Come and See what God has Done

Good morning! Today is Wednesday, the twenty-second of December, 2021. 12/22/21, a palindrome. It is also the fourth Wednesday of Advent.

Peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,295

Only three more days until Christmas!

I’m pretty sure that, as of right now, all the Christmas gifts have been delivered, except for one, which is now showing a delivery date of 12/28. Oh, well. Unfortunately, that particular one goes along with three or four of the other gifts. That’s no big deal, though. It will all come together, in due time. And, from past experience with Amazon, it could still change. I know they have, before.

We are talking about plans for Friday and Saturday, at least cooking plans. There’s a lot of cooking to be done, and the bulk of it will happen both Friday morning and Saturday morning. Not on purpose, I wound up with at least forty pounds of ham in the fridge. I ordered two whole hams from Albertson’s, earlier in the week, fully expecting a couple of hams that were approximately twelve pounds each. They delivered two hams that were approximately twenty pounds. Egad! My whole lower shelf in the fridge is filled with ham. And one twenty pound ham would have been plenty for both days. We may give one away. I don’t know.

Today is my last full work day until New Year’s Eve. In fact, my next work day, after today, will be next Tuesday, 12/28. And there is at least one meeting that I will be involved with, today. There is a Circulation staff meeting from 1-2, this afternoon. And then, if it happens, the Adult Services “stand up” meeting is at 2. That manager has been out for a bit, and isn’t scheduled back until 12/30, so that meeting may not happen. My monthly “one-on-one” with her was also scheduled for today, so I’m not expecting that to happen, either.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

And Jesus said to him, 
"'If you can'! 
All things are possible for one who believes." 
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 
"I believe; help my unbelief!" 
(Mark 9:23-24 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the belief that God has placed in my heart, even thought it is still tainted with unbelief
2. that God is love and whoever abides in love abides in Him
3. for the security that comes in living as one of His "sheep"
4. for the ability and willingness to lay down my life for my brothers and sisters, just as Christ laid down His life for us
5. for all the things that God has done
Anyone who does not love does not know God,
 because God is love. 
(1 John 4:8 ESV)
So we have come to know 
and to believe the love that God has for us. 
God is love, 
and whoever abides in love abides in God, 
and God abides in him. 
(1 John 4:16 ESV)
By this we know love, 
that he laid down his life for us, 
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 
(1 John 3:16 ESV)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 
Abide in my love. 
If you keep my commandments, 
you will abide in my love, 
just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, 
that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full. 
"This is my commandment, 
that you love one another as I have loved you. 
Greater love has no one than this,
 that someone lay down his life for his friends. 
(John 15:9-13 ESV)
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe! 
(Psalms 150:4 ESV)
And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 
And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 
And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 
(2 Samuel 6:12-15 ESV)
A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. 

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. 
As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." 
By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. 
To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: 
"What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? 
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!" 
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 30:1-12 ESV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 
(John 7:37-39 ESV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; 
against such things there is no law. 
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 
(Galatians 5:22-25 ESV)

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

ADVENT – DAY TWENTY-FIVE

INVITATION

God, come back! 
Smile your blessing smile: 
That will be our salvation. 
(Psalms 80:3 MSG)

As I pause, this morning, I reflect on love. God’s love for us, made evident in the coming of Jesus. Our love for God, made evident in the way we live, as well as how we lay down our lives for the kingdom of God and for one another.

BIBLE SONG

You, LORD, showed favor to your land; 
you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 
You forgave the iniquity of your people 
and covered all their sins.

 I will listen to what God the LORD says; 
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— 
but let them not turn to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, 
that his glory may dwell in our land. 

Love and faithfulness meet together; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
 and righteousness looks down from heaven. 
The LORD will indeed give what is good, 
and our land will yield its harvest. 
Righteousness goes before him 
and prepares the way for his steps. 
(Psalms 85:1-2, 8-13 NIV)

BIBLE READING

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 
though you are small among the clans of Judah, 
out of you will come for me 
one who will be ruler over Israel, 
whose origins are from of old, 
from ancient times." 

Therefore Israel will be abandoned 
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, 
and the rest of his brothers return 
to join the Israelites. 

He will stand and shepherd his flock
 in the strength of the LORD, 
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. 
And they will live securely, for then his greatness 
will reach to the ends of the earth. 
(Micah 5:2-4 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, slowly, I reflect on what the Lord might be saying to me through them. I look for words or phrases that catch my eye or move my heart, allowing my spirit to respond to the Lord in prayer and meditation. I enjoy His presence, this morning, preparing myself for the day ahead.

Father, I cannot get away from these passages on love and laying down our lives for one another. Teach me Your ways, Lord, that I might walk in Your path. Show me how to best lay down my life for the sake of my brothers and sisters and others in this world. Teach me how to love the way You have loved. Just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for me, show me how to do the same for others. In our culture, Father, this has become quite a challenge, over the past couple of years.

