Soon

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, December 1, 2021, the first Wednesday of Advent.

Welcome to December.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,274

Twenty-four days until Christmas.

This afternoon, we will travel to east Texas, Henderson, to be exact, for the visitation/viewing for my Uncle Buddy, who passed away Monday morning. The funeral is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 PM.

Uncle Buddy lived 30,551 days.

We plan to leave here between 2:00 and 2:30 PM, this afternoon, and will return tomorrow evening, after the graveside service is concluded.

I don’t really have any other news/happenings to report. C is working from home, today, instead of yesterday. She had already planned to go to the office yesterday, for some reason, and work from home today, so that makes it easier for us to be ready to leave, this afternoon. I’ll be making a quick trip to the grocery store, immediately following the completion of this blog, just to get a couple of things. Primarily, we are out of cat litter. And grapes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Man is a shadow.
In vain does he heap up wealth.
My hope is in You!
(Based on Psalm 39:6-7)

Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
(Job 4:6 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the hope that I have in You, through all things, whether "good" or "bad"
2. for the love and support of family and friends
3. for the promise of straight paths, when I trust in You
4. for Your Word, living and active, discerning my thoughts and the intentions of my heart
5. for the hope of Your return; we all say, "Come, Lord!"

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division
of soul
and of spirit,
of joints
and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)


The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
(Isaiah 35:1-2 ESV)

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals,
where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
(Isaiah 35:5-7 ESV)

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:19 ESV)

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.
(Isaiah 44:3-4 ESV)

No matter how dry and barren you feel, there is hope for “streams in the desert.” Our lives are waiting for the rain of God’s Spirit to come down on us; then we will “spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.”

Hope is the theme for the first week of Advent. There is always hope.


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

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – DAY FOUR

INVITATION

I pray to GOD—
my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
(Psalms 130:5 MSG)

I pause during the quietness of this morning to reflect on the hope that dwells in my heart; hope that is based on the faith and trust that is a gift from God, my Father in heaven.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
(Psalms 85:1-2 NIV)

I will listen to what God the LORD says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
(Psalms 85:8-13 NIV)

BIBLE READING

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!'”
(Mark 13:32-37 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I remind myself of the Lord’s presence, I read these passages again, trying to take notice of how He might be speaking to me through His Word. I allow my heart to respond in prayer, taking refreshment in His presence.

God, You have shown us favor. You have forgiven our iniquity and covered our sins! You promise peace to us, Your servants. And that peace, You deliver, even when we do slip up and turn to folly. Help me to listen to what You say to me, to us.

I pray that Your glory would dwell in our land, and by “land,” I mean the entire world where Your Church exists. Anywhere there is a piece of Your Church, I pray that Your glory dwells. May love and faithfulness, righteousness and peace, all come together in that place where Your glory dwells. May faithfulness spring up from the earth, and righteousness rain down from the heavens. Give us what is good; give us only what is good, so that Your Church will yield its harvest in this world. May righteousness always go before You, as You walk among us.

Father, we know not when Jesus will return again. This, along with hope, is a recurring theme, this week. Our hope is in You, and our hope is strongly based on the promises of the return of our Savior, coming to set things right and usher in the new heavens and the new earth. Help us to be alert, to be on guard, to be watching faithfully, and waiting with great anticipation. May we not be found to be “asleep.” But may we also carry on our normal activities, doing the things that You have tasked us with, while we live our lives on this earth. Jesus stated that His return will be similar to when the floods came in the days of Noah, and people will be doing the things that they normally do. Keep us faithful and watchful, Father!

"Unexpected Savior,
You are coming again,
but this date,
already marked down by the Father,
isn't for me to know.
But I'm curious,
Lord,
desiring a timeline or diagram,
wanting to nail down a future that's out of my hands.
In place of my faithless need to control,
give me a watchful heart full of expectation and wonder.
Amen."

BLESSING

He who testifies to all these things says it again:
“I’m on my way!
I’ll be there soon!”
Yes! Come, Master Jesus!
The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you.
Oh, Yes!
(Revelation 22:20-21 MSG)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Ninth Day of Christmas – Adopted

Today is Saturday, January 2, 2021 (I’m still trying to type December, but so far, managed to nail the 2021), the ninth day of Christmas.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,941

Yesterday was a pretty nice day for us. Well, at least for me. C wound up having to work a little more, maybe half the day, so it wasn’t as great for her. And it was too cold for her to go out for her walk. I don’t think it ever got above forty degrees, and most of the afternoon, the chill factor was around thirty. So, even though it didn’t get below freezing, it felt like it was. And it did, too, because I went outside a couple of times. One to take out some trash, and another to go get Sonic drinks. Oh, and I also went out and picked up Thursday’s mail. So trust me . . . it was cold. Relative to DFW, Texas, at least.

So our holidays are officially over for a while. Monday morning will begin a full, five-day work week. That’s going to seem long after three consecutive three-day work weeks.

