A City Yet to Come

Today is Friday, the third of December, 2021. First Friday of Advent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,276

Twenty-two days until Christmas

Yesterday, of course, was a bittersweet day. I was fine, emotionally, until it came time to sing the two songs at the service. I made it through “The Old Rugged Cross,” pretty well, only stumbling at the line, “then He’ll call me, someday, to my home far away.” But the second song I decided to sing was “I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin. It’s a great song for a setting like that. I was blindsided by emotions when I got to the chorus.

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise

I recovered, though, and made it through the song, with only one more “glitch” in the bridge. As I walked back to where C and S were sitting, in the family section of the room, I dared not look up to make eye contact with any of my cousins. And, of course, the emotions were driven by memories of my own father, as well.

We had a good trip home, but it seemed to take a lot longer than the trip out there. Of course, we hit Dallas at rush hour, and we stopped along the way to refuel and take a restroom break.

C is at the office today, rather than working from home, and I’ll be heading in to work my Friday shift at the library, in the computer/media center. It’s been three weeks since I’ve been in there. I hope I remember how everything works.

I’m off tomorrow, so I’ll have a few more days to recuperate from this week.

I’m currently reading The Black Echo, by Michael Connelly. It’s his first novel, from 1992. I had seen quite a few of his books during my shelving nights at the library. We have a large number of his, in both regular and large print. It wasn’t until I realized that he was the author responsible for Harry Bosch that I became interested in reading them. I am really enjoying this one, so I will, no doubt, continue in the series. I haven’t given up on The Divine Embrace. It’s still in the wings, and I will continue reading it, when I take the time to sit and take notes as I read it.

Be right back . . . I need a second cup of coffee.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Becoming Who We Are, by Daryl Madden

The journey of our life
Of inner and afar
That all paths lead unto
Becoming who you are

Acknowledging the truth
A pride-filled sinner be
Blessed be the finding
Of the One who saves me

That we find emptiness
When this world, we purse
That only gifts beyond
Are treasures of value

In telling of our story
With humility
In sharing of our gifts
Our true purpose, be

We are made complete
Even though we’re flawed
Because we’re a beloved
Child of our God

“We are made complete, even though we’re flawed, because we’re a beloved Child of our God.” This reminds me of a Mercy Me song that I really like.

"No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless"

Please check out more of Daryl’s poetry in the link provided above.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
 that God sent his only Son into the world,
 so that we might live through him. 
In this is love, 
not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 
(1 John 4:9-10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, because of Your grace, and the cross of Christ, I am made complete, in spite of my flaws
2. for Your great love, that never fails and never ceases
3. for a safe trip home, last night
4. for loving memories of family
5. for "the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14)

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, 
and the young men and the old shall be merry. 
I will turn their mourning into joy; 
I will comfort them, 
and give them gladness for sorrow. 
(Jeremiah 31:13 ESV)
But, as it is written, 
"What no eye has seen, 
nor ear heard, 
nor the heart of man imagined, 
what God has prepared for those who love him"— 
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. 
For the Spirit searches everything, 
even the depths of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10 ESV)
For here we have no lasting city, 
but we seek the city that is to come.
(Hebrews 13:14 ESV)

What beautiful words are in these Scriptures, and how appropriate for them to come up today. God will turn our mourning into joy, and we will rejoice in Him with dancing and singing. Truly, no eye has seen, nor has any ear heard (not among the living, at least) the things that God has prepared for us who love Him. And this place in which we live? It is, truly, “no lasting city.” I, along with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, “seek the city that is to come.”


You are my friends if you do what I command you. 
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 
(John 15:14-16 ESV)
. . . and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, 
according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 
(Ephesians 1:19-21 ESV)
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
(Colossians 1:9-12 ESV)
Jesus Christ is the same 
yesterday 
and today 
and forever. 
(Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – DAY SIX

INVITATION

With all my heart, 
I am waiting, 
LORD, for you! 
I trust your promises. 
(Psalms 130:5 CEV)

I pause, during this quiet moment, to meditate on these truths that have already been presented. I am waiting on You, Lord! I am waiting on and looking forward to that city that is yet to come.

BIBLE SONG

A song of ascents. 

