Holy, Holy, Holy

Today is Thursday, the seventh of October, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,219

Only five more days until our 36th anniversary. The gift arrived yesterday, and since it was too big to hide, it has already been unveiled.

A pair of “zero-gravity” lounge chairs with matching table. If our house didn’t face west (the back yard is on the east side), I would be sitting in one, right now, drinking my coffee. But the sun is shining out there, right now, and he and I are not friends. So perhaps I will sit out there and read some, this evening.

I got everything accomplished that I intended, yesterday. The laundry got folded, the groceries got bought, and the chicken stir-fry got cooked for dinner. Today, there is absolutely nothing on the agenda. I’m off work today.

C and I went for a walk, yesterday evening, right before dinner time. As we walked, we discussed the fact that I was retired, and I realized that I still haven’t quite “wrapped my head around” that fact. What does that even mean? I can’t wrap my head around anything!

Once my library work schedule settles down, I need to come up with some kind of . . . hang on a minute. Do I really, though?? Maybe it’s better to just “wing it.”

Let’s see. Baseball. The Dodgers won last night, 2-1, on a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth. I suppose it doesn’t get much more exciting than that. I’m disappointed, though, that the Dodgers won. I don’t care that much, but I’m just not a fan. And now the Dodgers play the Giants in the ALDS. To me, that is terribly boring. But they were the two top teams in MLB for the season.

Today, the Other Sox and Astros play 3PM, CDT, and the Red Sox and Rays play at 7:00 CDT. I might watch the Red Sox game tonight.

Today is Frappe Day. I don’t know much about this, but it’s some kind of coffee drink, somehow related to the Frappuccino.

The word for today is pariah, a noun meaning, “any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided.”

Today’s quote is from Frederick Douglas, American author. “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”

Significant birthdays on October 7:

Al Martino, American singer (Speak Softly Love), 1927-2009
Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop of South Africa and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1931 (90)
Dave Hope, American rock bassist (Kansas, A.D.), 1949 (72)
John Mellencamp, American rock singer/songwriter (Jack & Diane, Little Pink Houses), 1951 (70)
Yo-Yo Ma, Chinese-American cellist, 1955 (66)
Simon Cowell, English record executive and TV producer, 1959 (62)
Thom York, British musician (Radiohead), 1968 (53)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

The Lord is faithful;
He will establish and guard;
We have confidence.
(2 Thessalonians 3)
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son

And now, let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done
For us
(Henry Smith, © 1978)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You have given me a thankful heart
2. for music; songs that I can sing to thank You and praise You
3. that I am rich because of what You have done for me; blessed beyond all imagination
4. for Your holiness
5. for the depths of Your splendor and majesty and beauty; indescribable!

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY FIVE

INVITATION

The LORD loves what is righteous and just; his constant love fills the earth.
(Psalms 33:5 GNB)

As I pause to reflect on Your constant love, I seek Your presence in this place. I know You are here, but I need to focus on Your presence and know it; I need to feel that You are here. As I sit with eyes closed, I sense Your presence in the room. It calms me; it strengthens my resolve and desire to know You more.

BIBLE SONG

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
(Psalms 96:1-6 NIV)

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
(Psalms 96:11-13 NIV)

BIBLE READING

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
(2 Samuel 11:1-5 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages, I seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that He might lead me in meditation and prayer, seeking truth in the words of Scripture.

Psalm 96 is a beautiful hymn of worship. It is the favorite psalm of one of our leaders. In fact, he wrote a song based on it, which we have sung at many nights of worship and Sunday morning worship services.

This another in the series of “orphan” psalms, so called because no author is attributed at the beginning. We don’t know who wrote them.

As Matthew Henry points out, we are called upon, three times in the first two verses, to sing. Not just to sing, but to “sing to the LORD!” Sing to Him; praise Him; proclaim His salvation; declare His glory and His marvelous deeds.

Why? Because He is great and worthy of praise! And He “is to be feared above all gods.” There’s that “gods” thing again. But, at least we have a bit of an explanation in this psalm. “The gods of the nations are idols” (verse 5). In other words, they are fake. Our God made the heavens; “splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.”

Where is His sanctuary? I suppose there could be several answers. In one sense, His “sanctuary” is within me; within you, because He resides or dwells within us, in our spirits and souls. In another sense, though, His sanctuary is all creation. And I think the last three verses show this.

In a symphony of praise, the psalmist calls out for the heavens to rejoice, the earth be glad, the sea redound, the fields be jubilant, the trees of the forests sing for joy.

“Let all creation rejoice.”

Lord of heaven and earth, I join with all creation in singing Your praises, this morning. I pray for more new songs to be written, songs that proclaim Your goodness in all creation. You are holy, holy, holy! The universe declares Your majesty! Splendor and majesty go before You; strength and glory are in Your sanctuary! You are beautiful, so beautiful! There are not enough words to describe You. Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth!

I pray for spiritual renewal, this morning. I pray that our spirits would be renewed every day, every time we think of You. Give us deep repentance, daily. Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me! You are holy, holy, holy!

BLESSING

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
(Matthew 5:6 GNB)

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
(James 4:12 NIV)

I’m going to do something, here, that I don’t think I’ve ever done. I’m going to quote an entire Daily Guideposts reading, this one by Jon M. Sweeney, author and editor-in-chief at Paraclete Press.

“I went to church the other day for a noontime service that’s designed for people on lunch hour. My church is in downtown Milwaukee, near many office buildings. There are usually twenty to thirty people there at noon.

“On this day, the service had begun and the gospel was being read, when a man carrying two large overstuffed bags of possessions burst in the door. He wasn’t trying to be quiet as he walked the center aisle toward the front of the church. At one point, he turned and gesticulated wildly with his arms, scowling at a few people, in a way that made it pretty clear he was drunk. But he kept walking toward the front. When he reached the first pew, he loudly tossed the bags down and took off his coat, tossing that down rather dramatically, too. Then he turned around and looked at everyone, saying something that was inarticulate but angrily expressed. We didn’t know what he would do next.

“He then entered the pew, pulled out the kneeler (we have those in our church), and got down on his knees. He began to pray. That’s all I have to say about him.

“About me, I’ll say this: I judged him way too easily.

“Forgive me, God, for how I judge everyone around me all the time. Change my heart, mind, and soul.”

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
(Matthew 7:1-3 NIV)

Confession time: I can identify with brother Sweeney, there. I struggle so much with this. I know, in my heart, that I am no better than anyone else. Yet I catch myself judging people, right and left, daily. May God forgive me, and change my heart as Jon has prayed.

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.