Ordinary People; Extraordinary Jesus

Today is Monday, the eleventh of April, 2022, in the sixth week of Lent, Holy Week.

May the peace of Christ fill your soul today!

Day 23,405

We had another wonderful day, yesterday. The trip to Mineral Wells and back went very well, with no delays or incidents on the road. We made it to FBC just in time to get seated for the worship service, which was a wonderful time of celebrating Jesus, and looking forward to Resurrection Sunday. The music included several choir soloists, as well as the handbell choir which played during the Lord’s Supper. I was also glad to get to take the Supper with the saints at FBC.

We picked up burgers and sundaes at Braum’s and took them to Mama’s house for lunch. Then we grabbed as much as we could squeeze into the car and headed back home, listening to the Texas Rangers trounce all over the Blue Jays, 12-6. That was good fun.

The Red Sox also managed to get their first win, beating the Yankees 4-3. In other scores, the Cleveland Guardians (now that’s going to take some getting used to . . . doesn’t sound like a baseball team name at all) jumped all over the KC Royals, 17-3.

After one weekend of play, one team remains undefeated, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers are in third place in the AL West, and the Red Sox are in fourth in the AL East. Houston leads the West, Tampa the East, and the Other Sox lead the Central. Mets, Cubs, and Padres lead the NL divisions. Chicago has two first place teams.

Today will mostly be a resting day as I get ready for one of my alternating “heavier” weeks at the library (working 3.5 shifts, this week). Couple loads of laundry to fold, and dinner to cook. Later, this afternoon, there will be groceries to put away. And I will probably do some practicing, as we are getting ready to have another Night of Worship on April 23. Oh, and I almost forgot, we have the Texas Rangers’ home opener this afternoon.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Days of Wonder,” by S. Michaels, LightWriters

I Am
remaking
all things

©2022 S. Michaels
Into the Light
(Prophetic Promises Haiku 2-3-2)

The hope of this promise is one of the things that keeps me going through this life. Please check out the beautiful poetry and lovely images that accompany it, at the link provided above.

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
(Psalms 149:4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the most wonderful day we had yesterday
2. for the truth that the Lord takes pleasure in His people
3. for the knowledge of God's presence
4. that God works in the "ordinary"
5. that God expects us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in His presence (Micah 6:8)

You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
(Deuteronomy 16:19-20 ESV)

“The most extraordinary feature of the gospel is its ordinariness. The fact that the Word that created the heavens and arranges the seasons enters ordinary lives and fashions eternal life in them is truly extraordinary.”

There is so much truth to this proclamation. Even when the miracle of new birth occurs in someone, to all external appearances, they are the same, ordinary people as they were the day before. Yet Scriptures says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG)

What does all this mean? Is there a “secret ingredient?”

“One of the extraordinary things about Jesus was that he unassumingly took his place among the ordinary men and women around him.” Consider this scene after the resurrection:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" 
She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." 
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" 
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 
Jesus said to her, "Mary." 
She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 
Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her.
(John 20:11-18 ESV)

The resurrected Christ appeared so ordinary that Mary thought He was a gardener.

Then we have the account of the two disciples on the Emmaus road.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
(Luke 24:28-32 ESV)

These two travelers just thought Jesus was another pilgrim on the road.

Even the disciples, having gone fishing after the resurrection, didn’t recognize Jesus when He called out to them from the shore.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
(John 21:1-4 ESV)

Until, of course, He did that thing where He told them where to cast their nets and they couldn’t pull the net in, as it was so heavy with fish.

Is Jesus trying to hide Himself from us? “He didn’t make it easy for us to see God in him.” Except, of course, when He was baptized, and then, again, at the Transfiguration.

I have to confess that this puzzles me a little bit. Because I don’t see it as Jesus intentionally making it difficult for us to see God in Him. Rather, I think He tries to make us feel comfortable in His presence.

There is something about the Transfiguration which I had not considered until a few weeks ago, when I heard what was probably the best sermon I’ve ever heard on the subject. The pastor who was preaching that morning, at Living Word Lutheran Church, in Grapevine, TX, wondered if maybe what the three disciples saw when Jesus was transfigured, that which caused them to be “terrified” (Mark 9:6), was the same vision of Christ that John the Revelator saw.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
(Revelation 1:12-16 ESV)

Here were these three ordinary fishermen, who had been walking with this “ordinary” guy for a little while, and suddenly, they see this?

