Today is Monday, the 31st of October, 2022, in the 31st week of Ordinary Time. Advent will be upon us before we know it.
May the peace of the resurrected Christ dwell within you today!
Today is the last day of my favorite month of the year. It is also Halloween, a favorite day for many folks. I’m a fan, always have been. We will be visiting a friend, this evening, to partake of her wonderfully delicious homemade chili, an annual Halloween tradition.
More importantly, perhaps, though, is that today is Reformation Day. We celebrated Reformation Sunday at a Lutheran church, yesterday, which, I believe, was fitting. It was a lovely worship service and included a number of young people going through their Confirmation. I really liked the way they did that.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalms 119:9 ESV)
Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we thank you. How often you rescue us from all fear and distress! How often you hear and answer us! Grant that our hearts may always be eager and joyful because you answer us. There is nothing else for us in this world; you are our one hope, our only hope. You alone can help our times, help the nations, help each person. Nothing else matters to us. Lord our God, for the rest of our life on earth you alone are our help, our comfort, and our strength. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Let those who fear the LORD say, "His steadfast love endures forever." Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalms 118:4-6 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the Word of God, which helps me guard my path
- that the Lord our God is our only hope in this world; He is our only help, comfort, and strength
- that God’s Word is worth more to me than a thousand gold or silver pieces (Psalm 119:72)
- that the Lord our God is worthy to receive all glory and honor and power (Revelation 4:11)
- for the Holy Spirit, who meets the every need of the believer
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV)
Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:4-10 ESV)
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
(Psalms 119:72 ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalms 16:11 NIV)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
(Revelation 4:11 NIV)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26 NIV)
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
(Genesis 2:7 NIV)
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:11-13 NIV)
Karen Valentin, in today’s Daily Guideposts 2022 reading, points out something worth considering. God is the creator, through Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity. And that verse in Revelation tells us that He created all things, and by His will they were created and have their being.
We are part of that Creation. In fact, the fact that it says “have their being,” causes me to believe that this verse is primarily talking about us. I mean, do trees and rocks “have being?” I’m not wise enough to answer that question. I mean, Emily Deschanel once made an anti-meat commercial claiming that cows are “beings just like us.” But I’m not here to judge Emily Deschanel.
We are His creation, and He is worthy to receive all glory and honor and power. In Revelation 5, we find a similar scene.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." . Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:8-14 ESV)
That scene stirs my soul. It stirred Handel, too, apparently, as he ended his Messiah with it.
But let’s get back to Ms. Valentin’s reading. She is an artist. God has given her artistic talent. I am a musician. God has richly blessed me with musical talent. I’m far from the best trombone/keyboard/guitar player or singer. But I have talent.
Who gets the glory and honor and blessing for that talent? If we are not careful, we allow ourselves to receive the praise for it. Honestly, for many years, I have struggled with how to respond when someone tells me that I did a good job at something, at leading worship or playing and singing a song. I don’t want the glory; I want God to get it. One of the greatest compliments anyone could ever give me is that my playing/singing led them to worship God. Because He is the one who should be getting the glory, not me.
Did you know that it took Handel only 24 days to write the entire Messiah oratorio??
Depending on the tempo (because all conductors do not conduct the same), The Messiah lasts anywhere from two and a half to three hours!
24 days. Just over three weeks. That, my friends is some real inspiration. (He only composed the music, by the way . . . the text was compiled from the King James Version and the Coverdale Psalter by Charles Jennens).
Karen Valentin writes, at the end of today’s reading, “God has given me my artistic gifts, and yet I’m the one who is praised for that talent. Not only do I take sole ownership of that talent, a gift from God, but I also want to claim its sweet rewards without giving glory and honor to Him.” Brutal honesty, there. But also confession; confession of a human desire that none of us is able to completely escape.
May we all recognize this and turn to give our praise and honor and glory and blessing to the Lamb!
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto You, O Lord! You alone are worthy; You alone deserve the praise, for everything that You have created and for all of the artistic ability that You have given us, a part of Your creation! In You we have our being; in You we live; without You we would not be anything, nor would we be able to do anything.
All glory belongs to You.
Forgive me, Father, when I receive glory and praise for something that I did as a result of Your gifts of talent to me. Help me to always point to You, just as You and the Holy Spirit always point to Jesus Christ, the Son, and just as the Son and the Holy Spirit always point to You, the Father! What a glorious, incomprehensible relationship exists within the Holy Trinity!
Father, we are preparing for a Night of Worship to happen soon. I pray for each of us that will be involved in this, and that it truly will be a Night of Worship, and not a celebration of our talents. May we only point to You and not draw attention to ourselves, because You alone are worthy of the blessing and honor, glory and power.
Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, to all who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ, and who supplies our every need as believers.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.