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, 
we were like those who dreamed. 
Our mouths were filled with laughter, 
our tongues with songs of joy. 
Then it was said among the nations, 
"The LORD has done great things for them." 
The LORD has done great things for us, 
and we are filled with joy. 
Restore our fortunes, LORD, 
like streams in the Negev. 
Those who sow with tears 
will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping, 
carrying seed to sow, 
will return with songs of joy, 
carrying sheaves with them. 
(Psalms 126:1-6 NIV)

BIBLE READING

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. 
(Romans 13:11-14 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I leisurely read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me. I linger over them, giving them my full attention. Do I find something within about which I wish to ask God? I pray my life to Him, resting in His presence.

Father, my family has experienced sorrow, this past week, yet we have also known Your joy. The truth of these promises, that those who go out weeping will return with songs of joy, has been realized, in real time, in our lives. There will still be sorrow, yes, but as was so aptly pointed out in yesterday’s funeral message, we have hope because of Jesus and His work in our lives. It is because of Him, whom we both celebrate, during this season, and for whom we await as we look forward to His return, that we have this joy.

I also find hope in these words as I ponder the potential of restoration for everything that is broken or flawed, in this creation. The poem and song, earlier on in this blog, have reminded me of the truth that everything that is flawed or broken will be fixed, made whole, and restored. And it is when these things become reality that our true joy will be made manifest. The joy we experience today, as great as it is, is still incomplete. It is incomplete because we are still dwelling in “jars of clay,” bodies of sin, this “mortal coil.” We long to shed this mortal coil and be done with it. We long to be done with this body of sin, with these temptations and sorrows. Oh, come, Lord Jesus and restore everything to its true reality!

Awaken us from our slumber! Make us aware that the time of our “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Oh, praise, that the “night is nearly over.” Help us to put aside all deeds of darkness and put on the “armor of light.” May we fully clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus and His righteousness!

I pray, Father, for relief and justice for all who are living in poverty and injustice. Give us, O Lord, both the willingness and the capacity to suffer with others, and give relief to the refugees, Lord!

"Sovereign God,
on the coming judgment day the book on my life will be opened and a verdict will be given.
Knowing that every idle work,
every well-guarded secret and shadowed hypocrisy will be uncovered makes me want to run for cover.
Remind me that just as You gave Adam and Eve garments to cover their shame,
You dress me up in Christ-clothes that I might stand before You.
Amen."

BLESSING

The one who has spoken these things says,
 "I am coming soon!" 
So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!
 I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you. 
(Revelation 22:20-21 CEV)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends!

I Can Only Imagine

Today is Friday, the sixteenth of July, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today.

Day 23,136

34 days until S’s birthday

We are officially past the halfway point of July.

C is working from home today, and it’s a good thing, because she was up quite late, last night, dealing with issues that they are having keeping the current youth tournament going. So she is, at this moment, still asleep.

C also posted some pics on Facebook, of the granite slabs that will become our new countertops, soon.

Slab 1
Slab 2

The style is called Colonial White. I am excited to see this on our counters. The install is scheduled for August 10.

I’m taking PTO, this coming Monday. I can’t tell you why, just yet, but hopefully, there will be news soon.

As far as I know, we don’t have anything planned, outside of our usual activities, this weekend. I think C plans more painting. I forgot to mention, I think, that she got some stainless steel paint for appliances, and painted the front of our dishwasher.

It used to be white

So she may try the stove, this weekend. The microwave is the original one that came with the house in 1999. We are thinking about replacing it. It will have to be installed, as it is an under-the-cabinet microwave.

Moving on to the devotions for the day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Sweet Nothing, by Daryl Madden

I kneel at the altar
In an empty church, be
The warmth of Your presence
Here surrounds me

One of this moment
Of welcomed embrace
A gifting of now
Is blessed by Your grace

No past or future
No worries no fear
No desires or needs
Just to be with You here

Offered in moment
Of surrendering, fall
Found in sweet nothing
Our being of all

I chose this one, today, because of the third stanza. That is, for the most part, what I am after, during these morning times; just to be here with Him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
(Psalms 34:19-20 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You deliver us out of all of our afflictions.
2. for these sweet times of devotion with You.
3. for the wonders of Your great love, which You constantly reveal to me.
4. for the promise of Home.
5. for the joy in my heart, this morning.