Time is short, Father, so I must bring this to a close. You are our great Shepherd, Father, and I am thankful for the security that this brings my soul. I find it easier and easier to obey that often-stated command, “Fear not,” as I find myself resting more and more in Your provision and safety. Thought this world is harsh, I find myself resting in the shadow of Your wings and in the cleft of the rock, where You have hidden me. But even as Job said, Lord, even if You see fit to slay me, yet will I trust You.

I will listen to what You say, Lord, and You promise peace to us. Only let us not turn to folly, Father. Let us not turn to folly and chase after the wind and vanities.

"God of place and time,
You chose the little town of Bethlehem to be the birthplace of David and of David's greater Son.
Make us aware of Your active purpose in our towns and neighborhoods,
so that we see them as places of promise in our time.
Amen."

BLESSING

"May the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven,
shine on those living in darkness and guide our feet into the path of peace."
(based on Luke 1:78-79)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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)

Grace and peace, friends.

John Knox and Prayer

Today is Wednesday (Hump Day), May 2, 2018. Day 21,965.

11 days until Mother’s Day.

Lou Gramm (Foreigner), turns 68 today. He said, “I gave my life to Christ about 1991.” BrainyQuote I remember him singing with John Schlitt on one of the Petra Praise albums, back in the nineties.

The word for today is palindrome, a noun which means, “a word, verse, or sentence or a number that reads the same backward or forward. “Madam I’m Adam.” is one. “A car, a man, a maraca” is another. Obviously, punctuation is not regarded.

The Red Sox lost to the Royals, 7-6, in thirteen innings. Very discouraging. The “best” team is having so much trouble with one of the worst teams. I guess that is typical, though. The Yankees won, so the Sox are two games up in the AL East. They are tied with the D-backs for the best MLB record.

The Rangers had a good outing against Cleveland, beating them 8-6, after Kela gave up a game-tying grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rangers really need a closer. Unfortunately, pitching has never been high on Jon-boy’s radar. The Rangers remain in last place, eight games behind the Astros.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah. 
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. 
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. 

Psalm 85

This is a beautiful Psalm, in my opinion. I wish I could hear the music that went with it. “Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.” Then the plea to hear what God will say, because “he will speak peace to his people.” There is the encouragement to “not turn back to folly.” That is always a danger. I experience that danger on a regular basis. Sometimes, I fail. But God always speaks peace to me and restores my soul, just as Psalm 23 describes.

The sheer poetry of verses 10-11 has always been attractive to me. “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.”

I’m running behind, this morning, but I have to share this, nonetheless.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

In today’s Daily Guideposts, writer Debbie Macomber shares a story about John Knox, the “founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.” On his deathbed, he asked his wife to read Scripture to him. As she read, she noticed that he began to pray out loud, “his voice growing slower and dimmer. Then, as he prayed for those he loved, his spirit slipped from his body and joined Jesus in heaven.” What a testimony!

Like Debbie, I have struggled with prayer, over the years. I have had bouts of strong prayer activity, then stretches where I hardly pray at all. I am shamed by the latter. Sometimes, I write prayers, such as at the end of this daily blog. Lately, I try to have ongoing conversations with God throughout the day.

John Knox was a powerful pray-er, and he died praying. As Debbie says, “This is what I want for my relationship with God, a life of prayer that is so engrained that communication with Him is simply part of my every thought and deed. And when it comes time for me to leave this earth, I want it to be with a prayer on my lips.”

Amen!

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Father, keep me in prayer. I have begun to reach out for prayer requests again. Lead me to pray more and more for people every day. You brought me into intercession a few years ago. Help me to return to that mode of life and stay in it, to the praise of your glorious grace, and for your great name’s sake!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Ticks On the Stopwatch of the Eternal

Today is Thursday, August 10, 2017. Day 21,700. Only nine more days until S’s and J’s birthday!!

Quote of the Day

“Everyone’s a hero in their own way, in their own not that heroic way.” ~ Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, 2008
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Palindrome, a noun, meaning, “a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I’m Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.” Or, as a Mental Floss t-shirt once said,

Today is the day that we celebrate that iconic eighties group, Duran Duran. Yes, it’s Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I think I posted the same video last year, but I like the song, so too bad.

I’m running quite short on time because I decided to do a book review before starting this. So, on to the important stuff.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
Psalm 68:3
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand;
Psalm 10:12
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
Psalm 21:13
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!
Psalm 98:1
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

Luke 1:68-70

(From The President’s Devotional)

. . . as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

“Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, ‘Christ is risen,’ but ‘I shall rise.'” ~ Phillips Brooks, in Herald Gospel of Liberty, vol. 114

In today’s reading, called, “Immortal,” Joshua DuBois writes, “Immortal. Imagine that.

“This frame of ours, as delicate as rice paper after a rain, lasts just a few ticks on the stopwatch of the eternal.

“But as Christ rose and lives, so shall we. The deeper part of us lives on. It makes one think about which parts to cultivate.”

“Dear God, fix my eyes on what is unseen, not just what’s seen. Remind me of the brevity of this life and the length of my life with you. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.