Good morning. Today is Saturday, the fourth of December, 2021, the first Saturday of Advent.
May God’s peace reign in your soul today.
Twenty-one days until Christmas!
Right off the bat, first thing, I want to ask for urgent prayers for a fellow blogger, Benjamin, over at Brother’s Campfire. His latest entry simply asks for prayer for his wife, who has had a bad stroke. Please join me in praying for them.
Yesterday was a fine day at the library. For some reason, the fax machine was in high demand, yesterday. I think I helped more people fax yesterday than I have the whole time I’ve been working there. And it’s slow, too. One patron had seventeen pages to fax. He waited at least twenty minutes for it to complete.
Friday night is normally homemade pizza night, but we weren’t sure if all our ingredients were still within “best-by” dates, so we had Subway instead.
Weekend plans: I think C and I (maybe S) are going to Six Flags this afternoon. We decided to get season passes, this time, because they were offering a free upgrade to “Gold-Plus,” which includes a season parking pass, as well. We have to go to the park to activate them, and it looks like today’s weather is going to be pretty spectacular. There are also a couple of local craft fairs that look good. We might shop at one of those tomorrow.
I don’t work again until Tuesday night, but next week is my four day week. It should be a fun week, though. Not only do we have another installment of our Secret Santa (on Wednesday), we also have a Christmas Luncheon on Wednesday, as well, catered, I believe, by Rosa’s. There will be a Gift Exchange at that, and I got mine from Amazon, yesterday. We also plan to get a group photo of “ugly Christmas sweaters.” Which means, of course, that I must go find myself an ugly Christmas sweater.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"Open, Lord, my eyes that I may see. Open, Lord, my ears that I may hear. Open, Lord, my heart and my mind that I may understand. So shall I turn to You and be healed." (Traditional)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28, 37-39 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for all of that, right there ^^^ 2. for the hope of a pretty day, outside 3. that You promise to remember us 4. for that vision in Revelation, where people from every tribe, nation, and language sing praises to the Lamb 5. that You cause our love for You and for one another to overflow
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)
"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24 NIV)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NIV)
One of my favorite Daily Guideposts writers, Shawnelle Eliasen, was looking at some letters to Santa, along with her son, Logan (also a DG writer), in a local newspaper. A common thread through them all was the ending, “Please remember me.”
Says Shawnelle, “While I sipped coffee and watched the sky wake, I thought about the common cry of the human heart – of all who draw breath. Please remember me. Don’t forget me. Don’t abandon me, leave me out, or let me go unnoticed.
“Oh, what a gift it is that God the Father did not!
“Sin separated me from Him, but the Lord made a way for me. God Most High sent His Son, a flesh-and-bone, beating heart, Savior-baby, because He would not, could not, forget or overlook me.”
Thursday afternoon, C and I were walking around the Crims Chapel Cemetery. We were looking for the graves of my grandparents. It took a few minutes, and, along the way we found numerous other Vinsons (my mother’s maiden name). We finally found theirs, right alongside the grave of my Aunt Nancy, younger sister of Mama and Uncle Buddy, who died tragically in a car wreck at a young age.
Someday, no one will be left who will remember these names. Someday, there will be no one left who remembers that I ever walked on this earth.
Depressing, huh? Or at least it can be, if we forget God’s promises, or if we are focused on the wrong things.
Everyone wants to be remembered. No one wants to be left out. I think one of the reasons that people act out in the ways that they do is fear of being not noticed or forgotten. But I’m no psychologist, so I might be way off base, here.
But one thing I do know. And that is the God, my Father, remembers. He has forgotten something, though. My sin. He has intentionally forgotten (you just try intentionally forgetting something, sometime) all of my sin. He has made it as though I have never sinned at all. But He remembers me.
Go back up and look at that Scripture before my gratitude list for today. What can separate us from the love of God?
Death Life Angels Demons The present The future Any powers Height Depth ANYTHING ELSE IN ALL CREATION
You know what else can’t separate you from the love of God?
All my life I have heard people say, even from the pulpit, that our sin separates us from God.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, if we are, in fact, “in Christ,” that is a lie from the pits of hell!! Yes, if we are not believers in Jesus, our sin separates us from God.
But once we have believed in the saving power, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and have been “saved” from our sins, there is NOTHING THAT CAN SEPARATE US FROM GOD!!
Can I get a hallelujah??
“Sin” is included in that phrase of Romans 8:39 that says, “nor anything else in all creation!”
So, rest assured. There will be, one day, no one left on the earth who remembers my name or your name. But there is a God in heaven who will
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)
Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21 ESV)
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?" I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:9-17 ESV)
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – DAY SEVEN
I wait for Yahweh. My soul waits. I hope in his word. (Psalms 130:5 WEB)
In this quiet moment, I pause to reflect on the truths already revealed, this morning.
Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 146:1-10 NIV)
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NIV)
As for the “dwelling” segment for today, I feel that I’ve already engaged in that, and will move directly on to my closing prayers.
Father, I am so grateful for the truth that nothing in all creation can ever separate me from Your love in Christ Jesus. As long as I remain in Christ, and, according to Your Word, nothing can snatch me out of His hands, then I am connected to You and nothing can separate us. What a glorious truth. This, of course, does not free me to live as I please. Rather, it gives me comfort to not have to worry about messing up or stumbling to the point of losing my salvation. I am grateful that You will never forget me.
I pray that Your church would flourish throughout the earth. I pray that we would engage in worship that glorifies You, and that gathers, unites, and blesses Your people. I pray that new churches would spring up, all over the world, as Your Gospel is spread to the uttermost parts of the earth.
"Almighty God, this coming judgment day stretches my imagination with strange wonders. Every man, woman, and child - anyone who has lived from the beginning until the end of the world - will be summoned by the voice of the archangel and the sound of Your trumpet. Where will we all fit? Will we recognize others? Today, rest me in the greatest wonder - hearing the voice of Jesus confessing my name before the Father. Amen."
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. (Revelation 22:20-21 NIV)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!