Today is Monday, the twenty-ninth of March, 2021, in Holy Week.
Peace be with you!
Six days until Resurrection Sunday!
It’s Monday, so back to work, we go!
But it is also R’s birthday, today (oldest daughter), so happy birthday to you, just in case you read this blog today! Much love to you!
The big news for today is that our little church group has agreed to meet together this coming Sunday to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Agreement was made to continue to practice safe measures. I know for sure that we will wear masks or at least practice safe distancing. We may even sing a couple of songs. Weather permitting, we plan to meet outside, in their back yard.
I think there is a plan in the works, as well, for the family to gather, weekend after next (possibly Saturday, April the tenth) to celebrate some birthdays. As already mentioned, R’s is today, and Mama’s (Grandma) is April the eighth, which is a week from Thursday.
That’s all the news I have for today. Oh, except that Opening Day is this coming Thursday, April first. The Texas Rangers will start the season in Kansas City, with a 3:10 PM start time.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
This morning’s opening poem/prayer is from Daryl Madden, called “Be Here Now.”
The past is behind us To let go, allow To God give the future To be grateful now Each soul of encounter Of blessing, endow A binding of sharing To be present now Each moment receiving To fully allow His treasure embracing To be loved now This moments’ a gift That God does endow A practice of living To be here now
My prayer, this morning, is that I be fully present in this moment of meditation and prayer.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
(Psalms 67:5-7 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for a new week, full of opportunities to serve God and people; may I not miss those opportunities
- for the blessings of our Lord
- that, from my mother’s womb, You have been my God (Psalm 22:10)
- for the testimonies of believers and their lives with You
- that every moment of every day we can rest in Your presence and know Your glory
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 35
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(John 1:29 ESV)
This morning, I pause to reflect on this moment, on being fully present and aware of the presence of the Lamb of God.
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
(Psalms 22:1 NIV)
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
(Psalms 22:8-11 NIV)
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!”
(Luke 22:7-22 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I enjoy the presence of the Lord in this place, I reread these passages, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts.
I begin by noticing Psalm 22:8. We read this psalm, yesterday morning, and this stood out to me, then, as well. Those familiar with the Gospel narrative know that much of this chapter in Psalms is repeated during the hours of the crucifixion, including the words in verse 8, which were repeated by onlookers, perhaps even the Pharisees or Romans. It was intended to be mockery.
But I see it as truth. I do trust in the Lord, and I believe that He will rescue me. Over and over, the Psalms make that declaration of truth. And, ultimately, the Father did rescue the Son, but not until the sacrifice was done.
As for me, God, indeed, brought me out of my mother’s womb, and I was trusting Him from my birth. I don’t remember anything about those days, but I do know that, immediately, I was taught to trust and love my God and my Savior. I can say, as the psalmist said, “from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” (verse 10)
As Jesus prepared for the sacrifice, He shared the last Passover He has had, to this day, with His disciples. He declared that He would not have another Passover until “it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” And this has not happened, yet.
He took the bread and the wine, in the famous institution of what we call The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, or Eucharist, or, sometimes, simply The Supper. The bread is His body, the wine is His blood. And we partake of this, whenever we do it, “in remembrance” of Him.
I look forward to sharing this “meal” with my brothers and sisters, this coming Sunday morning.
Father, I thank You that You have been my God, in whom I trust, from my birth, from out of my mother’s womb. I am aware that not everyone can say this. We had that discussion, yesterday, as well, and believe that every testimony of a person’s life with You is beautiful, whether we began life with You from infancy or started it later in life. It is beautiful, because it all depends upon You and Your mighty work in our lives. We have, quite literally, nothing to do with it.
Perfect God, I bow my knee before the wisdom of the cross. The death of your spotless Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for my sins. It is of infinite value and worth, more than enough to cover not only mine but the sins of the whole world. Amen. (Canons of Dort 2.3)
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12 NIV)
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
(Psalms 94:19 ESV)
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
(Psalms 55:22 ESV)
For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
(Isaiah 41:13 ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
(John 14:27 ESV)
Yes, and amen!
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.'”
Yesterday, we spoke of the burning eyes of Christ, as revealed by John’s depiction of Him to the Church in Thyatira. It was said that there was mercy and generosity in those eyes.
This generosity is exhibited in Jesus’s first assessment of this church, repeated in the verse above. These people were not resting on their past achievements. Unlike the previous churches, their “latter works” were better, even, than their first.
“There was no sitting back and telling stories about how vigorous and exciting it had been in the early days of the church. They had not fallen into the habit (which Christians seem prone to) of lamenting the present evil generation and nostalgically looking back to a better time.”
The Christians at Thyatira were “skilled in and increasingly committed to love, faith, service, and patient endurance.”
(From This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson)
Father, I pray that Your Church today may be as the Church in Thyatira, continuing to be committed to love, faith, service, and patient endurance, not attempting to rest on past achievements or blaming its problems on the “present evil generation.” We dwell on the “mountaintop” with You, Lord, in Your presence at every moment of every day. Let us rest in Your presence and know Your glory as we walk through this world.
Lord, may You give us eyes to see Your work in the world around us, as we walk through our day. May Your care for us be evident, even in the face of natural disasters and a creation that groans for its rebirth. May You guide those who work in conservation efforts, to make us better stewards of Your creation.
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!
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.