Good morning. Today is Tuesday, the twenty-third of November, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru. Please check out his photo blog!
Two days until Thanksgiving!
Yesterday was largely a day of rest and recuperation. At least for me. C was a “busy bee” for a good part of the day. Not being content with just sitting around, she put up most of the Christmas decorations in the house, as well as some of the outside decorations. The tree is up, but not decorated. We will probably put the ornaments on tomorrow night after I get home from work at the library.
We plan to put up the outside house lights after I finish blogging, this morning. So I will try to get finished this “morning.” Some are aware that there are some days where it is not posted until noon or later.
There will also be another trip to the grocery store today, to get some things that we either forgot or didn’t know we needed, yesterday. And I’m thinking we will probably have Subway for lunch.
Today is my half-day at the library, 4:15-8:15 PM.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
“Enter, Lord Christ– I have joy in Your coming. You have given me life; and I welcome Your coming. I turn now to face You, I lift up my eyes. Be blessing my face, Lord; be blessing my eyes. May all my eye looks on be blessed and be bright, my neighbors, my loved ones be blessed in Your sight. You have given me life and I welcome Your coming. Be with me, Lord, I have joy, I have joy.” (Celtic Daily Prayer)
And now we thank you, our God,
and praise your glorious name.
(1 Chronicles 29:13 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for Your presence here, this morning 2. for Your glorious name, worthy of all our praise 3. for Jesus, the Way, Truth, and Life 4. that You remain faithful forever 5. that You alone satisfy my every longing
“Let not your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God; believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may be also.
And you know the way to where I am going.”
Thomas said to him,
“Lord, we do not know where you are going.
How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way,
and the truth,
and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you had known me,
you would have known my Father also.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:1-7 ESV)
Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, Truth, and Life. If you had known me . . ."
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LAST WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME – DAY THREE
and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalms 46:10 ESV)
As I pause during this quiet moment, also enjoying the affection of a favorite cat, I enjoy the presence of God. I am still, and know that He is God.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
(Psalms 146:2 NIV)
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 146:6-10 NIV)
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.”
(Amos 8:9-12 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, slowly, I look for words or phrases that catch my eye or move my heart. I slowly mull over those words and phrases, and pray my thoughts, meditations, and desires, and feelings back to the Lord, enjoying His presence.
One word in Psalm 146, that catches my attention, is the word “faithful.” Verse 6 declares that the Lord “remains faithful forever.”
Forever. Infinitely. Never-changing. Faithful.
And in that faithfulness, the Lord does some things.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed He gives food to the hungry He sets prisoners free He gives sight to the blind He lifts up those who have bowed down He loves the righteous He watches over the foreigner He sustains the fatherless and widows He frustrates the ways of the wicked
In the middle of all of that are two words that I believe may be misunderstood by some.
Righteous and wicked.
It is my opinion (and I believe that opinion to be based on wisdom from the Word of God) that “righteous” defines people who do the same things as God does. In other words, if a person is “righteous,” he upholds the cause of the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down, watches over the foreigners, and sustains the widows and orphans.
It is also my opinion that the word “wicked” defines people who do the opposite of what God does. They are the oppressors, they withhold food from the hungry, imprison people, blind people, force people to bow down, ignore the foreigners (or worse), and do not care for the widows and fatherless.
The “righteous” may also be involved in frustrating the ways of the “wicked,” but I think that is largely the job of the Lord.
And here’s the thing. Do I consider myself “righteous?” With as much honesty and transparency as I can muster, I would say it depends on what day it is. There are days when I try really hard to do all of those things as much as it is up to me. I may not be directly involved in all of them, but my prayers are toward those objectives, and if I have resources to share (which I do), I try to send them out in those directions.
But truthfully, there are, no doubt, days when I lean more toward the “wicked” side. And that is where the biggest truth of this passage comes into play.
God remains faithful forever.
Praise the Lord.
I’m not going to speak much about the Amos passage. It is, as far as I can tell, explicitly directed toward Israel. It speaks of a dire need and lack of any word from the Lord, which is something that was fulfilled in the period between the end of the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus Christ. Today, my focus is on the forever faithfulness of our Lord God Almighty.
Father, You are faithful forever. Your faithfulness never changes; it never wanes; it never fails. Our brand of faithfulness is fickle, at best. Some days it is nonexistent. I pray that my faithfulness will more closely resemble yours. But I’m real enough to acknowledge that it likely will not, at least most days. I pray for more of a heart that will work to uphold the cause of the oppressed, to give food to the hungry, to set prisoners free, to give sight to the blind, to lift up the bowed down, to watch over the foreigner, and to sustain the fatherless and the widow. If, in working toward all of those, the plans of the wicked are frustrated, all the better. But mostly, I want to be more like You, in Your righteousness and Your faithfulness.
I pray for the ability to follow Your calling to walk with Jesus in our neighborhoods and work places. I pray for the peace and well-being of our communities.
"God Almighty, I am hungry for You and famished for life. When I'm tempted to gorge on spiritual junk food, work up my appetite for Your nourishing word, more than enough to fill me up. Thank You for Your words, but also for the Word, Jesus, who alone can satisfy my deepest hungers. Amen."
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,
for when he has stood the test
he will receive the crown of life,
which God has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 ESV)
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.