Yeah, I’d be terrified, too. And maybe, just maybe, that’s why Jesus appeared to Mary as looking like an ordinary gardener, and He appeared to those two travelers as just another person on a journey. If we saw Jesus in all of His glory, the way John the Revelator did, we, too, I’m sure, would fall “at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17).

So, in between the appearances of Jesus in the New Testament, and His appearance that “every eye will see,” at the end of days (I’m not including the “Rapture” because I do not believe in that as a separate event from the Second Coming), we see Jesus walking in around in you and me. Ordinary people carrying around a miracle in our “jars of clay,” so that, hopefully, other ordinary people will see Him and take note of this great salvation that we have.

But there’s a catch. It’s that pesky bit about “love.” Unfortunately, people aren’t seeing a lot of Jesus in those who are supposed to be carrying Him around, because the hate that they are spewing is louder than the Gospel.

That just needs to stop. Period.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I thank You for all of the “ordinary” that we see in Scripture, especially surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus. Certainly, He did many extraordinary things, things that drew attention to Him and showed Your might power in this world. But He also appeared so very ordinary, as evidenced by the Scripture passages above. So ordinary that people didn’t realize who He was until He spoke or acted.

I pray for Your children today. We are walking around in our world, supposedly carrying the truth of the Gospel in our “jars of clay,” so that it is evident that we are nothing special, but the message we are carrying is so very special. But that message is getting obscured by a lack of love and compassion in those who are making the most noise.

I pray for them to be either silenced or have a severe, drastic change of heart. And, lest I be misunderstood, by “silenced” I am not praying for You to smite anyone. I’m simply praying for their voices to be drowned out by the prevalent voice of Your love and compassion and mercy coming from the rest of us.

I pray for Your truth to be known. I don’t claim to understand all of Your ways, and know that I will not understand them until the day that I stand in Your presence (or fall on my face, which is more likely). So, in that case, I choose to err on the side of love and mercy, rather than on the side of legalism and judgment. Hopefully, I am not erring at all.

May Your grace and mercy be known in all the world, and may the earth be filled with the knowledge of You as the waters fill the seas. I think that’s a hymn somewhere.

Give us glimpses of extraordinary Jesus, our Savior, as we walk through this ordinary world in our ordinary mortal coils.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Fixers

The moment something “bad” happens to us, “people start showing up telling us exactly what is wrong with us and what we must do to get better. Sufferers attract fixers the way roadkill attracts vultures.”

Good morning. Today is Monday, the seventeenth of January, 2022, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today!

Day 23,321

Six days until Hamilton!

We had a nice gathering, yesterday, for our house church. There were six of us in person, and two on Zoom. We only managed to get through one Psalm (52), but had some good discussion, and great fellowship. I really feel that we are closer to what the first century church did at their gatherings, anyway. We talk about our lives, read some Scripture, and pray together. Occasionally, we also break bread together. One thing I’m missing, though . . . we haven’t taken the supper in a while. I need to bring that up.

C is working from home, this week. She still doesn’t feel great, but feels better than yesterday. We feel like that terrible wind on Saturday blew in some junk or stirred it up in the air. Not even a hint of fever, for any of us, though. I’m sneezing and sniffling a bit, this morning, but have felt pretty much fine for a few days.

There is nothing much on today’s agenda. Tomorrow, I have an appointment to pick up my new CPAP machine, at 11:00 AM. Once I get that and get it set up, I may be looking at changing doctors. C’s doctor has moved from the clinic he was at, along with a couple other associates. I may be switching over to them. I haven’t decided, yet. It’s a lot easier for me to find time to visit a doctor’s office, these days, so they don’t have to be real close. Their new office is on South Main in Fort Worth, close to the “hospital district,” about twelve miles from my house. That’s not too bad, and is about fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on the time of day.

All the wrong teams won, yesterday. The Buccaneers blew out the Eagles, the 49ers beat the ‘boys, and the Chiefs beat the Steelers. I’ll probably be rooting for the Bills from this point on. It feels like rooting for the end of the world, though, so I don’t know. The Cardinals and Rams play tonight, and I literally could not possibly care less who wins that game.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" 
And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 
No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins." 
(Mark 2:18-22 ESV)

In this passage, Jesus and His disciples are being criticized for not doing “religious things,” such as fasting. They are being compared to two different groups, neither of which had much in common. It is worth noting that Jesus, in His response, refers to Himself as “the bridegroom,” and seems to indicate that his “taking away” will be of a violent nature.

