Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 2/2/10

Crossing the Red Sea, Cosimo Rosselli, 1481-82

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

There’s a belief amidst our temporal age, amidst our present thoughts, that if the Red Sea doesn’t part or the Heavens don’t thunder and the earth doesn’t shake, if the booming voice of God doesn’t cut through the silence, and the sun doesn’t stop in the sky, then it isn’t a miracle. To see His hand at work we want to see bold expressions of Heaven and Earth moving in ways that transcend any or all of the powers of this world in such a way that it cannot be explained in any other way than the wondrous workings of the Lord moving, weaving in ways that we could not have ever imagined that finally the righteous will be uplifted and the unrighteous shall fall, that the believer shall be exalted and the sinner shall have no other choice but to see the miracles of the Lord and be called to the most sincere of repentance.

How many times?

How many times do we explain away the presence of God amidst this corporeal plane because, quite simply put, He does not work in the ways that we expect Him to work? Because He does not move like that Old Testament God who whispered through the night to call His servants? Because He does free His people by the unleashing of plagues upon those who would take captives or slaves, those who would rob all dignity from human life? How often do we dismiss His presence because He did not speak as He spoke to Saul of Tarsus, knocking him from His horse and striking him blind, that finally, when he was once more able to open his eyes, the spiritual blindness would be healed with the physical?

Transcending and encompassing, the presence of the Lord is supposed to be mystical and wondrous as He works His miracles in the lives of His people. And if He does not work in this way then we, so often times, just dismiss His presence, arguing that the God of Israel is nothing more than a mythical god, no different that the Olympians or the those ancients that were once believed to occupy the seats of Valhalla. We dismiss God’s presence because He does not work in the ways that we had thought He would work as we come to believe that there is no such thing as miracles any more.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith is a miracle… a wondrous, glorious miracle worked within our lives, that gives us an understanding that surpasses any understanding of this world. It is a force within our spirit that moves to enlighten us, giving us insights into the workings of God that perhaps we had never imagined before. The knowledge of His ways are there for us to see if we, with a humble and contrite heart, seek t understand it through His eyes, rather than the eyes of this world. (James 1:5-6) Amidst that is the deeper calling that tells unto us that just because we cannot see God’s hand, just because we cannot understand His presence in this world, does not mean that it is not at work.

The cynic will always tell us that God has abandoned us, or that He was never there to begin with. Even in the most ancient of days, when the children of Israel had seen the Lord move through their lives to bring them to freedom, carrying them from the land of their Egyptian slave masters as He parted the seas, and lead them by a pillar of light, as He gathered them in the desert and took them to the land of promise, tearing down the walls of Jericho and handing their enemies to them, their were those who would abandon the Lord, His works never enough for them.

Yet, even amidst all of that the blessed assurance of the Lord remained the same, it remained ever vigilant to the cause of His people as He showed that He would never fail or forsake them, regardless of the challenge, regardless of the struggle that laid before them. He would be the force and the strength amidst their lives, the ever present rock and refuge on which they could rely on even when it had seemed as if all the world around them was given to chaos and pain, suffering and sorrow, even as it seemed as if the odds were against them and there was no way that they would be left standing when the dust was to settle and stock was to be taken.

God is unchanging… the same today as He was yesterday He remains for all eternity, regardless of the day or the age that we find ourselves dwelling in. His promises do not fade, nor do they suddenly hold no meaning, or have no real value to them.

Perhaps we may not understanding how it is that God works. It could be that we look around and we question what it is that His is doing. It could be that we just don’t see Him as we look to the troubles and the challenges, the trials and the tribulations of this world. We want to see the great miracles of those days past and we are not satisfied until we do, because then, finally, we believe that we can give voice to our faith and have something tangible that we can point to that we may say that the Lord, our God is at work in this world, and His hand is guiding the course of human events to a better place according to the love and the mercy that He has for His people.

And why not? Why wouldn’t we want that? How could we not want that?

Yet the ever present truth of God’s grace is that it works, and it does so in the most mysterious of ways, weaving and intertwining itself through the course of human events in the most significant of ways. It is there to bring justice to those who are in the most desperate need of it and to heal the wounded, it is there to show us that freedom and liberty does exist as justice is worked through His hand. It may be in ways we had never really imagined God working before, but even in the days where the miracles were overwhelming signs and wonders, what we have to remember is that He used imperfect men and women, imperfect temporal means in order to work His ways. Why then would we dismiss the same in our present age because the earth doesn’t move and the heavens don’t break open?

