Today is Wednesday, the tenth of March, 2021, in the third week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
25 days until Resurrection Sunday
It is difficult to determine when the pandemic officially began, and lockdowns vary from state to state. But a lot of folks are stating that this week is the one year anniversary. I would concur with that, because, in my memory, I had lunch with R & J at Hoffbrau Steak House on Saturday, March 14, last year, the day after my birthday, and it was the next week that everything started locking down.
So my birthday will forever be associated with a pandemic lockdown. “Forever” being a euphemism for the rest of my life. I thought about celebrating this Saturday by going to Hoffbrau again. But I’m kind of afraid to, being that today ends the mask and social distancing mandate in Texas. I have an email that gives me a discount on an entrée for my birthday. And I just saw a Facebook post that says that their team members will continue to mask up and they will “encourage” patrons to wear masks.
Today is my “Friday” (no, it’s not, it’s Wednesday!) for this week, as
I we will be off work the rest of the week for my birthday. We plan to go bowling tomorrow. I have a “new” ball that I want to get drilled. I’m toying with the thought of getting it drilled to use left-handed. C thinks that’s a dumb idea. She may win out. We will see. As for golfing, that has been tabled until our Glen Rose trip, scheduled for the last weekend of April.
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future, so on to the devotional.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen." (The prayer of St. Richard of Chichester)
Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
(Psalms 63:3-4 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- For Your unfailing love, which is better than life, itself
- For the upcoming long weekend
- For the Church, which I truly love
- For Your very great and precious promises, and that I am fully persuaded that You have the power to keep those promises
- For Your peace, in the midst of the storm, which passes all understanding
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 19
And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 NIV)
Spend a moment in silent meditation on the unfailing love of the Lord. Is it better than life to you?
Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
(Psalms 26:1-3 NIV)
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
(Psalms 26:8-9 NIV)
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
(John 2:13-22 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read the Psalm passage again, a phrase speaks to me. In verse 8, David tells the Lord, “I love the house where you live.” David, of course, was speaking of the temple (or whatever served as the “temple” before the official Temple was built). But when I read that line, this morning, what came to my mind (and I credit the Holy spirit), is the Church.
I know that the Lord dwells in each believer, via the Holy Spirit. But I also believe that, in a sense, the Church can be considered the “house” where God lives. Not the building we call First Baptist Church or whatever. But the Church of God which is made up of all of the people who follow Christ, all over the world.
The Lord lives in the Church. And I truly do love the Church. I have expressed this love before on this platform, and have also expressed, and will continue to do so, that anyone who claims to love Jesus Christ and does not love the Church is a liar.
Father, I thank You for the Church, and I give You praise, honor, and glory that You made me a part of her. I thank You for the love that You placed in my heart for Your Church. I still remember when this started taking root, because I was in college when I truly began to understand the importance of the Church in the life of a Saint. I thank You for this, and thank You that You have kept that love alive for another forty years. I pray that it will stay alive for the rest of my life, and on into eternity.
"Merciful and just God, I rage against the regularity of evil in the world. Thank you that you are a just judge and will punish all such sin, now and in eternity. Yet when the tables get turned, I see how puny my anger is next to yours. And along with justice, I pray for mercy. Forgive me in Jesus' name, amen." (Heidelberg Catechism 10)
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
(Psalms 32:1-2 NIV)
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
(Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV)
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
(Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV)
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
(Matthew 12:43-45 NIV)
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
(Philippians 2:14-15 NLT)
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT)
Father, I pray, as Jesus taught us, that Your Name would be revered and worshiped throughout the world. I ask that Your Kingdom be manifest in this world, and Your will be done on earth, exactly as it is in heaven. I pray for daily bread, not just for myself and my family, but for all people. ALL people. Help us to forgive those who have wronged us, that we might experience Your blessed forgiveness of our own sins, as we have all sinned, Lord. Finally, I pray that You would protect us against temptation, and deliver us from both evil, and the Evil One. For Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen.
Lord, this morning, I lift up prayers for all national and local communities. May Your light shine in them, through Your people. I lift up the continent of South America, as well. May Your glory fill the countries and cities of South America, and may people in those areas experience Your mighty presence today. I also pray for the poor and needy and poverty stricken people of our country and of our world. May Your people step up and help in any way we can, Father.
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.