As I read this, I consider the idea of “religious things,” and how I feel about them. There is certainly nothing wrong with ritual. I’m somewhat a fan of it, actually. I am drawn toward church settings that employ ritual and liturgy, even though the current setting that I attend does not. I have not, however, ever been able to get a firm grip on the ritual of fasting. I have fasted before, but not on a regular basis.

But when ritualistic things are done “religiously,” without focus on the object (i.e., the “bridegroom”), they are meaningless. Ritual for the sake of ritual is worthless.

I will confess that I have never quite understood the examples of the cloth and the wineskins. I get the technical descriptions and understand the truth that, if you patch and old garment with a piece of new material, and then wash it, the new material will shrink, and destroy the work that was done. And I understand that fermenting wine swells, which would burst a wineskin that had already been stretched out.

What I’m not sure of is how this applies to people and their relationship to Jesus and the Father. I’m looking at some commentary at the moment, in particular by Alexander MacLaren, and it says that, “The attempt was made to keep Christianity within the limits of Judaism; it failed, but not before much harm had been done to Christianity. Over and over again the effort has been made in the Church, and it has always ended disastrously,-and it always will.” This makes sense, and I can see, as the New Testament progresses, that similar disagreements arose, especially concerning things like circumcision.

I would welcome any other thoughts or suggestions regarding this. And as we, as the opening song suggests, turn our eyes upon Jesus, may the things of the earth truly grow strangely dim.

(From Pray As You Go)

I find it interesting that, in Symphony of Salvation, Eugene H. Peterson takes four chapters to go through the book of Job. Today, I’m in the third of the four, which deals with Job’s “friends” who come try to “fix” him, during his suffering.

And who among us has not experienced something similar to Job? The moment something “bad” happens to us, “people start showing up telling us exactly what is wrong with us and what we must do to get better. Sufferers attract fixers the way roadkill attracts vultures.” I actually love that last sentence!

And, you might notice, these people are usually full of “advice” from God’s Word! They tend to play “fast and loose” with biblical quotations. The question is, though, “Why is it that for all their apparent compassion we feel worse instead of better after they’ve said their piece?”

Many of the things that Job’s “friends” said were “technically true.” But it is that “technical” part that spoils them. “They are answers without personal relationship, intellect without intimacy. The answers are slapped onto Job’s ravaged life like labels on a specimen bottle.” And here is how Job defended himself:

Then Job defended himself:
 "I've had all I can take of your talk. 
What a bunch of miserable comforters! 
Is there no end to your windbag speeches? 
What's your problem that you go on and on like this?
 If you were in my shoes, I could talk just like you. 
I could put together a terrific harangue and really let you have it. 
But I'd never do that. 
I'd console and comfort, make things better, not worse!
(Job 16:1-5 MSG)

“The book of Job does not reject answers as such. There is content to biblical religion. It is the secularization of answers that is rejected – answers severed from their Source, the living God, the Word that both batters us and heals us. We cannot have truth about God divorced from the mind and heart of God.”

And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, 
holding everything in common. 
They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
(Acts 2:44-45 MSG)
"Let me give you a new command: 
Love one another. 
In the same way I loved you, you love one another. 
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other."
(John 13:34-35 MSG)
And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives 
and splashes over on everyone around you, 
just as it does from us to you.
(1 Thessalonians 3:12 MSG)

Father, as I turn my eyes toward Jesus, this morning, I pray that my focus may stay sharp. By this point in my life, I am surely an “old wineskin,” but have I been fully stretched to my maximum capacity? I think not. I believe there is still room for me to be stretched, and You continue to do so, as each year goes by. I pray to You, constantly, that You would teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. And just when I think I’ve got Your way figured out, You take me a little deeper and show me something that, while it may not be “new,” it is new to me. I pray that I will continue to be receptive to that wisdom and knowledge, as it comes.

