Good morning. It is post-Monday, September 24, 2013.
Today is “Punctuation Day.” Let’s see how many people fail.
Not much going on around here, lately. Life goes on, just like normal. We work, we come home, we eat, we watch TV. Last night we got two things accomplished after work. TWO! I extended my XM radio subscription (30-day free trial ends on October 13) for $30 for six months. Not a bad price. I just have to remember to call them and tell them I’m cancelling before the six months is up and they automatically renew at the “current price.” I have really enjoyed XM. There are actually too many stations. I’ve got presets for 18 in my car, and had a difficult time filling them all.
The other thing we got accomplished was the annual report of how Stephanie’s disability check is spent, since Christi is the representative payee. They actually let us do it online! So that wasn’t too difficult. After that, we ate dinner and watched TV. Christi had a bad headache last night, so we didn’t go to the gym. Maybe tonight. Instead, we watched Warm Bodies, a sort of zombie romantic comedy. It was cute, and very interesting. Not quite what I expected.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1435, Isabeau of Bavaria, one of the worst queens ever known by France, died at the age of 64. She was born Elizabeth, and was the daughter of the Duke of Bavaria. She married Charles VI of France and “her name was gallicized to Isabeau.” She married Charles at the age of fourteen, and after several years, “it became clear that the King was going mad.” He suffered many fits of insanity over the course of the next 30 years, during which Isabeau bore him six children. But she also entertained many lovers (see reading below about “honoring the marriage bed!”), including the King’s brother and cousin. There is a legend that says that she even had her soldiers “bring handsome men in off the streets,” where she would “make love to them, then have them tied up in sacks and thrown into the Seine.” What a charming creature!! Unfortunately, she also wielded power. She signed the Treaty of Troyes which gave King Henry V of England the throne of France while her own son, Charles, was sent into exile. She died, as stated above, “at the age of 64, held in contempt equally by the English she had helped and the French she had betrayed.”
Today’s birthdays are Jim Henson, 1936-1990, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940, Kevin Sorbo, 55, Phil Hartman, 1948-1998, Joe Greene, 67, Linda McCartney, 1941-1998, Rafael Palmeiro, 49, Frank C. Mars, 1882-1934, and Gerry Marsden, 71.
Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Psalm 31:23
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. Psalm 119:147
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Psalm 118:28
As I give thanks to you and exalt your name this morning, Lord, I pray for some revelation that will keep me in the center of your holiness. May my life reflect your glory and glorify your name.
Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Let Marriage Be Held in Honor.” The scripture reading is Hebrews 13: 1, 4.
Let brotherly love continue. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Hebrews 13 has a sort of checklist of spiritual activities, and love seems to be the central theme, running throughout. The word in verse 1 is, of course, philadelphia, “brotherly love.” The writer moves from that, however, to admonishing against sexual immorality and adultery, and keeping “the marriage bed. . . undefiled.” He calls upon us to honor marriage. Marriage seems to be more under attack now than ever before. And I’m not talking about the issue of gay marriage. I’m not going to address that here. I’m simply talking about the number of people in our world who simply don’t care anything about it any more. A lot of people simply don’t bother, these days, and then, when they do, they take a very casual attitude about it, as though it is just something they will try, and if it doesn’t work out, oh, well.
But how do we express ourselves outside of marriage? How do we have a measure of intimacy and meaningful conversation outside of the marriage relationship? This is a dangerous, yet necessary part of life. My wife has a very good male friend at work. I certainly don’t mind that. He is married with way too many kids, and has a great wife. But he is jokingly called her “work husband,” sometimes. We don’t mind that. It’s a good relationship, and she needs that. (I haven’t managed to find a “work wife,” yet, but that’s mostly because most of the people at my work are guys. The one female is about 18 and speaks about three words of English.) But I digress. The point is, we are human. We need “brotherly love” relationships, as well as our marriage. The marriage is not designed to fulfill every single need that a couple has. That is too much of a burden for either party to take on. But we must always remember that there are lines that cannot be crossed.
Pray Without Ceasing: A Thirty-One-Day Course, by Andrew Murray
What to Pray: For More Conversions
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:4, 7
“Christ’s power to save, and save completely, depends on
His unceasing intercession. After the apostles withdrew themselves to
concentrated prayer, the number of the disciples multiplied rapidly.
“As we in our day give ourselves to intercession, we will also
see more conversions. Let this be our focus. Christ is exalted to
grant repentance and salvation. The church exists for the divine
purpose of growth in faith and in numbers. Let us not be
ashamed to confess our sin and weakness, and then to cry to God
for more souls to be saved both in our midst and in countries
where His Word is not preached and people cling to false gods
and die without hope.”
How to Pray: In Deepest Humility
She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:27-28
“You feel unworthy to pray. You question whether you are
praying effectively. Even when you feel this way, come before Him
and tell Him how you feel. This is true humility. You are not
seeking for yourself, but for others. You are trusting His grace and
mercy, not your merits or influence. It is the beginning of a great
faith, and an answer is forthcoming. The woman reminded the
Lord that the dogs are allowed the crumbs that fall from the table.
Let that be your plea as you persevere for someone who is outside
the circle of faith or outside the hearing of the Gospel. Do not let
your unworthiness hinder you from trusting God’s faithfulness
and mercy toward someone less fortunate than you.”
Father, I pray for the Spirit to be alive and working in our world, and that we, the faithful believers, would be more active in intercession, praying for more souls to be saved. May the Gospel flourish in the world, as your faithful servants, chosen by you for this task, lovingly preach the it to those who have not yet heard. May we not ever be guilty of trying to squeeze a conversion out of anyone, but simply allow your Spirit to do the work in them. It is not to our credit when souls are saved; it is to your glory and your glory alone. Yes, we may be concerned about their eternal destiny, but it is up to you, not us.
I also pray for the honor and sanctity of marriage in our world. May those who choose to enter into marriage take it seriously. May we be filled with your Spirit and approach all other relationships with the marriage in mind, keeping ourselves free from even “accidental” sin.
I pray for this day, Lord, that you would give us a good work day, keeping us focused on the tasks at hand, working effectively and efficiently for our employers, but working as though we work for you. Give us success in our companies, and may our companies prosper, that we may prosper. As always, I pray that you would surround Stephanie with your steadfast love.
I thank you that my friend, Debbie, got a new job, beginning yesterday.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we pray for the success of the Gospel in our world, while allowing the Spirit to do the work of conversion.
Grace and peace, friends.