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK EIGHT – DAY SIX

INVITATION

The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!
(Zechariah 9:16-17a NIV)

As I pause to reflect, I dwell on Your presence here with me, this morning. I consider that Your presence goes with me throughout this day, before me, behind me, beside me, above me, and below me. You are all around me. What joy and comfort this brings!

BIBLE SONG

A prayer of David.

Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer— it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
(Psalms 17:1-7 NIV)

BIBLE READING

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
(Revelation 19:1 NIV)

Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
both great and small!”
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
(Revelation 19:5-9 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I dwell in Your presence, this morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations. What words are there, what phrases, that draw my attention, that lead me closer to You?

Verse 7 of Psalm 17 draws me in. Here is a look at in in the New Living Translation.

Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.
(Psalms 17:7 NLT)

The love of our God is not only “great,” it is “unfailing.” And He will reveal that love to us in “wonderful ways,” if we but open ourselves up to Him. More and more, I see this, each day of my life.

There is much to ponder in the passage from Revelation 19, more than I have time for, this morning. Let me say that the thought of hearing that great multitude shout, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!” gives me goosebumps.

I do not pretend to comprehend this “wedding supper of the Lamb.” At first, it sounds like a wonderful and glorious thing. However, if you keep reading Revelation 19, it gets rather gruesome.

Being someone who has been drawn to the importance of worship for many years, I choose to focus on the worship service that is going on in John’s vision. Never has there been a worship service quite like this one, and probably never will be, on this plane. If what John saw was a foreshadowing of future reality, I can’t wait to be there. It almost makes me weep with joyful anticipation, this morning.

Home.

Home, with a capital “H,” which, to me designates my eternal inheritance. I have a “home” on this planet, but I have a “Home,” for which I am desperately longing. I have family members who, by ways that I will not comprehend until I am there, myself, are already there. My father is there; all of my grandparents, I am certain, are there. They had brothers and sisters who might be there. My mother has a sister who got there years ago.

I know what I’m going to be thinking about today.

Father, great and mighty God, You have shown me the wonders of Your unfailing love in so many ways. Even through the relatively mild hardships that I have experienced in this life, You unfailing love shines through. I am beyond grateful for this. As I sit here and think about Home, and all the people who have preceded me, I wonder what it will look like. The joy of that worship reflected in Revelation 19 excites me to no end. What will it be like to physically stand in Your actual presence, to see Your face in person, and to proclaim, with the multitudes from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!”? In the words of Mercy Me, “I can only imagine.”

"Lord of the feast,
I am awed by the vision of the wedding feast of the Lamb,
the banquet of finest wine and richest foods,
surrounded by friends and music and dancing--
a picture of the perfect enjoyment I will have of you for all eternity.
May I open my home and share a meal today with others as a preview of that great feast.
In the Lamb's name,
amen."

Lord, give me, today, the Christlike ability to deny myself and serve others. May I have the ongoing commitment to do justice and show mercy. May You especially be with the elderly and infirmed, today, along with those who care for them.

BLESSING

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?” They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!”
(Luke 8:25 MSG)

Now GOD, don’t hold out on me, don’t hold back your passion. Your love and truth are all that keeps me together.
(Psalms 40:11 MSG)

The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
(Psalms 57:10 MSG)

For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
(Psalms 100:5 MSG)

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
(Genesis 50:19-20 ESV)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
(Psalms 30:11-12 ESV)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Created For A Purpose

Today is Wednesday, December 16, 2020, in the third week of Advent.

Peace be with you.

Day 22,924

Nine days until Christmas!

In what must be the strangest week of the year, so far, I am back to work, this morning, only to be off, once again, tomorrow and Friday. Yesterday, I did not go to work, as we celebrated the life of C’s step-brother.

It was an interesting day for me. Emotionally/mentally, I began struggling on the trip to the funeral home. However, I recognized what was happening, and managed to stave it off. It would have been really ugly had I remained in that state of mind through a funeral.

There were moments in the funeral where I teared up, for sure. However, I can’t say that any of those moments were for the step-brother. Don’t get me wrong, we loved him, and we are sad to lose him, and most definitely sad for his wife and kids.

