Today is Tuesday, the fifth of October, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Seven days until our anniversary!!
The biggest news since yesterday is the Great Facebook Outage of 2021! It crashed somewhere around 10:00 CDT, yesterday morning, while I was in the middle of composing my blog, and didn’t come back up for at least six hours. But it turns out the only reason I missed it was because I was unable to share my blog post and prayer request post and gratitude list until late afternoon.
It turns out that we can actually live without Facebook.
The other big news is that I FINISHED A DANCE WITH DRAGONS LAST NIGHT!!!
Seriously. That was a true “slog.” If you care, you can read my review on Goodreads. So now, I’m moving on to another book I checked out from the Hurst Public Library, Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. This book contains the entire libretto of the musical, along with notes and stories about its creation and production. I plan to listen along as I read, whenever possible.
Tonight is the Wild Card playoff game between the Red Sox and Yankees, at 7:08 CDT, in Boston. The only place to watch the game, apparently, is ESPN. I work from 4:15 to 8:15, tonight, so I won’t get to watch the beginning. I may actually tune in as soon as I get home.
Today is World Teachers Day. Say a prayer for all the teachers you know, today.
The word for today, appropriately, is inculcate, a verb which means, “to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.” (emphasis mine)
Today’s quote is from Milton Berle, American comedian. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
Significant birthdays on October 5:
Jonathan Edwards, Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian, 1703-1758 Chester A. Arthur, 21st U.S. President, 1829-1886 Larry Fine, American actor and comedian (3 Stooges), 1902-1975 Ray Kroc, American fast food entrepreneur (McDonald's), 1902-1984 Allen Ludden, American gameshow host (Password) and husband of Betty White, 1919-1981 Bil Keane, American cartoonist (Family Circus), 1922-2011 Bill Dana, American comedian (Jose Jimenez), 1924-2017 Steve Miller, American rocker (Abracadabra, The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle), 1943 (77) B.W. Stevenson, American singer (My Maria), 1949-1988 Bob Geldof, Irish singer (Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays"), 1951 (70) Clive Barker, English author (The Damnation Game, Hellraiser), 1952 (69) Guy Pearce, British-Australian actor (Memento), 1967 (54) Kate Winslet, British actress (Mare of Easttown, Titanic), 1975 (46)
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Grace to you, and peace; Giving thanks to God for you; Love is increasing. (2 Thessalonians 1)
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that I finished A Dance with Dragons last night (egad) 2. for all the saints, as we grow in faith together 3. that our love for one another increases as we walk in Christ 4. that You care nothing for appearances, but examine our hearts 5. that You are my rock and fortress, and bring me the comfort of joy when I experience anxiety
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY THREE
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
(Psalms 33:5 ESV)
I pause, now, to reflect on Your steadfast love, and how it feeds us, the saints, enabling us to love one another and grow in our faith. Thank You, Father!
Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you— a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.
(Psalms 94:16-23 NIV)
Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
(2 Samuel 6:12-16 NIV)
David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
(2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself of Your presence, this morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the reading and meditating of Your Word. Teach me, Father, as I read Your Word.
I believe that the question posed in Psalm 94:16 is coming from the unnamed psalmist, not the Lord. In fact, the implication is that it was the Lord who, in fact, helped the psalmist stand against evil. And, as the psalm continues, I believe it is important to note the last verse. It is God that repays them for their sins, not humans.
There are many well-meaning people in the Church who believe it is their mission to rid the world of evil. I don’t see any Scripture that corroborates this opinion. And I see the quest to remove evil from the world as a serious hindrance to the completion of one of our two main jobs, that of loving people.
If we live and walk with the Lord as our fortress and Him as our Rock, we have nothing to fear from evil. This was discussed at some length in our church gathering, this past Sunday, as we discussed 1 John 4:18.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 NIV)
Psalm 94:19 also seems to give us this message as we find joy in the consolation we get from God when we experience anxiety. And, in regards to verse 20, asking if a corrupt throne could possibly be allied with the Lord, we can certainly apply this to any form of human government, and I believe that all human governments of the twenty-first century are corrupt. There is no “throne” in our world today that is allied with God.
Our reading in 2 Samuel picks up where yesterday’s left off. When David saw that the household of Obed-Edom the Gittite was being blessed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, he decided to go ahead and have it brought home.
One of the first things we see is that it appears to have been carried correctly, this time. I can only assume that, but it looks to be true, as the verse speaks of “those who were carrying the ark.” This implies to me that it was being properly carried by staves, on the shoulders of footmen.
David was so excited that, before they had walked ten steps, even, he was making sacrifices. And then he danced. David danced so hard that he exposed himself. Verse 22 makes it clear . . . David cared not one iota what anyone else thought or how he appeared to any people. He was dancing before the Lord Almighty, and He was the only One who mattered.
David did not care at all that he appeared to be “undignified.”
We create our own anxieties over appearances. Professional workplaces don’t help. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never fathom why anyone thinks that wearing a suit has any effect whatsoever on your job performance. In fact, I think there should be a special hell for whoever invented the necktie. It serves absolutely no purpose, whatsoever, other than to choke you and make you sweat a little bit more.
God doesn’t care about our appearances. What I wear “to church” has no bearing on my standing before God. We do have the caution in Scripture to not be a stumbling block to weaker brothers and sisters, but that’s a different topic for a different day.
Any energy that I would spend in anxiety over what another human being thinks of me or my appearance, would be better spent in prayer and meditation of Scripture, and in loving my neighbor as myself.
Incidentally, Michal’s reward for being critical of David was that she remained barren to the day of her death. That’s what caring about appearances will get you.
Father, I pray for the same kind of joy that David had, that cares not how it appears to others. Let me look like a fool to others . . . I don’t care. Please replace any anxiety, that might come from worrying over appearance, with joy. I believe I can say, like the psalmist, that, if it were not for Your help in my life, I very well may have dwelt in the silence of death. I’ve made some pretty foolish decisions, along the way. But You have spared me from some of the consequences. I believe that You still have work for me to do, here, and that, as my fortress and my Rock, You will provide the strength in which I can perform that work. As for the wicked and evil in the world, I will rely upon You to take care of them. Give me dancing feet that most certainly can grow from a praying knee.
I pray for a love for and commitment to the communities in which You have placed me. Please equip us to serve in unique ways in our communities and workplaces. I pray that You grant strength to any of Your people who serve in the news media.
"Joyful Jesus, forgive me for the ways I can reduce life with You to fine worship or stately buildings, dignified gatherings or efficient organizations, influence or importance. I pray that Your church and my life would be reckless with love for You, captive to the rhythm of Your kingdom joy, glorying and enjoying You. Amen."
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
(Revelation 7:13-17 ESV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)
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!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.