I also pray that I would never fall prey to the temptation to be like Job’s friends. We all think we’ve got all the answers, and it is very easy to sit around and instruct someone who is suffering, to tell them why they’re suffering, and what they did wrong to get there. When, truthfully, we have no idea whatsoever. I pray that, when I encounter suffering in others, I would have the wisdom to know what to say and how to say it. I also pray that I might have the wisdom to not “say” at all, but to merely sit and listen, or simply be with the person, sitting in silent support. May we not be guilty of citing chapter and verse without having Your mind and heart on the matter.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Father, I pray for continued work in the area of racial reconciliation. We seem to have moved tremendously backward in recent years, and, sadly, driven largely by people claiming to be followers of Christ! May it never be, Lord! Help us, Your people, to be compassionate people who fight for the equality of all men, especially considering how we have been graciously given the salvation that began with Israel! Were it not for Your compassion and Your equal treatment of all people, we “Gentiles” would be permanently lost! Oh, how we seem to have forgotten this. God have mercy on us and help us!

Finally, in the spirit of yesterday’s readings, I invited Jesus to intervene and intercede in our world today. Jesus, please bring forth healing. We beg You to eradicate this plague from our world, and I pray that Your people would demonstrate more willingness to stop thinking selfishly and make sacrifices for the greater good.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Today I am grateful:

1. for the salvation that has been granted us and made available to people from every race, tribe, tongue, and nation
2. for people who know the mind and heart of God and can truly be helpful and compassionate to those who are suffering, without trying to "fix" them
3. for a mind and heart that desires to see equal rights and treatment for all people
4. that God continues to stretch me with new understanding of biblical concepts
5. for the mind and heart to be more devoted to God than to religious things
And now to him who can keep you on your feet, 
standing tall in his bright presence, 
fresh and celebrating— 
to our one God, 
our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master,
 be glory, 
majesty, 
strength, 
and rule before all time, and now,
 and to the end of all time. 
YES. 
(Jude 1:24-25 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

“He Is Not Here; He Has Risen!”

Today is Sunday, the fourth of April, 2021. The first Sunday in the season of Easter.

Resurrection Sunday

Peace be with you!

Day 23,033

46 days until our next trip to Glen Rose

Today, commonly known as Easter Sunday, is Resurrection Sunday, for that is what we celebrate on Easter. It’s not really about chocolate bunnies or even Cadbury eggs (which I did not buy yesterday, but I wanted to). It is about life; it is about new beginnings.

And, as a new beginning of sorts, the church that meets at Brandon and Kristin’s house will be meeting in person, with precautions in place, again, beginning today. It will be wonderful to take the Supper together again, which is the part I’m most looking forward to.

Speaking of that, C and I will need to stop by a store on the way in and grab some supplies for the Supper.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I registered a 2.4 pound loss at the WW Workshop, which surprised the heck out of me! I was not expecting that. I thought I might lose a pound, maybe. So April is off to a good start, as I’m looking at being under 200 (they call it “Onederland”) by the end of this year. I would like to say that I want to be at goal by year’s end, but that is still 61.8 pounds away. I would have to average a loss of 2 pounds a week for the rest of the year to make that. However, I only need to lose 26 pounds to be under 200.

We also got S’s bed put together, yesterday afternoon, which, as promised, required no tools. Well, we did have to use scissors to cut some zip ties, but that was it. All we had to do was unfold the bed frame, insert the screw-on legs, flip the frame over, and plug it in. It’s one of those that raises and lowers, and it even vibrates! C and I may have to get one of those for ourselves! Hahaha!

Today, after our church gathering, we will have our traditional Applebee’s Sunday lunch. We plan to have steaks and corn on the cob (cooked sous vide) for dinner tonight.

The Texas Rangers continue to under-impress, as they lost big to the Royals again, yesterday, 11-4. This is causing some grave concern over pitching, already. The starting pitcher, Kohei Arihara, did not get the loss, as he was ahead when he left the game after five innings. The losing pitcher was Josh Sborz. Winning for KC was former Rangers pitcher Mike Minor. Why did they let him go?

One positive note is that Joey Gallo showed his formidable prowess as he clubbed a 450 ft home run, early in the game, to put the Rangers ahead 2-0.

The two teams will play again to day at 1:10 PM CDT, in KC, with Jordan Lyles taking the mound for Texas.

The Red Sox lost again to the Orioles, so both of my favorite teams are 0-2 on the season.

In the AL, we still have Baltimore, Detroit, KC, and Houston, as undefeated teams. In the NL, Philadelphia and San Diego remain undefeated. Boston, Cleveland, Texas, Oakland, Atlanta, and Arizona have yet to win a game. Washington and NY Mets have not played a game, yet, due to Covid. The entire NL Central division is tied at 1-1.

