What is S.U.P.V.?
For those new to our church, website and this blog, here's what it's all about: SUPV stands for the Straight Up Prayer Vigil. It is a virtual prayer vigil that happens every Wednesday (God willing). The Straight Up refers to the times of 6:00 a.m., noon, 6:00 p.m., and midnight--you choose whatever time works for you--and you pray for our church, those on prayer list, and prayer requests that are included in the blog post or are sent by email, normally at the beginning of the week for that Wednesday.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16
…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Do you recall those Magic Eye 3D optical illusions that were the rage back in the 1990s? They were repetitive images across the page that formed some semblance of a design at first glance, but at closer look, some how formed a 3D image. I tell you what—I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to see the images like everyone else could. I would hold the page at arm’s length, and bring it to myself at varying speeds, all in in effort to trick my mind into seeing. People would tell me the steps they took (crossing their eyes while looking at it or pulling the page to the bridge of their nose, thereby tricking their brain were among the successful methods), all to no avail. I quickly dismissed them as novelty, slightly perturbed at my inability to figure them out.
Until I did. I was at work, looking at a display at our company’s small store when on a whim I decided to try once more to view those images theoretically behind the design. I peered closely at the design and crossed my eyes slightly and lo and behold! I saw it—in 3D! I don’t recall was “it” was, but it was there. I tested it on the next design, and the next one, and the one after that, each time able to see the image buried within the lines and colors. By Jove, I was no longer an outsider, unable to see what everyone else could.
Fast forward about 25 years (and stay with me, please. It’ll make sense eventually)
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…,
Luke 22: 19
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
Matthew 14: 18b
I was thinking the other day about the act of saying grace or a blessing before a meal. I’d grown up saying grace before dinner (“God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food.”) We’ve asked Kevin to say a blessing before we start the line when we have our potlucks. What got me to thinking, though, was why we felt the need to have God bless our food, and whether or not doing so was scripturally based. So I Googled.
I found just a small number of websites whose premise for requesting a blessing was for the legitimate purpose of purifying the food that was about to be eaten, or to enable the food to nourish and energize the body, and these sites were both Catholic and Protestant. The overwhelming majority of sites, however, said that it wasn’t necessary to request a blessing over the food. They cited verses like those above, instances in which at a mealtime, Jesus gave thanks for the food and broke it.
Jesus gave thanks for the food.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
Note: I’d like to start this devotional off by expressing my most sincere condolences to Suzanne Milner, at the passing of her dear husband Larry, a sweet gentlemen whom I am sorry I did not get to know better, and whose obituary prompted this devotional. I ask your forgiveness in advance, Suzanne, if this devotional upsets you in any way—that is not my intent at all. Rather, I hope that you receive it in the way I intend: a prompting or call to those on this side of Heaven, as well as a mini-celebration of who Larry was. – Laura
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Larry Milner, especially this close to the holidays—dismayed for Suzanne and their family at the loss of their beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend. I have prayed for God’s strength and comfort for them during this time, and will continue to do so as we get closer to Christmas, and then throughout the year, and I’m sure you, dear readers, have done and will do the same.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[ not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
I totally had the idea for what this week’s devotional would be by the beginning of last week, even while I was still writing last week’s on King Nebuchadnezzar and his hubris. I’d heard a snippet of the idea on a radio program, and wanted to delve further into the concept. Sometimes I’ll roll the idea around in my head, ruminating on ways to personalize the introduction of the message. I was excited to work on it and was all ready to jump in, until the election happened.
No, don’t worry—I’m not going to get political here. That’s not what this is about, nor what this medium is for. Stay with me now…you’ll see.
I was like so many of my Facebook friends, awaiting the election results and pining for the days that we could go back to seeing yummy recipes, cute toddler pictures, and silly cat videos in our Facebook feed. O, how we longed for these things, as the passion and barbs flew in the comments to the stories that were vigorously and insistently shared and “liked.” How I wished that my more extremist friends on both sides of the political aisle would either seek to understand the other’s view, or agree to disagree but quit with the incessant attacks against other.
I have a friend at work whom I have known at least 25 years, having worked together in various career choices within our company. I even worked for her for a time as well. I counseled her spiritually when she was contemplating divorcing her husband, and have “liked” the pictures she has shared on Facebook of her various vacations with her daughter. I’ll call her Joanna (that’s not her real name). Joanna is an educated, smart, beautiful woman with a stunning daughter, great job, strong personality, and a habit of speaking her mind and being very quick to laugh. She is also a Democrat, the likes of which I had not realized until this election. In the weeks leading up to the election, the frequency with which she shared liberal-leaning news reports that focused on Trump’s flaws and foibles increased. I never considered un-friending or blocking her, because I figured that it would be over as soon as the election was.
The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
We meet King Nebuchadnezzar in the first chapter of Daniel, when he besieges Jerusalem. He learns about Daniel’s God in chapter 2, when God reveals and interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream through Daniel, and he declares Him to be all knowing. In chapter 3, after the fiery furnace, he declares God all-powerful and decrees death to anyone who speaks against Him. And in the beginning of chapter 4, we read from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar himself as he shares his dream and seeks Daniel’s interpretation of it (which his own magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers were unable to give).
1 Peter 5:7
One of my former coworkers from IT (Information Technology) is a project manager. She used to be a software developer, so she has a logical mind. It’s a fairly common career progression to go from developer to project manager, exchanging solution-oriented analysis tasks and if-then statements for budgets, schedules, and numerous spreadsheets. She cut her teeth on smaller budgeted projects, and has now worked her way into managing high quality software development efforts with teams that span the globe.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
We are studying the book of John in our Monday lunchtime bible study at work. One verse in particular spoke to me, in its depth despite its brevity. It got me thinking about other three-word verses that powerfully convey His word:
God is love
Feed My Sheep
Love Your Enemies
Come, Holy SpiritHe is risen!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
‘Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
I’ve been seeking. I have sought for a while now to know God’s calling for my life. I thought I understood Him to tell me before that He’d be sending me to third world countries to share His word (I’ve even mentioned that fact in a couple of SUPVs!). It’s been a while, however, since I thought I understood that; now I’m wondering if I wasn’t so eager to hear from Him in some capacity that I didn’t make it all up…wishful thinking, you know?
I think I can honestly say that I’m not seeking to know what to expect in the future – I’m not trying to get ahead of Him and understand the plan so that I’m not ill prepared when “it” finally happens. I know that everything is in His timing and in His plan, and I’ve left all of the details to Him (how gracious of me, hmm?). If He wants me to clean toilets in an orphanage in Mumbai, He’ll make it happen. If He wants me to volunteer in hospice or elderly care, He’ll make that happen, too. Those arrangements and details are all His, and He will be glorified throughout.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
I’m sure most of you possess, as I do, a picture or two of your children or grandchildren as little ones in diapers, wearing adult shoes, or playing dress up in Mommy’s dresses. I had two boys, as did my sister, so I never experienced tea parties with pearls, makeup, and dresses, but I have seen pictures of coworkers’ daughters and granddaughters as such. It’s always so cute to see those little bodies, walking ever so slowly lest they trip in oversized shoes or outfits. To see someone so small try to act so grown up, invoking the character and promise that the adult clothes provide, is touching and heartwarming. Oh… the memories–am I right?