Today is Thursday, the 27th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
(Psalms 119:4 ESV)
Lord God, we thank you for your voice even when it is stern and we must go through hardship and suffering. Your voice speaks to us, and in your voice we can be glad and victorious in our life on earth. Come into our lives. May each of us realize that all we have gone through has been for the good. Be God and Lord over the nations. Be a refuge for all people. Grant that the sin and distress of this terrible time may soon pass and that we may hear your words, "Be comforted. I will come soon. All these terrors must pass by. My will is being done. My name must be honored. My kingdom and my rule are coming. So take heart and at all times look to your God and Father in heaven." Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the positives in that verse; no matter how difficult the struggle, we are not crushed, in despair, abandoned, or destroyed; praise be to the Lord
- that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose
- that the Lord is my “everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4)
- that if I keep my mind fixed on the Lord, He will keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)
- that Jesus Christ makes me worthy
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV)
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. (Isaiah 25:1 ESV)
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:6-9 ESV)
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
(Isaiah 26:4 ESV)
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:4 ESV)
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
(Matthew 25:40 ESV)
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
(Romans 15:1-2 ESV)
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
(John 16:23-24 ESV)
The Lord will keep us in perfect peace, if we keep our minds fixed on Him. That is a Bible promise. It is a truth. If we are not in peace, then we don’t have our minds fixed on Him.
This does not mean that we never think about anything else. This does not mean that we become “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” One thing it does mean is that we claim and accept that we are the “Beloved Daughters and Sons of God,” and, in doing so, we stop living “as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us.” (Henri Nouwen)
If you are a follower of Christ, then you are a beloved daughter or son of God. And if we can accept this, live in it, and walk in it, one result is that we no longer feel the need to constantly be judging others.
“Imagine having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone’s behavior.”
This comes from a devotional I read yesterday from Henri Nouwen, called The Burden of Judgment. You can read the whole thing at the link, there.
Then, this morning, I ran across this poem from one of my favorite poets, Daryl Madden.
To value a person Based on money All that it does Is to devalue me If I value a person Upon their mental state The lesson I’ve learned Is that mine isn’t great If I value a person Based upon what I see My view in the mirror Shows that I am ugly Our God, who is perfect To each person proclaims You’re a beloved treasure Please help me do the same
You can read it, and visit his site for others, at the link provided.
I commented on his post that it reminded me of Nouwen’s reading from the day before.
Beloved, please know that judging is something that I have struggled mightily with for most of my life. It’s not always spiritual judging, either. I have caught myself judging others in the workplace, thinking that they aren’t doing their jobs properly. That especially comes up when I think it’s making my job harder. I’ve judge people for their politics, for their driving, you name it, and I’ve judged it.
But the truth is that I am no better than anyone else, in the grand scheme of things. I mean, truthfully, everyone is better than someone at something, and everyone is worse than someone at the same thing. I’m simply talking as human beings. It has been said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” That quote has been attributed to a number of different people, such as Teddy Roosevelt, C.S. Lewis, and Mark Twain. I’m not sure there is any real evidence that any of them said that. Nevertheless, I believe it is a worthy statement.
Why do we compare ourselves to others? I suppose it can make me feel better about myself. But it can also make me not like myself very much. Every time I go hear Phil Keaggy in concert it makes me want to burn all my guitars. But that would be foolish. I’m an adequate guitar player, and I can still praise the Lord with my guitar. He doesn’t care so much about the level of skill. He cares about the heart.
And that I keep my mind stayed/fixed on Him, not on Mr. Keaggy.
We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). God has created us in His image. Yes, that image was marred by sin, but it was not erased. And it is also said that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) He will finish what He started in us.
I will finish with a quote from Andrew Murray. “When we seek our own glory among men, we make faith impossible. Only the deep, intense self-sacrifice that gives up its own glory and seeks the glory of God wakens in the soul that spiritual susceptibility to Divine faith. The surrender to God and the expectation that He will show is glory in hearing us are essential Only he who seeks God’s glory will see it in the answer to his prayer.”
(From With Christ in the School of Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)
Father, I confess. While I believe that I have been improving and getting closer to You in recent years, I still have not lived as though Your glory is an “all-absorbing passion” in my life and in my prayers. More and more, I find that I am praying for things in light of Your glory being displayed. For that I am grateful. But I do not see myself truly living in the likeness of Your Son, as I should be, seeking only Your glory and none of my own. The evidence of this is that I still catch myself judging others.
I pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal my deficiency in these things, that I might have my mind fixed on You and You alone, so that I will not find myself judging others, but accepting them for who they are. We all have faults and flaws, and mine are no better or worse than anyone else’s. I pray that You would deliver us, Your children, from the scourge of judging one another. I pray that You would help us, by Your Spirit to accept and claim that we are Your beloved daughters and sons and walk in this truth, daily, in Your kingdom.
Even so, come quickly, 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.