Today is Saturday, the twenty-seventh of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent. Holy Week begins tomorrow, Palm Sunday.
Peace be with you!
The weekend is here! Of course, I often wonder why we get so excited about it, when another Monday is right around the corner. Someday, perhaps, in a few more years, I will obtain permanent weekend.
C is feeling better, this morning. Even her sciatica is better, so that’s good. Looks like she will make it to our weekly WW Workshop, even though she doesn’t have to go. Since she achieved Lifetime status, she only has to weigh in once a month, but she will, at least for now, keep going to the workshops with me. I’m thinking I should lose around one pound for this week. I will report on that tomorrow.
There is nothing else planned for the day, other than getting groceries at some point. If C is not up to that, I will go get them. We didn’t place a pickup order last night.
The only other thing planned for this weekend is our weekly Zoom church gathering tomorrow morning. Palm Sunday, this week, and Resurrection Sunday, more popularly known as Easter, is next Sunday, and it will be my turn to lead the morning’s discussions. I’m thinking I may divert a bit from Psalms, but that depends on where we wind up after tomorrow.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Peace between neighbors, Peace between kindred, Peace between lovers, In love of the King of life. Peace between person and person, Peace between wife and husband, Peace between woman and children, The Peace of Christ above all peace. Bless, O Christ, my face, Let my face bless everything; Bless, O Christ, mine eye, Let mine eye bless all it sees. (Peace, by Alexander Carmichael, from Carmina Gadelica III)
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
(Psalms 67:1-2 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the weekend, to rest and refresh for the next work week
- for the nice weather outside
- for the many conveniences we have, which we so often take for granted
- for Your voice, in its many forms
- for the trials in life which bring growth in our lives; if it never rained, the flowers would never bloom
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 34
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)
I’m pausing to quietly reflect on the Lord and His righteous ways.
A psalm of David.
Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
(Psalms 29:1-5 NIV)
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
(Psalms 29:9-11 NIV)
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
(Jeremiah 31:31 NIV)
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:33b-34 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I quietly enjoy His presence, this morning, I reread these passages, looking for words or phrases that connect with my spirit. The value of this type of reading is that, each time a passage is read, something different may connect, depending on how the Spirit is moving in one’s life at the moment. This is why I believe the verse in Hebrews:
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
(Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
The psalm speaks over and over of the “voice of the LORD,” expressing its powerfulness. Yet, while it accomplishes all of these things, it is rarely heard, audibly. Or at least we are not aware that we are hearing it.
Maybe that’s what thunder really is.
Those times when God the Father spoke audibly over Jesus, some people said it thundered. When Saul was struck down on the road to Damascus, there were differing accounts of what people heard when Saul heard the voice of the resurrected Christ.
Whether we hear it or not, the voice of the Lord has great power; great majesty. It was, after all, that which created everything we see. God spoke it into existence.
This Word of God is “alive and powerful.” The verse in Hebrews may or may not be specifically and exclusively speaking of the written Word, that which we know as The Bible. Perhaps there is a double meaning. God’s Word is also that which He speaks. His Word brought galaxies, stars, planets, and us into existence.
The Jeremiah passage speaks of the New Covenant, ushered in by Jesus. Through Christ, and the appearance on earth of the Holy Spirit, God has written His Word in our hearts, putting His Word deep within us.
The Word became flesh, says John in his Gospel, and dwelt among us. And now, that Word, by the Spirit dwells within us.
Father, I thank You for Your Word, however it is manifest. Your Word is Your voice; Your Word is the Holy Scriptures; Your Word is Your Son, Jesus Christ. And by His appearing, His life, His death, His resurrection, Your Word dwells within us. Help me to live by Your Word; help me to live and walk by the precepts of Scripture, by the words and actions of Jesus, and by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Deepen my love for You and Your Word. I continue to pray that You would make me more gently, just as Jesus Christ was gentle.
Promise-keeping God, your covenant of grace, ratified with Abraham and renewed by the prophetic word, stands complete in Jesus Christ. In the new covenant of his death and resurrection I have full forgiveness and eternal salvation. May I live today in covenant faithfulness with you and my neighbor. Amen. (Westminster Confession 7.5)
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
(1 Peter 3:18 NIV)
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 NIV)
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
“Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
“But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
(Revelation 2:18-29 NLT)
This chapter in This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson, is a tough one. The title, alone, makes me cringe and hide my toes. “The Test of Our Holiness.”
The issue that the Christians in Thyatira were face was that they were “reaching for attractive-appearing religion that in fact was inwardly foul.”
In every age, there is a sharp contrast between what the Christian believes (and, therefore, supposedly, lives out) and what the world believes and lives.
In every age, there is a temptation to completely isolate oneself from society, but we, as Christians, cannot do that. “There is no way to be a Christian except in the world.” Any attempt to do otherwise has never been successful. We must be in the world.
(From This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson)
Father, I am grateful for the trials that bring growth, inconvenient and painful as they sometimes are. I don’t seek them out, but when they come, by Your grace, I endure them, and, hopefully, grow from them. I am also grateful for the admonition to remain in the world, growing in grace and love for You and for my fellow human beings. Teach me this truth, daily, Father, and help me to love others as You have loved me, and as I love myself. All glory to You, Father!
Lord, I pray that Your Church would have a depth of identity that includes Your mission on this earth; may our leaders be servants, not dictators; may they have Kingdom vision, godly stewardship, and may Your Church be effectively organized. I pray for unity within the Body of Christ, Father. May we all have willing hearts to serve, and may we overflow with gratitude in our faithful service.
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.