Today is Wednesday, the fifth of October, 2022, in the twenty-seventh week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of our Lord be with you, today.
Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, began yesterday at sunset and continues until sunset today. I believe that it is strongly possible that Jesus was born on this day (not the exact date, of course, because Yom Kippur is a “movable feast”).
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Mighty God, we thank you for sending your light into all the world to reveal that you are the Father of all, to show us that you are leading them to yourself, the good and the bad, those who are near to you and those who are far away. We thank you that through all this your name may be acknowledged and honored. We thank you that we may live from your hand and that everyone may see your work on earth and be filled with praise. May the light which you have sent to earth in Jesus Christ shine brightly for us and penetrate our hearts so that we open ourselves to it with joy, and worship the Savior. Bless us and give us your Spirit; without your Spirit we can do nothing. May we receive help from you every day. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
(Isaiah 49:6 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- that salvation was brought to the Gentiles as well as the people of Israel
- that, by His blood, the Lamb of God “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,” and made them “a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10)
- that I can “make a joyful noise to the LORD” (Psalm 100)
- that if we pray persistently, not losing heart, the Lord hears us and answers
- for cool Autumn mornings
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(Psalms 104:31-32 ESV)
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:11-14 ESV)
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalms 100:1-5 ESV)
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:9 ESV)
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:10 ESV)
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:1-2 ESV)
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. . . . And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:1, 7-8 ESV)
Sometimes, it is difficult to not lose heart. Life is a struggle; this journey of faith is an even bigger struggle. We see things going on around us that are unbelievable.
The ironic thing about this is that people from all sides of life can look at my last statement and agree with it. I have a certain point of view from which I view the world and its events. You may have a different point of view, and yet both of us see things that are beyond belief.
So losing heart can be a real struggle, in this world. But Jesus would have us pray persistently, even to the point that He used a “worldly” judge to illustrate His point. Personally, I don’t believe it is possible for us to annoy God. He’s not like that judge, who finally gave in because the woman just wouldn’t shut up. Our God actually enjoys giving things to His children, not unlike grandparents who love to shower their grandkids with gifts.
How often do we miss that last little question at the end of verse 8, though? “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
I love what Eugene Peterson has to say about this passage. “Prayer, which is simply a conversation with God, isn’t conversation regulated by social or class distinctions. Rather, it’s a conversation in which all men, women, and children, widows and judges, kings and beggars, the literate and the illiterate, poor and rich, the wise and fools, saints and sinners are equals. They are all peers with equal access to God.
“Then Jesus steps out of the story and asks us a question, especially those of us who have gotten so used to not being listened to by anyone of importance that we’ve quit asking God for what we need. What Jesus asks is this: ‘How much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?’ (verse 8).
“Will you and I finally give up and quit praying because the deaf ear of the world has so flattened our expectations of being heard by God? Or will we have the kind of persistent faith the widow had?”
(From Conversations: The Message Bible with its Translator)
I believe there are more questions to be asked. When Jesus returns, will He find the kind of faith that is being hospitable without grumbling? Will He find the kind of faith that attempts to outdo one another in showing honor, rather than demanding it? Will He find brotherly love?
I shared a Loretta Lynn song in my other blog yesterday. I’m not sure who wrote the song, but I’ve heard multiple people sing it, from pure country by Ms. Lynn, to rough blues by Darrell Mansfield. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die.”
When Jesus returns, will He find people who have been willing to die?
Father, I pray that when Jesus returns, if I am still here, that He will find faith. I pray that I will be persistent in prayer, persistent in loving You, persistent in loving my neighbor, and persistent in honoring others above myself. These are hard things for humans, Lord. Human nature wants everything now, without having to wait (at least that’s the way the 2022 humans are). Human nature wants to be first (just look at how we drive, Father). Human nature is all about me, me, me.
I pray that You take this nature away from me. Give me patience that I might be willing to wait and abide; give me love, that I might love You and others; give me joy that nothing can steal; give me peace that passes all understanding; give me kindness in all areas of my life; and may the rest of the fruit of the Spirit be visible in my life, as well. In short, make me willing to die to myself and live to You and You alone.
All glory to You, Father, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.