But one of those teary moments happened early on, as they played a number of recorded songs throughout the proceedings. The first was “I Can Only Imagine,” by Mercy Me, a very appropriate song for a funeral. I wept a little as I worshiped through that song. The second song was some country song I didn’t recognize. But the third song! “I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin. Again, I worshiped, deeply, through that song, and the tears flowed.

And what this made me realize is how much I miss worship. It has been way too long since I was able to simply sit and worship like I did yesterday afternoon. I don’t know what the answer/response is to this, though.

Later, they played another Mercy Me song, “Homesick,” which the front man wrote about missing his father. Actually, according to wikipedia, it was written when the band experienced the loss of nine different people close to them, in a short period of time. At any rate, anyone who knows me can guess where my spirit and heart went during that song. Those tears were for my own father, lost five and a half years ago.

Over all, it was a good experience, as many memories were shared by family members. Two daughters spoke, a son sang a song, and his wife sang a song, as well. I have no idea how either one of them made it through their songs.

We were exhausted afterward, and went to bed quite early last night. But I have to say that it was a pretty good day. Oh, and S went with us! She discovered that she could wear the facemasks made by WW. They are built with a little more space in them, making it easier to breathe. S did very well. But she reached her limit, so we did not try to attend the graveside service.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Open, Lord, my eyes that I may see.
Open, Lord, my ears that I may hear.
Open, Lord, my heart and my mind that I may understand.
So shall I turn to You and be healed."
(Traditional)

Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours

Psalms 145:21 ESV
(21) My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Today I am grateful:

  1. For life and breath; grateful to be alive and breathing, this morning
  2. For my family, and the love shared among us
  3. For Your steadfast love that reaches to the heavens (Psalm 36:5)
  4. For creating me “just as I am”; may I honor that within me today
  5. That I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)
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)

Psalms 36:5 ESV
(5) Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalms 145:1 ESV
(1) I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

John 19:25-27 ESV
(25) but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
(26) When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
(27) Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Psalms 138:1-8 ESV
(1) Of David.
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
(2) I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(3) On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.
(4) All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth,
(5) and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
(6) For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
(7) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
(8) The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalms 70:1 ESV
(1) Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

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.

"Stir up your power, O Lord,
and with great might come among us;
and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy
speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Advent: Prepare For The Coming Of The Word

Day Eighteen

Isaiah 7:10-14 ESV
(10) Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,
(11) “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”
(12) But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”
(13) And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?
(14) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Luke 1:26-38 ESV
(26) In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
(27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
(28) And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
(29) But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
(30) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
(31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
(32) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
(33) and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

(34) And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

(35) And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
(36) And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
(37) For nothing will be impossible with God.”
(38) And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


Hebrews 1:1-9 ESV
(1) Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
(2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
(3) He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(4) having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

(5) For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?
Or again,
“I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
(6) And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

(7) Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

(8) But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
(9) You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”


Ephesians 2:10 ESV
(10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

“We would be so much more at peace if we simply accepted how God made us and tried to be the best ‘us’ we could be.” (Erika Bentsen, Daily Guideposts 2020)

Deuteronomy 14:2 ESV
(2) For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

1 Peter 2:9 ESV
(9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.


Psalms 139:13-24 ESV
(13) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
(14) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
(15) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
(16) Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
(17) How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
(18) If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
(19) Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
(20) They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
(21) Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
(22) I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
(23) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
(24) And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

There are so many thoughts swirling around in my head, right now, but I’ll filter it down to this: Once again, the Holy Spirit has brought together passages from totally independent sources that fit together like fingers in a glove.

God has created me, “just as I am.” I find that I am strangely satisfied, in this. That does not contradict, I believe, my current need for therapy. Yes, therapy/counseling is an attempt to change something in me that I am not fond of. But it is something negative; feelings, emotions that I don’t believe are honoring to my Creator; things which result from the effects of sin in my life.

There are characteristics that I have that God gave me, that do not need to be changed. I need not worry about physical appearance. The reason I am losing weight is not so much about physical appearance as it is health and how the extra weight prohibits activities that I want to do.

I don’t need to be taller or shorter. I don’t need to rub hair restorer on my balding head. I don’t need to have talents that God did not give me. I need to be satisfied with how God created me.