And that’s it for the norts spews.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
(Matthew 28:5-6 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
  • that today, I will get to celebrate with brothers and sisters, in person
  • that this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
  • for the admonition to allow You to touch parts of my life that remain in darkness
  • for the writings of Marci Alborghetti in Daily Guideposts 2021

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

The Easter season will go for fifty days and culminate in Pentecost Sunday. Throughout this season, we will “let the implications of the resurrection sink in deeper, inviting us to realign our worldview and conform our living to the reality that we have been raised with Christ to new life.”

The Easter season also includes the Ascension, which is called, in the book, the “wallflower Christian holiday.”

EASTER – DAY 1

INVITATION

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1 Peter 1:3 NIV)

I pause for a quiet moment to reflect on the new birth in Jesus Christ.

BIBLE SONG

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 NIV)

Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
(Psalms 118:15-18 NIV)

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalms 118:22-24 NIV)

BIBLE READING

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:1-10 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I enjoy the presence of the Lord, this morning (and I truly am), I take another look at these passages, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me, drawing me in more deeply.

It is definitely inspiring to read Psalm 118 in the context of the resurrection. “The LORD’s right hand has done might things! The LORD”s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” Jesus was, indeed, chastened severely, for the sins of mankind were placed on His shoulders. And while He died, it was only briefly, so it could truly be said that He was not “given over” to death.

Jesus, that stone that the “builders” (Pharisees and religious leaders) rejected, is now the chief cornerstone. “The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And, as other translations say, “This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (118:24 ESV)

I have a slightly humorous visual of the angel sitting on the stone. Matthew says that the angel came down, “rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Perhaps I have never noticed that little phrase before. I can see the angel, bright as lightning, dressed in white, sitting atop the stone, kicking his feet back and forth, just waiting for Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to arrive. Maybe even a big grin on his face.

And here, I believe, is a very important point. Why did the angel roll back the stone? It was most certainly not to let Jesus out! Jesus was already out! We already know, from passages that we will, no doubt, read in the coming days, that the resurrected Jesus had the ability to appear in the middle of a locked room. Therefore, He did not need the stone to be removed in order to escape the tomb.

The stone was rolled away for the benefit of Mary and Mary, and of Peter and John, who will arrive a little bit later. It was rolled away so that we could see the empty tomb.

“He is not here; he has risen.”

Perhaps the seven most beautiful words ever spoken!

Father, I praise You for this day, which You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it! Thank You for the cross; thank You for the resurrection! Thank You for those seven words, which changed the world forever. Thank You for washing away, erasing, my sin forever. I confess my inadequacy, my unworthiness, my seeming inability to stop sinning, even in the light of such glorious truth. Strengthen me, Lord, keep reaching me and teaching me and enabling me to live righteously through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let today be another “new beginning” for me.

Risen Jesus,
no one saw it coming,
but your march out of the tomb has changed everything.
This day leaves me breathless in wonder -
death is conquered,
hope lives,
love wins, 
salvation is here!
Give me profound delight as I enjoy your resurrection life 
and deep devotion as I follow your resurrection way.
Christ is risen,
hallelujah!
Amen.
(Heidelberg Catechism 45)

BLESSING

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’”
(Luke 24:45-47 NLT)

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.”
(Luke 1:68-75 NLT)

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
(Luke 2:25-35 NIV)

“Jesus, Lord, live in my always, so that someday I may rise to You.” (Marci Alborghetti, Daily Guideposts 2021)

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
(Hosea 10:12 NIV)

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
(Matthew 13:23 NIV)

My Father, as I celebrate this joyful morning, I also acknowledge that there are parts of my life that, while they may not be “untouched” by You, are most certainly kept behind a curtain, so to speak. I have already asked for today to be a sort of “new beginning,” and I reiterate that, now. Tear open those curtains that “hide” (I am fully aware that I can hide nothing from You) the darker parts of my life. Plow my “unplowed ground,” and sew the seeds of righteousness in it. Let there be a harvest, Father, a “crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” All glory to You, Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit!

Lord, grant us all fellowship with our risen Savior, this morning! May Your presence be felt in every congregation and every household that is celebrating this day! Give us spiritual renewal and refreshment today. May Your Holy Spirit fill us to overflowing!

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!

Grace and peace, friends.

Come To the Table

Today is Thursday, the first of April, 2021. Maundy Thursday in Holy Week.

Day 23,030

Three days until Resurrection Sunday!

Opening Day is today! The Texas Rangers will face the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City at 3:10 PM CDT. Kyle Gibson will be starting for the Rangers.

I’ll update the pool situation, even though there’s not a lot of news. We are waiting on the insurance people to determine how much, if any, is covered by our homeowner’s insurance. Once we get that, then we will contact the person who gave us the estimate to get started on the work. I’m sure it will take a while, as he has a regular job, servicing our pool chemicals each week. We will have to give him some money up front, so he can order the parts needed. The biggest piece will be the pool heater. And, of course, we are hoping that there is no damage to the actual pool, itself. It doesn’t seem to be leaking anywhere, so that is good.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Your love
flows like a stream
into the ocean of your Grace.
Your love
encircles this world,
displays your faithfulness.
Your love
is patient and kind,
brings wholeness and true peace.
Your love
is all we desire
to heal our brokenness.
As all things pass
and fade away
love remains
eternally
(Author unknown, obtained from faithandworship.com)

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah.
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!
(Psalms 68:32-35 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the Holy Supper that we commemorate on this day
  • for the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world
  • that You do not scorn nor despise the suffering of the afflicted
  • for the Supper Table, where all are welcome to sit next to Jesus
  • for my daily bread

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

LENT – DAY 38

INVITATION

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(John 1:29 NIV)

I pause for a moment to reflect on the love of God, which encircles the world and displays His faithfulness.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
(Psalms 22:1-5 NIV)

You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!
(Psalms 22:23-26 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
(Luke 22:7-8 NIV)

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!”
(Luke 22:14-22 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I take refreshment in His presence, this morning, I consider the passages above, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me, however He desires.

This morning, I am drawn to the idea of praising God; “You who fear the LORD, praise him!” Why? “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one.” The Lord cares for the suffering and afflicted among us. “The poor will eat and be satisfied,” and “those who seek the LORD will praise him.”

I am fully persuaded that our God is able to accomplish this. We will do whatever we can, in human terms, to help, but our God will make sure that, someday, the poor will eat and be satisfied. Scripture warns us, over and over, that God cares deeply for the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, and I feel relatively confident that the myriads of people who claim the name of Jesus, and then turn around and scorn the needy, will be judged, somehow. Their salvation may not be in jeopardy (if, in fact, it exists at all), but I believe there will be some kind of consequences.

The one thing that I see in the Gospel passage gives me pity for Judas. We tend to be angry with him, and that is probably not wrong. However, Jesus’s statement at the end of verse 22 should send chills through anyone’s bones. “Woe to that man who betrays him!” Matthew, in 26:24, adds, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

There is a lot of speculation out there on how Jesus could have saved Judas, but Judas wasn’t willing and so on, and so on. But this speculation fails to take one important thing into consideration. This had to happen! It was part of the plan. Judas was in a no-win situation.

Father, I praise You, just as the psalmist tells me. I am grateful for the words that admonish me to fear You and praise You. I am also most grateful that You do not despise or scorn the suffering of the afflicted. I pray for people who do, just as I pray for the people who are the afflicted, who suffer. I lift up widows and orphans everywhere, people who have no one in their lives. May Your people rise up and care for them. I thank You for the faithful people who do this. There are some folks in my own mother’s life for whom I am eternally grateful and pray Your riches blessings upon them, for they give her transportation and company, as well as encouragement and blessing. May we all take lessons from such folks.

Lamb of God,
at the last supper you gave us the spiritual table by which you continue to communicate yourself and all your benefits to us.
May this meal nourish,
strengthen,
and comfort our poor,
desperate souls with your life-giving body and blood today and every time we gather around it.
Amen.
(Belgic Confession 35)

BLESSING

In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12 NIV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. . . . As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
(John 15:7, 9 ESV)

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
(Luke 22:14-15 ESV)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 ESV)

Marci Alborghetti, in today’s reading from Daily Guideposts 2021, brings out a very important thought. As Jesus sat at table with His disciples, He “knew that just as He would soon suffer alone, so would each of them in the coming days and years suffer alone.”

There are many, many people in our world today who suffer alone. These are they whom God does not scorn nor despise. And what we see at the Supper Table is “a place next to Jesus for everyone who at some point suffers alone.” Beautiful words worthy of pondering. Thank you, Marci.

Father, I praise You for the Table, where there is a place for all of us, next to Jesus! May this bring joy to my heart today, as we commemorate the “Last Supper.” May Jesus bring blessing and joy to His people today!

