Dear Shame

Today is Sunday, August 23, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,809

Fifteen days until Labor Day

We had a nice day, yesterday. I went grocery shopping after I finished the morning blog, (and WW Workshop) while C continued her working. It was a somewhat stressful experience. Primarily, I suppose, because I haven’t been to that particular store in a while, and I was unfamiliar with the layout. So I had to keep going back for things I missed.

But the second reason, somewhat related to the first, was the directional instructions in the store. Walmart Neighborhood Market, like Albertson’s (unlike Kroger) has made all of the front-to-back aisles in the store one-way. Back and forth, alternating directions. I’m okay with that. Unfortunately, I was on about the third or fourth aisle before I noticed, and was going the wrong direction. Being a conscientious person, I immediately turned around. The other person on the same aisle as me did not. She kept going, and I kept meeting her going the wrong way on several successive aisles.

The thing that made this more stressful is the number of people who simply ignored those instructions. I think part of the issue with our society right now is illustrated by the fact that we seem totally incapable of even following simple instructions in a grocery store. It’s not that much of an inconvenience to go down an aisle on which I don’t need anything so I can come back on the next aisle which does contain something I need.

Anyway, I got the groceries, and the only thing I couldn’t find was C’s cherries. They were completely out of cherries (fresh ones). We may have to make a trip to Sprouts or somewhere today. In general Walmart NM’s produce is pretty poor quality, I’ve found.

The rest of the day was nice. I cooked eggs and stuff for brunch after getting home, and we watched an episode of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. After that, C went to the extra bedroom to work, and I settled in in front of the TV for an afternoon of gaming.

Not much on the agenda for today. This morning, we will have our Zoom worship gathering/Bible study at 10:15, and then something will happen for lunch. At this point, we are undecided on what that will be.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
(Psalms 146:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You have put it into my heart to sing praises to You “while I have my being”
  2. For all of Your benefits (blessings) to me
  3. That You have cast all of my sins into the depths of the ocean and posted a “No Fishing” sign
  4. That Your hands hold the ocean depths and the mountain peaks
  5. That You are the great God, the great King above all gods

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.
(Psalms 141:3-5 ESV)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalms 115:1 ESV)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
(Psalms 116:12-14 ESV)

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
(Psalms 70:1 ESV)

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for 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)

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:18-19 ESV)

A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
(Psalms 130:1-8 ESV)

Amy Boucher Pye, in today’s reading from Our Daily Bread, writes of something Corrie ten Boom said in her book, Tramp for the Lord.

Corrie said that one of her favorite mental pictures was that of God casting our sins into the depths of the sea. I have to agree with that, myself. I, too, love that image. That, and the one from other passages that says our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west (that is an infinite distance, in case you haven’t figure that one out).

Corrie said, “When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. . . . I believe God then places a sign out there that says No Fishing Allowed.”

This is truth that we often fail to grasp, I think (based, of course, on personal experience). “When God forgives our wrongdoing, we’re forgiven fully! We don’t have to keep dredging up our shameful deeds, wallowing in any mucky feelings. Rather we can accept His grace and forgiveness, following Him in freedom.”

Psalm 130 reinforces this idea. Even though God is just, He forgives.

I’ve said this many times in this blog, and, no doubt, will say it again. Our enemy’s biggest tool against us is deception, lies, trickery. When we are trapped in this feeling of unworthiness, because of sins that have been forgiven, “we can’t serve God with our whole hearts.” We are bound, restricted by living in the past.

We need to embrace the forgiveness of God. I know how hard this is, trust me. I’m one of the worst. Nevertheless, it is necessary in order for us to truly walk in the freedom that God has ordained for us.

There’s an old song by the group, The Newsboys. It says,

I catch you digging in my trash
For stuff I've long thrown away
You bring it back on a tray

And I hear you wheezing in the hall
Spreading germs and old news
You always love to confuse

I flee the light just to live in your shadow
I'm needing mercy and you offer me blame

Dear Shame . . .

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
(Psalms 95:1-4 NIV)

If ever there was a reason to do this, it has been described above!

Father, I praise You today that my sins are buried deep in the deepest part of the ocean, and that You have, indeed, posted a “No Fishing Allowed” sign out there. Please, by Your Holy Spirit, keep me from dredging up old sins. It happens so often. I’m doing great, things are going well, and then here comes Shame, saying “remember this?” And I remember, and I say to you, “Remember this?” and You say, “Remember what? I don’t remember anything!” All praise to You, our most glorious Father and Redeemer! All glory to You in Jesus Christ!

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!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 1:24-25 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.