Today is Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you!
42 days until S’s birthday!
We’ve made it to “hump day,” the week is about half over. Oddly, I had one of the best days at work, yesterday, that I have had in quite some time. I kept waiting for something “bad” to happen. Because I’m a pessimist like that, you see. However, I don’t see the glass as half-empty. Actually I don’t see a glass. I see a coffee cup, and it’s about 3/4 full.
But digress. What I see is that the glass is refillable!
I learned something new yesterday. Did you know that there is such a thing as a “sarcastrophe??” Me, either! It looks like this.
That’s a “capital 6” on my a “qwerty” keyboard, by the way. So, putting ^ on either end of a sentence indicates sarcasm! And it is called a sarcastrophe. I looked it up (my spell-checker doesn’t like it, though), and once I scrolled through all the entries of a song by Slipknot, I found it.
By the way, I couldn’t resist listening to a few minutes of the Slipknot song. It was hilarious. I don’t think they mean it to be, but it was.
To illustrate the sarcastrophe, consider that you want to say, “Well, that’s just great!” And you want it to be sarcastic. We’ve all been there, right? You would type it thusly:
^Well, that’s just great!^
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
“Enter, Lord Christ– I have joy in Your coming. You have given me life; and I welcome Your coming. I turn now to face You, I lift up my eyes. Be blessing my face, Lord; be blessing my eyes. May all my eye looks on be blessed and be bright, my neighbors, my loved ones be blessed in Your sight. You have given me life and I welcome Your coming. Be with me, Lord, I have joy, I have joy.” (Celtic Daily Prayer)
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(Psalms 103:20-22 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- For a really good day at work yesterday
- That You, O Lord, are great
- That those who love Your Word have great peace (Psalm 119:164)
- For the ultimate antidote to sin
- That You drew me to the cross
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
(Psalms 70:4 ESV)
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
(Psalms 30:2-3 ESV)
May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
(Psalms 115:15 ESV)
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 ESV)
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
(Psalms 119:164-165 ESV)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
(Psalms 23:1-2 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)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:1-5 ESV)
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
(Psalms 141:3 ESV)
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
(James 4:11-12 ESV)
I guess it’s always a good time for those reminders, eh? Lord, help us remove the logs from our own eyes!
He turned their river into blood; they could not drink from their streams. He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them. He gave their crops to the grasshopper, their produce to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore-figs with sleet. He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels. He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague. He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham. But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed their enemies.
(Psalms 78:44-53 NIV)
“The plagues God inflicted on Egypt were natural disasters. He made the Nile River undrinkable. That forced frogs out of their marshes, where they died. Their carcasses led to a plague of flies and gnats, which in turn led to epidemics.”
As nature unraveled in Egypt, we are given a stark reminder of a “crucial truth.
“God created the world, so when we disobey Him we unleash forces of chaos and disorder.”
We are created to live for God, so when we, instead, live for ourselves, we violate our design.
“The ultimate plague is sin, and it will disintegrate you without the antidote–the grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
We are living in a time that some have compared to the twelve plagues. We haven’t quite had twelve . . . let’s see: Coronavirus, murder hornets, dust from the Sahara, ^Kanye for president^ . . . and the year is only half over.
But, lest we jump onto a bandwagon that touts the idea that “America” is being judged, I would advise caution. I have grown to believe that God no longer deals with “nations” in the way that he dealt with Israel. After the advent of Jesus Christ, God deals with the individual soul.
And I’ll stop there before I jump into a theological maelstrom from which I will not be able to pull myself.
I will also point out that these “plagues” (except for the Kanye thing) are affecting the entire world, not just the U.S.. And I think it would be safe to say that the world is most definitely being judged. That seems to be what the entire book of Revelation is about, right?
Is it possible that some of those things are coming to pass? I’m not wise enough to know. I’m sure that people thought that in the 14th century, the 16th century, the 17th century . . . you probably get my drift, here.
Regardless of what kind of pandemic, or other “plague” might be affecting us, there is none so serious as the plague of sin. I know that sounds like a Sunday School statement, but it is truth. Gospel truth.
Sin is the ultimate plague. And Jesus is the ultimate antidote.
“Lord, the plague of sin infects every part of me. It makes me miserably and cruelly self-absorbed. It makes me spiritually impotent to change without Your grace and intervention. Give me that help: show me myself, free me from my besetting sins, and let me love to obey You. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)
Father, we truly are self-absorbed, especially in the U.S. culture. The reactions of some people to the restrictions brought about by Covid-19 illustrates it perfectly. And some of the worst appear to be people who claim to be Your children. Help us to get out of ourselves and care about others. Help us to abandon the sin that creeps in and takes us over and destroys us from the inside out. Help us to look at Your face and seek Your face and obey You out of love for You and Your Word!
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!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 NIV)
Grace and peace, friends.