Today is Friday, the third of December, 2021. First Friday of Advent.
Peace be with you!
Twenty-two days until Christmas
Yesterday, of course, was a bittersweet day. I was fine, emotionally, until it came time to sing the two songs at the service. I made it through “The Old Rugged Cross,” pretty well, only stumbling at the line, “then He’ll call me, someday, to my home far away.” But the second song I decided to sing was “I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin. It’s a great song for a setting like that. I was blindsided by emotions when I got to the chorus.
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise
I recovered, though, and made it through the song, with only one more “glitch” in the bridge. As I walked back to where C and S were sitting, in the family section of the room, I dared not look up to make eye contact with any of my cousins. And, of course, the emotions were driven by memories of my own father, as well.
We had a good trip home, but it seemed to take a lot longer than the trip out there. Of course, we hit Dallas at rush hour, and we stopped along the way to refuel and take a restroom break.
C is at the office today, rather than working from home, and I’ll be heading in to work my Friday shift at the library, in the computer/media center. It’s been three weeks since I’ve been in there. I hope I remember how everything works.
I’m off tomorrow, so I’ll have a few more days to recuperate from this week.
I’m currently reading The Black Echo, by Michael Connelly. It’s his first novel, from 1992. I had seen quite a few of his books during my shelving nights at the library. We have a large number of his, in both regular and large print. It wasn’t until I realized that he was the author responsible for Harry Bosch that I became interested in reading them. I am really enjoying this one, so I will, no doubt, continue in the series. I haven’t given up on The Divine Embrace. It’s still in the wings, and I will continue reading it, when I take the time to sit and take notes as I read it.
Be right back . . . I need a second cup of coffee.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Becoming Who We Are, by Daryl Madden
The journey of our life Of inner and afar That all paths lead unto Becoming who you are Acknowledging the truth A pride-filled sinner be Blessed be the finding Of the One who saves me That we find emptiness When this world, we purse That only gifts beyond Are treasures of value In telling of our story With humility In sharing of our gifts Our true purpose, be We are made complete Even though we’re flawed Because we’re a beloved Child of our God
“We are made complete, even though we’re flawed, because we’re a beloved Child of our God.” This reminds me of a Mercy Me song that I really like.
"No matter the bumps No matter the bruises No matter the scars Still the truth is The cross has made The cross has made you flawless No matter the hurt Or how deep the wound is No matter the pain Still the truth is The cross has made The cross has made you flawless"
Please check out more of Daryl’s poetry in the link provided above.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that, because of Your grace, and the cross of Christ, I am made complete, in spite of my flaws 2. for Your great love, that never fails and never ceases 3. for a safe trip home, last night 4. for loving memories of family 5. for "the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14)
Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13 ESV)
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 ESV)
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14 ESV)
What beautiful words are in these Scriptures, and how appropriate for them to come up today. God will turn our mourning into joy, and we will rejoice in Him with dancing and singing. Truly, no eye has seen, nor has any ear heard (not among the living, at least) the things that God has prepared for us who love Him. And this place in which we live? It is, truly, “no lasting city.” I, along with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, “seek the city that is to come.”
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:14-16 ESV)
. . . and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21 ESV)
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:9-12 ESV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – DAY SIX
With all my heart, I am waiting, LORD, for you! I trust your promises. (Psalms 130:5 CEV)
I pause, during this quiet moment, to meditate on these truths that have already been presented. I am waiting on You, Lord! I am waiting on and looking forward to that city that is yet to come.
A song of ascents. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. (Psalms 126:1-6 NIV)
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11-14 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I leisurely read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me. I linger over them, giving them my full attention. Do I find something within about which I wish to ask God? I pray my life to Him, resting in His presence.
Father, my family has experienced sorrow, this past week, yet we have also known Your joy. The truth of these promises, that those who go out weeping will return with songs of joy, has been realized, in real time, in our lives. There will still be sorrow, yes, but as was so aptly pointed out in yesterday’s funeral message, we have hope because of Jesus and His work in our lives. It is because of Him, whom we both celebrate, during this season, and for whom we await as we look forward to His return, that we have this joy.
I also find hope in these words as I ponder the potential of restoration for everything that is broken or flawed, in this creation. The poem and song, earlier on in this blog, have reminded me of the truth that everything that is flawed or broken will be fixed, made whole, and restored. And it is when these things become reality that our true joy will be made manifest. The joy we experience today, as great as it is, is still incomplete. It is incomplete because we are still dwelling in “jars of clay,” bodies of sin, this “mortal coil.” We long to shed this mortal coil and be done with it. We long to be done with this body of sin, with these temptations and sorrows. Oh, come, Lord Jesus and restore everything to its true reality!
Awaken us from our slumber! Make us aware that the time of our “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Oh, praise, that the “night is nearly over.” Help us to put aside all deeds of darkness and put on the “armor of light.” May we fully clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus and His righteousness!
I pray, Father, for relief and justice for all who are living in poverty and injustice. Give us, O Lord, both the willingness and the capacity to suffer with others, and give relief to the refugees, Lord!
"Sovereign God, on the coming judgment day the book on my life will be opened and a verdict will be given. Knowing that every idle work, every well-guarded secret and shadowed hypocrisy will be uncovered makes me want to run for cover. Remind me that just as You gave Adam and Eve garments to cover their shame, You dress me up in Christ-clothes that I might stand before You. Amen."
The one who has spoken these things says, "I am coming soon!" So, Lord Jesus, please come soon! I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you. (Revelation 22:20-21 CEV)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!