Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/23/10

Christ Triumphant Over Sin and Death, Peter Paul Reubens, 1615

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
James 1:12

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

Throughout this world of adversity and trouble there are trials and there are tribulations that surround the scope of the human experience. There is brutal captivity and bitter iniquity that forsake the commands of the living God given unto us in Christ Jesus, those commands that we are to love one another (John 13:34-35), those commands to show patience and kindness, compassion and mercy in the lives of our fellow man (Galatians 5:22-23).There are moments where we wonder, amidst the pain and the suffering, the sorrow and the hardship of those left in grim estate and harsh darkness, how it could be that so much wrong can be inflicted against the hearts and the souls, the spirits and the minds of men as they are left destitute in a world that tries so desperately to break them.

Yet even amidst all of this there is a promise, a blessed assurance that comes through the power of the Lord’s transcending Word, held high for us as blessed inheritance, given unto us in the encompassing grace of His wondrous love for us. If we wait on Him, if we trust in Him then shall we receive strength and courage as we find the perseverance to endure even through all of the challenges that can be foisted upon us as this temporal existence comes to us with the full force of its burdens and its weight. Then shall we know that we have been offered the hope of that liberty that can only be endowed upon us by our Creator as He lifts us high from those pits of despair and desperation that we have been cast down to.

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24)

Once there was a dark power that had a hold on all of humanity. It gripped us all, strangling the life from us as we found that we were enslaved to sin, death and the Devil. There was nothing left in our lives that could redeem us, nothing left in our souls that could carry us forward, we were bound to the grave in the harshest of fates. Yet God did not forsake us, nor did He fail us. Instead, He would give His only Son, beloved and blessed, to save us all (John 3:16). There would be no chains that could bind us, no darkness that could devour us, no power or authority that could rob us of that blessed peace that would come from His hope.

This would be the transcending belief that would carry the prophets and the kings, the psalmists and the disciples, the apostles and those blessed martyrs forward from generation to generation as they found the strength and the courage to go on in a world that so often seemed so full of persecution and oppression, so full of tyranny and slavery that would hold cheap the dignity of life that God had assigned to it.

If this was the power of God’s love, as He proclaimed all people equal in His sight and deserving of His mercy through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, then how much more can He do for us now as this world seeks to hurt and to harm and to destroy?

“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” (Psalm 16:6)

Through God this is our inheritance and our blessing as His promises, unchanging and unfailing, come to bear in our lives through all of this world’s challenges and adversity: none who place their hope and their trust in His faithfulness shall ever be confounded, the shall not be abandoned, nor shall they be let down. Disappointment shall be chased from their lives as they are guided through the days of sorrow and the moments of hurt to the deeper places of compassion and live as they find that though men might try to assert their authority over them the only authority that is left to stand is the authority of the Most High God seated upon His throne of might.

The Creator and the Conqueror, He stands vigilant, protecting the inheritance of His people. Throughout the ages He has preserved His sacred word that we might all be heirs to the hope that He offers unto us through it, never letting it fall or be destroyed. Weaving through the course of human affairs and human events since the dawn of the general civilization, in His righteousness He has gone even further than that though. Each and every step of the way He has proven unto us that His Word is truth and His promises shall guide our lives as our refuge, as our ever present shelter through all of the storms.

“Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalm 37:34)

At times we may wonder. We may cry out as we find ourselves feeling lost and confused, as we find that we just can’t seem to see God in all of this. The wickedness and the transgressions of this world have raised a dark fog over our eyes and it seems as if peace and solace are far distant from us as we cry our in the deep yearning of our souls, not knowing for how long we will be forced to endure such trials and temptations, such pain and suffering. The iniquity of men puts a veil over our eyes as we look to the captivity and the slavery that can be waged against others and this unsettled feeling may linger, as we want to do so much and find there is little left for us to do.

Where could God be in all of this?

He is there… Even when we have been so blinded by this world, we have to have trust and faith in an ever present, ever vigilant God who is forever and always contending with the cause of His people. It is here then that we know that when we wait on the Lord, He shall exalt the lowest amongst us, give strength to the weak, and guidance to the lost, all while cuts the wicked off as He shows to them that they cannot escape His justice. Even if it escapes our sights at present, God assures us that it will not for all time as we are given over to His plan and His righteousness in the blessings that He brings forth in our lives.

