. Strengthen me to fulfill that calling today. Give us all a better capacity to serve the “common good,” and not just our own desires. I also pray for those who work in service to others would be lifted up and made strong for their daily tasks.
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!
Grace and peace, friends!