Devotional 179: All Your Meaningless Days

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Surely the Father did not give us a life with no meaning. What would be the purpose of it, and where is the glory in it for Him. Why bother redeeming the junk of a meaningless creation?

If our days appear meaningless and without purpose or direction, having no blessings to speak of, no fellowship, and isolation from family, it is because the covenant of the Tree of Knowledge was broken. The Father’s warning words were superseded, and dominion was passed to G-d’s prideful enemy. Adam, in not rebuking his mate and repenting before the Lord, visited the Father’s wrath on all of his descendants. Indeed, he joined her in the breaking, and blamed the Father for his own fault.

If we find no meaning in life, it is because we have also broken fellowship with Him, surrendering faith in eternal life to the transitory, temporary firmness of a creation doomed to eventual destruction, and perpetual renewal, putting their focus on men and women in their own fallen states.

As Jesus said, if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:4)

This is why studying is important, and finding a Word-centered church with Christ as its center from which everything else flows is essential. There are Christians around the world being persecuted and executed who’ve spent more time in G-d’s presence than some who’ve been attending church from childhood.

As servants of G-d, we should not be politically motivated, culturally isolated, compromising with a hostile world not seeking salvation, but rejecting Jesus’ testimony that its works are evil. (John 7:7)

The Father has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11), promises He’s made to you that only He can keep (Numbers 23:19), works in You that He must bring to completion (Phillipians 1:6), gifts He imparted to You that You offer back to Him, that your works may stand the fires of judgment and purity (Romans 11:29), and most importantly, redeeming grace He imparted to you through the blood of His Son. (Hosea 2:23)

All that is comprised of your soul belongs to Him, and He will even redeem the vessel of dust that contains it. But understand He leaves it up to us to count the cost of sharing in His suffering (Luke 14:25-34), to be steadfast in our faith (Luke 7:9), to love one another (John 13:35), to be bold in our proclaiming His gospel (Luke 12:3), humble in our blessings (Matthew 6:3) and in our bearing (Matthew 23:12), and upright in our words and deeds (Psalm 101:2)

We have proven to Him, and ourselves, time and again that we are unable to achieve His plans for us in our own strength and will, for it always descends into pride and wickedness, and we have no righteousness in ourselves save through our faith in Christ, our only hope of redemption.

Though He remembers we are dust, we will be raised on the last day to spend eternity with our Savior in the light of the Father’s radiance, or to have our flesh punished in flames and the light of our souls snuffed out as if we’d never existed. Such is the way our G-d deals with evil, and our King vanquishes His enemies.

Therefore I pray:

Father in Heaven,

This land has set itself adrift from Your Word, and has abandoned the very thought of a moral compass.

This land is rudderless, having tongues of bitterness, scorn, and hatred for one another.

This nation honors You with its lips, but genuflects at the altar of money.

With hard hearts and deaf ears. we redefine You to fit that which we want to be true: You will forgive every kind of sin without repentance, and faith in the redemptive, atoning work of the Christ.

We fly flags of pride and hate, and worship the killing weapons we brandish, marking ourselves as ripe for whoever You may deem our modern Assyrians to invade us, for Your angels to exact the price for our multitudes of sin.

We hold others in low regard for words and deeds they spoke in the past that do not reflect our own worldviews, seeking their downfall instead of their salvation.

I would not be among those who find kin with mockers and scorners, Father. I will hold fast to my Savior though the injustices mount, the persecutions increase, or the Angel of Death comes in to deliver my soul and spirit into Your hands.

I pray that You strengthen me not to walk among them, or sit in their seats, or eat at their tables.

You came into my life, and now take the humble place, waiting for me to place You higher. Come now, Lord, that I might see You, and ask for redemption through the power of Your majesty, and the Son of Your love.

Heal our land.

Touch the hearts of our leaders, and set guards over their mouths and hearts as Your Holy Spirit convicts them of their sins. Let them be led to true and godly repentance that cleaves the heart, then forgive them, Father, and establish the works of their hands, that we might be restored rejoicing in Your mercy and grace in the land of the living.

