Today is Tuesday, the ninth of March, 2021, in the third week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
26 days until Resurrection Sunday
Today will be a little unusual, at work. Several groups of us are going to be shuttled to McKinney, where our client’s main facility is, to get new badges. I know my badge is set to expire in six days (they must be renewed every year), but normally, they can do it remotely. However, I hear, this time, that we are getting totally new badges. So we get a little road trip today.
I’m feeling a a few allergy symptoms, this morning. I woke up sneezing several times, during the night, and my nose is running slightly, but otherwise, I’m okay.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.
(Psalms 63:1-2 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- That I am alive and breathing
- That You are my God, and that I am seeking You
- That no one who truly hopes in You will ever be put to shame
- That, when I am tempted, there is always a choice to do right
- For the easy yoke of Jesus
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 18
And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 NIV)
Ponder, for a moment, how the holiness of the Lord becomes known through your day.
In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.
I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
(Psalms 25:1-3 NIV)
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.
Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
(Psalms 25:16-22 NIV)
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
(1 Corinthians 10:1-5 NIV)
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
(1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord, this morning, there are a couple of things that speak to me in these readings.
First, if we put our hope in the Lord, I mean really put our hope in Him, we shall never be put to shame. This is, I believe, an important thing. Here’s the thing . . . if we truly hope in the Lord, we will never do anything that could bring shame upon us.
I have been ashamed, in the course of my life. Ashamed of my actions. But, during the committing of those actions, I most definitely was not putting my hope in the Lord, was I?
If I live my life completely in the hope of Him, I won’t step off of the path, and there will be no reason for me to ever feel shame. Of course, our enemy will attempt to make us feel shame for any and every reason imaginable. Perhaps I didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to minister to someone in some way. There are a number of reasons that our enemy could use against us to try to make us feel worthless.
But my hope is in God, and as long as I walk in that, there is no reason for shame or guilt.
The second thing is the warning in the Corinthians passage. Verse 12 warns us against being overly confident in our status of standing. “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall,” Paul warns us.
He then gives the famous verse about temptation, assuring us that God will never allow us to be tempted with something that we cannot overcome. I think that this may not be so much a promise (many well-meaning people have abused this “promise”) as a statement of fact, meant to insure that we don’t try to use excuses for our sin.
“The devil made me do it,” Geraldine famously said. (Apologies to any younger readers who may not know who that is. Go on You Tube and search for Flip Wilson Geraldine.) But Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:13 takes that excuse away from us. The devil never made anyone do anything. The devil didn’t make Eve take a bite of the fruit of that tree. We always do it willingly. But we had a choice. We always have a choice. Every time I’m watching a TV show, and a character says, “I had no choice,” I vigorously disagree. You always have a choice.
Father, I thank You for the truth that if I put my hope in You, I will never be put to shame. I thank You for the truth that, when I am tempted, I always have a choice, and there is always a way of escape. May I walk in these truths today, and may my hope always be in You.
"Living God, I mistakenly presume that your mercy takes the edge of offense from my sin, but a glimpse of your supreme majesty sobers me. My sin is an offense so serious that its penalty is eternal punishment of body and soul. Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy. Amen." (Heidelberg Catechism 11)
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
(Psalms 32:1-2 NIV)
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
Father, I praise You for rest. I don’t always rest well, at night, but when I do, I am so grateful for it. I love falling asleep meditating on Your Word. It gives me a more peaceful sleep, I believe. I am also thankful for the easy yoke of Jesus. I pray that more of us would step into that fully, being aware of its truth. When we walk in the yoke with Jesus, everything is easier, because He is strong, and He carries the brunt of the burden. Thank You, my Savior!
Lord, I thank You for the call to serve You in my home, in my community, and in my workplace. May I honor You in all of my choices today. May all of us be a blessing to those around us today. I pray a blessing on all those who work in agriculture today.
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!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.