Today is Saturday, the fifth of November, 2022, in the 31st week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ fill your soul today, and may You find rest in Him!
Today’s cover photo was taken by Paul Militaru, Romanian photographer. Please visit his site at the link provided to see his wonderful photographs.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
(Psalms 119:14 ESV)
Lord God Almighty, whose eyes keep watch over the whole world, we come before you with the evil from our surroundings still clinging to us. Grant that our lives may be in your hands. Give us your strength to find the way, even through suffering and distress. For we are yours, O Lord our God, and you have chosen your people to be strong and to be freed from all evils. Help us, we beseech you. May we know that you are with us and may your Word bring us blessing, to the glory of your name forever. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
The eyes of the Lord are on those who love him, a mighty shield and strong support, a shelter from scorching wind and a shade from noonday sun, a guard against stumbling and a help against falling. Ecclesiasticus 34:19, NRSV
Today I am grateful:
- for the strength God gives to find the way, even through suffering and distress and sin
- for the assurance that God is with us and that His Word brings us blessing
- that the Lord, who watches over us, neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121)
- that in His presence, there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11)
- for the gift of faith; “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
(2 Timothy 1:12 ESV)
A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalms 121:1-8 ESV)
. . . fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4 ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalms 16:11 ESV)
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:24 ESV)
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
(James 5:15 ESV)
In one way or another, every Scripture verse used today hearkens back to faith.
We have Proverbs 24:3-4 displayed in several places in our home. In fact, it is written in the center of our house, probably on the foundation.
You see, when our house was framed, before any walls or flooring were put up, we had a picnic in the middle of it, one Saturday afternoon. We had compiled a list of verses and planned to write them all over the house. Proverbs 24:3-4 was written in the center of the house. I can’t remember if it is on the foundation or on a frame post. But I suspect it is on the foundation.
Psalm 100:4 is written on the foundation at the front door.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(Psalms 100:4 ESV)
For the record, most of the verses are NIV, because ESV did not exist yet. It was 1999.
Also for the record, we do not claim to possess any great amount of wisdom or understanding. Even my knowledge is suspect. The older I get, the more I know that I don’t know, and even things that I thought I knew might not be right.
For example, does anyone else remember being taught in grade school that our taste buds were in groups on our tongues? Research in recent years has proved that this is not quite the case.
I’m not all that concerned with knowing everything, any more. I’m more concerned with knowing God. I know people who know the Bible through and through. I’m fairly knowledgeable about the Bible, but I know folks who know it much “better” than I. However, I’m not sure they know the Creator all that well.
At church, recently, we sang the song, “Knowing You,” written in 1993 by Graham Kendrick. It has some wonderful lyrics.
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 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 Chorus: Knowing you, Jesus Know 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
And in knowing Jesus (and the Father through Him), I am shown the path of life. He makes it known to me, and by faith, I receive it. And in that, I experience that fullness of joy, and begin to experience the “pleasures forevermore” of which Psalm 16:11 speak.
Also in that knowledge, I can experience the power of Isaiah 41:10, and “fear not.”
All of this, as mentioned, requires faith. We know, from Hebrews 11:6, that without faith it is impossible to please God.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 ESV)
This is a very simple truth. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists.” Very simple.
I have long identified with that father from Mark 9. Many times, have I cried out to God, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Because I do believe. I do have faith. I have said many times that I believe that God can do it. But I’m not sure that He wants to or will. And therein lies the difference.
I don’t have it all figured out. My life is far from perfect. My walk with Christ looks a lot like Billy’s path when he walks home from the bus stop.
I’ll get there. But my feet are fickle.
Father, I love You. You know my heart; You know that I believe. You also know that I am merely dust, and You know my imperfections and flaws.
I also know that, in Christ, I am made flawless. I do not understand this mystery, and I’m not holding my breath to understand it. I believe that I will, one day, understand that and every other mystery that comes with this walk of faith, when I am with You in eternity.
I believe that there is nothing more important than knowing You. There are so many things that I used to hold on to; things that don’t really matter to me, any more. What matters is faith; and that faith is a gift from You. I pray that You help me in the areas where my faith is weak.
“I believe; help my unbelief!”
I pray for Your Church, Father, the Bride of Jesus Christ. I pray for those who have fallen prey to manipulations by men. I pray for those who have allowed politics to corrupt their faith. I pray for those who put country and “freedom” over faith and Christ. There will be no “country” in heaven, except for the “country of forgiveness.” I cannot wait, Lord, to worship You in that great congregation that is made up of every tribe, nation, language, and people, and to sing the “new songs” in whatever language You give us.
Oh, how I long for Home!
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.
(St. Teresa of Avila)
Grace and peace, friends.