In righteousness, peace, and joy may we honor You.

Amen.

Devotional 23: The Third Day

Hosea 6:  1- 3

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

 

The thought of giving an account to the last Judge, King, Ruler, Savior, and Creator of the Universe is at once something we view as ‘far off’, as it depends to some extent on how soon we shuffle off these mortal coils (depart from life, for you non-Shakespeare readers).

Yet we are told by the Apostle Paul that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord, and that the spirit of man returns to G-d while the body returns to the earth. We are told by him that we shall be like Christ in glorified bodies when we are called forth from the grave, ‘sown corruptible’ and harvested as ‘incorruptible.’

If our spirit returns, and our bodies are raised at a later time, what are we called to do in the interim before flesh and spirit reunite? Daily, our flesh sins, and while we’d like to think most of it is unintentional and unplanned, that doesn’t mean we’re not called to repentance.

We also make choices to sin when we know better. Just yesterday, I skipped people in a line at a convenience store when another registered opened to reduce the backlog. A man gently touched my shoulder to stop me, but I ignored it and paid for my item ahead of others who’d been standing there. It was a Saturday morning, and I wasn’t late for anything, so I don’t know why I did it other than that I just didn’t feel like waiting. It was wrong, and rude, and I felt bad for doing it, but not enough to hang around and apologize to the person who tried to correct me. I didn’t even look at him, because to acknowledge him meant I knew what I was doing.

Are there more heinous sins than line-jumping? Yes, but that didn’t make it right to do, especially since I know that Christ Himself would not have done that, and I profess to be a follower. It was a moment of fleshly weakness, and I indulged it as fast as the thought occurred to me. We must be ever-vigilant. Let him take heed who thinks he stands, lest he fall, right?

This doesn’t even speak to our so -called secret sins. They’re only secrets from others, but not from G-d, who sees all we do, no matter the time of day. We can also sin through neglecting our spiritual lives by not praying, not confessing our sins, not meeting in fellowship, not reading G-d’s Word, that which He holds higher than His Name.

So how much like Christ can we be then?

Let’s take comfort in the words of this verse, but let’s also obey it, for there is no other way to salvation.

Verse 1: We must act. In order to return, we must stop going that way and turn ourselves, around, that we may stop being afflicted and disciplined for our sins. The Shepherd walks behind us and before us, calling to us that He may remove our sin by the power of His Blood.

Verse 2: We experience restoration though revival, and on the third day, as the Father raised the Son, that we might know it’s by His power and through His will, the Lord Jesus Christ will summon us forth with a great shout, and we too, will feel that power.

When we repent, He resurrects that part of the Holy Spirit in us that we’ve neglected to communicate with, that we live and not die in His presence.

Verse 3: We must learn. From that perspective, we are to pursue of knowledge of Him as a lifelong endeavor, discovering the wonders of Our Father, our Savior, and the revelation of the Spirit anew, without ever coming to the end of our knowledge.

We read that when we seek this knowledge, we are refreshed in our spirits when He comes to us like rain to a dry land, with times of refreshing, covered in the covenant of Grace.

Therefore I pray:

Lord, when move out of your Presence to seek my own way, when I disconnect myself from that power of your healing, the protection of Your hand, I am never out from under the covering of Your blood.

I thank you, Lord Jesus, for not giving up on me, for not turning me away when I stop to pick up the shiny, worthless objects of the world strewn along my path.

Thank You for forgiving me.

Thank You for restoring me.

Thank You that I am free to pursue knowledge of You, without restriction.

Thank you for replacing the rags of my righteousness with Your perfect ones.

Thank you for allowing me to live and not die in the Fathers presence.

Thank You for times of refreshing, for the rain of your reign over my vaporous life, giving it substance, and calling it blessed.

I will return to You, O Lord, for You have said that You would return to me.

“Let it be unto me as You have said.”

Amen.