meek in your kingdom

Zechariah / www.LumoProject.com
 
O Lord, Catch us up, like Zechariah,
    in the whirl of your holy history.
We seem to be but particles in the wind;
    but you declare each of us to be a holy person,
    spokes in the great wheel 
        of your covenant-loving of the world.
Let us be meek in your kingdom, but not abject;
    humble, not self-pitiful;
    obedient, not obsequious; 
    servants, not servile;
    childlike, not childish;
yours in love and willingness,
  and then our smallness shall be your greatness indeed.
Amen.
 
Walter Wangerin, Jr., American writer and research professor
 
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In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.  He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
 

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diligent submission and obedience

image Joseph and Mary traveling the Bethlehem
 
We look to the example of Joseph and Mary 
    who responded to the decree of Caesar Augustus to be taxed,
    obediently placing themselves in subjection under him.
You are our sovereign Lord, the true Augustus Caesar, 
    the one whose kingdom increases and has the power to bless us.
May we diligently come to the place where we can truly pray:
 
“O my God, you only are my Creator and Lord!  
I cast myself down to be entirely subject to your holy will,
    with all that is within me or pertains to me.
Here is my heart, my soul, my body, my spirit.
Here is all I have and am; 
    I cast it all down and offer it as a sacrifice to you, O Lord,
    to make it genuinely submissive to you.
If before now I have resigned this to the world, 
    or if now I have walked according to my own will, oh, not any more, 
    for from now on all that I am is to be subject to your will.
Renew this decision day by day more and more,
    and make me willing and able to follow you in all things, and to be obedient.”
 
Jakob Denner, 1659-1746, German Mennonite pastor and author
 
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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
 

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a prayer for wisdom

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash  

O Lord our God, reveal to us your heart and character so that we in turn will yield our hearts, minds and wills to obey your commands.  It is in listening and hearing from you that we can set our hearts to obey your commands and follow your instructions.
 
We recognize that our craving for wisdom, deliverance, and freedom can only be fulfilled in you, so grant us the patience to listen to your wisdom and the courage to apply our minds to your knowledge.  Our cry in this hour is “that we may know you.”  We understand that to “know you” is a lifelong process.  A lifelong process of seeking after you and a lifelong process of searching for the good in life.  It is only by so doing that we can come to know you, the eternal One, the supplier of wisdom, insight and knowledge.
 
Your help is readily available and granted upon request to those who seek after you.  Grant us the grace of honesty because you are a shield to those who live honestly.  You are our lifeguard and protection from those who act wickedly toward us.  Your light, O God, gives us a clear path to follow and when we walk in that path of life our personhood is solidified, our joy is complete, we survive our trials, and our wicked enemies are destroyed before our eyes.  These great acts we will not forget.
 
Dr. John J. Finn, Pastor in Tennessee
 
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Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.
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