Today is Sunday, January 24, 2021, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Yesterday was a pretty nice day. After our WW Workshop (at which I, once again, inexplicably gained four-tenths of a pound), we got our obligatory Sonic Drinks, and then picked up our grocery order at Walmart Neighborhood Market. We had prescriptions ready at Kroger Pharmacy and CVS, and WMNM didn’t have any zucchini (weird, right?), so we went ahead and went to those places.
We had our usual brunch of eggs, toast, and other accessories, and then spent the rest of the day doing whatever we each wanted to do. I played Cyberpunk 2077 on the PC, walked on the treadmill, and cooked lean burgers for S and me. I also read a little, and finished another book in my Science Fiction Grand Masters journey, Between Planets, by Robert A. Heinlein. You can read my review, if you so choose, on my other blog.
C walked on the treadmill, and then painted this:
That is Luna, our newest cat, who is getting dangerously close to a year old, I believe. She now rests on the mantle, along with our other pets that C has painted.
This morning, we have our Zoom church gathering at 10:15, during which we will finish the book of Acts. We only have one chapter left. We will probably have a little bit of retrospective discussion (hopefully), and then decide where to go next. We have had suggestions from leadership of Psalms/Proverbs, Gospels, and Daniel, all of which are good suggestions.
After church, I’m sure we will have our usual Sunday lunch of Applebee’s, which we order online and get curbside pickup. And Sonic drinks. Of course. The rest of the day will be free game.
In the past week, the world has lost Don Sutton (baseball player), Hank Aaron (baseball player), Larry King (TV broadcaster/interviewer), Mark Wilson (magician), Jimmie Rodgers (singer), and Mira Furlan (actress). There are a lot more on the list, most of whom I am not familiar with. As I look at a report of deaths so far in 2021, I see that I’ve missed a few. We also lost Gerry of Gerry and the Pacemakers, as well as Joanne Rogers, the widow of Mr. Rogers (Fred).
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"O Lord, you have mercy on all. Take away my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen." (Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
(1 Timothy 4:4-5 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- For an opportunity to celebrate God’s goodness with brothers and sisters in Christ
- That everything God created is good
- For the importance of words
- That there is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3)
- For the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control — note that hatred, anger, and fear are NOT on the list)
- For the secret place, where I can meet with You
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
EPIPHANY – DAY 19
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
(Psalms 126:3 NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.
(Psalms 21:1-7, 13 NIV)
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
(Luke 4:31-37 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
The people of Capernaum were amazed at the teachings of Jesus. Why? Because “his words had authority.”
There was weight in every word that Jesus spoke, and those words were spoken with the power of Almighty God behind them. Do our word have authority?
After the power of Jesus’s words cast the demon out of the man, the people continued in their amazement. “What words these are!” they said. They acknowledged that Jesus’s words had authority and power.
We speak a lot of them, in any given day. I type quite a few every day. Words are important. Perhaps they are more important than we think.
How many careless words do I speak in a day? If I speak one careless word, that is too many. Every word that I speak should have thought behind it. Not every word should necessarily have the power and authority of God behind it, though. That might be weird.
But when we do have the opportunity to speak God’s Word, our lives must necessarily agree with what we are speaking, else those words will not have the power and authority of God behind them. Or will they? I’m not wise enough to venture an opinion, there, because, as we all know, God even used a donkey to speak His word, once.
Let’s just say this. If my life doesn’t line up with the words that I speak, there is less chance that anyone will listen to anything I have to say.
Father, I pray for words that have Your power and authority behind them. I, myself, am not asking for power. I do not want any power. Rather, I desire for the words that I speak to be full of Your power. Help me to live the kind of life that agrees with Your Word, as well as the words that I speak. May every word that I say be important, and be thoughtful, not careless. And may I, as James has told us, be quick to listen and slow to speak.
"Most High God, help me to see beyond social factors, psychological forces, and bad choices to the reality of personal evil forces - devils and evil spirits. They are enemies of everything good, stealing life and vandalizing your world. Deliver me from evil, I pray. Amen." (Belgic Confession 12)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
(Ephesians 5:8 NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
(Psalms 98:4-6 NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
What is the holiest place on earth? During the time Jesus was on the earth, it was called “The Holy of Holies,” and only one person at a time was allowed to enter, and then, I believe, only one day out of the year.
What is the holiest place on earth, now? Jonathan Cahn calls it “the secret place.”
The secret place, he says, is “wherever you make it. It’s where you go to be with Him. It’s the place that can contain only one person, just you and the presence of God, and nothing else. So the secret place must be totally separate, totally secret, and totally apart from the rest of your life, from the world, even from the things of God. The most holy place only has room for you and Him. As it is written, ‘Oh my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.’ [Song of Solomon 2:14] It’s the most important place you can dwell. For it is there that you’ll find His presence, hear His voice, and see His glory. For they only reside in the most holy of place . . . the secret place.”
“The Mission: Today, go into the secret place, apart from the world and even the things of Him, away from everything – but His presence.”
(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)
Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.
(Exodus 25:21-22 NLT)
My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.
(Song of Solomon 2:14 NLT)
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6 NLT)
Father, I thank You for this “secret place.” Help me to spend more time there, without the distractions of the world, and even the distraction of other things that are worthy of my attention. I pray that You will help me begin to enjoy this time with You and ignore other things (cough cough social media) that cry out for my attention, every morning. I am so guilty of letting things like Facebook and email distract me away from Your daily Word to my life. Help me to focus on You in this secret place.
Lord, I pray for spiritual renewal in our land and around the world. May people see You in this world, and may Your Spirit reveal You to more and more people. I pray that there would be a deep sense of repentance, especially in our land, both among Your people, and from without the Church. May there be a strong change of direction in our country, repentance from hatred, anger, and fear, and a turning toward faith, trust, and compassion and love. May You strengthen any relationships that I have with people who do not follow You, and even draw me into new ones.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Lord, have mercy on us Christ, have mercy on us Lord, have mercy on us
Grace and peace, friends.