It’s Thursday morning, January 12, 2012. It’s 32 degrees this morning. Time to get out “the coat.”
Yesterday, Steph didn’t have a good day. But she’s experiencing some pain in her arm that is, very possibly, a result of getting blood drawn Tuesday at the doctor’s office. They got it from her wrist area, and, doing some research, we discovered that many people have complained of somewhat severe pain afterward, because a nerve got hit, or something like that. Anyway, Steph doesn’t deal well with that kind of pain, so she got pretty much nothing accomplished yesterday, and may not today, either. She’s supposed to meet with her teacher to day, so prayers are definitely needed.
Remember that “thing” I was praying about for Christi? She has more of it tomorrow (Friday) at 9am and 12pm. I think. Or it might be 11am and 2pm. Not sure.
My Utmost For His Highest
He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. Mark 4:34
The KJV, in the above verse, says “when they were alone…” When we are able to understand things, Jesus will take us alone and explain them to us. The kind of activity in which I am participating right now is just such a time. Jesus may or may not explain something profound to me during this time, but it is the time that I am most alone with him every day.
Chambers says that “the only way we can be of use to God is to let Him take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters.” (I thought it was “nooks…”) “It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves!” Amen, to that! We experience envy, pride, or laziness, and don’t even realize it. If we allow him, Jesus will reveal all of these things to us. “We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves…” God is the only one who understand us! If God were to give us a glimpse of ourselves in his eyes, “we shall never say, ‘Oh, I am so unworthy,’ because we shall know we are, beyond the possibility of stating it.” In other words, our knowledge of ourselves would be so profound that we would be speechless.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:26-27;31
After discussing the fact that fallen man cannot obey God perfectly, we are led to the sixth question of the Heidelberg Catechism, which says, “Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?” The short answer is “no.” In the passage from Genesis, above, we are told that man was created in God’s image, and, along with the rest of the creation, was deemed “very good.” What does it mean to be created “in God’s image?” This has been debated for centuries, and is not explicitly explained. “…but at the very least it must mean that men and women have a greater capacity to reflect and reveal God than other created beings. Simply put, we are more like God than anything else in the physical creation.”
The Bible Panorama
Matthew 9:1-17; Genesis 29-30
In the first section of Matthew 9, we see the concern of “Friends” (1-8), who go to great lengths to get a paralytic in front of Jesus, where he is healed. Jesus is glorified while the religious leaders become more hostile. Next is “Following” (9-13), as the tax collector, Levi, is called to follow Christ as a disciple. Jesus eats at Levi’s house, demonstrating that “He touches the hearts of sin-sick sinners and needs no outward show. He is unimpressed with religious self-righteousness.” This is a concept that large part of the institutional church has yet to grasp. At the end of today’s passage, Jesus talks about “Fasting” (14-17). There is a time for fasting, and a time for not fasting. However, fasting should never be done as a show of our devotion. (See the above statement about “religious self-righteousness.”)
Genesis 29–The two chapters I’m reading today are a bit humorous. It seems that Jacob has met his match in the realm of deception. Chapter 29 begins with “God’s Guidance” (1-14), as the Lord leads Jacob to the land of his mother’s brother, Laban. There he meets Rachel, and desires to take her for his wife. In verses 15-27, we see the “Deceiver Deceived.” (Hey, these points start with different letters!) Laban pulls the ol’ “switcheroo” on Jacob, and, after Jacob has worked for seven years to get Rachel, Laban sends Leah in to him on the wedding night. Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Rachel. (She must have been really pretty!) In verses 28-30, we see “Love’s Labours” (British, remember?), in which Jacob fulfills the second seven year agreement. He loves Rachel more than Leah (which I don’t find to be unfair at all, because it was Rachel that he was after, not Leah). Verses 31-35 mark the beginning of a “Famous Family,” as we begin to see the sons of Jacob being born. Leah starts by having Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
Genesis 30–Being married to two “Sisters” (1-2) is most definitely not the makings of a happy family. I can’t help it! Sorry…
(I couldn’t find a clip of the whole act with just the girls…)
Anyway…Leah has had sons, but Rachel is barren. Rachel demands children from Jacob. Like he has any control over this, right?? So the sharing of “Servants” begins (3-13). Rachel starts by forcing her servant on Jacob. Her servant has sons Dan and Naphtali. Leah joins in, and her servant has Gad and Asher. It gets even worse, as the two begin “Scheming” (14-24). Leah schemes to get Jacob in the “bedroom” and has sons Issachar and Zebulun. OhandbythewaytherewasadaughterDinah. Finally, Rachel has a son named Joseph. In verses 25-43, we see the “Success” of Jacob. He now has 11 sons (and a daughter), and has grown quite wealthy. He wants to leave, but Laban will have none of that! There is more trickery between Jacob and Laban, ans Jacob comes up with a master plan to get more livestock out of this deal.
I’m reminded of this song by the late Rich Mullins.
Was Jacob being “punished” for his own trickery with Esau? Who knows. It is certainly never specifically stated to be so. He was definitely getting a taste of his own medicine, though. And it makes me think of Jesus’s admonition to treat people the way we want to be treated. nevertheless, Jacob was the father of the nation of Israel, for he was God’s chosen “fool.”
At the Throne of Grace
In a prayer called “Praising God Alone,” John MacArthur prays:
“We have not put our trust in human leaders, in mortal beings;
in them there is no salvation.
But we have put our trust in You, the Lord our God,
Creator of heaven and earth.
You are forever faithful.”
“May we pursue the beauty of Your holiness
and the security of the hope You have set before us.
May we never lose our firm assurance in a salvation that is forever.”
Thank You for Your Word,
which teaches and guides us.
Graciously empower us to bind it upon our hearts,
and thus to set our minds on You.”
“Fill our hearts with gratitude and praise,
and may we see Your design in everything!”
Father, I pray for these times that I am “alone” with you. This is an important part of my life. I pray that, the more I am alone with you, the more you will explain, both about yourself and about me. I know that I am still pretty ignorant about myself. I have gradually learned, over time, that I am capable of some dark sins and attitudes. I have learned to recognize (sometimes) when I experience envy or laziness. I am beginning to learn to control anger and frustration. But there are still times when my mood will change and I will become what I call “yellow” or even “orange” in my frame of mind, and, when those times strike, I am clueless as to why. I need you, Lord, to reveal myself to me. Just as I need you to reveal yourself to me! Get me alone, Lord. And let these alone times be more productive in terms of spiritual things.
I praise you, Father, that you pay not attention to religion posturing. I also thank you for revealing this to me many years ago. I pray that you will keep me in check, and if I ever start showing such religious self-righteousness, slap me down. Seriously. Don’t allow it in my life. I want no part of it. I want to be “real” in my spirituality. I want my walk with you to be humble and authentic. Emphasis on the humble. I know better than to ask for humility, right? That’s a dangerous request. But, Lord, you know I need it. Teach me your ways, Lord!
I pray for this day. I pray that Christi will have a good day at work today. I pray for her “things” tomorrow. I pray especially for Stephanie today, Lord. Relieve the pain that she is experiencing. Remind me, throughout the day, to continue praying for her. Let her know that you are with her, Lord!
I pray for our lifehouse meeting today, as we start those back up. Let our group grow closer together as we meet.
Alone with God…what better place to be?
Grace and peace, friends.