Today is Thursday, the twenty-ninth of September, 2022, in the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit will be updated following this blog, today.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Dear Father in heaven, grant us your Spirit so that here on earth we may be united with you in Jesus Christ the Savior. May truth dawn on us with its light, bringing joy no matter what happens to us. May all the pain in our lives be turned into birth pangs of a new life in which we can rejoice as people you have created, people prepared for the struggle on earth, who are called into battle and led to victory. Grant that we may not be blinded by the surrounding darkness. Shed a clear light on the new life that is coming. May we see what has already happened because Jesus Christ came to the earth and remains on earth, and may we see what is still to come through him, the Savior. O God of wonders, keep us aware of the wonders that increasingly surround us, until all the pain on earth is finally overcome and we men glorify your love and your great goodness. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
(John 16:21-22 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- that all of the grief and suffering we see in the world will eventually be turned into joy
- that we are not blinded by the darkness that surrounds us
- for the faith of a child, but also for knowledge that comes with growth and maturity
- that You do not hide Yourself from us
- for new beginnings
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 ESV)
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
(Isaiah 30:20-21 ESV)
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
(Psalms 95:1-2 ESV)
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
(1 Timothy 4:4-5 ESV)
So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 ESV)
“Do not imitate evil but imitate good.” Seems simple enough. Except when we can’t agree on what is evil and what is good. Paul told Timothy that everything created by God is good, and, as long as we receive it with thanksgiving, it’s not to be rejected.
There are some things that are evil, and there are some things that are good. And there are quite a few things that are neutral, with no inherent good or evil attached to them. What makes a thing “good” or “evil” is the intent with which it is used. If it is used to harm another, it becomes evil.
The major difference, here, though is thanksgiving. Gratitude is key. I’ve been expressing daily gratitude for at least a couple years, now. One writer said that his aunt told him, “If you never lose your sense of thanksgiving, you will always find a sense of happiness. Gratitude will change your attitude for the better.” (Scott Walker, Daily Guideposts 2022).
That, of course, sounds rather cliche and overly simplistic, but there is truth to it. I’ve been attempting to maintain that “attitude of gratitude” for some time, now. Some days it is easier than others. Today, it is more of a struggle, for personal reasons. Nevertheless, it is there, and I will express it, and, in the expressing, will move my heart in the right direction.
We are to sing to the Lord, we are to “come into His presence with thanksgiving.” Note that this particular passage doesn’t say anything about any other offering than thanksgiving. Sometimes, it is enough to simply be grateful for the gifts that God has given us.
So, to imitate what is good, we begin by being grateful. I, personally, would find it difficult to truly give thanks to God for something with which I intend to do harm.
Two good things, for which I am grateful, are faith and knowledge. There is a difference between those two. The faith of a child requires little to no knowledge. But as we grow and mature, we gain knowledge. Does that increase or decrease our faith? I suppose that depends upon the person. For me, the more knowledge I obtain, the greater my faith. I can’t explain that. But that “faith of a child” becomes faith that is more mature. “I believe” becomes “I know,” which, in the case of things like the existence of God, is still based on faith. Because I cannot prove to you that God exists. Nevertheless, I know He does.
Father, I praise You for faith, and I praise You for knowledge. I like them both. I love having faith, but I also really enjoy gaining knowledge, which, in my case, increases my faith. The more I know about You, the more I believe in Your Word and Your Truth.
I pray that my faith continues to increase as I continue to get older. I also pray that my sense of gratitude and thanksgiving will not only continue, but will also grow. I pray that this sense of gratitude will also increase my satisfaction of You and my life. May I always be satisfied in You and in Christ.
I pray for Your constant guidance in my life. May I always be looking to You to tell me which way to go in my life. And, as always, I pray for more love for others. Help me to clothe myself with the compassion, patience, kindness, humility, and grace that are mentioned in that Colossians passage. May I imitate good, rather than evil, in my life.
All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.