Lord, may You give me and all of Your children a deeper and richer understanding of the Gospel. May the love of Jesus flow from me to all whom I encounter today. May You give us all vibrant and living prayer lives. Help me to pray better and more often.

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!

Grace and peace, friends.

I Still Believe

Today is Saturday, September 19, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,836

22 days until our Broken Bow vacation; 23 days until our 35th wedding anniversary!

23 years ago, today, we lost the lyric, musical, and spiritual genius of Rich Mullins.

Overall, this past week was pretty good. And I get to testify that I did a pretty good job of remembering what I was supposed to remember, yesterday, after my morning blog. I made it through the day pretty well, with a constant attitude of “it is well with my soul.” I was able, I hope, to express love in some way to everyone. I will confess, however, that the one person I find it hardest to love was not there.

The weekend has no unusual plans, that I know of. We have our in-person WW Workshop at 10:30. We did remember to sign up for it. I think I might lose a couple pounds. I think we will, just like last week, head over to Sprouts for our fruit/produce right afterward, and pick up Sonic drinks in that area, as well.

C is feeling well, this weekend, so she will probably get the groceries after we have our brunch.

Tomorrow, we will have our in-person meeting of The Church at Brandon and Kristin’s, at 10:15. That’s about it. We’re reading the book The Acts of the Apostles, now, and only got through chapter one last week.

One last thing. C has notified me that she is scheduled to return to full time work at the office on September 28, just under two weeks from now. You can bet she’s not looking forward to that. I believe the department heads have already returned. People with offices will return on September 28, and people who share cubicle spaces will continue to work from home.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

God, my Father,
You have promised to remain forever with those
who do what is just and right.
Help me to live in Your presence.
The loving plan of Your Wisdom was made known when
Jesus, your Son, became man like us.
I want to obey His commandment of love
and bring Your peace and joy to others.
Keep before me the wisdom and love
You have made known in Your Son.
Help me to be like Him in word and deed.


(Prayer to Live in God’s Presence)

Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours

So bless GOD, you angels, ready and able to fly at his bidding, quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless GOD, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless GOD, all creatures, wherever you are— everything and everyone made by GOD. And you, O my soul, bless GOD!
(Psalms 103:20-22 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the weekend, to rest up for the coming work week
  2. That through all of this pandemic, the Lord has protected us, and that we still have our jobs (and, unlike many, we have managed to lose weight)
  3. For the body and blood of Jesus Christ, celebrated weekly in the Supper
  4. That through it all, I still believe
  5. THAT YOU WILL NEVER LET ME GO!!

Show me the light of Your countenance, O God, and come to me.
(based on Psalm 67:1)

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
(Psalms 42:1 ESV)

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
(Psalms 118:22-23 ESV)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
(John 6:53-58 ESV)

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,
so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
(Psalms 89:19-29 ESV)

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.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
(Acts 3:2-8 ESV)

And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
(Acts 3:16 ESV)

What makes us strong? According to this passage, it is faith; faith in the Name of Jesus.

I continue to struggle with the fact that we do not see miracles such as this in our day. I understand that, in the book of Acts, the Gospel is forging into the frontier. It is new. And many of the miracles that happened served to advance this new Gospel.

But I also sincerely believe that we have lost something along the way. I’m still sussing that out, though. I believe that prayer has a lot to do with it. But I also believe that belief has much to do with it. When we pray, do we really believe that God will do what we ask? Or are we just hoping?

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:23-24 ESV)

I have found myself crying out to God as the father of that child did: “I believe; help my unbelief!”

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3 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)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 ESV)

Father, You have kept my faith alive, through all of these years. As I have watched friends fall by the wayside, for some reason that I can’t fathom, You have held me in Your strong hand of love. I praise You for this, Lord, as I can hold my head up and proclaim, “I Still Believe!” Help my unbelief, my God! I want to see Your power work in this world, as it did in the book of Acts. I don’t want power for myself. If I have power, I will begin to believe it is mine. I want to see YOUR power. I want to channel Your power. “I believe; help my unbelief!”

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!

“I’ll march this road, I’ll climb this hill
Upon on my knees if I have to
I’ll take my place up on this stage
I’ll wait ’til the end of time for you like everybody else”

“For people like us in places like this
We need all the hope that we can get”
(James Paul Goodwin, Michael Been)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Supper

Good morning. It is Sunday, June 1, 2014. 20 more days until the first day of Summer.

