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Tuesday, January 31: “Face Value”

Galatians 4: 19, 20: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you - but I wish I could be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.”  Even back in the 1st century, way before missent texts and misunderstood emoticons, St. Paul knew that sometimes the written word lacked the power of face to face communication.  That’s why reading books or following websites is not enough, a believer needs regular actual communion with actual fellow believers, not virtual communication with virtual believers.  Sometimes, as David says, we must seek God’s face (Psalm 27: 8), not His blog.

Monday, January 30: “Pretty Please?”

Isaiah 51: 21, 22:  Therefore please hear this, you afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: “Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God Who contends for His people, ‘Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling; the chalice of My anger, you will never drink it again.’”  How many times have you ever hear God say “Please”?  Think about it!  It seems He really, really wants us to hear His promise: “No more anger.”  This might confront those who love to seek the anger of God on every page of the Bible, but this is the Lord Himself Who is saying “please.”  Know that the chalice of anger is gone for good!

Saturday, January 28: “OK, One More Time!”

Isaiah 51: 6, 7:  “… My salvation shall be forever, and My righteousness will not wane.  Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, a people in whose heart is My law; do not fear the reproach of man, neither be dismayed at their revilings.” For reasons known only to God, every day this week the Office Memos have reflected on believers under persecution, usually unjustified persecution.  Perhaps once in a while we all go through situations like this (at least St. Paul thought so, as Acts 14: 22 and 2 Timothy 3: 12 would profess), and we should therefore prepare for them occasionally.  Whatever the reason, let us take heart that the Lord knows those who are His, hears their cries, and brings to them eternal salvation!

Friday, January 27: “No Shame”

Isaiah 50: 6, 7:  “I gave My back to those who strike me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.  For the Lord God helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore I have set My face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”  Today it is Isaiah who points us to Jesus in His Passion, and His attitude during His intense suffering.  His face set like flint, His confidence was still in God.  When we are in times of persecution let us in a similar way take heart, and know we, too, will not be put to shame!

Thursday, January 26:  “Ambushed”

Psalm 59: 3, 4: “For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; fierce men launch an attack against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord, for no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me.”  David certainly knew about being attacked without cause; King Saul and others could make his life miserable.  But like Christ, David kept his attention on the Lord, not on revenge or self-justification.  If you are going through situations like these we have seen so far this week in the Daily Office, remember how David closes this psalm: “But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyously sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold” (v. 16).

​Wednesday, January 25: “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones …”

Psalm 119: 51, 69: “The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Your law.  The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Your precepts.”  Yet again we see today an occasion where a believer is misunderstood, perhaps attacked without cause.  Yet his attention is not on those attacking him, but on the Lord.  As St. Francis said, “Divine Master, grant that I might seek not so much to be understood, but to understand.”  Jesus did not spend a lot of time defending Himself (Isaiah 53: 7; 1 Peter 2: 21-23), and St. Peter says this should serve as an example for us.

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