Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

From DSC:
I get this piece of scripture…big time.

In the early fall of my senior year in college, I wanted to be sure that the LORD wasn’t a hoax. I didn’t want to commit the rest of my life to Him if He wasn’t real. From that point on, until a Maundy Thursday service at the Alice Millar Chapel on NU’s campus the next spring, I felt that the LORD was 10,000 miles away from me. I couldn’t hear Him or sense Him. I won’t go into details, but it turned out that the LORD was definitely at work. He was changing my identity (though it felt more like a ripping away of my identity) from an athlete to one of His adopted children. I’m glad He was at work, but I wouldn’t want to relive that year ever again.

 

1 Peter 3:8 NIV — from my.bible.com

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

 

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

From DSC:
One of my favorite memories as a kid was going to see a local performance of Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol.” I loved seeing the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. And one of the events that changed Ebenezer was seeing his own name on the gravestone. 

There’s been something about this verse that has clung to my heart and my mind. As dealing with time can already put heat in my kitchen, I have to handle this verse with some care.

 

Genesis 9:12-16

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
.

Summer landscape with wheat field, road and a beautiful rainbow

 

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

From DSC:
Obviously, all of this goes for me as well. I constantly thank the LORD for His patience with me as well as His grace and forgiveness. I often seek His help, wisdom, and strength. Anyway, the above verse caught my eye due to Isaiah’s focus on justice and to seeing that justice is had by all.

And those reflections caused me to think about what the church is all about — at least for me. This brought to mind an old pastor friend of mine who once exclaimed, “The church is a hospital.”

Wow. That thought hit me powerfully. And you know what? I agree with him.

My pastor friend said that the church is a hospital -- and I agree with him

“The church” is a place for “sick” people who are in need of hope, healing, teaching, support, forgiveness, grace, love, wisdom, community, and more. Besides a place to worship the LORD, those are some of the reasons why I continue to go to church.

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.


Along these lines, I’m trying to figure out what the LORD wants me to do (during this next year and beyond). I want to make a contribution. For those who pray out there, I could use your prayers on where He wants me to plug in.

 
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

From DSC:
Being transformed in our thinking is one of the LORD’s key goals for us and one of the areas where He is active in our lives. (Also see Romans 12:2.) Our thinking impacts many things, including our behaviors, attitudes, and perspectives.

But my reflection here is especially meant for new believers in Christ. This process of transformation takes time. Don’t expect immediate changes in some areas of your life. After you received Christ into your heart, you may doubt that anything has changed. But you will begin to see the world, God, and others differently over time. (Reading scripture regularly helps this process along.)

 
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

 

 

 

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

 

Luke 1:76-78 

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Luke 1:30-33 — from biblegateway.com

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 
 

Nehemiah 9:6 — from biblegateway.com

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Neula captured by the Hubble

 

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

From DSC:
Thank you for you LORD!!! And thank you for your patience with me, and for your mercy, forgiveness, and love (which it has taken me a long time to realize/embrace). Thank you for being active (most likely, mind-blowingly so).

Thank you for your creativity. Thank you for my/our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch — and for all that our bodies can do. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for our minds and our hearts — may they be inclined towards doing right by you and by others.

 

Psalm 95: 1-7 — from biblegateway.com

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian