Rightly Related

Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 30, 2012. It really needs to be Friday. Can I get an “Amen?”

Today is “Frankenstein Day.” I guess that’s because it is the birthday of Mary Shelley, author of the story.

On this date in 30 B.C., Cleopatra committed suicide. Legend has it that she took the bite of an asp.
On this date in 1918, Vladimir Lenin was shot twice in an assassination attempt. He survived the attempt.
On this date in 2003, actor Charles Bronson died. I met him once. My high school band was in Colorado while he was there, filming The White Buffalo. I got his autograph. I have no idea where it is.
On this date in 1965, Casey Stengel retired from being manager of the New York Mets. He had a 56 year career in professional baseball.

Last night, I experienced something a little strange. It was like I crashed, spiritually. Of course, it goes along with the things that the Lord has been teaching me, now that I think about it. For most of the day, I was on pretty much a “spiritual high,” feeling pretty good. Not just spiritually, either. Emotionally, it was a great day. On the way home, I talked to Christi (it’s not her fault, mind you), and her mother had fallen while out at Albertson’s, and was taken to the hospital (she was released soon after…she is, apparently, okay), and Christi’s back was hurting her really bad. (“Badly?” No, I don’t think so…her back was doing a pretty good job of hurting her.) Anyway…what happened was this. I started having a pity-party. All this praying I’ve been doing, and Christi still hurts. The prayers aren’t working. I started sinking. By the time I got home, I was in a total funk. But I realized it by the end of the evening. Stephanie and I went to work out at the gym. I left the gym feeling better, but recognizing what had happened. This, I believe, is a definite improvement over a few months ago, which is, to me, a sure sign of the work of the Spirit. There was a time in the not so distant past that I would have carried on in this funk and made everyone around me miserable. I never lost sight of that “unutterable trust” that I spoke of yesterday. I never doubted that God was standing by me, perhaps even carrying me. Yes, I crashed. I came off of that…no, I FELL off of that “mountaintop” that I’ve been on for the last two days. Into the “demon-possessed valley” where “the facts laugh ironically” at my beliefs. And this morning, I got up and here I go again. Right back into God’s Word for some more nourishment.

Father, I offer up a special prayer for friend and sister in Christ, Samantha Alexander, who is currently undergoing back surgery. I pray that the surgeon’s hands will be sure and steady, and that this surgery will fix the back pain she has been suffering from. May her recovery be quick.

I pray, this morning, that you will send the Holy Spirit to me through your Word, and reveal your Word to me, enlightening my mind.

Today, I’m reading Psalm Psalm 91. This is one of my favorites! There is no indication of who wrote this one.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (1)
What a wonderful place to be, abiding in the shadow of the Almighty!

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (2)
My God is my refuge and my fortress. I trust in him with an Unuterrable Trust! I will not doubt that he is right beside me, holding me up. In fact,

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
I’ve loved those two verses for years. I memorized them many years ago. As long as the Lord is my dwelling place, I am protected. Does this mean nothing will ever hurt me? I don’t think so. We all undergo pain. But this provides a state of mind that is impenetrable by fear.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
This is what God says about those who love him. And so far, in my life, this has proven to be true. He has delivered me; he has protected me; he has answered my prayers (not always the way I wanted, but he knows better than me); he has rescued me; yes, he has honored me, multiple times; I have been satisfied with long life (so far); and he has shown me his salvation. What more could one ask for?

Just had another goosebump moment…

My Utmost For His Highest
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:19-20

I think a lot of people in “Christendom” missed verse 20. They got so excited about that “power,” that they never read the following verse. Jesus tells us that we should not rejoice in “successful service,” but that we should rejoice that we are rightly related to him. It is a dangerous snare to begin rejoicing because God has used you. I’ve struggled with that, even recently. Yes, it is exciting to see prayers answered, and it is tempting to think, “I did that!” But I most certainly did NOT do that! I did nothing, outside of obey what my Father told me to do! “You can never measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.” That is actually a rather huge statement. If I stay rightly related to him, throughout the circumstances that come, day by day, he will pour “rivers of living water” through me, and I may not even know it. In fact, I’m better off if I don’t know it! Do you get that? It is better to be used of God and never realize it. If we realize it, our meekness goes out the window. We are human. If we know that God is using us, we get puffed up. But if I am rightly related to Christ, there is almost no limit to what he can do through me. Wherever I am, I am there because God put me there (another huge statement), and it is by my reaction to those circumstances (OUCH!) that I fulfill (or fail to fulfill) God’s purpose for me.

“The tendency today is to put the emphasis on service. Beware of the people who make usefulness their ground of appeal. If you make usefulness the test, then Jesus Christ was the greatest failure that ever lived.” (Emphasis mine) Yes, he just said that. The test of the saint is God, not “estimated usefulness.” It is what God does through us that matters, not what we do for him, and, once again, he can work through me without me even knowing it! All I need to do is to be right in my relationship with him.

Father, I thank you for the protection that you have been for me in my life. Yes, there have been trials. Yes, there have been disappointments, major disappointments. But you have not been a disappointment to me. If anything, I have disappointed myself. But that’s not why I’m here this morning. I give you thanks for the fact that you are my refuge and my fortress. You have kept me and my family for all these years. We dwell in the shadow of your wings, Father. You have shown me your salvation, and for that I will eternally praise you.

I thank you that you have used me. I thank you that you use me at times that I’m not even aware. I pray that this will always be true, even more so, going forward. I desire to be useful to you, but I desire more to know you. My heart’s desire is to be rightly related to you in such a way that, no matter where I am, I will react in the right way to all circumstances, and, thereby, demonstrate your grace, love, and mercy to all who are around me. At this point, I’m kind of at a loss for words. I depend on your Spirit to intercede for me. I love you, Lord, and I thank you for making yourself known to me.

I pray for this day. Again, I pray for Samantha Alexander, who is in surgery as I’m typing this. I pray for successful surgery with quick recovery.
I pray for Christi’s doctor visit this afternoon, that they may have some kind of solution for her, or at least have gotten the MRI through the red tape of insurance bureaucracy. I pray for her day at work, and that her pain would be less today. I pray for my day at work, that it would be smooth today, without issues. I pray for Stephanie’s day at home, that you would show yourself to her, and show your love to her today.
I also pray for Rachel and Justin, as they begin a new semester (started yesterday). I pray for strength and wisdom for them, as well as endurance as things get tough. I pray for relief of stress. I have prayed for them every day, but simply putting it in here today.

Give me focus and clarity as I continue praying this morning.

Focus not on the works that you do; rather, focus and rejoice in being rightly related to Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.

2 thoughts on “Rightly Related

  1. Your honest self-disclosure in this post is breathtaking. Few people could look at themselves with such objectivity. I have also learned this–although I do not cope with it as well as you–that every time I reach a point of trust in God, or a place of stability in my faith, or just a feeling of happiness, the devil is right there to sabotage me. Yes, I believe there is a devil. And, his attacks are brutally accurate and totally without mercy. May you climb to the mountain top and continue to be a fruitful servant and disciple.

Comments are closed.