His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Good morning. It is Sunday morning, November (did no one catch that I said “October” yesterday??) 4, 2012. Did you remember to set your clocks back one hour? We did, but apparently our cats did not, because at 6am, they were bugging me to get up and feed them. They thought it was 7am. For the record, I’m glad to be back off of DST. I don’t like it at all.
I cold talk about today being “National Candy Day,” but I think the holiday people should have made October 31 “National Candy Day.” It makes sense, right? So, instead, I will mention that today is “King Tut Day.” We could be talking about the Egyptian king who took the throne at 9 years old. We might be talking about the nefarious villain and rival of Batman.

Or…we could be referring to this.

You can take your pick.

On this date in 1429, Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier.
On this date in 1501, Catherine of Aragon met Arthur Tudor, whom she would later marry. She would eventually become Henry VIII’s first wife.
On this date in 1677, William and Mary got married.
On this date in 1783, Mozart’s 36th symphony was performed for the first time in Linz, Austria.
On this date in 1842, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married.
On this date in 1922, Howard Carter, British archaeologist, discovered the entrance to…wait for it…King Tut’s tomb! (He was actually a Pharaoh, not technically “king.”)
On this date in 1924, Nellie Taylor Ross was elected governor of Wyoming. She was the first female governor in the U.S.
On this date in 1948, T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize for literature.
On this date in 1952, the U.S. NSA was established. The first rule of the NSA is there is no NSA.
On this date in 1955, the rebuilt Vienna Opera House opened with Beethoven’s Fidelio. The Opera House was completely destroyed in WWII.
On this date in 1970, a 13-year-old girl named Genie was found in Los Angeles, after having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.
On this date in 1978, Anne Murray had a #1 pop hit with “You Needed Me.”
On this date in 2008, Barak Obama became the first African-American to be elected to the office of President of the United States.

Today’s birthdays include Augustus Montague Toplady (author of the hymn “Rock of Ages”), 1740, Will Rogers, 1879, Walter Cronkite, 1916, Art Carney, 1918, Freddy Heineken (yes, THAT Heineken), 1923, Tito Francona (baseball player and father of the beloved Red Sox manager, Terry Francona), 1933, Loretta Swit (“Hot Lips”), 1937, Delbert McClinton (blues singer-songwriter), 1940, Laura Bush, 1946, Markie Post (Night Court), 1950, Carlos Baerga (baseball player), 1968, Matthew McConaughey, 1969.

Wow. Today was a busy day in history.

Yesterday was a great day! The weather was beautiful, and Christi and I got a few things accomplished, and had a great time together. We even went to the mall for a while, where we bought some calendars, and I got a new screen protector for my iPhone. When you get them at the little kiosks in the mall, they’re only $9.99, not $25 like they are at Best Buy and the Apple stores. I think, when you pay $300+ for a phone, they should give you screen protectors. It’s like floor mats in new cars. Don’t even get me started! We also put this on the back of my car.

You may remember a few months ago, when I named my car “Serenity,” because it was “Name Your Car Day.” Oh, and the dryer is fixed. It cost us about $155. There was a bad “limiter” or something like that. Still cheaper than buying a new dryer.

This morning, we don’t have to work tech at the church, so we will be attending the 1030 Worship Celebration. It’s nice to have some free time on Sunday morning.

Father, I pray for a vision of you this morning. I pray for vision for life, to keep me going, and to teach me how to follow Jesus.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 136. The theme of this psalm is “his steadfast love endures forever.” It is a unique psalm, in that the same phrase is repeated in every verse. It is pretty obvious that the psalm was written to be read or sung responsively, where the leader or priest would read the first part of the verse, and the people would respond with “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Since I grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist church, I am very familiar with what we called “responsive readings” that were all in the very back of the hymnal. The pastor would read the part in light print, and the rest of us would read the part in bold print. They looked like this:

Anyway, Psalm 136 begins like so:
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;

It continues on, remembering the exodus from Egypt and other historical events in the life of Israel. It closes, as it opens, with thanksgiving.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Our lives should reflect the attitude of this psalm. We should, first of all, be constantly giving thanks to him, for his steadfast love does, indeed, endure forever. We should also remind ourselves, both individually and corporately, of the wonderful acts that the Lord has done on our behalf, throughout our lives.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Authority of Reality.” The scripture reference is James 4:8, which says, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Chambers speaks of the importance of acting on the truth of God when it is brought into our lives. When we hear truth proclaimed, and fail to act, we are left exactly the same as we were before. However, when we do act on it, we will never be the same again. “Immediately I precipitate myself over into an act, that second I live; all the rest is existence. the moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my whole will.”

It is noted that this “action” is not always necessarily physical. Sometimes it is simply in the will. But whether physical or spiritual, we know that in that moment, that second that we act on the truth, “the supernatural rush of God invades [us] instantly.” The power of the flesh is neutralized, “not by your act, but because your act has linked you on to God and His redemptive power.”

Father, as I think on this reading and the psalm that I read before it, I reflect on my life. I can recall, quite vividly, times when I failed to act and remained unchanged, forfeiting who knows what in my walk with you. At the same time, I also know that you are never surprised by anything that we do or fail to do, for you know us inside out. Before a word is on our lips, you know it. Before a thought comes into my brain, you know it (and may have even put it there). I am so thankful for your activity in my life over the years. I am thankful for your steadfast love that endures forever! Were it not for this steadfast love and your tireless persistence, I would not be where I am today. Six months ago, I would not have thought that I would be on the verge of co-leading a prayer ministry at a church. I would not have thought that I would be thinking so much about discipleship and following you. At the beginning of this year, my walk with you was marginal. Today, although, far from perfect, I find that I am walking closer to you, seeking your face, and seeking to follow Jesus. I pray for more thankfulness in my daily walk (and not just because it’s November), and I pray for more determination to follow Christ, be a disciple, and teach others to do the same. I pray for your “supernatural rush” of power to invade me when I act on the truth that you send me. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me, making me sensitive and aware of those moments when action of some kind is required.

I pray for this day. I lift up our Worship Celebrations. May we be able to worship you without distraction, without hindrance this morning. I pray that rehearsal, going on right now, is going well, and that the tech is working properly. I pray for they people in the worship band this morning, that you would fill them with your Spirit as they lead us into intimate fellowship with you. I pray that the words Joel will speak to us this morning will be your words, straight from your Spirit. Open our ears to hear what you have to say to us today, and then give us the inspiration to act on whatever you tell us.

I continue to pray for the people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Power is gradually being restored, and schools are said to be opening back up tomorrow, but there is still much work to be done. I pray for peace and hope for people who have been devastated. I pray for lives that have been shattered and disrupted. I pray for your Church to rise up and provide relief and the hope that, even in the face of such a terrible disaster, your grace and mercy are still everlasting.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the day as I find ways to remember that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Grace and peace, friends.