Today is Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of July, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Twenty-two days until S’s birthday!
S and I are going to attend a Texas Rangers baseball game, tonight! It will be our first time in the new stadium, as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rangers finally won a game, last night, beating the D-backs 5-4. I have to admit that I was concerned, since the D-backs are currently (and have been for most of the year) the worst team in MLB. The Rangers, however, appear to be contesting that “honor.”
We will be joining a group from FBC Mineral Wells for this event, tonight, so that will be fun. I know S is really looking forward to this.
Things are moving in a positive direction, for me. Not very rapidly, still, but that’s okay. After notifying my doctor’s office that the sleep study people had not received the referral, I received word that they resubmitted the referral. Finally, I got a call from Blackstone and was informed that my device will be sent to my home, and after using it for two nights, I will return it to them. After they get it back, the data will be sent to my doctor’s office, and, provided they don’t manage to lose it or something, we will then be able to know if I need a new CPAP machine. Unfortunately, the soonest Blackstone can ship the unit is August 5, which is next Friday. Oh, well.
I also got my fingerprinting scheduled, finally. I never got an email from them, so I finally went back to the website where I registered, and found a link to schedule the appointment. So that will happen Monday morning at 10:00 AM. Then I have the interview with the Hurst library Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM. There may not be a light at the end of this tunnel, yet, but at least I’m in the tunnel.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Glory to You, Lord God of our fathers; You are worthy of praise; glory to You. Glory to You for the radiance of Your holy Name; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. Glory to You in the splendor of Your temple; on the throne of Your majesty, glory to You. Glory to You, seated between the Cherubim; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. Glory to You, beholding the depths; in the high vault of heaven, glory to You. Glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. (TeDeum)
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that things are moving in a positive direction for me; 2. for the chance to have some fun and fellowship tonight; 3. for upcoming endings that are new beginnings; 4. that You are always working Your plan; 5. that You will do whatever You say You will do (in Your own time).
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TEN – DAY FOUR
GOD always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does.
(Psalms 145:13 MSG)
I pause to consider the truth that You always do what You say You will do. I also acknowledge that sometimes we are mistaken about what we think You said You will do.
To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
(Psalms 28:1-2, 6-9 NIV)
Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
(Genesis 18:10-15 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, more slowly, with more intention, I look for words and phrases that speak to my spirit. I try to allow the Holy Spirit to guide this time, which requires me to also try to not center in on things that I have noticed before. My goal is to keep the Word of God fresh in my heart and mind.
Have you ever had periods of time where it seemed as though the Lord was being silent? I have, and I feel relatively positive that you have, too. It is easy to understand what David means when he says, “I will be like those who go down to the pit.” That’s exactly how I felt last Wednesday afternoon, for about forty-five minutes, as I sat alone in that CareNow exam room, thinking that my early retirement dreams had been shattered.
I cried out to God. My state of mind went back and forth between anger and despair. But it wasn’t too long before I was echoing David’s joyfulness in verses 6-9, because God was not silent for long. While it is true that things have not worked out exactly as I had hoped and planned, things are working out, and they will, I am fully persuaded, work out for the best, no matter what happens.
And that is what finding peace is all about. We have to stop focusing so much on what we want to happen. We need to be at a place where we are okay, at peace, with whatever happens, even if, and especially if, it is not quite what we hoped or planned. God knows best, not me. And I trust in Him. His mercy reigns and rules over my life, and I trust Him.
Abraham and Sarah are a perfect example. Things had not worked out the way they thought they would. But God had a plan, and He was working it. And He is working it in His own time, not ours. Which can be disconcerting when we remember that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years, and vice versa.
“Hold on, Lord! I don’t exactly have a thousand years!”
I imagine the Lord might chuckle a little at that. Because He does know exactly how long we do have. But He is not bound by time. We’ve discussed that before, here. God exists outside of time. And He is not in a hurry.
And because God is not in a hurry, I am getting better at not being in a hurry, too.
Father, I praise You that You have not been silent, and that I am not like those who go down to the pit. You have produced a lasting peace in my soul. You have led me down a path that does not produce hurry in my life. I am at peace with Your plan for me, and I will wait for You to work it out. Doesn’t mean I will sit on my buns and do nothing, mind you. But it does mean that I will stop being impatient (hopefully) and be content with where You have me.
Whatever happens, I pray that, going forward, I will experience new and fresh ways to minister to people, in whatever job I find myself in. Keep my eyes open, looking for ways to serve and minister in Your Name.
I pray, this morning, for all governments, world leaders, and the various needs in our world. Help us to not be so self-centered when we consider needs, but turn our eyes outward, more globally than nationally. I pray specifically for my own continent, this morning, that of North America. May Your presence be felt in our land, today. I also lift up all who are incarcerated in any fashion, and those who have or are in the process of committing criminal activities. May Your Holy Spirit surround them today, and make them change their minds.
"Promise-making God, I get Sarah's laughter. It's the sad snicker that covers a cracked heart. Faith withers when life feels wrung dry and past its best-used-by date. For all who feel life has passed them by and find that faith comes hard, create through your Holy Spirit the laughter of love, the faith that your promises are true, and the hope that in Jesus the best is yet to be. Amen."
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
(Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)
He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.
(Psalms 33:5 NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
(Philippians 4:8 NLT)
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 NLT)
For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
(Hebrews 10:10-14 NLT)
And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:18-22 NLT)
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.