Monday, March 22, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/22/10

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

The world around us... these days that we dwell in and amidst during the course of this existence... they can be hard and harsh, wrought with challenges and temptations that go beyond anything we could have ever imagined, and just when we think that we are strong enough, that we are good enough to withstand the pressures of life, there is a new trial arising as we find that the difficulties of this life are always upon us. It is then that we need to be cleansed, to be purged, that we might find that the blemishes of our spirits and our souls, the wounds of our hearts and our being might be washed and purified, that though we might have once found ourselves bloody and bruised, broken and hurt by the captivity and the bondage of this temporal existence, we shall find the strength to carry on in the perseverance and the endurance that comes from the Lord...

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

There is a promise that comes from the blessed assurances and the wondrous love that dwells in the mercy and the compassion of the Lord. It is a transcending guiding hope that comes through His Word, a light and a beacon that shines amidst this world as it leads even the most lost and broken of souls to a place of peace and comfort in an otherwise dark world. It is here that He vows His faithfulness and His vigilance, whispering words of eternal grace into the ears of His children as His healing touch finds the wounded places within and binds it up that, though we were once too weak from the slings and the arrows of this life bombarding us with the full force of that ancient adversary who brings death and destruction to lay waste to our souls, we might be able to once more stand even as the tides of the times beat against us.

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

Whatever the challenge, whatever the captivity, whatever the bondage, there has never been a time when God has forsaken His people, nor have their ever been any chains, whether they were spiritual or physical, whether they were linked together, forged by steel and iron or hatred and intolerance, that could not be shattered by the strength of the Lord’s might. Even as the wages of sin brought death, through Christ, He would break those chains of iniquity and heal the broken places within us that no longer would we be held in that dark and grim estate. Never would we be left to our own hurt and suffering, but rather, the transcending hope of our faith, the author and the finisher of our grace, He would show that not only the strength of our perseverance came from Him but the ultimate freedom that would come from the deeper yearning of the soul.

“Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.” (Psalm 119:151)

It’s here then that we know that God is always nearby, that Christ is always ready to take upon His shoulders our burdens, and that the Holy Spirit shall always weave within us to bring us hope, and peace. It’s here then that we know that nothing can separate us from the grace of our Lord as He creates in us a new heart, renewing a steadfast spirit in us (Psalm 51:10) that we might dwell in the new hope that comes amidst that new creation that we have been made into (1 Peter 1:3). As He draws near unto us we have been made into more than conquerors through He who loves us, we have been made into those who can withstand the force and the weight of those who seek, through their oppression and their persecution, to conqueror us, we have been forged in the fires of the Lord and given the strength to withstand the captivity that is waged by the Devil as he seeks to rob us of our peace and our comfort, that we might be drained of all endurance, and fall under the pressure of his power.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)

We may find that this world and all of its challenges seem to weigh on us as its pressure seems to bear down on us in the most significant of ways, casting a dark shadow over our lives as we seem to find that desperation and despair come so near at hand, as pain and sorrow seem to befall us in the most real and significant of ways. In those moments we may feel as if we are wandering amidst a spiritual desert, exiled to the wastelands of the soul, as darkness surrounds us and engulfs us, swallowing us whole. It’s not long before we just can’t find the strength to go on any further, and it seems as if all that is left to us is to curl up and just fade away, as if we never mattered to begin with. Our lives seem worthless and without meaning at those times.

Yet even as we find those moments are upon us there is always hope and it is never as dark as it seems for the Lord is our rock and our refuge. He is the deliverer of our spirits as He girds us in His strength and guides us by the horn of His salvation to a fortress of the soul that shall always and forever protect the spirit.

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18:46)

Give your praise to the Lord, let your voices be raised even in times of trouble as the plights and the challenges befall you and the trials and the tribulation of this world seem to be right there in front of you. Even as our situations seem dark and chaotic, as they seem devoid of optimism as hardships seem to follow us in the most real of ways, God is there for us and with us to give us the strength and the hope that we need that we might be able to preserver as we find that He renews our strength amidst the blessed promises of His Word. It is here that we know that His assurances shall be faithful unto us as He always and forever contends with our cause and never abandons us to this world.

Shout to the Lord your exaltation and know that even when life seems its grimmest and captivity and bondage seem so near at hand He is there with salvation in His hand and grace pouring forth from His lips to give unto you the transcending freedom and the abiding liberty that can only be endowed upon you from Him as He shows unto you how much He loves you and cares for you in all that you are and all that you face throughout this temporal existence.

Lord, let us all abide in that transcending, encompassing hope of your perseverance and endurance that surpasses all human understanding...

Lord, grant this unto us all...

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

First Prayer:

Abiding in Your transcending hope O Lord, give unto Your children the strength that they might stand long amidst the power of Your love. Place upon them Your armor and gird them with Your authority even as the world seems to rise up against them, casting it’s dark shadow in their lives.

Be near, draw nigh unto those who are bound amidst captivity and bondage O Lord and let not the unrighteousness of wicked men, lead by the iniquity that has so enticed them, triumph over them. Give unto those who suffer and find that they are lost amidst the trials and the tribulations of this world the mercy and the compassion, the grace and the hope that they need to preserver and to endure all of the challenges that lay before them that they might never fall to the sword or find that the chains of this temporal oppression is too heavy for them to bear.

Stand true and firm in Your promises O Lord and be faithful to the assurances that You have made in the lives of Your people through the power of Your word. Draw the afflicted and the enslaved to You, to the love that comes from You and be the refuge and the rock that they so need in their lives as You bring Your liberty and Your justice to bear in their souls as You raise their spirits upon Your wings to carry them to the places of freedom where You do dwell.

Then shall all exalt Your name and the salvation that You bring as Your hope and love is made manifest in the compassion, mercy and grace that You bring to bear in the lives of Your people in even the deepest of struggles and the darkest of adversity that comes to encompass them in the deeper afflictions of this world as You stand as their fortress and their hope through all the days of their lives.

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:

Hear O Lord...

Bend Your ear and hear the name of Your children raised high to Your Heavenly throne as they find that they toil in tears and pain, as the afflictions and sorrow they sustain the injuries from the wickedness of this temporal existence. Unto them grant Your hope and Your peace through all of the challenges of this world as and let them never fall from the darkness that can be waged against them as You stand beside them through all of the challenges of this world and all of the trials and the tribulations that can befall them.

See O Lord...

Let Your eyes look upon the plight of Your children O Lord and see the hurt and hardship that so inflict them that they might find that from You shall pour forth the hope and the love and the grace and the mercy that they so need in their lives. See them and guide them to the places of peace that dwell in Your compassion that they shall find the strength to carry on even in the slavery and the bondage of this dark captivity that so holds them.

Purge them O Lord...

Cast Your Spirit upon them and create in them a new heart O Lord, and purge them of all fear that they may stand long and fast in perseverance knowing that Your strength shall guide them in courage and strength. Show unto them whatever the bondage, whether of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, it shall have no power over them as You set to flight poverty and destitution, hatred and intolerance, slavery and bondage, captivity and wickedness that these diseases shall no longer have any power over Your people..

Then shall our voices raise to You as we pour forth our love and our lips rejoice in song of praise for You in the miracles of Your mercy as it comes to bear in our lives, guiding us to Your transcending hope.

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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