Good morning. Today is Thursday, the twenty-seventh of January, 2022, in the third week of Ordinary Time.
Peace be with you!
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. If there is every anything that we should “never forget,” the horrors of Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews is certainly one of them.
Yesterday’s adventure with Maggie (cat) went almost perfectly. We got in and out of the TCAP facility in a flash. In fact, the doctor had administered the vaccine before I finished filling out the paperwork. We were not charged anything, as the voucher from the Watauga animal shelter covered it. We picked up Sonic drinks and some candy, along with a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes, because C is totally stressed out with work, right now, on the way home, and dropped off the proof of vaccination at the Watauga facility, which is just down the road from our house, probably less than a mile away.
I need to make a quick trip to a grocery store, today, because I don’t have any buttermilk, and I’m planning to cook Pecan-Crusted Buttermilk Chicken for dinner tonight. One of these days, I’m going to get adventurous and try something new.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek." Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! (Psalms 27:7-9 ESV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that the Lord is my light and my salvation 2. that, in Him, I have nothing to fear, for He is the stronghold of my life 3. for Jesus Christ, light of the world 4. that if we are generous with others, both in physical resources and with grace, our Father will be generous with us 5. that in some respects, our Father is generous with us even when we are not generous with others (that's mercy)
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Mark 4:21-25 ESV)
These are images that the people to whom Jesus was speaking could understand. Lamps were their source of light, and where a lamp was placed in a room made a big difference. Obviously, if you put it under a basket or a bed, it didn’t shed much light. But then, Jesus seems to be relating this to secrets and hidden things.
Likewise, these people would be familiar with measuring and weighing things, as in the marketplace. It’s how they sold and bought grain. Jesus seems to be indicating that the more generous you are, them ore generous the Father will be. And He’s not just talking about physical goods, here.
The light of Jesus Christ is not meant to be hidden. “This little light of mine . . . I’m gonna let it shine.” It’s not a secret. Doesn’t mean that’s all I’m going to talk about. But I’m not going to try to hide it. And I’ve been learning more and more, over the past decade or so, about the measuring out and the measure that I use. This has to do with grace.
I do believe that it relates to physical goods and generosity, and God has led me down a more generous path, the older I get. However, I believe that it also, and perhaps more accurately, defines the usage of grace in our lives. The measure I use to categorize and judge my neighbor or my brother in Christ is the same measure that will be used against me. That’s what Jesus said.
Now. Take that and apply it to yourself. Examine yourself, I challenge you. What measure do you use against your neighbor? Are you willing to have yourself judged by the same measure?
One of my favorite illustrations that my former pastor used to use is the illustration of imagining that we all had a voice recorder hanging around our neck for our whole lives. What would happen if, after our death, the Lord would play back the recording and ask us if we lived according to our own “rules?” “The measure you give will be the measure you get.”
“Pay attention to what you hear,” Jesus said. I could take this in several different ways, but I think that Jesus is telling us that we really need to take heed of what He is saying. This is serious stuff. We should not simply read over this without paying attention to it. This is one reason that I have, in recent years, tended to not do a reading plan that goes through the whole Bible in a year. I’ve done it many times, and I am, in fact doing it again, this year. But it definitely encourages reading (or listening, in my case, this time) without really comprehending what is being said. It becomes another thing to mark off the checklist.
I’m trying real hard not to do that, this time.
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
(From Pray As You Go)
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
(Psalms 25:5 ESV)
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:24 ESV)
Today’s prayer word is “kiss.” And while we are not exactly in an environment that encourages 1 Peter 5:14, these days, we can still certainly “love one another.”
Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
(1 Peter 5:14 ESV)
Father, I pray for grace to be the measure I use; all the time, for all people, everywhere. We tend to show grace when it is convenient, when we have “time.” But it’s not really “grace” then, is it? Help me to be more gracious to all people. Help me to remember that the measure I use is the same measure that will be used for me. That’s a terrifying thought sometimes, and if anyone says otherwise, they are either lying or just plain ignorant. Or maybe delusional, thinking that they are much better people than they really are.
Help me to live my life as though every second was being recorded and would be broadcast for all to see at the end of it. How much that has already happened would I be utterly embarrassed by? (A lot, that’s for sure!) What if my thoughts would someday be broadcast for all to hear? I might have a lot fewer friends than I have. I’d probably live alone in a cave.
I’m not alone, I know this, Father. But we all need a shot of reality in this. And while we may not be able to safely kiss one another (and that isn’t welcomed quite as much in this culture as it is in other countries or the days of Jesus), but we can still practice love, and we can still follow Jesus’s command to do to others what we would like to have done to us.
Thank You for the Light of the world. Thank You for the words of Jesus, that we have, recorded, that we may read them and heed them. Help us to take them seriously, and read them carefully. Then help us to put them into practice in our own lives.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. (Kyrie)
Grace and peace, friends.