Have faith, trusting therefore in His Word and His promises, knowing that through perseverance He shall bless the lives of even the most lost as they find themselves bound to such hurt and pain.

Have faith, showing forth the love that He has intended for us to show, believing that through the power of His Spirit He shall make manifest His will and desires as He contends with the cause of His people, standing fast, holding fast to them in all that they are and all that they face.

Have faith, and know that through it all, in it all God shall reveal Himself in this age, just as He has in ages past, letting His mercy pour forth, that none shall ever be frustrated or forsaken, failed or abandoned amidst the plights that they feel and the hopelessness that seems to have engulfed their lives.

Then shall you work His will, and cling to His assurances, knowing that He is the force for good and that He shall use you for that good through all the days of your life that you may testify of His light and love as He gives courage to the lost and the captive, placing upon their heads the crown of life even when it seems as if their lives have been so painfully ripped from them.

Lord, grant this unto us all…

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

First Prayer:

The struggles that lay before Your people O Lord, the struggles that befall them in a world so prone to captivity and bondage are great and encompassing as they long for endurance and perseverance through the trials and the tribulation that would befall them. They yearn for liberty as they cry out for freedom and they are left to wonder, how long...

How long will they be left to wait on Your promises?

How long will they be left amidst their meagre estate?

How long will it seem as if the darkness and the pain of this world’s unrighteousness grasp at them, choking from them the life as they are robbed of their dignity and the value that You have assigned to each breath they take is held without worth?

Like those fisherman, hijacked and left for dead by Somali Pirates, rescue all prisoners and captives, all hostages and slaves, all of those held in such bitter estate by brutal iniquity and wickedness. As You saw fit to give them that second chance for life, sending that European Union warship to save them that they might live again, finding hope and peace amidst this temporal existence, extend that same guiding hand in the lives of all people in all places as they struggle against the darkest of days that would so ensnare them.

Grant unto the crew of the MV Frigia peace and courage, strength and hope as they find themselves held by pirates who view life cheap and with contempt. Give unto them an answer to the yearning of their soul and in Your time, in Your way set them free that they might once more live where it had seemed as if only death had come into their lives.

Unto these pirates who grow bolder and bolder, show them that they contend not with Your cause, nor do you contend with them. Let them see their iniquity and feel the pain that they have brought that they might turn from their unrighteous ways and cast from them the darkness that has engulfed their hearts. Uplift them by Your Spirit that they might find true and sincere repentance in their hearts that they may bring good into this world, casting aside their wickedness and their hatred.

Then shall Your Holy hand be praised for the strength and the endurance that it brings through all of the days of this corporeal existence in all that Your people are and all that they do.

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:

Let us not be weary amidst this world O Lord, nor let us be drawn down by it as captivity and bondage surround us, seeking to rob us of hope amidst grim power of unrighteousness and its dark hold over the hearts and minds of men.

Let us not be weakened in this life O Lord, nor let us find that strength is fleeting and courage has abandoned us as we see the tyranny and the oppression that makes slaves of men and leaves them to wither in destitution and despair.

Let us not be frightened as we live O Lord, nor let us wonder where it is that You are as we long for peace to encompass the lives of those who find themselves in the grim days of hurt and sorrow that encompass them now.

Be that rock of refuge, shelter Your people and guard Your children. Even as the chains fall upon them break those ties that bind them that there shall be nothing that will take from them the hope and the love, the mercy and the compassion that You have intended for their lives. Endow them with liberty that no longer shall freedom be stolen from them as justice, Your true and everlasting justice, shall come to bear through all of their days as they abide in Your transcending grace.

Whether it be a captivity of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, lift Your hand to the people in the promises You have made unto them and give them the courage and the perseverance that they so long for that they might endure even these, the deepest days of trouble that would engulf them. Let them not question Your presence or Your love but show unto them the hope that comes amidst Your faithful as they are brought from whatever has given unto them such pain to the everlasting compassion that comes when they are uplifted by the power of Your might.

Then shall see Your authority, then shall all see Your grace as Your mercy is made known and Your works are made manifest and Your name shall be exalted and praised for the wondrous deeds You have done in the lives of Your people.

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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