Today is Say Something Nice Day. So everybody try to only say nice things today. I’ll see how long I can go. . .

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Christi made breakfast for lunch, which was, as always, delicious. We relaxed until church time, then went up to where our church meets, got things set up, then had our prayer gathering. The worship service was very nice last night. I think it all was very good. As the music was going on, I was thinking how nice the simplistic setting was (two acoustic guitars, a leader, and one background vocalist–three people). No, it wasn’t what you might consider to be “dynamic,” by any stretch. Most of the songs had the same feel and tempo. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about directing our attention to God, and worshiping him, and that’s what happened. The sermon was an overview of the second chapter of Ruth, and was very good. It centered on Ruth’s actions and attitude, after losing everything she had and moving to a totally foreign country. Instead of sitting around, feeling sorry for herself and demanding something from God (entitlement), she went to work, confident and expectant that someone would take notice and show favor to her and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Sure enough, she “just happened” to find herself in the fields of Boaz, a distant relative, who did, in fact, show favor to her. At that point, she was very humble. So the points of the message were that there are three responses that we should have when tough times strike us. We should 1) walk confidently, 2) walk humbly, and 3) walk expectantly.

Today, I believe Stephanie has an outing to the horse farm planned with her friend, Summer. While that’s going on, we will probably do grocery shopping, and who knows what else. The rest of the day will be resting up for the week ahead. Christi should start the process for the new job sometime this week. She’ll have to do another background check and drug test. Unfortunately, they can’t just share the one from the other job.

(Source: History.com)

On this date in 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released by The Beatles. Upon the initial hearing the new album, Bob Dylan is reported to have said, “Oh I get it, you don’t want to be cute any more.” Here is a You Tube clip of “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.”

Oh, my. I just realized that this was forty-seven years ago.

I feel old.

Today is the birthday of Brigham Young, Nelson Riddle, Andy Griffith, Pat Boone, Reverend Ike, Morgan Freeman, Rene Auberjonois, Ron Wood, Derek Lowe, Heidi Klum, Alanis Morisette, and Brandi Carlile. It is also the birthday of Norma Jean Mortenson, born on this date in 1926. After a short and torrid career, Marilyn Monroe took her life in 1962. Here is a very well-made montage to Elton John’s “Candle In the Wind.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
Psalm 118:27
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
his God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Colossians 2:13-15
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]

Psalm 145:8-13

“Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may
hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart
those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:26-29

In recent weeks, the part of our worship service that has become most meaningful to me is The Supper. Some call it Communion, some call it The Lord’s Supper. For our little community of faith, it is a time of response in each week’s worship service. And yes, we have it every week. Our pastor decided that this should be done, a few months ago. There is much discussion on how often we should observe The Supper, but it is all pure conjecture, because Jesus did not instruct us as to the frequency, only that we were to do it in remembrance of him.

But during our observance of The Supper, we are admonished to think about several things. First, we are to, as Jesus instructed, remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Then, we are admonished to, as Paul stated, discern the body. Our pastor’s interpretation of this is that we must, before taking The Supper, consider our relationships within the body. If we have anything against anyone who is there, we are admonished to take care of this and make it right before partaking of the bread and wine (or grape juice, depending on the individual’s preference). I have had some very meaningful moments over the past few weeks, as I have spiritually and emotionally prepared myself for the act. It has most definitely been the high point of the last several worship services.

Whatever your church’s practice in this matter, I encourage you to consider these things the next time you partake of The Supper. Reflect upon the sacrifice made for us, and then consider your relationships within the body. I dare say, your experience with The Supper will be heightened.

The Supper
The Supper

Father, I thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I thank you for the weekly observance of The Supper, and what it means in the lives of believers everywhere. I am encouraged by the thought of believers in many cities and countries, taking Communion “together,” whenever they observe it. As we partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, in whatever tradition we profess, I pray that we would also partake of his righteousness and holiness, these attributes that you have imputed unto us through his sacrifice. It is a beautiful observance, and I praise you for this.

I thank you for this day of rest, and pray that we would be well-rested for the week ahead. I thank you for this new job offer for Christi, and what it will mean for our family. Help us to be responsible with this blessing and to be generous with the resources you have given us. I pray that Stephanie will have a good time with Summer as she goes to see two new baby horses, and then to have lunch with them. Terry and Summer, not the horses.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace and peace, friends.