Today is Saturday, the 22nd of October, 2022, in the 29th week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, our Father in heaven, be with us as we are gathered here. Through your Spirit let our hearts grow in understanding of how we can serve you rightly and live as you want us to live. Help us hold fast to all that is good. Free us more and more from everything that hinders us, from all that is evil. Show your loving-kindness to us and to our loved ones, wherever they may be. Hear every human heart that sighs to you, pleading that what is of heaven may overcome what is of earth. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul?
(Deuteronomy 10:12 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for God’s help in making difficult decisions
- for the Holy Spirit’s work in freeing us from things that hinder us
- the artistry of God in our world
- for faith, the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about things that we do not see (Hebrews 11)
- that the Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him (Psalm 37)
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 ESV)
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
(Isaiah 11:2-5 ESV)
You will say in that day: "I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: "Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. "Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 12:1-6 ESV)
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish! (Psalms 112:4-10 ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
(Psalms 37:23-24 NIV)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
(Colossians 3:2 NIV)
“The World is charged with the grandeur of God.” (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Please read this blog entry from Eileen, at Quiet Moments with God.
The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. (Psalms 145:14-15 ESV)
I was moved, this morning, by Eileen’s statement that God is an artist. It made me consider . . . do I think of Him in that way. Sure, I look at the creation and I marvel at its beauty. But God is always just seen as “Creator.” Truly, He is an artist. Just try to point out two trees that are exactly the same. Show me two mountains that are exactly alike. Just as no two Rembrandt paintings are alike, creation is different, each piece unique.
Consider the quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins, the wonderful poet. His poems are somewhat difficult for us to read, in our time, as the language he uses is from days gone by. But he celebrates God’s creation in his poetry.
It is always helpful for us to take a quiet walk, somewhere in nature. Even better if we can find ourselves alone, no other humans around to distract us. We listen more when we do that. We listen, because the only person to talk to is ourselves, and that usually isn’t too productive, I have found.
Prayer, of course, is more than just talking. It is at least fifty percent listening, and probably should be more. We should begin each act of prayer by listening first. God gives us everything we need, but if we feel we are lacking at any point, we should wait. An army that has approached a well-fortified city to attack it waits until its supplies are replenished before attacking. So should we wait on the Lord, to be fully supplied in grace before we begin our spiritual “attack.”
Too often, we run ahead. I’m supposed to be praying, right now, so, by George (whoever that was), I’m going to pray, whether I feel up to it or not. “Fake it till you make it,” it has been said.
But waiting is constantly seen, in Scripture, as something which we are encouraged to do. Wait upon the Lord and rise up as on the wings of eagles! Wait on the Lord and walk and not become weary, run and not faint. Wait on the Lord and never be afraid of bad news. Wait on the Lord and see your steps be firm and not stumble (or, if you do stumble, you will not fall).
Wait on the Lord, and receive everything you need for life and godliness.
Father, first of all, I am thankful, this morning, for all the saints. Like Paul, in 1 Thessalonians, I give thanks for all the saints, and mention them frequently in my prayers. I am grateful for those with whom I have worshiped, and for those with whom I will worship in the future. I am grateful for those who have inspired me, and for those whom I have inspired (it has happened a time or two).
I praise You for the Trinity, the way the Holy Spirit rested on Jesus Christ when He walked the earth, and the way the three of You interact with one another and, thereby, fortify and strengthen and encourage us. It is inexplicable, and it is most wonderful.
Father, I pray for the ability, again, to consider others as more significant than myself, and to do nothing out of vain ambition or conceit. This, as a human, is relatively difficult, it seems. Forgive us when we are conceited, and when we are selfish.
Finally, I thank You and praise You for Your artistry in this world. I look at the night sky, and I see glory, the stars calling out Your name. I look at the mountains, and they give glory to You and call out Your name. I look at the prairies and they, too are calling out Your name. Your artistry calls out Your glory and praise. The trees and rivers “clap their hands.”
May I listen more and more to those “sounds,” as I walk in Your Kingdom, Father!
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends!