How To Get Answered Prayer

Today is Wednesday (already?), August 24, 2016. 51 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out.” – William Blake

Word of the Day

Thrummy – of or abounding in thrums; shaggy or tufted.

Today is Pluto Demoted Day. Maybe a presidential campaign should be “Make Pluto a Planet Again!” Poor Pluto.

For an added bonus (no extra charge), it is also International Strange Music Day I think this qualifies.

There is more to celebrate for R’s success. As noted yesterday, she got her LPC license. She has also been offered more guaranteed hours at the hospital in Denton, where she has been working on an “on-call” basis. So she is able to quit her data entry job, which is in Carrollton, and a second shift job. Plus she gets a raise at the hospital because she now has her license! Things are finally going well for her, which I think I can safely say she deserves, because she has worked very hard for all of this. We will be celebrating big, this weekend, for these things, as well as for J’s birthday, which was the same day as S’s.

The Red Sox held on to beat the Rays 2-1, last night, maintaining their first place tie with the Boo Jays. Clay Buchholz actually pitched well. We do believe in miracles! The Rangers, on the other hand, continue to struggle with the last place teams, losing to the Reds (whose record is almost exactly the opposite of theirs) 3-0. Dutch Oven returned, and seems to have pitched quite well. He just got no run support. They play one more tonight, before coming home to face the Indians, who now have the best record in the AL.

Tonight is our Anchor prayer gathering. Twice a month, we gather in someone’s home to pray for needs of the church and our world. If you have anything you would like us to pray for, leave a note, either here or on Facebook.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity.
Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive.
Psalm 106:40-46

We typically connect cause and effect with the word therefore. In our case, though, God connects them with the word nevertheless. We expect damnation for our sin, but when we believe Jesus Christ, we get salvation. “‘Nevertheless’ is one of the most important words in Scripture, for it miraculously joins human sin with God’s salvation.”

“What a happy discovery, O God, to find that each act of confession is not an occasion for condemnation but an experience of your forgiveness: ‘Make mercy in all of us, out of us all/Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King’ (Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Spiritual Index

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Matthew 7:9

In this illustration of prayer, Jesus speaks of “a good child asking for a good thing.” We tend to think about prayer “as if God heard us irrespective of the fact of our relationship to Him.” Rather than proclaiming that it wasn’t God’s will to give us what we asked for, perhaps we should step back and “find out the reason, turn up the index.” There is always someone proclaiming that God doesn’t answer prayer, but if you look at their lives, you see why. Why should God answer the prayer of someone who is consistently disobedient to him??

Are we rightly related to our family, to our work associates? What about other matters? Are we asking God for money when we haven’t paid someone we owe? Are we expecting liberty when we have not granted someone the same? And what about forgiveness? Are we expecting God to forgive us when we refuse to forgive someone in our lives? So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

“I am a child of God only by regeneration, and as a child of God I am good only as I walk in the light. Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God.”

When Jesus said, “Everyone that asks receives,” he was speaking of people who are “good children.”

Father, I pray to be a “good child.” I will spend part of this day, as already planned, being specifically obedient to something that you have placed in my heart. I pray that this will reap answered prayers. I am confident that it will reap closer devotion to you through Jesus. Let my prayer/reading times today be deep, drawing me into closer communion with you.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

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Stamped With the Presence of God

Today is Tuesday, August 23, 2016. 52 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain

Word of the Day

Venial – able to be forgiven or pardoned; not seriously wrong, as a sin (opposed to mortal).

Today is Cuban Sandwich Day. (The country, not Mark.) It sounds delicious, but I’ve never had one. I did have a really good sandwich at McAlister’s Deli, last night, though, called the “Memphian.” Black Forest ham, turkey, roast beef, Provolone, lettuce, tomato, lite mayo, and Dijon mustard on a hot baguette. Delicious!

The big news, this morning, is that R finally got her LPC license! (That stands for Licensed Professional Counselor.) It’s an “intern” license, but all that now stands between her and her career is a period of internship. We are just all tremendously excited that her license finally came through. It is has been a tough process (and quite frustrating) for her, but she persevered and made it!

The Red Sox beat the Rays 6-2 last night, which launched them into a tie for first place with the Boo Jays, since Toronto didn’t play last night. September is going to be really exciting in the AL East!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them,
but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.
They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.
Psalm 106:34-39

As this psalm continues (I struggle to think of this as a “song” being sung by a group of people, but that is what the Psalms allegedly were), we continue to be warned by the failures of Israel. What should have been victories and triumphs became “defections and compromises; instead of sharing faith in a holy God, Israel adopted the savage rites of child sacrifice.” Instead of a land flowing “with milk and honey,” it became a land of disobedience flowing “with the blood of innocent children.”

“‘Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the search for Thy salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving Thee whom we adore’ (Harry Emerson Fosdick, ‘God of Grace and God of Glory’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Prayer Choice and Prayer Conflict

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

This is one of the best of all of the readings in this book. We must understand that prayer “is an effort of the will.” Once we get into our “secret place,” the most difficult thing to do is pray. As soon as we shut the door, the wandering thoughts begin. Those of you who are regular pray-ers, tell me if I’m wrong. I know it has definitely been my experience. There are mornings that the hardest thing in the world to do is pray, because as soon as I start, all of the emotions and thoughts start flooding in. I even start remembering emotional moments from decades in the past! “We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer.”

To be in a “secret silence” means that we have to shut the door on these emotions “remember God.” When we abide in this “secret place,” our confidence in God grows tremendously. “We become more sure of Him than of anything else.” We should begin our day by letting God in, and then “get into the habit of dealing with God about everything.” When these things happen, every event of our lives will be “stamped with the presence of God.”

Father, as I pray this morning, help me to be focused. Help me to shut the door in my “secret place” and close out all negative emotions (even positive ones that would distract me from prayer) and thoughts that would hinder me. Help me to remember you. I also pray that I might be successful in dealing with you about everything in my day. Be the center of my day, Father, and help me to walk in your Kingdom, sharing the easy yoke with Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Toward Bethel, Not Meribah

Today is Monday, August 22, 2016. 53 days to Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” – John Galsworthy (Think about that one for a few minutes.)

Word of the Day

Lucubrate – to work, write, or study laboriously, especially at night.

Today is Be An Angel Day. While that is technically impossible, we still might have the opportunity to be someone’s “angel” today by helping them through a difficult situation.

It was a wonderful weekend! We got to Mineral Wells around 2:00 PM on Saturday, picked up Grandma, and headed pretty much straight to Dairy Mart for lunch. They still cook a mean cheeseburger! Then we went to pick up some more Crazy Water (I drink about half a liter a day, and I swear to you it has helped my arthritic knee!), after which we stopped at Jitterbeans for some smoothies and hot chocolate. I actually had a “frozen hot chocolate,” and it was quite delicious! We went back to Grandma’s house, where we had some strawberry cake (we brought it with us), and then sat and watched the Rangers lose to the Rays. We left around 8:00 PM, stopped by McDonald’s, then went to check in at the hotel.

Sunday morning was nice. We had our complimentary breakfast at the hotel, got checked out, and went back to Grandma’s to pick her up to go to church, at First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells. The worship service was very fulfilling, in my opinion. Good worship, and Nathan’s message was quite good, being all about unity in the body of Christ. Mel Kincaid always does a marvelous job of selecting and leading the music for the service, too. Lunch, afterward, was at Pastafina, delicious, as always, then back to the house to finish off the strawberry cake. We visited and watched the Rangers lose some more, then headed on back home for some R&R before getting back into the work week.

S was extremely grateful for the great birthday weekend, and has thanks us profusely for it. We are grateful to God for it as well.

Another thing we are grateful to God for! We had had a low tire pressure alert in the car on Friday afternoon, so we stopped and put some air in the front passenger side tire before heading to Mineral Wells on Saturday. When we got to Grandma’s house, I looked at the tire, and, low and behold, there was a very large screw in the tire! After lunch, C took the car up to Wal-Mart to see if they could fix it. It turns out that the screw was too close to the side of the tire, and they couldn’t repair it. BUT, there was also a split in the tire, as well as a bubble (all on the inside, where we couldn’t see it), and it was apparent that the tire could have blown at any time! That screw very well may have saved us some much worse troubles than a flat tire! Both front tires were original on the car, so we elected to go ahead and buy two new tires for the front.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account,
for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips
.
Psalm 106:32-33

There are many places in the Old Testament story that remind us of faith and God’s grace; Bethel, Sinai, Carmel, and Olivet, to name a few. However, there are also places, such as Meribah, where the people of God severely tried his patience and sinned greatly. “The geography of salvation shows desirable places to go and troublesome places to avoid.”

“I forget, Lord, how dangerously my discontent can affect another’s trust. I want to be especially considerate of those who are leaders and companions in the way of faith, supporting them with appreciation and intercession, not toppling them with criticism and grumbling. Amen.”

Father, show me how utterly helpless I am without you. Ruthlessly show me how much my mumbling and complaining hurts your Church. Teach me how to pray for your leaders, both locally and nationally, in ways that lift them up and support them. Keep me away from Meribah and lead me always toward Bethel.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

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Today is Saturday, August 20, 2016. 55 days to Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” – Charles F. Kettering

Another good quote for today

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

Word of the Day

Stultify – to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous. Hah! I do that to myself, frequently!

Today is Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. Do I even need to say anything else about this?

Yesterday was a truly wonderful day! It was a close to perfect as any day we’ve ever had with S. We probably started a little later than we originally planned, but that’s okay. It started with lunch at Martha’s Mexican Cocina. After that, we surprised S by taking her to the AT&T Store, where we got her a new iPhone SE, which she has been wanting ever since C and I got ours. This, of course, took a couple of hours, because you can’t do anything quickly at the AT&T store. But it was successful, and all went rather smoothly.

After that was finally done, we headed over to Euless to the Nail Spa where we always go to get our pedicures done. We all got pedicures, which were extremely relaxing and felt really good. After the pedicures, we headed back over to our side of town, and went to Main Event for some bowling. There was a short wait (it was, after all, almost 6:30 PM on a Friday evening), and we got a lane for an hour. We managed to get in about a game and a half. S won the first game. None of us scored over 100. I was reminded why I don’t like Main Event. I mean . . . we had a good time, so don’t get me wrong. But Main Event is most definitely not a place for “serious” bowlers. And if you are a serious bowler, you have to be ready to let go of the serious for a while. I don’t think I got a ball on the right side of the head pin until the second game was almost over. There was, literally, no oil in the middle part of the lane at all. The only oil was to the right of the first arrow, which insured that, if you got your ball out there, it would most certainly go in the gutter. S also won the second “game,” which ended around the seventh frame, as hour hour was up. Yet another reason Main Event is not for serious bowlers. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have to stop a game before the tenth frame?? It’s maddening!

Oh, and let me tell you, we did NOT “let” S win the games!

After bowling, we headed west to Ginger Brown’s Old Tyme Restaurant, for dinner. It was quite delicious. I had their Cheddar Ranch Chicken, a boneless chicken breast, deep fried, covered in ranch dressing and cheddar cheese. Yum!! We brought the free cinnamon rolls home to have for breakfast this morning. After we got home, to top off the night, we had a piece of the strawberry cake that C made for S’s birthday. It was, of course, moist and delicious!

Today, we head to Mineral Wells for the rest of the weekend, as soon as I get done here, and we get packed.

Oh, and just so you know, there will no blog entry tomorrow morning. I’m not taking a computer with me.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image.
They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.
They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD.
Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands.
Psalm 106:19-27

The psalmist shows, in this passage, that neither “worship” nor staying home can be proof of righteousness. We can sin in either instance, as Israel did when they “worshiped a metal image,” and when “they murmured in their tents.” I’ve always been amused by the psalmist’s comment in verse 20 (I see it as almost editorial). “They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.” (Emphasis mine)

“‘Cure Thy children’s warring madness, bend our pride to Thy control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss Thy Kingdom’s goal’ (Harry Emerson Fosdick, ‘God of Grace and God of Glory’). Amen.

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Completeness

. . . and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

If you recall, yesterday’s reading began with the first part of that verse, “Come to me.”

“Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest.” Whatever it is that is causing unrest in our lives needs to be dealt with at once. We do not want “self-consciousness” to develop, because it will eventually become self-pity, “and self-pity is Satanic.” And when we engage in self-pity, we always make a display to others. This is heightened by today’s social media outlets. It is very common to see someone make a blatant display of self-pity on Facebook, hoping that they will get validation from others. This results in one of two things. Either they get the validation, which enables the behavior, or they don’t get it, so they get angry and leave Facebook. For a day or two, then they’re back. “Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness.” What we need is not pity from other people. What we need is “Christ-consciousness.”

“The child of God is not conscious of the will of God because he is the will of God. . . . A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayers, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer.” To me, the key word in that last sentence is “restfully.” The whole idea of abiding is resting. When we abide in Christ and his words, we rest in them, with great confidence that they are true.

Now here is the tricky part. “If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously.” In other words, it will have the opposite effect. Come to Jesus. He will give you rest. When he comes, he will give the kind of rest that causes us to not need to be conscious of ourselves.

Father, take away any self-consciousness that I might still have. Make me the kind of child of yours that doesn’t need to worry about whether you will answer prayers, or who doesn’t have to be constantly asking what your will is. I want to be so intimately acquainted with Jesus that my life is your will.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

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Come To Me

Today is Friday, August 19, 2016! Today is S’s birthday! She is 23 today! Happy birthday!!!

Quote of the Day

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss

Word of the Day

Mesmerism – a compelling attraction; fascination.

Today is World Humanitarian Day. May we all see what we can do about either supporting or engaging with some kind of world humanitarian organization.

Today is the day! I slept until 9:15 this morning. That doesn’t happen very often, not even on a normal weekend morning. Of course, I stayed up until mumblemumblemumble o’clock last night, playing No Man’s Sky.

S has already opened her birthday presents, and the birthday cake is cooked. Homemade strawberry cake, from a recipe provided by a good friend of my mother. I’m not sure what we are doing first, this morning. Possible getting those pedicures done, followed by some lunch.

Since today is a special day, I want to see who has the same birthday as S. Besides our beloved son-in-law, J, she shares a birthday with these people:

232–Marcus Aurelius Probus, Roman Emperor
1843–C.I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible
1871–Orville Wright, American aviation pioneer
1883–Coco Chanel, French clothing designer
1902–Ogden Nash, American poet
1906–Philo Farnsworth, American inventor (electronic television)
1919–Malcolm Forbes, American publisher
1921–Gene Rodenberry, American television producer (Star Trek)
1931–Willie Shoemaker, American jockey
1935–Bobby Richardson, American baseball player
1938–Diana Muldaur, American actress (Star Trek:TNG)
1939–Ginger Baker, English musician (Cream)
1940–Jill St. John, American actress (Diamonds Are Forever)
1940–Johnny Nash, American singer-songwriter (I Can See Clearly Now)
1942–Fred Thompson, American actor (Law & Order)
1945–Ian Gillan, English singer (Deep Purple)
1946–Bill Clinton, 42nd POTUS
1948–Tipper Gore, Second Lady of the U.S.
1948–Gerald McRaney, American actor (Major Dad)
1951–John Deacon, English musician (Queen)
1952–Jonathan Frakes, American actor and director (Star Trek:TNG)
1955–Ned Yost, American baseball player and manager
1955–Peter Gallagher, American actor
1958–Gary Gaetti, American baseball player
1960–Ron Darling, American baseball player and announcer
1963–John Stamos, American actor (Full House)
1965–Kevin Dillon, American actor
1965–Kyra Sedgwick, American actress (The Closer), married to Kevin Bacon
1969–Matthew Perry, American actor (Friends)
1970–Jeff Tam, American baseball player
1975–Tracie Thoms, American actress
1978–Chris Capuano, American baseball player
1979–Dave Douglas, American musician (Relient K)
1982–J.J. Hardy, American baseball player
1982–Erika Christensen, American actress (Parenthood)
1983–Missy Higgins, Australian singer-songwriter

That’s quite a list, there. I counted seven baseball players, three people associated with Star Trek, one from Full House, and one from Parenthood.

Happy birthday, S!!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert;
he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.
When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the LORD,
the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.
Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
Psalm 106:13-18

So often, forgetfulness and rebellion are paired. The people forgot the works of God, then they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. “When we forget God’s ways of providing for us, we impatiently seek to set up our own self-government.” These rebellious acts are done in an “atmosphere devoid of the memory of grace.”

“Merciful Lord, grant that my remembrance of your ways will lead me to a more trusting obedience, and grant that my obedience may improve my memory, so that I may not forget anything you have done for me or quarrel with any of your commands. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Self-Consciousness

Come to me . . . Matthew 11:28

In this reading, Chambers speaks of self-consciousness as something, though not a sin, itself, can “upset the completeness of the life in God,” continuously producing a wrestling within us. There are various things that can cause self-consciousness, from a “nervous temperament” to being dumped in a new circumstance. “It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.” Anything that disturbs our rest/abiding in Christ must be dealt with at once. And the way we do that is by following his command to “Come to me.” If we finish the verse, we see this: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And then what does he say in verse 30? My yoke is easy!

We must come to Christ and ask him to produce within us Christ-consciousness, rather than self-consciousness. Once we begin to examine ourselves too much, we lose sight of Christ and we become divided. “Beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately.”

What I believe is being said, here (it’s a little complex), is that, when circumstances (or people) threaten to disturb our rest/abiding in Christ, we must immediately go to Jesus, rather than following the temptation to begin looking at self in introspection. The answer never lies within me. The answer lies in Christ. His yoke is easy. If I simply follow his command, he will give me rest, and I will be Christ-conscious instead of self-conscious.

Father, this is a difficult teaching, but I think I understand it. I need more of this Christ-consciousness and less self-consciousness. Teach me this way, and show me how to step into the easy yoke with Jesus. My desire is to continuously abide in him and his words. Draw me into these habits, Father, as I move forward in your Kingdom.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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“Rebellious, Obdurate, and Without either Intelligence or Faith.”

Today is Thursday, August 18, 2016. ONE MORE DAY!!

Quote of the Day

“A weed is but an unloved flower.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Word of the Day

OpacusMeteorology. (of a cloud) dense enough to obscure the sun or moon.

Today is Serendipity Day. “Serendipity” means “a happy accident” or “pleasant surprise.” It’s something good that you weren’t expecting or looking for. So be on the lookout for moments of serendipity today.

We might call today “Thriday.” It’s Thursday that acts like Friday because we are off work tomorrow!! How very exciting! It should be a fun-filled weekend as we celebrate S’s 23rd birthday!

The Rangers beat the A’s 6-2, last night, maintaining their 6.5 game lead over the Mariners. The Astros, who are “better than the Rangers,” continued their losing streak and have now fallen to ten games out, in third place. That quote, by the way, was from an article by a sportswriter in Houston. He was using “science.” But “science” doesn’t win baseball games.

The Red Sox beat the Orioles 8-1 in a rain-shortened game. This put the O’s in third place. Unfortunately, the Boo Jays won again, so the Sox remain one game out, in second place. They play the Tigers tonight, while the Rangers travel to the Juice Box to play Rays, who are, much to my delight, in the cellar, the third worst team in the AL.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry, and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left.
Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.
Psalm 106:6-12

God worked some amazing works of salvation during the Exodus from Egypt. I believe it is easy to see the comparison between ancient Israel and the modern sinner. As God was delivering, Israel was “rebellious, obdurate, and without either intelligence or faith.” All they had to offer God was their sin, and he responded “with an invincible grace.”

“Father, the more I realize the depth and deviousness of my sin, the more I realize the persistence and power of your grace. How I thank you for coming to me in salvation in Jesus Christ! Amen.”

Father, there have been many times in my life when I have been just as “rebellious, obdurate, and without either intelligence or faith” as Israel was while escaping Egypt. “I should be a pillar of salt, I’ve looked back so many times.” Forgive me for looking back longingly at times of sin in my life. Forgive me for being willfully rebellious at times. Forgive me for being stubborn, and, sometimes just downright stupid. May your Spirit draw me further into your Kingdom, washing me clean of even the thoughts of sin. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. Like Israel, all I have to offer you is my sin. Anything else that I “possess,” I got from you.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Do We Listen, Yet Not Hear?

Today is Wednesday, August 17, 2016. TWO more days until S turns 23!!

Quote of the Day

“A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.” – Elbert Hubbard

Word of the Day

Big whoop – Expressing dismissiveness: ‘So what?’ ‘Who cares?’

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. That seems to be every day at our house. At least the black cat seems to think so.

So only today and tomorrow for this work week, and we’re off Friday! Woohoo! S’s birthday is Friday, and we are taking off for the day. I’m not sure what all we will do, but Martha’s Mexican Restaurant and pedicures will most certainly be involved. The best part will be not working. Saturday, we will head to Mineral Wells to spend a couple of days with Grandma, and attend church with her on Sunday morning.

The Red Sox and Rangers both pulled off close games last night. The Rangers won theirs in the bottom of the tenth inning on a “walk-off hit-by-pitch.” I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. The Red Sox won on two home runs by Mookie Betts. That guy is on fire. So the Sox are now tied with Baltimore for second place, while the Boo Jays are in first, since they beat the Yankees last night. The Rangers are the only team in the AL with over 70 wins.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise?
Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.
Psalm 106:1-5

This psalm becomes a psalm of lament and confession, but it begins with an opening of praise. “It is because the Lord ‘is good’ and ‘his steadfast love endures forever’ that sin can be confessed with the expectation (‘remember me’) of restoration.”

“As I look at the past, I see a mass of human failings; keep me, O God, from adding yet another sin by using what I see to document accusation against others. Rather, I will confess my contribution to the failures and look to you for forgiveness, in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Are You Discouraged in Devotion?

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

If you have never heard Jesus say a “hard word,” Oswald Chambers questions whether you have heard him at all. “Jesus Christ says a great deal that we listen to, but do not hear; when we do hear, His words are amazingly hard.” This, of course, is why we rationalize words like the Beatitudes, saying that they are just ideals, lofty principles to strive for, not actual characteristics that should drive our very existence.

Another amazing point is that Jesus did not chase after this man. He was not being in any way “solicitous.” He simply put it out there and left it at that. He did not plead, he did not try to entrap. “He simply spoke the sternest words mortal ears every listened to, and then left it alone.” The modern church would do well to observe this example. I have been in altar calls where Jesus is misrepresented as “pleading” with people to come be saved. That is never true.

The man in this passage heard the words of Jesus, understood them, but turned away, not defiantly, but heart-broken. “And Jesus did not go after him, He let him go.”

Have we heard the words of Jesus? What is our response? He will not beg or plead with us; he will not chase after us. He speaks . . . and then he just waits for his words to bear fruit.

Father, I pray for your Spirit to work on me, that the words of Jesus will begin to bear fruit in my life. I have read the words of Jesus over and over. But have I truly heard them? As I continue to read his words, throughout my life, may they take root; may the embed themselves in my very being, and have an effect on me that remains forever. I pray for them to bear fruit in my life. I do not want to turn away, either defiantly or broken-hearted.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Devotions, Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment