Good morning. Today is Wednesday, the ninth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be with you.
There’s not much going on around here, today. C is working from home, Mama is here and planning to go back to Mineral Wells tomorrow. I have to go in to “work” for an hour today, for a meeting, and I’m planning to cook Pecan Crusted Buttermilk Chicken tonight, for dinner. I have a grocery order scheduled for delivery, around lunch time. That’s about it. Should be a “chill” day.
It was a good evening at the library (starting to sound like a broken record, right?), last night. I really love my library people, and they know it, too. There’s always something to talk about, whether it be music we like or books (imagine that), or, most recently, Wordle. I introduced one of them to Dordle, yesterday. Dordle is like “double Wordle.” Here’s my Wordle score for today:
Wordle 235 2/6*
Yeah, I got lucky.
And here’s my Dordle score:
Daily Dordle #0016 5&7/7
As you can see, Dordle has two words! The way it works is, you type in a word, and it shows up on both sides (two columns of five letters), telling you if that letter is in that word and if it is in the right position. Once you get one of the words right, the rest of the guesses are dark, and it only types in the other word. So far, I have not guessed the second word first.
Dordle hasn’t quite caught on like Wordle, just yet. I have also heard that the NY Times has bought Wordle. If they start charging for it, I’ll quit playing, as I’m sure many others will.
Time for another cup of coffee. Be right back.
I’ve discovered a design that I’m getting on a new t-shirt. It will be ready next week.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
You are here for me; You will not withhold Your love; I am here for You.
As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
(Psalms 40:11 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for blue skies smilin' at me (not the song) 2. that God is good; He is truly the only One worthy of being called "good" 3. for the freedom that comes when we forgive 4. for the confidence to pray specific prayers, for myself and for others 5. for those times when the veil between heaven and earth seems to fade, and we get a glimpse of the other side
I half-expected today’s prayer word to be “everywhere,” but it is not. It is “free.” Again, I find that this is a word that could mean many things to many different people. The quote by renowned Christian author and Reformed theologian Lewis B. Smedes, says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is an odd animal. Jesus had some things to say about forgiveness.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4 ESV)
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 ESV)
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
(Mark 11:25 ESV)
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)
I’ve struggled mightily with that last one, believe me. It almost sounds like it makes our salvation based on “works,” rather than grace. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Today’s topic is “free.” When we free others by forgiving them, we also free ourselves. If I carry a grudge, I’m the one bearing the burden. I also think it is interesting that that passage in Mark doesn’t say anything about repentance. If I’m praying, and I have something against someone else, I’m supposed to instantly forgive them on the spot.
(From Pray a Word a Day)
When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment. (Matthew 8:5-10, 13 ESV)
Read this passage in light of yesterday’s discussion on prayer. Is prayer difficult? There is no answer to that question. Or, perhaps, the answer is, “Yes . . . and no.” The centurion found prayer to be easy. Yet, he did not deem himself worthy to have Jesus under his roof.
We, as stated yesterday, seem to prefer praying for huge things, world-wide things. Or maybe it’s that we subconsciously are praying for things that we know won’t cause us to have to do anything. There’s a thought, huh? I mean, what can I, individually, do about “world peace?” But if I pray for God to feed the hungry, He might impress upon me to take some food to someone, driving me out of my comfort zone.
What is it, though, that keeps me from voicing specific prayer requests? I don’t think it’s fear. But that might be it for some people. The fear being, “What if He doesn’t answer?” My perspective on that is that God will always answer. It just may not be the answer I want. And then I have to deal with disappointment.
There’s a thought that I see, sometimes, in contemporary music, that says, that God will never let you down.
I’m sorry to tell you this (no I’m not), but yes, He will. God will let you down. It’s inevitable. If you follow Jesus correctly, He will disappoint you. He never promised not to.
You see, it’s not about you! It’s not about me! This is one area where the modern church has completely lost its way. Was it yesterday when I read something about people turning God into an object they can use for their benefit? Turns out that’s not so modern is it?
So if I don’t ask God for something specific, I won’t be disappointed, right? But why bother praying at all, then? Why even ask for “world peace?”
Here’s the thing. If I’m going to ask for something specific, I’d best be ready to act when God begins answering, because His answer to that prayer might very well include me doing something. I’m encouraged to “experiment” with prayer, thinking of something to ask God for, over the next week. I’ll try to remember to revisit that, later.
(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)
GOD is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, No matter how desperate the trouble. (Nahum 1:7-8 MSG)
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24 NIV)
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. (Psalms 3:5 NIV)
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalms 121:3-4 NIV)
“I long for moments when the line between heaven and earth fades, where I can see the other side from over here.” ~ Ashley Kappel
(From Daily Guideposts 2022)
Father, I echo Ashley Kappel’s sentiment. I long for those moments, when it does seem as though the veil between heaven and earth is thinner, fading, and we get a glimpse of the “other side.” I hope that this experience becomes more common as I draw closer to You.
I praise You for being You . . . You are good, as Jesus said, the only One who can truly be called “good.” You are truly a hiding place, my fortress or strong tower, where I can run and hide when I feel oppressed by our enemy. You are always there to help us, and all we have to do is cry out to You in our desperate need.
I pray for the faith to pray for specific needs, things that are beyond our scope of fulfilling. Help me to believe enough to truly pray for healing, or, as the case may be, for something as small as new shoes. Show me what to pray for, and for whom to pray. And then give me the confidence to come before Your throne. I praise You for the mercy You give. You are mercy, the very embodiment of it.
And help me to always be forgiving. Even if there is no sign of repentance from the other party, help me to release whatever it is that is holding me back. I want nothing between me and Thee. Help me to be truly free, Father, and help me to free others as well. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
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.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.