Today is Saturday, the sixth of February, 2021.
Peace be with you!
I’m just about to start my second cup of coffee, this fine Saturday morning. The first cup was my current favorite, Twisted Pine’s Hawaiian Blend. Cup number two will be Chocolate Covered Cherry by Macaron.
Today is a busier-than-usual Saturday. We have our usual WW Workshop at 10:30. At this point, I don’t know what my results will be. I seem to be very close to where I was last week. So there may not be a gain or a loss. If there is a gain, it will be small.
Later, today, I have my eyecare appointment, at 1:40 PM. We also have to take a package to the UPS store, as I’m returning some steel-toed shoes to Amazon. We may try to watch The Sound of Music, later today, if we can sit still for three hours. Heh. This, in honor of the passing of Christopher Plummer, yesterday.
Got some good news at work, yesterday. It looks like we may get pay increases, soon. Which comes as a huge surprise to all of us, as we were not expecting any. It seems that our management has negotiated salary increases with our client. Good on them!!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"O Lord, you have mercy on all. Take away my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen." (Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains.
(Psalms 76:4 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- For the weekend, to rest and refresh for the upcoming work week
- For my health
- That Your angel encamps around those who fear You (Psalm 34)
- That I have tasted and seen that You are good (also Psalm 34)
- That You have provided all that I need, and that there is no need to worry about tomorrow
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EPIPHANY – DAY 32
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
(Psalms 119:103-104 NIV)
Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
(Psalms 34:1-9 NIV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
Psalm 34 . . . another favorite. It begins with praise, as should everything in my life. It speaks of God’s deliverance, yet, we must careful to note that we are not promised the absence of trouble or tribulation. We are promised that the Lord will deliver us from both, though. If we properly fear the Lord, His angel encamps around us and delivers us.
But my favorite verse, for many, many years, is verse 8. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
I would venture to say that anyone who does not believe that the Lord is good has not truly tasted. I would also venture to say that anyone who does not believe in the Lord’s deliverance does not fear Him.
There are many who seem to believe that God should just give them whatever they want, with no conditions. And when He doesn’t, they use that as their lame excuse for not believing.
Such people have no comprehension whatsoever, and I feel no pity for them. They live solely for themselves, completely selfish lives, and expect the Creator of the universe to pander to them. Talk about entitlement.
We who have truly tasted, know. We who have truly feared Him, know. And that knowledge can never be taken away from us. We are secure. I have tasted and I’ve seen. God is good; all the time. No matter the circumstances, and even when I forget to praise Him, He is good. Even when things are going wrong for me, God is good. Even if I were to find myself with nothing, having lost everything in a matter of hours, like the Old Testament Job, God is good.
The Matthew passage is full of good stuff. The oft-quoted verse 33 is usually seen as the pinnacle of the passage. If we seek God first, and His kingdom, “all these things” will be given to us, as well.
What are “all these things?” Food, clothing, all of the things that Jesus tells us not to worry about in the previous verses. The key word, I believe, in the passage, is “worry.”
Multiple times, in the passage, Jesus says, “Do not worry.” This goes hand in hand with, “Do not fear.” In face, as I look at my Bible app on my phone, today’s verse of the day happens to be Isaiah 41:10.
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
As Jesus concludes this portion of the Sermon, His instruction is, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Practical advice. And why would we? Worrying today, about things that might happen tomorrow, is stealing from today’s joy. And today’s joy is all we have. We only have this moment. We cannot live yesterday, and we cannot live tomorrow. We can only live today.
Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow.
Father, I praise You for Your provision in my life. You have given me all that I need. And, the older I get, the more I experience that You have given me all that I want, because my “want” has changed to meet what You have given me. I look at today, and try not to gaze into tomorrow. I want to live in the joy that today brings. I want to love each breath as it comes into my lungs, savoring everything that is You during the moment. Help me to remember to do that. When I am tempted to worry, may Your Spirit rush in like a mighty wind and push that worry away, reminding me of how glorious You are and how magnificent Your provision is! Thank You that You have caused me to taste and see that You are good!
"Providing God, I easily doubt that you'll provide whatever I need for body and soul, and I can't imagine how the adversity you send my way could be turned to good. Help me to let go of my need to control and instead entrust my life and future to your care. Keep me fully aware that you have the power to provide because you are almighty God, and the heart to do so because you are my faithful Father through Christ your Son. Amen." (Heidelberg Catechism 26)
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
(Psalms 25:4-5 NIV)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
(Ephesians 3:14-15 ESV)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
(Proverbs 17:17 ESV)
And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Mark 3:34-35 ESV)
Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
(Deuteronomy 5:15 NLT)
The LORD has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.
(Isaiah 52:10 NLT)
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
(Isaiah 53:1-5 NLT)
He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.
(Isaiah 59:16 NLT)
Father, I thank You for Your powerful arm, that which provides for us and protects us. This “arm,” or “Zeroah,” has provided our salvation, as well. Thank You for stepping in to save us with Your strong arm. Praise You for Your justice and Your mercy in our lives! Thank You for the “man of sorrows,” despised and rejected, that we might have life!
Lord, I pray, today for all communities, local and national. May we, Your children, seek good for these communities and be a force for good within them. Help us to care for our neighbors. I pray for the continent of North America, that You glory would be seen in all of the land, and that people would seek Your face and worship You. I also lift up all who are involved in the educational process. Give strength to teachers during this troubling time, and give wisdom (PLEASE) to administrators, especially those who seem to make decisions that have no basis in reality. Protect our schools and the children who attend them.
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!
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.