Today is Friday, the 2nd of December, 2022, in the first week of Advent.
May the peace of Christ surround you, today!
23 days until Christmas!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; (Psalms 119:41 ESV)
Lord God, our hearts are full of praise and thanks for your promise. You comfort and help us with this promise every day, enabling us to hold true through all distress. Remember us in these times, and let the cry, “Hosanna,” arise often in our hearts. Let a bright light shine out now as you once let it shine around the Lord Jesus, showing him as King and Savior. Protect us and bless us. Bless our land and all those appointed to govern. May your Spirit be with them so that they may carry out your will. For your will must be done and shall surely happen. In this we trust, and in this we hope. We praise you, O Lord our God. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Amen.
The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. Psalm 118:24-26, NIV
Today I am grateful:
- for hope; without it, we perish
- for the promises of God; He will do what He says He will do, I believe it
- for the light of Christ, that shines in our hearts
- for sleep, perhaps the ultimate exercise of faith
- for fellowship with the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26 ESV)
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 148:1-14 ESV)
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalms 127:2 NIV)
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. (Psalms 3:5 NIV)
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalms 4:8 NIV)
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalms 121:3-4 NIV)
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24 NIV)
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 NIV)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:24 NIV)
Faith is surrender; faith is fellowship.
Sleep may very well be the best example of faith that we encounter.
Seriously, think about it. When you go to sleep, you are the most vulnerable that you will ever be. You are at the mercy of the universe when you go to sleep.
What prevents us from sleeping? In my experience, it is usually anxiety, one of the enemy’s most powerful tools, alongside shame. If he can get us worrying about something, sleep evades us.
But look at those verses above, that deal with sleep. The Lord grants sleep to those He loves. We can sleep because He sustains us. He makes us dwell in safety. In contrast, the Lord, Himself never sleeps nor slumbers, which gives us more confidence in His “watchcare” over us. That’s a word I used to hear a lot in peoples’ prayers.
And that verse in Proverbs telling us that, because of our faith and confidence in the Lord, when we lie down, we will not be afraid and our sleep will be sweet.
Sleep is surrender. It is sweet surrender, because, when we sleep, our body heals itself from the day’s abuse.
Faith is surrender and fellowship. Faith does not equal sleep, but does sleep equal faith? Perhaps not, but I believe that sleep is a result of faith. When we fall asleep, we are exercising faith in God to care for us, to watch over us, to protect us in our most vulnerable state.
Father, I thank You for sleep. I had a pretty good night of sleep, last night. There have been some nights, recently, when my sleep was not so good. Does that indicate a lack of faith? Does that show my faith to be weak? Perhaps so, because, as I wrote up there, fitful sleep or lack of sleep sometimes indicates a lack of faith, because it is anxiety over things that keeps me from sleep.
Help us to cast all our cares on You, Lord, for You care for us. Help us to have the confidence to surrender to sleep before You, knowing that You, who watches over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps. Help us, Your human children, to deal in a more effective way with our anxieties that display a lack of faith. And help us, by faith, to not only surrender to You, but also have fellowship with You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.
(St. Teresa of Avila)
Grace and peace, friends.