Today is Sunday, the 11th of December, 2022, the third Sunday of Advent.
May the peace of Christ fill your heart today!
Day 23,649 (the number of days since I was born)
Fourteen days until Christmas!
WordPress has decided to start adding prompts, every day, when we open up the page to compose our blog entry. Today’s was “What is your favorite cartoon?” I’ve been ignoring these, but maybe I will start answering them. Depends on how I feel. But my favorite cartoon show has always been Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies, and my favorite recurring character in Looney Tunes is Marvin the Martian. I have a corner in my study that is dedicated to him.
Some of them are a tad dusty. And yes, that is a “Fallout” Crate box on top of my desk in the study. Fallout 4 is my all-time favorite PS4 game.
I have take a second Covid test, this morning, approximately three days since the first one, which was Thursday night. It was negative. I don’t know if I will take another or not. I suppose it depends on how I feel. We have not tested S again, and probably won’t for another couple of days. She continues to feel pretty miserable, but the fever has been down for a whole day, now. C has a nasty cough, but, otherwise doesn’t feel bad.
As for going to church, this morning, I do need to take the gift cards for their Angel Tree, as those are due today. I have not yet decided if I will stay for the worship service.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. (Psalms 119:51 ESV)
Admittedly, I have not had much experience with this. I was trolled once on TikTok, just days after I started posting my gratitude lists on that forum. I simply laughed and moved on. As the psalmist says, even under derision or scoffing, I will not turn away from God’s Word.
There are a lot of prayers, this morning, as I look back through my prayer book. Once again, it is filled with people who have lost loved ones during this holiday season. It saddens me to see so much loss, this year. My heart is burdened for the folks who have experienced such loss. And I just saw a report that said the body of the missing person was found. More tragedy and sadness.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
Dear Father in heaven, look on us as your children, and grant that we may feel in you the highest good for time and eternity. Even if we have to deny ourselves and make great sacrifices, you remain our treasure, our riches, our love, and our joy. Give us strength as a gathered people ready to serve you. Grant us your Spirit whenever we do not understand what we should do. Shelter us always in your hands, and allow us to see your miracles in souls and in bodies. For you are our God, the Almighty, and you find the way to help in everything. Amen.
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. Psalm 16:1–2, NIV
Today I am grateful:
- for the comfort that God gives us, so that we might, in turn, comfort others (2 Corinthians 1)
- that God is my refuge, my fortress, a strong tower to which I can run and be safe
- that our enemy is not flesh and blood; we ought not be fighting amongst ourselves
- that the righteousness of God is not far off
- for the Light of God, that has shone upon us in darkness
- for the Word that gave life to everything that was created (John 1:4)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12 ESV)
"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." (Isaiah 46:3-4 ESV)
"Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. "Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory." (Isaiah 46:8-13 ESV)
"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NLT)
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (John 1:1-4 NLT)
“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:6 NRSV)
There’s a song that is running through my head, this morning, one of the more popular worship songs that our little fellowship group has sung. The song is called “Great Are You, Lord,” and was, I believe, originally recorded by a group known as All Sons and Daughters. The writers of the song are Jason Ingram, David Leonard, and Leslie Jordan. Here are the lyrics.
You give life, You are love You bring light to the darkness You give hope, You restore Every heart that is broken And great are You, Lord It's Your breath in our lungs So we pour out our praise We pour out our praise It's Your breath in our lungs So we pour out our praise to You only And all the earth will shout Your praise Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing Great are You, Lord
Musically, it’s an interesting song, to me, because it doesn’t hit the tonic chord of the key (A) until the first beat of the bridge, which is the part that begins “And all the earth will shout your praise.” I love playing it, and really pound that tonic chord when we finally get to it. It’s like the ultimate breath of fresh air and relief.
Here’s a YouTube of the song:
I guess it’s because I’m seeing verses about light and life, this morning, that causes me to be thinking about this song. He gives us life. It is the life of Christ (the Word) that has given us life, first in creation, and then as we receive new life in Him.
He is the Light of the World, shining His light on all of us, that we might truly see. And then that we might either reflect or refract that light into the world around us. In the Daily Guideposts 2022 reading, this morning, author Lynne Hartke describes the sunrise shining through an icicle hanging on her house. She was outside in sixteen-degree weather just so she could see that. That’s how God’s light, the light of Jesus Christ should be shining through us.
Then there’s this line in that song, “It’s Your breath in our lungs.” Here’s the thing. Even the air that we breathe belongs to Him! So the breath in my lungs belongs to God! Because of this, we must, we are compelled to, “pour out our praise to You only!”
Over and over, the theme of the song echoes the title. “Great are You, Lord!” And I, too, echo that phrase to Him.
Great are You, Lord! Almighty God, heavenly Father, You are great! Your greatness cannot be truly comprehended. We do the best we can with our finite minds and hearts, but it is only a fraction of Your greatness that we understand. Help us, O God, to know it more. Help us to know You more, to comprehend that which is incomprehensible. Just as Paul prayed in Ephesians, help us to know that which is unknowable.
May my fellowship with You, this morning, be adequate to get me through this day, walking with You. Take charge of my life, and allow me to surrender completely to You. What does surrender look like? It looks like giving up, giving it all up to You, falling on my knees when there is nowhere else to go.
As I consider all of the mourning and grieving that is going on around me, right now, it breaks my heart, Father. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to be living and active in the lives of everyone who has experienced loss in the past few months, as well as for everyone who has lost loved ones around this time of year, in the past. May You comfort them with Your perfect peace, and cause their minds to be stayed on You.
I cry out to You, Lord! Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus! Your creation groans in anticipation. Please do not delay any longer! Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, be done. You have said that Your purpose will be accomplished. I believe this and trust in it.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Grace and peace, friends.