Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the twenty-fifth of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Ten days until Resurrection Sunday!
I made a mistake yesterday. Not really, that was kind of tongue-in-cheek. What I did was, I prayed for the Lord to make me more gentle, you know, like Jesus. The result was that I had a pretty bad day at work. demands on my time seemed to never slow down, the emails wouldn’t stop, and circumstances kept occurring that did nothing but delay me. At one point, I was feeling a tremendous amount of pressure, and, I tell you truly, I was utterly miserable!
Then, out of nowhere, a “still, small voice” said to me, “Who is putting pressure on you? Where is it coming from?” At that point, I realized that no one was putting any pressure on me, outside of the emails I was getting, which I was dealing with as quickly as I could. The pressure was coming from inside!
It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!
The day didn’t really get much better, but I sure felt better!
So, I learned that praying for gentleness is a lot like praying for patience. If you pray for either one of these things, get ready for some trials and testing!
For those of you praying for C, please continue. Her sciatic nerve is still giving her quite a bit of pain. There was a point, yesterday, at which it was better, but then she moved a certain way, after getting home, and it got aggravated again. We most definitely appreciate the outpouring of love and prayer that we have received! Thanks be to God!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Today, another poem by Daryl Madden. “Times of Unknowing”
We want the answer As worry is flowing Turning to you Lord In the time of unknowing In lessons of life Our faith is growing Through answered prayer In time of unknowing For Your love is true With gifts of bestowing You blessed what we need In time of unknowing Our soul in Your hands In Presence, now slowing A rich, beautiful prayer A time of unknowing
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
(Psalms 66:5-7 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for lessons learned (hopefully) after praying for gentleness
- for Your awesome deeds toward the children of man
- that You have drawn me to seek Your face
- that You have created a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43)
- for showing us that it is more blessed to give than to receive
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 32
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)
In quiet reflection, I meditate on the awesome deeds of the Lord toward His children. I ponder these “times of unknowing.”
Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:7-14 NIV)
This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
(Isaiah 43:16-21 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I enjoy the presence of the Lord, this morning, I reread these passages, searching for words or phrases that move my spirit.
I am always drawn to Psalm 27:8. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” That is why I do what I do every morning. That is what drives this blogging.
Then, looking at the passage from Isaiah (and this is what is so very marvelous to me about the Scriptures), this morning, verses 19 and 20 really speak to me. The Lord is making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. He provides water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, that we may drink. We, His chosen, the people He formed for Himself that we may proclaim His praise.
What a beautiful picture! And thinking back on this past year, we have certainly been going through a sort of “wilderness,” haven’t we? A “time of unknowing,” going back to Daryl’s poem at the beginning.
But God (there’s those two words again) has made a way, and provided streams. That way is Jesus, and as we draw closer to the conclusion of the Lenten season, when we celebrate the Resurrection, we get a better picture of that Way; the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Father, thank You for drawing me to seek Your face! Thank You for the constant reminders to do this. I praise You for the Way in the wilderness, the streams in the wasteland, that we might have Living Water to drink, and never thirst. You are awesome and mighty, Father! Your grace is sufficient; You are sufficient; Jesus is enough. And, dare I pray . . . keep working on that gentleness. I’m ready.
Everlasting God, in your boundless love you are doing a new thing. In Jesus, the only mediator, you have redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified me, with all your people. Continue that salvation in me today, through Jesus Christ, my mighty Savior, amen. (Westminster Confession 8.1)
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
“‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
(Acts 20:35 NIV)
Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.
(Ecclesiastes 11:1 NIV)
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
(Matthew 10:8 NIV)
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! The LORD says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness.”
(Psalms 95:6-8 NLT)
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:4-11 NLT)
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
(James 4:6-10 NLT)
Father, I thank You for continuing to teach us that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that we have received freely, therefore, we must give freely. You have blessed us richly, and so we bless others, as opportunities arise. Please open our eyes to see those opportunities more clearly. We have resources . . . they are building up. Show us where to utilize them; show us who needs them, and then arrange circumstances so that we may help meet those needs. Show me, today, who I can bless, because You have blessed me. Give me a heart that is submissive to Your will and Your ways. Keep showing me the Way in the wilderness, the streams in the wasteland, and help me to be a conduit of those streams. All glory to You!
Lord, this morning, I pray for more of a yearning to know Christ, crucified. I pray for the joy of Your salvation to be experienced more fully by all of Your children. I lift up any family members and friends who either have yet to experience this faith in You, or whose faith is waning. Call them; draw them; strengthen them; and surround them with Your loving presence!
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.