Good morning. Today is Tuesday, the eighth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be with you, today.
I’m up early, this morning. Earlier than I would like to be, but it is what it is. However, I am also striving to head back into habits that I practiced, pre-retirement; habits that were having good results in my health journey. One of those was getting up early and having a decent breakfast, first thing, heavy on protein, light on carbs. I’m also going back to tracking my food in the WW app, which I have not been doing consistently since before Thanksgiving.
This also means that I will stop staying up until almost midnight, on nights when I don’t work the next day. I need to stop doing that, anyway, because I’m frequently not able to go back to sleep after C gets up to go to her job.
Today is my half-shift day, working from 4:15-8:15. I will run out and grab some Subway for lunch, for Mama, S, and me, and get something for dinner for them, as well as C. Although this is not a week in which I would be working on Wednesday, there is a meeting that I need to attend tomorrow, so I will be going to the library at 1:45, and staying until 3:00 (or until the meeting is over). The current plan is for Mama to go back to her house in Mineral Wells on Thursday. We don’t know how long she will stay there, before coming back here, but there is no hurry to make that decision, either, as far as I know.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Into Falling Deeper, by Daryl Madden
A time of our prayer With Savior and keeper A gift of His grace Into falling deeper Deeper into comfort Knowing of our being Deeper into rest Deeper into freeing Deeper into drifting Knowing Presence of Deeper into dwelling Deeper into love Deeper into peace Knowing of the true Deeper into home Deeper into You
This expresses so well what I try to do, each morning. Please check out Daryl’s other poetry at the link provided. Here is a haiku that I just wrote, inspired by Daryl’s poem.
The deeper I go, The calmer is the water; Drifting into peace.
And as I drift deeper, this morning, I strive to be present in the moment, “here,” as we considered yesterday.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that, because of Jesus, the Son of God, I have confidence to draw near to the throne of grace 2. for the power of prayer in the faith of a mustard seed 3. that God is here, there, and everywhere, present in every person's story, whether they acknowledge Him or not 4. that God willingly bestows blessings, wherever He is 5. for the words of prophets who teach us how to respond to Your presence and Your voice, rather than trying to use You for our own benefit
Today’s prayer word is “there.” Right on the heels of yesterday’s word, “here.” I can’t help myself . . . my first thought was of a Beatles song, “Here, There, and Everywhere.” In fact, as I skim down the page of the reading, the title of that song is included in the prayer for today. I’m skeptical that this was intentional.
The featured verse for today is Psalm 133:3.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalms 133:3 NIV)
The context of the word, today, in the reading (the author identified only as “Bob”), is good. It is as if he is directing his prayers. “I see someone sleeping on the sidewalk: ‘There, Lord.’ I pull over for an ambulance: ‘There.’ I drive by a church: ‘There.’ I pass a bunch of commuters waiting for a bus: ‘There.'”
He is condensing the verse, “for there the Lord bestows his blessing,” into simply, “There.”
I like this. I have practiced “flash prayers” before, on my previous commute to work. Not consistently, but I have done it. That consists of “flashing” a prayer at cars that I see on the way to work. Each car has at least one person in it, one soul. When you think of all of the cars that you see on the road as souls (not the cars, of course), it changes your perspective. This especially helps when someone in one of those other cars does something
stu . . . foo . . . reckless.
As I type this, it dawns on me that I have missed many opportunities to practice this, during my tenure as a part time library aide. Even when I am all alone in the stacks, shelving books, I see people perusing the library. “There” is an opportunity. When I’m assisting people in the computer/media center, “there” is an opportunity. Even if I don’t have to help them, “there” is an opportunity for prayer.
The prayer in the reading says, “Father, bestow Your blessing here, there, and everywhere today. Amen.”
(From Pray a Word a Day)
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. (Micah 6:8 MSG)
"On that great day," GOD says, "I will round up all the hurt and homeless, everyone I have bruised or banished. I will transform the battered into a company of the elite. I will make a strong nation out of the long lost, A showcase exhibit of GOD's rule in action, as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity." (Micah 4:6-7 MSG)
“Left to ourselves, we turn God into an object, something we can deal with, some thing we can use to our benefit, whether that thing is a feeling or an idea or an image. Prophets scorn all such stuff. They train us to respond to God’s presence and voice.”
(From Symphony of Salvation, by Eugene H. Peterson)
Father, I am contemplating, this morning, the thought that we are quick to pray for something huge, like world peace, but hesitant to pray for something “small,” like a new pair of shoes. What does this say about us? Do we think praying for the “big things” demonstrates great faith?? Or do we foolishly believe that You only care about those big things? Jesus said we could move mountains. We talked about that in our church gathering Sunday. But are we so “mountain-minded” that we neglect the “small things?” I’m kind of “thinking out loud” during this prayer, Father, because I’m not sure I know the answer to these questions.
I do know, though, that my perspective on Your presence needs to be refined. I know You are “here.” I know You are “there.” I know You are “everywhere.” And God, help me and forgive me if I have attempted to “use” You for my own personal gain. I don’t want to do that. Rather, I want You to use me, for Your benefit! Help me to do the things that You have already shown us; to do what is fair and just to my neighbor, to be compassionate and loyal in love, and heaven help me to not take myself too seriously.
May Your Spirit remind me, as I walk around the stacks in the library, tonight, to pray those “there” prayers for people. Everyone in the place has a story; the patrons as well as the staff. I don’t need to know (and may not want to know) those stories. But You know all the stories, and somehow, whether they acknowledge You or not, You are present in those stories.
All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)
Grace and peace, friends.