Today is Friday, the ninth of July, 2021.
Peace be with you!
41 days until S’s birthday!
I woke up way too early, this morning, with things on my mind, and couldn’t go back to sleep. So this could be a long day, as I’m feeling somewhat tired, this morning. But who knows? Perhaps the Lord will grant me the strength I need to get through it.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Oneness, by S. Michaels
How I love to be with you, seeing new reflections of My hope, goodness and mercy ©2021 S. Michaels A Line in the Sand (‘High-Haiku’ 7-7-7)
How often do we stop to think about the Lord enjoying our presence? He loves to be with us, probably more than we love being with Him.
In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
(Psalms 34:6-7 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
1. that You love being with me, and that You delight in seeing reflections of Yourself in me. 2. for Your angels that surround us and defend us, without us ever even knowing. 3. that we can truly know You. 4. that You are the helper of the afflicted and fatherless. 5. that, in You, we have everything we need for life and godliness
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK SEVEN – DAY SIX
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
(Nahum 1:7 NIV)
As I pause during this quiet moment, I reflect on the idea that You enjoy being with us as much or more than we enjoy Your presence. My hope remains that I am not a disappointment to You.
Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
(Psalms 10:1-6 NIV)
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
(Psalms 10:14 NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
Father, as I linger over these passages, this morning, what stirs me? Where does Your loving Spirit take me; to what does He draw me? Teach me something about my relationship with You in Christ, something that I can take into this challenging day.
Who among us has not echoed the sentiment of Psalm 10? There have been many times in my life when I felt that the Lord was “far off.” Admittedly, many of those times were nobody’s fault buy mine, as it was me who had moved, not Him.
But there are times when He seems to stand back and allow the wicked to have their way. The descriptions seen in verses 2-6 are quite accurate. I could name some actual people who fit those descriptions, but I will refrain.
Verse 14, though, assures us . . . God does see, and He will not always stand by. There will come a time of reckoning. There will come a time when the Almighty will say, “Enough!” And woe to those who are not on His side when that time comes, for He is the “helper of the fatherless.” Anyone who is a serious student of the Bible should know that the people God cares the most about are those who have no one else . . . usually referred to as “widows and orphans.”
The passage in 2 Peter has long been a favorite of mine. And how often I forget its powerful truth. Verse 3 tells us everything we need to know, in fact. We have everything we need. Period. Already. If we know Him, we have been given everything we need for “life and godliness.”
And by His “glory and goodness,” we have been given His “very great and precious promises,” and by those promises, we can “participate in the divine nature,” and escape the corruption in the world, that corruption being caused by “evil desires.”
There follows a stunning list of qualities/characteristics that we should be making sure we possess.
We start with faith, and then add goodness knowledge self-control perseverance godliness mutual affection love
“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (V. 8) If we do not have them, Peter says we are blind.
One of those that I want to key in on, this morning, is “knowledge.” There are many people who think they know things, but, in truth, they don’t. Myself, I am one who is pretty sure I don’t know much. In fact, the older I get, the less I think I know.
And there is a huge difference between knowledge and information. We can get tons of information, now, in this age and culture of the Internet. But how much of this information is truth? How much of it is fact?
How often do you take something that you read on Facebook as fact, just because some friend of yours shared it? Sadly, I have “Christian” friends (even relatives) that just share stuff without verifying its veracity. Sometimes I will call them on it, but it usually does no good.
Knowledge. We need to know God. The most important thing that we can do, in this life, is to know God. Many people know about Him. I have a “friend” who knows the Bible way better than I do, inside and out, forwards and backwards. But does he actually know God? I’m not so sure about that.
More and more I have come to believe that this Bible we have is not a theological textbook, but, rather, a revelation. I know that only one of the sixty-six books is called “Revelation,” but the whole volume is a revelation of who God is, and primarily points to Jesus. Jesus is the perfect representation of who the Father is, because Jesus is God incarnate.
I have heard preachers say that you can find Jesus on every page of Scripture. Now, I’ve read every page of Scripture, quite a few times, and I believe that to be a bit of an exaggeration. However, I do believe that the entirety of the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, points to Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He is the only Way to truly know God. All the “information” in the world won’t help you without knowing Jesus.
As usual, I am reminded of a song. I can’t help it, music is a major part of my life.
All I once held dear, built my life upon All this world reveres, and wars to own All I once thought gain I have counted loss Spent and worthless now, compared to this Knowing you, Jesus Knowing you, there is no greater thing You're my all, you're the best You're my joy, my righteousness And I love you, Lord Now my heart's desire is to know you more To be found in you and known as yours To possess by faith what I could not earn All-surpassing gift of righteousness Oh, to know the power of your risen life And to know You in Your sufferings To become like you in your death, my Lord So with you to live and never die (Knowing You, Jesus, by Graham Kendrick)
Father, it is true, there is no greater thing than knowing Your Son, by Whom we know You. May this be my life’s direction and desire. Keep my heart’s desire being to know You more. May I truly possess by faith what I could not earn. All praise to You, Father. Increase my knowledge, not my information. And may that knowledge be of You.
Generous God, is it really true? Everything I need for a godly life you've already given to me? Forgive my lame explanations for why I'm not living that life. Instead, let me make every grace-driven effort so that my life displays the unmistakable fruits of your power and life in me. In Christ alone, amen. (Canons of Dort 1.12)
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
(1 Peter 5:10 NIV)
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Romans 14:8 NIV)
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
(Psalms 103:1 NIV)
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
(Philippians 1:20 NIV)
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
(Isaiah 53:1 NLT)
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.
(John 19:23-24 NLT)
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 NLT)
Father, there is much to consider, this morning. As I walk through this day, facing its challenges, may my one overriding goal be to know You more. May I praise You, from my inmost being, and may I have this hope that I will not be put to shame. Give me the inner courage to live for You in all things and in all ways, that Christ will be exalted in my body. Show me that love, that I may love others in the same way that Christ has loved me.
Lord, please give us great wonder at the sacrifice of Christ, never taking it for granted, or treating it whimsically. Give us the capacity to suffer with others, that we might take our eyes off of ourselves, even for a few minutes. I pray for those who suffer with mental illness, and for those who care for them.
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!
Grace and peace, friends.