Today is Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Eleven days until Resurrection Sunday!
I’ll begin this morning by asking for prayer for C. She is suffering a bit from sciatica. Or at least that is what it feels like to her. Lower back pain, down through the hip, into the leg, excruciating, at times, if she turns or reaches in a certain direction. It’s not debilitating, but certainly uncomfortable. One of those things that will pass, but needs to pass quickly.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk, but grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen (Lenten prayer by St. Ephraim of Syria, 4th century)
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.”
(Psalms 66:3-4 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- for this mid-week time to pause and reflect on Your goodness
- for the promise of Home
- that the most beautiful thing about Home will be Your presence
- that my feet are on the Solid Rock
- that nothing compares to You
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 31
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)
I am pausing to quietly reflect on the awesome deeds of the Lord, longing for the day when “everything on earth will worship” Him (Psalm 66:3-4)
Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered.
(Psalms 26:1 NIV)
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.
I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me.
My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.
(Psalms 26:8-12 NIV)
In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”
And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 5:5-10 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself that I am in God’s presence, I reread these passages, looking for a word or phrase that moves my spirit.
First, I see verse 12 in the passage from Psalms. “My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.” I do feel the confidence of steady ground under my feet, spiritually speaking. No, I’m not perfect, and I don’t have it all together. But this confidence is in the Lord, not myself. He has placed me on “solid ground.”
"My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand." (Edward Mote)
I do miss singing those hymns with the “great congregation,” and so look forward to being Home, when I truly believe, regardless of the fact that we really are not sure what this will look like, that we will sing hymns of praise to our Savior in the REAL Great Congregation, made up of believers, saints, from every part of the world and every time of the world. That just gave me chill bumps, folks.
Father, thank You for planting my feet on the Solid Rock, the “higher ground” of Jesus Christ and His righteousness. I praise You that He is my true “high priest,” and that His glory will never fade. As I walk through this day, let my hope run high, and may my cup overflow, spreading Your grace all over the place.
Jesus, friend of sinners - what friend would stand in my place like you? You presented yourself in my name, taking the wrath that was aimed at me; you offered yourself on the cross, pouring out your precious blood for the cleansing of all my sins. Thank you Jesus, my friend, my Savior and High Priest forever. Amen. (Belgic Confession 21)
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’
(Matthew 25:34 ESV)
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
(John 14:2 ESV)
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:4 ESV)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 ESV)
In a most beautiful reading, this morning, in Daily Guideposts 2021, Ginger Rue closes it with this statement. “I don’t want to go to heaven because there’s a mansion there . . . I want to go so that I can feel the warm embrace of my Lord.”
That’s twice, this morning, that I have gotten chill bumps, thinking about Home. They say, “Home is where the heart is.” Well, my heart is in Jesus, and that’s where my Home will be.
I’m with Ginger, though. As my Father has grown me into Himself, I don’t want to be in His kingdom for the gifts, for the “mansion,” whatever that may look like. I want it for Him and for His presence, because there is nothing else like that.
There’s an old gospel/blues song. “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
Well, we have to, don’t we. Even if we are part of the few who happen to still be alive on earth when Jesus returns, in order to go to heaven, we have had to “die” to ourselves and “live” to Him.
Father, I have been blessed, this morning, by these readings. May I walk through this day with a deep sense of Your presence in my life, and a deeper longing for Home. Not so much that I can’t function in my current world, but keep me mindful of my permanent Home, my final destination, my eternal inheritance, which, at its deepest roots, is You!
Lord, this morning, I pray for all national and local communities. I truly believe that there is an underlying current of fear in all of our communities, fear that only You can relieve. I pray for a strong sense of Your presence. I lift up, in particular, the continent of Australia, today. May Your great and mighty presence be felt there today. I also pray for all people serving in military and peacekeeping capacities today. Especially those in the peacekeeping role. May Your hand of protection be upon them, Father.
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!
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)
Grace and peace, friends.