Trust in the presence of the Lord and the ways of His hand, knowing that it all moves amidst this world according to His plan and His great compassion for His children. Trust in His presence and know that He will not fail or forsake His people as He shows unto them that His grace, it shall forever be sufficient for them as He makes the weakest strong, and the strongest weak. His presence is made known to us by His abiding love for us, we just have to take the time to look and to understand, seeking His wisdom and His design rather than our own, knowing that then all things shall be revealed unto us as His miracles come to bear throughout this world.

Then shall the presence of the Lord be undeniable as we testify of His truth, looking to the works of His hand, knowing that He has guided the course of even the most lost, even the most captive, to the glories of His wonder as His peace transcends the ages.

May all praise be to His glorious name for that….

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.


Through the glories of Your wondrous ways do we see Your hand moving amidst this world dear Lord, let us forever testify of it’s miracles that all nations, that all people shall see it as clearly as You show it in the lives of Your children.

To You do we give all praise for the release of the MS Filista, the ransom paid and the crew now rescued and on their way home. Their lives have been restored unto them from even the most grim of estate by the miracle of Your hand as You worked in their lives to give them the strength and the courage to overcome even the darkest of days that they had found themselves amidst.

To us it shall always be a miracle as we see how You were the refuge and the rock that they could anchor themselves to as they struggled amidst the deepest of trials that had overtaken their lives.

But, dear Lord, even as we pray this, giving praise to You for Your presence in preserving the crew of the Filista, our hearts are heavy for the suffering and the challenges of the political prisoners in Iran. Sentenced to death, they are oppressed by a bitter, brutal regime of terror and pain that holds Your gift of freedom and life cheap. We pray that You protect these souls now ripped from their families and their homes, and held in the dark places that they now find themselves amidst and that, in Your time, You rescue them. Show them there is a God who cares for them, who guides them and who loves them even as they find themselves held amidst the deepest challenges of their lives. Where their lives are held without value by men of iniquity and unrighteousness, show them that You shall always hold them dear and with grace in Your heart.

Then shall the works of Your hand be known throughout the ages as we worship the miracles of Your love in the lives of Your people as You show Your faithfulness to Your promises…

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

To Your promises do we flee, dear Lord, praying, asking, that You like a loving shepherd guide Your people. Protect them by Your rod and Your staff, showing them the mercy of Your ways, protecting them from the wolves of this world. Heal the wounded, give strength to the weak, free the captives and bring liberty to the slaves. To You Lord do we raise up all hostages, all prisoners and captives and slaves, seeking and imploring Your grace in their lives, knowing that You are the ever-present force in this world for justice. Let Your righteousness come to bear in their lives, as all sin and iniquity is out behind them. May they find themselves once more amidst the blessings of the life You had given them. Show them that the path of darkness that they now find themselves in, carried by unrighteous men of brutal iniquity is not the road that they shall always be on, but that You shall lead them back to the green pastures where they shall rest in peace, that peace that transcends all human understanding and worldly wisdom, that can only be brought by the power of Your Spirit, as You enlighten the souls of men.

Let not darkness reign, let not chaos march, but work Your ways so that those who would rip men and women from their homes, those who would hold life to be cheap or without any value shall see the errors of their ways, and that they shall be illuminated amidst their own darkness to come to a sincere repentence, showing that love that our Savior first taught us. Let them be a force for good instead of a force for evil. We pray this dear Lord, knowing that through Your Spirit all things are possible, that all things shall be made possible by Your will. And there we ask that Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

For our dear brother Ed do we pray O Lord. We pray for his family in this trying time in their lives, that You will give them courage and strength to overcome, showing Your love unto them as they face the challenges that now seek to tear them apart.

For all those dear Lord who are held in any captivity, whether of the body or the mind or the soul, whether sickness or disease, intolerance or poverty, we pray, asking that You lead them from that hurt and suffering that they know now in their lives to a better place, a place of Your blessed freedom.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end. Amen.

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