Peace With God

Today is Sunday, the thirtieth of May, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,089

Tomorrow is Memorial Day!

Today is also Holy Trinity Sunday.

We are up and getting ready to go to Mineral Wells, this morning. I don’t have a lot time, because we need to leave the house by 8:30. So I won’t get into any personal stuff, not that there is much to get into anyway.

There is a bit of sad news. We lost BJ Thomas and Gavin McLeod both, yesterday. McLeod, whom I knew best from Love Boat, was 90, and I believe Thomas was 78. I don’t know about Gavin, but BJ had been in poor health for a while, as I remember a previous announcement that he was suffering from some kind of cancer.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Follow the light--
and turn your life around.

Read the page in Scripture--
and turn the words over in your mind.

Acknowledge the grace of God--
and turn it into faith.

See the love around us--
and turn it into praise.

Stand firm in your faith--
and turn the other cheek.

Grow closer to our Lord--
and turn away from sin.

Thwart the spread of bitterness--
and turn to forgiveness.

Know of his resurrection--
and turn to joy.

Turn away from darkness--
and turn to the light.
("Turn to God" by Dayrl Madden, from On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD.
(Psalms 26:12 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the peace in my soul, this morning
2. that, because of the work of Christ, I am eternally at peace with You
3. that there is nothing that can disturb that peace
4. that You answer me when I call
5. for the mystery of the Holy Trinity

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

ORDINARY TIME – DAY 1

(This will start over each week, from now until Advent)

INVITATION

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:5 NIV)

I pause during this moment to briefly meditate on the presence of God and His love, poured into our hearts.

BIBLE SONG

A song of ascents.

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
(Psalms 120:1-7 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I leisurely read these passages again, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations.

The Lord answers me when I call out to Him. Maybe I am in distress over something. Maybe I’m just dissatisfied about something, maybe even dissatisfied about the way He is responding or not responding to something.

Don’t tell me you have never felt that way. Just read the Psalms. Even the great and might David, the “man after God’s own heart,” felt that way at times. And God never chastised him for it.

But the point is, God will respond in some way. More often than not, it is a gentle nudge in my spirit. But sometimes, circumstances seem to redirect.

Also of note, in Psalm 120, is this idea that God is not too fond of deceitful lips. Be careful what you say, both to Him, about Him, and to others and about others. One of the more grievous sins (although I truly believe that God does not categorize sins) seems to be that of gossip.

Please note that the Bible never says, “Thou shalt not lie.” The command, one of the “big ten,” says,

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 NIV)

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 NLT)

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 ESV)

The Message, not a literal translation, is the only one that even uses the word “lie,” but then qualifies it with “about your neighbor.”

No lies about your neighbor.
(Exodus 20:16 MSG)

Just some food for thought, here, telling us that we really need to be careful with the words that come out of our mouths, especially when talking about our “neighbors.”

As for the Romans passage, the first word that jumps out at me is “peace.” Because we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God! Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we are in an eternal state of peace with God!

And through this progression of events, named in verse 3-4, we have hope, in which we are not put to shame. The invitation verse for the week is verse 5. The book chooses to omit the first phrase for the invitation, which says, “And hope does not put us to shame.”

Shame is a nasty tool of the devil. It may be one of his biggest tools against Christians. Shame is debilitating. Shame will make you sit still and do nothing, wallowing in self-pity, because you believe that you are not worthy of anything that God has done for you and that He could never use you to do anything good.

Shame is brought on by people who will attack your worthiness (sometimes even parents, but thank God, not mine). “You’ll never amount to anything,” people may tell you. Or you may tell yourself that.

Lies.

Remember the Psalm??

Remember the commandment??

You are not to even bear false witness about YOURSELF!!

I tell you the truth, these words are coming to me, as I type, and I am fully persuaded that they are coming from the Holy Spirit.

You are enough! Because of the work of Jesus Christ, you (if you have called His name, and begun to follow in His words and steps) are enough! And because we are justified by faith, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we are in a state of peace with God, which is now and forevermore!

There is nothing that can disturb that peace!

Well, nothing except shame, which is a lie, and only disturbs my peace from my direction.

I once heard an oversimplified definition of “propitiation,” on of those fifty-dollar theology words. The definition was, “God is not mad at you any more.”

Oversimplified, yes. But true. More lies from well-meaning preachers. God is not mad at you. If you are in Christ, all of your sins have been erased, past, present, and even future. You are, I am, enough.

Please take some time to rest in that, this morning, especially if you are one who struggles mightily with your own worthiness.

Father, I praise You for the work of Jesus, because of which I am eternally at peace with You. Am I perfect? Not even close. Do I still sin? Daily, maybe even hourly. Are you angry with me? Not the way I understand it. I love You, Father, and I am so grateful for the work You have done in my spirit, over the past few years. I am thankful for the peace, the love, and the way You are gradually (gradually because I’m so darned stubborn) transforming me into someone who spreads that love, and who loves his neighbor. Keep transforming me, Lord. Don’t stop.

Three-personed God,
you are a wonder.
God the Father our Creator,
God the Son our Deliverer,
God the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier.
United and yet each unique,
sole God but not solitary,
three and yet one.
Thank you for this mystery:
that at the heart of the universe is a communion of love.
Amen.
(Heidelberg Catechism 24/25)

BLESSING

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
(Psalms 4:8 NLT)

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”
(Genesis 28:16 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Father, thank You for being my refuge and strength. Thank You for giving me rest and sleep each day. Thank you for moving a universe to answer our prayers. Or maybe thank You for leading us to pray for things that are already happening.

Lord, please give us resurrection hope and joy, this morning, as we join with the communion of saints in worship, around the world. Give us faith and strength and boldness to share the Gospel of Christ in love. May we all experience a deeper fellowship with You, the Triune God.

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. Shalom Aleichem!

The Love of the Holy Trinity

I can only imagine how much it pains the heart of God to see the hatred that continues to ravage this world, especially when it comes from people who claim to know Him.

Today is Sunday, June 7, 2020, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, beginning the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time.

Day 22,732

Fourteen days until Father’s Day

We tried the Kroger grocery pick-up, yesterday, for the first time in quite a while. They are still a bit behind on orders, but we were able to pick up on the same day we ordered. Our order wound up being early closer to the end of the hour window we picked. But, at least they called me to let me know it would be toward the end of the window. There were a few items that were out of stock, and a couple of the substitutions were rejected. For example, they tried to substitute regular Sprite for Sprite Zero. To me, that substitution is simply illogical. I think I would try either Diet 7-Up or a generic brand before switching from diet to regular.

When we arrived, there were three other cars parked in the special parking spots, ahead of us, and one arrived while we were waiting. There was only one girl bringing out the orders, bless her heart. We gave her a tip when she got to us.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. C mowed the yard after we had our brunch and watched an episode of Ozark. We are into the third (and possibly final) season of the show.

This morning, we are getting ready for our worship gathering of The Church that Meets at Brandon and Kristin’s. At this point, we are about half attending and half Zooming. The majority of the people still zooming are doing so for the health of the elderly patriarch of the family.

My knee is, in my opinion, 100% better, this morning. I am able to walk around without the cane. It still hurts more right when I stand up and begin to walk, but eases up pretty quickly after a few steps. This is encouraging, as the last time something like this happened, I was on a cane for several weeks.

This morning’s topic and scriptures will be concerning being judgmental. I was tempted to not go.

I’m kidding.

A little. But I might wear my steel-toed shoes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
(Psalms 96:7-9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, both in person and via Zoom
  2. That You have created my soul to thirst for You
  3. For the example of love in the Holy Trinity
  4. For people who exemplify this love, as much as people can do this
  5. For You grace, poured out when we fail to love

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
(Psalms 43:3-4 ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
(Psalms 42:1-2 ESV)

For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?—
(Psalms 18:31 ESV)

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
(Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
(Psalms 111:2-9 ESV)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

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.

O God, from whom all good proceeds:
Grant that by Your inspiration I may think those things that are right,
and by Your merciful guiding may do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit;
one God for ever and ever.
Amen.
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father,
You have brought me in safety to this new day:
Preserve me with Your mighty power,
that I may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of Your purpose;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Amen.
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
(Luke 10:30-36 ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
(John 3:16-18 ESV)

“We celebrate today the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. It is a celebration of the unconditional love God has for humanity, which God manifests as the creating love (which is God the Father), the saving love (which is God the Son), and the sanctifying love (which is God the Holy Spirit). God therefore is love, and whoever lives in God lives in love and continues to manifest God’s love to other people. The Trinity is a perfect example for us of how love enables us to open up our hearts to others in order to bring them closer to God and that they may have new life in God.”

“God loves us so that we may have eternal life. But this love is not forced unto us; it is freely given. Imagine this love of God being given to you now.” Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life that is stopping me from receiving this unconditional love of God?”

Jesus explicitly states that He did not come to the world to condemn it. He came to bring life to the world, eternal, abundant life.

(Pray As You Go)


In the past few years, I have become more and more enamored with the Holy Trinity. The expressions of love within the Godhead are unfathomable, and incomprehensible to the human mind. We can only begin to imagine the depths of love within the Trinity. The Father points to the Son, the Holy Spirit points to the Son, the Son points to the Father . . . and so on. Not a single one of the members of the Trinity says, “Hey, look at Me!”

As humans who are feebly attempting to follow Christ, we would do well to at least try to comprehend the love within the Trinity, and emulate it.

The parable of the “Good Samaritan” certainly goes a little ways toward teaching us this. And Jesus, over and over and over, preached love. Love for God, love for mankind.

Love for “enemies.”

I can only imagine how much it pains the heart of God to see the hatred that continues to ravage this world, especially when it comes from people who claim to know Him.

Father, save us. Rescue this world. I know. I know. I’ve read the book. It doesn’t end well for this world. It will continue to get more and more evil (which increasingly seems less possible) as the days progress, until the day when Your Son will finally come back and take Your people home to the “new heaven and the new earth” that You have waiting for us. This all sounds so fantastic. Yet I believe it with all my heart. And, as the psalmist implies in Psalm 42, my soul pants for it.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to love like You love.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
(John 13:34 ESV)