Today is Tuesday, the 3rd of January, 2023, in the second week of Christmas. It is the tenth day of Christmas.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you today and always!
Three days until Epiphany.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Let your steadfast love become my comfort according to your promise to your servant. (Psalms 119:76 NRSV)
Lord our God, we thank you that we may go to meet you with open hearts, with jubilant faith, and with this joyful shout, “God’s salvation is coming! Through Jesus Christ day is dawning on earth for all nations.” Stay with us and help us. Send us your Spirit to strengthen us, especially in times of trouble. Let all nations come before you. Let us tell all peoples, “Be comforted. The salvation of our God, who is also your God, is coming. In this salvation we will rejoice together forevermore to the glory of our God.” Amen.
The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’” Isaiah 62:11, NIV
Today I am grateful:
- for the steadfast love of the Lord, that has become my comfort in all things
- for the salvation of God, through Jesus Christ, in which day is dawning on all peoples
- for the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace and mercy of God, which we do not deserve
- for the potential of prayer, and that God listens to us
- that our lives are not to be compartmentalized into “sacred” and “secular;” it is one life, lived before God. Give “Caesar” what is his, and give God what is his.
Love the LORD, all you his saints. The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. (Psalms 31:23 NRSV)
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. (Psalms 118:28 NRSV)
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalms 124:8 NRSV)
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. (John 1:19-20, 23-28 NRSV)
When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water. (Psalms 114:1-8 NRSV)
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. (Kyrie)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalms 46:10 NIV)
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 26:2-3 NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”
(Matthew 22:21 MSG)
“If you are right with Him you will inevitably be right with all your fellow-creatures, just as if all the spokes of a wheel are fitted rightly into the hub and the rim they are bound to be in the right positions to one another.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, quoted in The C.S. Lewis Bible)
There was a time in my life, when I would only listen to “Christian” music. That’s what I called it, and people still call it that. There was this one time, I even had a copy of the “Christian Yellow Pages,” a directory that only included businesses that were run by alleged Christians.
I don’t do that any more. For one thing, I have come to believe that the adjective, “Christian,” should only be applied to human beings. Because only human beings, entities with a soul, can be “Christian.” The word, itself, first used as a derogatory designation for followers of Christ (Acts 11:26). I have heard it said that the word meant, “little Christs,” but I can’t find any official evidence of this.
But I digress. That’s not what this entry is really about.
I’m talking about the compartmentalization of our lives. We shouldn’t do it. Period. We don’t have a “sacred” life and a “secular” life. We have a life, and it is all to be lived under the authority of the Holy Trinity. Everything that we do, every act in which we participate, can be an act of worship.
I believe it was Brother Lawrence who found that he could worship God while washing dishes and doing kitchen chores. He wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God, in which he talks about things like that.
We do say that our citizenship is in heaven, and that is true (Philippians 3:20). And we eagerly pursue the prize/inheritance that awaits us, there. “But this passion for the unseen in no way detracts from their involvement in daily affairs: working well and playing fair, signing petitions and paying taxes, rebuking the wicked an encouraging the righteous, getting wet in the rain and smelling the flowers.” (Eugene H. Peterson, Where Your Treasure Is, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)
Perhaps Paul said it best.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:17 NRSV)
Father, I pray that I will be able to live my life in this way. As a follower of Christ, I believe that it is imperative that I do everything in the name of Christ, for the glory of You, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This means that, even when washing dishes or cooking a meal for my family, I am acting in Your Name, and I am performing and act of prayer/worship. This means that when I am out and about, in public, interacting with people, other human begins, with souls, created in Your image, I must treat them as such; I must do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to You through Him.
Help me to keep this at the front of my mind, and to remember that getting short or snarky with people is not acceptable, as a disciple of Jesus. It also means that I will consider others to be more significant than myself, as we are commanded to do by Your Word. Help me to be “right” with You, in order that I will be “right” with all of my “fellow-creatures.”
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
"O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." (The Divine Hours -The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen." (The Divine Hours - The Concluding Prayer of the Church)
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.