Why?

Because, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

I was created for a purpose. You were created for a purpose. We may not have quite figured that out, yet, but you know what?

That doesn’t matter! You don’t have to know your purpose in order to fulfill it! If we simply go about our daily lives, doing what God puts in front of us to do, no matter how “mundane” it may seem, we just might be fulfilling that purpose, and not even realize it.

Just some simple words of wisdom for the day. Go out there (or stay in, depending on your circumstances), and do what God gives you to do, and, in doing so, honor Him with all your being.


Father, I praise You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that You created my inmost being, forming me while still in my mother’s womb. I will honor that today, doing my best to be the best “me” I can be. And, as Oscar Wilde once said, I need to be myself, because everyone else is taken. Help me to honor You today, by faithfully doing whatever You put in front of me to do. Give me the wisdom to know what that is. But also remind me that I don’t necessarily have to understand my purpose in order to accomplish it.

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!

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Marvelous Light

Here we go. It is Monday morning, April 14, 2014. Up and getting ready for the new job. I’ve got about forty minutes to get this done, so I have to stay focused.

Today is Look Up At the Sky Day. I have a friend who loves to do that. I’ll have to make sure he knows.


Stephanie and I had a marvelous time at the game yesterday. It rained a bit after we got there, but we had brought umbrellas, thanks to Christi’s suggestion. But shortly after the Rangers took the field, the rain stopped, and, by the end of the game, the sun even came out. To make it even better, the Rangers won the game, 1-0. It was a very close game. The Mercy Me concert after the game was great! Bart and company are not only entertaining, but they even led us in worship a bit, as well. It was an uplifting experience. I’m glad we got to go.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:48
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!
Psalm 71:12
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71:17
Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.

Psalm 5:1-7

“Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established
the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn
in this fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what
they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Joyful Heart.”

“Thanksgiving is the song of the saved sinner.” When we are immersed in the awareness of God’s merciful love, brought to us most visibly through the Cross of Calvary, our lives become filled with “humble, joyful thanksgiving.” I have been called, by no merit of my own, out of darkness into marvelous light! For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). “The cross is a confrontation with the overwhelming goodness of God and the mystery of his love.” How delighted God is when we sing to him, and our song should be, “It is right to give him thanks and praise!”

Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them,
and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored,
and they shall not be small.

Jeremiah 30:19


Father, you have, indeed, brought me out of the darkness, into the marvelous light! The problem is, my flesh keeps drifting back toward that darkness! Each time it does, you gently (sometimes, not so much) draw me (push me, shove me, drag me) back to the light, where your Spirit graciously restores my fellowship with you. Your grace is amazing, and it truly is right for me to give you thanks and praise. I fear I do not do that enough. How beautiful it was, though, yesterday afternoon, to be standing in the middle of a ballpark, raising my hands in praise to you, as we worshiped along with Mercy Me. That is such a unique and uplifting experience. I thank you for that opportunity, and that things like that are still possible. My morning drive-time prayers have become so precious to me, but not precious enough that I don’t still get distracted along the way. Sure, I have to pay attention to driving, but that is not typically what distracts me. Thoughts come out of left field (why don’t thoughts ever come out of right field?) and draw me away from what is important. I pray that you keep me focused on what is important. May my heart be joyful today, as I go about on my way.

I pray for Christi today. She has a phone interview with another company. Etherios, or something like that. I pray that it goes well, and that she finds favor with people who have control over hiring, not just with this company, but with any company. We need for her to get a job soon. At least we seem to think that. You know better than we do, and I keep saying that because I believe it. We are not panicking, yet. Our hope is in you. Her back still feels good, and we praise you for that, as well. I also pray for Stephanie, who has been doing better in a lot of areas, lately. May you continuously draw her heart toward yours and give her wisdom and understanding. For me, I pray for a good first day at work, and may my drive go smoothly, this morning.

I pray for the family of Marty Hernandez, Father. I pray that you would be especially close to them during these days. Wrap them in your arms of comfort and give them hope for their future.

Your grace is sufficient.


I pray that you all have joyful hearts today, and that you would run into the marvelous light.

Grace and peace, friends.