Today is Tuesday, the 25th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.
May you find the peace of Christ in your heart today!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)
Lord our God, grant that our spirit may recognize your Spirit and your love, so that our lives cannot be swallowed up by passing concerns but are lifted to something higher. Help us hold fast to all the blessings you have allowed us to experience, the blessings you will certainly continue to give, even though new battles and new troubles are all around us. Send a great light to shine among the many people whose task is to lead the way so that your kingdom may come. Send light so that your name may be honored through our human deeds and you may be known as life for all. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12, RSV
Today I am grateful:
- for the Light of the world, the Light of life
- that our God is in the heavens, and does all that He pleases (Psalm 115)
- for the biblical admonitions to be patient, to be silent, and to be slow to anger; Father, please make this come to pass in Your children!
- that Paul tells us to mind our own business! (1 Thessalonians 4)
- for allergy meds; seriously, ’tis the season
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV, emphasis added)
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalms 115:1-3 ESV)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to keep silence . . . (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 ESV)
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
(Proverbs 17:28 ESV)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
(James 1:19 ESV, emphasis added)
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.“
(Mark 9:7 ESV, emphasis added)
“If you keep silent before God and give Him time, He will leave within you impressions that will be as the rays of His glory shining in you.” (Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. . . . He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalms 40:1. 3 ESV)
It appears that the topic of the day must be being patient, silent, and being slow to anger.
It starts up there in 1 Thessalonians, as Paul admonishes the people to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” Isn’t it odd that I don’t hear this preached about very often? I mean, right here in the Bible, Paul tells us to mind our own business!! And to live quietly.
Instead, when I look around me, I see of lot of loud, noisy, meddling.
The trend continues in Ecclesiastes. Listed in all of the things for which there is a time and a season is “a time to keep silence.” Admittedly, yes, there is a time to speak. But it may not be an accident that silence is written first. In truth, do we even have a right to speak if we have not first listened?
How often, in conversation, do you spend the time, while the other person is talking, thinking about what you are going to say next, rather than truly listening to what they are saying. Even worse, how often do we interrupt each other?? I am guilty, I know. It is a hard habit to break.
The writer of Proverbs tells us that a fool who manages to keep quiet is thought of as wise. And our brother James instructs us to be quick to hear (listen) slow to speak (keep silence), and then he adds “slow to anger.” Oh, dang. That James is a real meddler, isn’t he?
Once again, I see the opposite when I look around. Social media outlets are full of loud, angry “Christians.”
I added the verse from Mark, myself. After Jesus was transfigured and the disciples had blurted out their say (because they just had to say something, right?), that voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
That means stop talking. Be quick to hear, slow to speak.
Wait patiently for the Lord. It’s okay to pray, sure. But wait patiently, and, when applicable, quietly, silently. Stop talking and listen. That is what meditation and contemplation are for. The essence of those two disciplines are silence, which can, itself, be a spiritual discipline.
The reward is worth it. Andrew Murray left out verse 2, and I think it’s part of the reward, as well.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. (Psalms 40:2 ESV)
This is the result of waiting, of patience, of living quietly. That, and the new song in our mouths, a song of praise to our God.
“True patience is so foreign to our self-sufficient nature, yet so indispensable to our waiting on God.” (Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer)
“In waiting on God, it is important that we submit not because we are forced to, but because we want to be in the hands of our blessed Father.” (ibid)
Father, I have always had trouble keeping quiet. When I was in grade school, I kept getting separated from the rest of the class because I couldn’t stop talking. Do I really love the sound of my own voice that much? Or do I truly believe that what I have to say is so important?
Nothing is more important than listening to You. And it is impossible to listen when my mouth is running amok. Please help me to obey the admonitions of brothers Paul and James. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and dear God, please help me to be slow to anger. I have gotten better at that in recent years, but I still find myself getting angry over the most ridiculous things. Subway or Sonic got my order wrong. Again! How dare they not be perfect!!!
Grace, Father. Help me to display the same grace that You have displayed to me and all the saints. I cannot be perfect, I know. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
I pray for the patience to wait on You as Scripture teaches. I know the dangers of praying for patience. It’s like praying to have faith increased. As soon as one prays for something like that, one should be prepared for immediate testing. But, in this case, I am praying for the ability to patiently wait on You, and to do so by honoring silence. I believe silence can be sacred. So help me to observe that, and to obey Your commands to us.
I also pray that we would do a better job of minding our own business. We seem to be working real hard to create laws to keep people from doing whatever we disagree with. And we are loudly and angrily expressing our opinions while doing so. I believe this harms the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to get back in focus, Lord, to do the things that are really important, which is love You and loving others. Help us to trust You with the rest of it.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.