Good morning. Today is Wednesday, December 1, 2021, the first Wednesday of Advent.
Welcome to December.
Peace be with you.
Twenty-four days until Christmas.
This afternoon, we will travel to east Texas, Henderson, to be exact, for the visitation/viewing for my Uncle Buddy, who passed away Monday morning. The funeral is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 PM.
Uncle Buddy lived 30,551 days.
We plan to leave here between 2:00 and 2:30 PM, this afternoon, and will return tomorrow evening, after the graveside service is concluded.
I don’t really have any other news/happenings to report. C is working from home, today, instead of yesterday. She had already planned to go to the office yesterday, for some reason, and work from home today, so that makes it easier for us to be ready to leave, this afternoon. I’ll be making a quick trip to the grocery store, immediately following the completion of this blog, just to get a couple of things. Primarily, we are out of cat litter. And grapes.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Man is a shadow. In vain does he heap up wealth. My hope is in You! (Based on Psalm 39:6-7)
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
(Job 4:6 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the hope that I have in You, through all things, whether "good" or "bad" 2. for the love and support of family and friends 3. for the promise of straight paths, when I trust in You 4. for Your Word, living and active, discerning my thoughts and the intentions of my heart 5. for the hope of Your return; we all say, "Come, Lord!"
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division
and of spirit,
and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
(Isaiah 35:1-2 ESV)
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals,
where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
(Isaiah 35:5-7 ESV)
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:19 ESV)
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.
(Isaiah 44:3-4 ESV)
No matter how dry and barren you feel, there is hope for “streams in the desert.” Our lives are waiting for the rain of God’s Spirit to come down on us; then we will “spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.”
Hope is the theme for the first week of Advent. There is always hope.
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – DAY FOUR
I pray to GOD—
my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
(Psalms 130:5 MSG)
I pause during the quietness of this morning to reflect on the hope that dwells in my heart; hope that is based on the faith and trust that is a gift from God, my Father in heaven.
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
(Psalms 85:1-2 NIV)
I will listen to what God the LORD says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
(Psalms 85:8-13 NIV)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!'”
(Mark 13:32-37 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself of the Lord’s presence, I read these passages again, trying to take notice of how He might be speaking to me through His Word. I allow my heart to respond in prayer, taking refreshment in His presence.
God, You have shown us favor. You have forgiven our iniquity and covered our sins! You promise peace to us, Your servants. And that peace, You deliver, even when we do slip up and turn to folly. Help me to listen to what You say to me, to us.
I pray that Your glory would dwell in our land, and by “land,” I mean the entire world where Your Church exists. Anywhere there is a piece of Your Church, I pray that Your glory dwells. May love and faithfulness, righteousness and peace, all come together in that place where Your glory dwells. May faithfulness spring up from the earth, and righteousness rain down from the heavens. Give us what is good; give us only what is good, so that Your Church will yield its harvest in this world. May righteousness always go before You, as You walk among us.
Father, we know not when Jesus will return again. This, along with hope, is a recurring theme, this week. Our hope is in You, and our hope is strongly based on the promises of the return of our Savior, coming to set things right and usher in the new heavens and the new earth. Help us to be alert, to be on guard, to be watching faithfully, and waiting with great anticipation. May we not be found to be “asleep.” But may we also carry on our normal activities, doing the things that You have tasked us with, while we live our lives on this earth. Jesus stated that His return will be similar to when the floods came in the days of Noah, and people will be doing the things that they normally do. Keep us faithful and watchful, Father!
"Unexpected Savior, You are coming again, but this date, already marked down by the Father, isn't for me to know. But I'm curious, Lord, desiring a timeline or diagram, wanting to nail down a future that's out of my hands. In place of my faithless need to control, give me a watchful heart full of expectation and wonder. Amen."
He who testifies to all these things says it again:
“I’m on my way!
I’ll be there soon!”
Yes! Come, Master Jesus!
The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you.
(Revelation 22:20-21 MSG)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.