The True Judge

Jesus commanded us to love one another, not judge one another.

Today is Friday, the ninth of April, 2021. Easter Friday, in the first week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,038

41 days until our weekend in Glen Rose

It is currently 66 degrees, with a projected high of 85 today. I’m not really ready for it to be hot again, but I will not complain. Many of us, after Snovid-19, this past February, have declared that we will never again complain about the heat in the Spring/Summer of Texas. There is little to no precipitation expected today.

I believe my Mama had a good day, yesterday. I started trying to call her, on the way home, but got no answer. I resisted temptations to worry, figuring she was out with a friend, and, sure enough, she was. One of her besties took her out to run some errands, including dropping her taxes off with the person who does her taxes for her. They even went to a grocery store! Mama has not been to a grocery store in over a year! They topped off their afternoon together with a Blizzard from a local DQ.

We had a nice conversation, later in the evening, after she got home.

An interesting thing has happened in my life, recently. It may seem trivial to some, and, yet others might think it’s a no-brainer. Earlier this week, I decided to stop adding salt to my food (except for popcorn . . . I’m still salting my popcorn). I decided, quite suddenly, that I wanted to know what the food actually tastes like without all that salt piled on it (I used to use quite a bit of salt). For example, I have not salted my over-easy eggs once, this week, during breakfast. I have added other seasonings, such as Chipotle, Bacon-Lover’s, and Ranch, from my favorite seasoning people, Flavor God, and those, no doubt, have a small amount of salt in them. But as far as just pouring salt on my food, I have ceased to do this.

The Boston Red Sox are tied for first place after defeating the Orioles 7-3, yesterday. Eduardo Rodriguez got the win for the Sox, putting them at 4-3 on the season. They are off today, and will continue a series with the O’s tomorrow, at Fenway.

The Texas Rangers were off yesterday, and remain in third place in the AL West, at 3-3. They begin a weekend series with the Padres of San Diego, this evening, at Globe Life Field (I had to look to check what this is officially called). Kohei Arihara will take the mound for the Rangers. The Padres are 4-3 on the season, and, of course, include the much-loathed Manny Machado. Jurickson Profar, former Rangers player, also plays for the Padres, now.

Weekend plans include a trip to Mineral Wells to celebrate birthdays with Mama, along with R & J. S will likely remain at home, as she is still feeling tired from her Covid shot. Plus she is still wary of getting out and about, as her and masks do not get along.

Breaking news . . . Britain’s Prince Phillip, husband of the Queen, has died at the age of 99.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.
(The Prayer of St. Francis)

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
(Psalms 71:14-16 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for Your mighty deeds, of which I will boast, all of my days
  • for the wonderful flavor of my Twisted Pine Hawaiian Blend coffee
  • that we may rejoice in You and be glad in You and experience a pervasive sense of well-being
  • that all who believe in You, Jesus, receive forgiveness of sins in Your name
  • that, as long as I am going in the right direction, You are going ahead of me

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

EASTER – DAY 6

INVITATION

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1 Peter 1:3 NIV)

I am pausing to quietly reflect on the gift of life, remembering that not even my next moment is a “given.” Lord, Your mercy is overwhelming, at times.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. Of David. A petition.

Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, LORD, to help me.
May those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay.
(Psalms 70:1-5 NIV)

BIBLE READING

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
(Acts 10:39-43 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I quietly read these passages again, lingering over the words and phrases, I ask the Holy Spirit to point out something to my soul, showing me some truth that perhaps I have failed to notice before, or refreshing something well-known, but perhaps neglected in my life.

The prayer in Psalm 70:4 stands out to me, this morning.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”
(Psalms 70:4 NIV)

We could all use a little more rejoicing and gladness, these days. We are not seeking a type of “joyfulness” that runs around oblivious to things in the world. That is not really “joy.” Ignorance is bliss, they say. But it is?

What we seek is true joy; a pervasive sense of well-being. The idea that, no matter what life throws at me, it’s going to be okay. I can be glad in the Lord and His provision and protection over me, in spite of pandemics and power outages in the midst of the coldest days in a century.

So, yes, Lord, may all who seek You rejoice and be glad, this day!

The passage in Acts has some crucial Gospel truth. One is found in verse 42, which says that God appointed Christ as “judge of the living and the dead.” Jesus is the judge. Plain and simple. And I believe that we should leave that job to Him. It’s hard. I tend to judge people, it’s a weakness of mine. It implies that I think I’m better. I don’t, necessarily. But that is the implication. So I must turn that gaze inward when I find myself being “judgy.” Then, after turning it inward, I must abandon it, altogether and love my neighbor as myself.

Jesus commanded us to love one another, not judge one another.

Then comes the last verse of the passage, verse 43. “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Again, plain and simple. That is an important piece of the Gospel message. Some would say it is the Gospel message. I tend to lean toward that being the simple proclamation that the Kingdom of heaven is here. That was the Gospel that Jesus preached.

Father, may all who seek You rejoice and be glad, today and every day. Fill our spirits, our souls, with joy and gladness, as we contemplate You and Your mighty deeds. May we boast in You and You alone, and in nothing that we have done. May we be filled with a pervasive sense of well-being as we walk in this world. May we accept Christ as the only true judge of ourselves and others. And may that filter into everything that I think and say today. If I begin to say something judgy about someone else, or even myself, Holy Spirit shut my mouth! You, Jesus Christ, are the only true judge, appointed by the Father! Help me to spread the Gospel message that all who believe in You receive forgiveness of sins in Your name.

Jesus,
judge of the living and the dead:
knowing that a verdict on my life is coming sends me scurrying away in fright,
until I see that my judge is the very one who has laid down his life for me.
Thank you that I can face your judgment without fear or condemnation,
because I will be raised up in glory,
openly acknowledged as your friend,
approved and acquitted,
and freed to rejoice in you forever.
May the joy of that day start now.
Amen.
(Westminster Short Catechism 38)

BLESSING

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG)

“GOD, your God, will cross the river ahead of you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:3 MSG)

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
(Psalms 118:22-23 ESV)

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
(Hebrews 13:12-13 ESV)

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
(1 Peter 2:4-8 ESV)

Father, I thank You that, as long as I am going in the right direction (that which is pointed out by Your Holy Spirit), I have nothing to fear, because You are going ahead of me. I also thank You for the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. May He be the cornerstone of my life today.

Lord, give us a deeper sense of gratitude for the cross of Christ. May You provide for and protect those living in abject poverty and suffering injustice. I pray for Your inner peace and comfort for any who struggle with their sexuality.

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.