Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 2/23/10

The Final Judgment, Giotto, 1305

“Do they not err that devise evil? But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.”
Proverbs 14:22

It does not matter who we are or how strong we may believe that we may be, it doesn’t matter how many triumphs we believe that we might have had, in the end, when we do that which is evil, when we abide in wickedness and unrighteousness, error comes, and we find that judgment is not far behind us as our fall is assured to us. Yet, when we do that which is right we know that God, He does contend with our cause and shows unto mercy as He reveals His truth amidst the deeper questions of our souls.

Still, as hard as we may try to believe that, or as much as we may know that, it seems like a far off, a far distant certainty amidst this world. We dwell in peace and we seek that which is good, yet it seems as if the victories go to those who work their own ways and abide in their own will as they let sin and iniquity overtake their souls. They subjugate their fellow man, the oppress the weak, they persecute the poor and the downtrodden, as their strength is made known by the pain and the anguish, the suffering and the sorrow they bring.

And so we cry out to the Lord, “Why do wicked men triumph? Why do the sinful seem to succeed as they wage their war against the soul, break the spirit and offer defeat unto our hearts?” We look to their works and we wonder why it is that it feels like they have the power and the authority. Like David we cry out to the Lord, “Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves.” (Psalm 140:1 and 8)

We want to believe that the ultimate victory, the ultimate triumph will belong to the righteous as the wicked are set to flight and the hurt that they bring through their transgressions is blotted out of the broken hearts of men as the dignity is restored to their lives. As we look around though it seems as anything but is the case as darkness comes to easily and chaos is brought so quickly as the world is set ablaze by the grim acts of those who hold the world in their grasps, choking the life out of humanity as they feed so readily on misery and despair.

It is truth though, when all else seems to fail us, that has to dominate our souls…

There is a hope, transcending and encompassing, that guides the soul through all of the challenges of the spirit, no matter how great or encompassing, no matter how overwhelming or overshadowing. The Lord God Almighty, the same God who delivered captive Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, the same God who would send His only Son that we might proclaim with all who suffer that “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26) contends with our cause. He walks beside us in mercy and truth, the light unto our path and the lamp unto our feet, (Psalm 119:105) showing us the path of His love as He guards us and protects us from all this world has to wage against us.

It is here then that we know that though it may seem as if the wicked and the unrighteous have the strength now, they shall not for all time, for though it may seem as if they will never fall, their life is given to error and fault, and they shall see the inevitable descent that comes from such a course, as they plunge to the depth of judgment. It is then that we know that all who take captives shall be delivered into captivity, and those who make slaves out of men shall be held in slavery as the hatred and contempt that guided their lives comes to encompass their souls amidst the sorrow that they have brought upon themselves.

Then shall all who trust in God’s mercy, all who put their hope in His love and compassion, all who have faith in His grace, find that the reward of that abiding, transcending freedom amidst the blessings of liberty through the power of His Spirit.

No matter where we go there is no escaping that we live in a sinful world, one so prone to subjugation and degradation as the old Adversary asserts his dominance over this corporeal plane. But, likewise, there is no escaping the fact that those who dwell in the power of the Prince of this World in this temporal existence, shall find that they dwell in His dominion when they are ultimately called to pay the price for their transgressions against their fellow man and the pain and suffering that they brought against them.

Let yourselves then not fall into the same trap as they have, do not be so ensnared or entangled in the same web that they have. Live with a humble and contrite heart, one always focused on God and doing that which is right in His sight. Show love unto your fellow man that you might show praise unto God, pray for those held in captivity, whatever that captivity may be, show mercy to those who are suffering in sorrow and despair, be guided by compassion that you might pour forth the grace of the Lord through the power of the Spirit and prove that you truly are a disciple of Christ.

Do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, making the cause of all people the cause that forever guides your life as you live, day by day, to show that which is right and acceptable I the eyes of the Lord, edifying and nourishing humanity through the hope that God gave unto Your life.

Let mercy and truth be the light of Your life as you show yourself to be a imitator of God contending with the cause of those in any sort of need and trouble, even when it seems as if courage is fleeting and optimism is far off. Generations of apostles and disciples, saints and prophets have found themselves in times of trouble that, though it may not always seem like it as our age seems so overwhelming, exceeded our own trials of our age, and they were carried, by the Lord, to the better places of His divine love.

Therefore, do not be disheartened by the power of evil men on the march or by the strength that they show in this world, for this world and all the things of it are fleeting, and their shall be a time, a time none can escape, when we are all called before the judgment seat to give a full accounting for that which we did with our time of grace.