Today, we have our WW Workshop at 10:30. I’m not sure if I’m going to reach that one hundred pound mark. And it’s okay if I don’t. I will get there eventually. I haven’t done anything “wrong” over the last week, but the body is a strange animal. In the past couple of months, I have gone through this phase where I would lose a significant amount one week, and then almost nothing the next week. And I registered a three pound-ish loss last week. I’m not going to allow myself to stress over it.

Since C went to the grocery store on Thursday, we won’t be picking up groceries today. She may, however, make another trip (smaller) because the store she went to only had three bags of grapes. That won’t last more than a couple of days in this house. We eat grapes like they are the nectar of the gods.

I don’t know what else will happen today. I’ve been spending the last couple of days playing Cyberpunk 2077 on my PC back here in the study. It’s a “rough” game, but I am enjoying it. It’s the second big game I have bought for this computer that we got last year, and it plays really well. I had heard that there were serious issues with the game on consoles (PS4/5 or Xbox) because the stockholders had demanded it be released before the developers were quite finished. So there were major glitches. But the PC version seems to be working quite well. So far, I have only encountered one glitch that I know of, and I was able to reload from a previous checkpoint, and it worked fine.

Some of you have no idea what I just said. 😀

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Eternal God,
who are the light of the minds that know You,
the joy of the hearts that love You,
and the strength of the wills that serve You;
grant us so to know You that we may truly love You,
and so to love You that we may fully serve You,
whom to serve is perfect freedom,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Prayer to Know God, by St. Augustine)

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

CHRISTMAS – DAY 9

INVITATION

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)

BIBLE SONG: PSALM 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
(Psalms 1:1-6 NIV)

BIBLE READING: GALATIANS 4:4-7

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:4-7 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

A preacher would probably have a field day with this little passage. I think there is a lot to unpack in there.

What the Spirit seems to be leading me to, this morning, is this thought of adoption to sonship, and the effect of being “sons.”

Because Jesus was “born under the law,” He was able “to redeem those under the law,” which is us. Because of the work of Christ, we have been adopted as children of God. An adopted child has the same legal rights as a “natural” child.

And since we are His children, God has placed the Spirit “into our hearts,” and made us His heir.

What does all this mean for us?

As heirs, we have an inheritance. Peter describes this inheritance a bit.

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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV)

Then the writer of Hebrews gives us this:

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
(Hebrews 9:15 NIV)

So this inheritance, to which we look forward, is eternal; it can never perish, spoil, or fade. We know from Jesus that this “treasure” cannot be corrupted by moth or rust. We don’t get told a lot about what it looks like, but we do get a glimpse in the book of Revelation. I won’t post those chapters here, but read the last couple of chapters of Revelation for that. They paint an almost indescribably beautiful picture.

The thing to do is pause and consider these truths for a moment, and that is, essentially, the purpose of this Bible reading exercise. This is not so much intended to be “Bible study.” I am called to “dwell;” to meditate on it. To find a word or phrase that sticks out and ponder it, pray about it.

As an adopted son, I am, therefore, a brother to Jesus Christ. We are all brothers and sisters with Jesus. This is not figurative! It is reality. We are, LITERALLY, brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ!

And the biggest question of all is, what does that do for my life? What effect does this truth have on me? How does it affect my life, the way I live it?

There are many days that it seems to have no effect at all. And that’s tragic.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just kind of “thinking out loud,” here, and it’s flowing out my fingertips. So forgive me if this doesn’t seem to make sense. I’m going to be thinking a lot more about this today, and in the coming days.

Father, I want to thank You for choosing and adopting me as Your son, and making me a brother to Jesus! I praise You for the inheritance that awaits me, stored for me in heaven. I pray that Your Spirit within me can transform me into someone who is worthy of this inheritance, because, most days, I sure don’t feel like I am worthy. As we move into 2021, I pray for real, authentic, spiritual transformation. I have some idea of what it would look like if someone were able to fully walk in Your kingdom. I have met a handful of people in my life about which that might be said. Fewer than I can count on one hand, for sure. I pray that my walk with You in 2021 might be such that I might be one of those people.

"Timely God,
in the squirming bundle of swaddling clothes
your pledge first made in Eden was kept.
In the Word made flesh,
your word spoken through the prophets
has been fulfilled.
I praise you that through the promise
named Jesus I am now adopted as your full child.
Amen."
(Belgic Confession 18)

BLESSING

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)


“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
(Luke 6:46-49 NIV)


Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
(2 Corinthians 9:11 ESV)


Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:18-21 ESV)


Father, even though the day of Christmas is past and over, the “season” is still here. At least for a few more days. As we continue to consider this miracle, I am thankful for the fact that this was a real event in history. There was a real mother (Mary) and a real pregnancy. You brought salvation into history. I give you praise for the manner of this birth. The fact that Mary was a virgin was corroborated by Joseph. The meaning of this birth is proclaimed in Your Word as we are told that this child would “save His people from their sins.” And that He has done! I give You thanks, Almighty God, for the salvific work that You have accomplished!

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!


Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
(Psalms 107:8-9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You chose and adopted me as Your son
  2. That this adoption has made me a brother to Jesus Christ
  3. For the glorious inheritance that awaits me; eternal, unable to perish, spoil, or fade
  4. For the meaning of Christmas and its impact on history
  5. For hope

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.