Then shall you know that you have abided in that which is right and good, ready to stand before God as a redeemed child of His mercy while those who have showed such contemptible error, and such vile hatred shall find that they have no defense when they are asked for their accounting before the most high. Justice shall come and justice shall be done, inescapable by the quick tongue and the excuses that are offered, and sometimes believed by this world in our own base understanding and inability to grasp, for as the true authority of God is revealed there are none who lived for themselves and their own errors who can escape it.

Lord, let that be us then who stands for Your truth and Your righteousness that mercy shall follow us through all of our days.

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

First Prayer:

Be our guide…

Through this world of darkness and sin, this world of bitter anguish and brutal iniquity be our guide Lord, leading us down the path of Your righteousness through the mercy that comes by and through Your hand. Let not the sinful and the wicked triumph over Your people through the evil that they bring but show that there is an ever present, ever vigilant force, forever faithful, moving through the course of human events to bring real justice into an unjust world.

Be the Shepherd for the forty souls kidnapped by Ugandan Rebels as they struggle amidst captivity and bondage, humiliation and subjugation. Lift Your rod and Your staff and let Your hand be before them, protecting them through these dark days of hurt and sorrow that so threaten to overtake them. Find them amidst the places they are held and lead them from them to the green pastures of your loving warmth that they may find peace and joy once more in their lives.

Heal the soldier wounded amidst this kidnapping, and let him recover from the pain that has been inflicted on him that he might return to his home and his family, that he might find comfort once more with them.

These men who make slaves of others, who rob dignity from the lives of the people, they take upon themselves your name as they call themselves the Lord’s Resistance Army. Whatever their cause, whatever their struggle Lord, show them that when they act to bring bondage into the world as they have they do not contend with Your cause but set themselves as Your enemy, proving unto You that they are not disciples of Your Son, who taught us that new commandment, that we should love one another as Christ first loved us. Show them that they may truly call themselves your servants as they edify and strengthen their fellow man, rather than taking all that they have from them.

Be the guiding presence in the life of Pierre Camatte held these long months by al-Qaeda as he longs to return home.

We hear now that four prisoners have been released from Mali. Though that government may claim that they were just releasing those who have done their time, let it be enough to satisfy those members of this terrorist group now holding this innocent man that he may, at long last, be freed. Let not his life be dominated by this misery he know finds it amidst but show him grace as you bring him to the blessed air of liberty as Your love takes him from the dark and hidden places to the places of solace and comfort where terror and dread are finally set to flight.

Then shall all who truly look see Your hand and Your presence at work throughout the world.

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.

Second Prayer:

Blessed is Your name amidst the nations and through all the Earth O Lord, fount of our compassion and our strength. Let your love and Your presence then shine through as the shield of strength and the sword of righteousness for all who suffer and struggle, for all who are afflicted and pained.

Rise up Lord…

Rise up for the cause of Your people, let them not find themselves amidst the agony and the anguish of captivity and bondage but break the chains that so fasten them to sorrow and pain that they might be set to the blessings of liberty that come through Your Holy name.

Rise up and be the force that contends forever with their tribulations that they may know that there is a merciful God, one who never fails, nor forsakes the cause of His people when they are in distress or when despair threatens to overtake them amidst the trials that this world offers.

Rise up and offer to them peace, that transcending, encompassing peace that comes when You move faithfully and vigilantly to bring hope to the hopeless and when You disperse the gloomy clouds of grey to shine forth the light of Your love through this world.

Rise up to show the unrighteousness and the wicked that they have no strength, they have no power, they have no authority when You are on the move and that You will not let them stand amidst their transgressions against their fellow man for all times or in all places.

Rise up and let not those who take prisoners and hostages, who make captives and slaves claim the victory or the triumph but let them see that they are weak and insignificant compared to the compassion of Your mercy as Your grace comes to bear in the lives of Your people.

Rise up to bring them to repentance that justice may be done and that they may forsake the evil of their wicked ways, abandoning their sinful, hate filled acts of contempt and darkness for the path of Your enlightenment that Your love shall come to guide their remaining days.

Rise up for all held in any captivity and any bondage, setting sickness and disease, poverty and intolerance to flight as You heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds, showing that there is no pain that can escape Your sight and no despair that can overtake the soul when You are on the move.

Rise up that we may praise Your name through all of our days, through all of our lives for the wondrous miracle of Your love, compassion, grace and mercy as it carries us from this temporal existence to dwell once more in the glories of Your Kingdom, forever and always.

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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