When God Is Enshrouded

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, September 12, 2012. Today is “National Chocolate Milkshake Day.” They had me at “chocolate.” See? Another dessert thing.

What??? ZZ Top has a new album???

On this date in 1940, some French teenagers discovered some cave drawings.
On this date in 1953, Nikita Kruschchev was elected leader of the Soviet Union. He allegedly said, “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.”
Also on this date in 1953, John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier.
On this date in 1846, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning eloped.
On this date in 1944, Barry White was born.
And on this date in 1972, “Hopalong Cassidy” rode off into the eternal sunset.

Christi is still experiencing a good bit (a “bad” bit?) of pain this morning. She didn’t go work out last night, but Stephanie and I went anyway. I’m really growing to like that “adaptive motion trainer.” The key was lowering the resistance. No point in trying to kill myself on those machines. I keep praying that Christi will get some relief soon. I feel so helpless, watching her be in pain all the time.

The Red Sox beat the Evil Empire last night, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth. I was stunned. It’s been a terribly painful year to be a Red Sox fan. Meanwhile, the Rangers continue to dominate the American League, but they’re only three games ahead of the Oakland Athletics, who have surprised everyone this season. And right now, even the A’s have a better record than the Evil Empire. I like that. 🙂 The Washington Nationals are having the best year ever, currently maintaining the best record in baseball, followed closely by the Cincinnati Reds.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of you this morning as I search your words. Give me grace for this day; teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 104. This is a lengthy psalm, extolling the magnificence of God and his creation.

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

It describes the creation of the world.
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

It speaks of provision for both man and beast.
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Overall, this is a stunning portrayal of the majesty of God.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!

Yes, Lord…may my meditation be pleasing to you.

My Utmost For His Highest

You do not know what you are asking. Matthew 20:22

We do have confusing times in our lives, and it doesn’t help anything to simply say that there shouldn’t be confusion. Granted, 2 Corinthians 14:33 does say that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” However, this is in the context of how our worship should look. What causes us confusion in our lives is when God takes us in a direction that we don’t quite understand. We cannot afford to wait until we understand it! The only way out is going through the confusion with God, and only then can we truly understand what God is doing. Imagine how I have felt as God draws me into a ministry of intense prayer instead of being a worship leader. Talk about confusing. What are you doing, God? Where are you taking me? I don’t quite understand, but I’ll go anyway. I can’t sit here and wait for God to explain it to me, as if he owed me any explanation anyway.

There are times that it will appear as though God does not care for us. “You will think He is an unkind friend, but remember He is not; the time will come when everything will be explained.” Chambers asks a very important question here: “When God looks completely enshrouded, will you hang on in confidence in Him?” I remember times when it felt as though God had abandoned us. I even expressed that feeling out loud. But he had not. And we did not abandon him. We held on. There are people who have gone through much worse than we have, who have also held onto the Lord with all their strength. He is always there, even when it looks like he is not.

There are times when God will appear to be a callous and indifferent Father. But “He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted.” IF we hang on…if we do not give up.

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8) “Will He find the faith which banks on Him in spite of the confusion?” We must stand on this faith, “believing that what Jesus said is true,” even though we may not understand what God is doing.

The Tabletalk Magazine reading for today (yes, I’m still reading that), speaks of the first commandment. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3) Also related to this is Deuteronomy 10:12: And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul… The main thing I took from this reading is that, in order to truly fear, love, and honor the Lord, we must know him. “We must diligently study His Word and seek Him in prayer so that we might know Him and, knowing Him, that we might love Him.”

That, my friends, is what I’m all about right here.

I like this prayer from At the Throne of Grace, by John MacArthur.
“We present our hearts, our minds,
our tongues, our hands and feet–
our every faculty–
to You as a living sacrifice of praise.
We know, dear Lord, that even if we were able perfectly to devote
every ounce of our energy,
every molecule of our flesh,
every moment of our time,
every thought of our hearts,
and every breath of our remaining lives to You in praise,
it would not be sufficient to express even the tiniest fraction of Your glory.
That’s why we look forward to an eternity of praising You in the perfect bliss of heaven.

In the meantime, enlarge our capacity for praise.
Open our eyes to behold Your glory more clearly than we see it now.
Open our hearts to love You more earnestly than we love anything in this world.
Open our tongues to praise You more fittingly than we can through these poor words.”


Father, as the words of a popular worship song said, “I want to know you, I want to hear your voice; I want to know you more. I want to touch you; I want to see your face; I want to know you more.” I cannot love, honor, and fear, that which I do not know. Not properly, at any rate. I guess it’s easy to “fear” what we don’t know, but that’s the wrong kind of “fear.” My desire is to know you more each day; to be more intimately acquainted with you and your glory. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth!

Father, I pray that my spirit will hold onto you, no matter what. I thank you for the tenacity which you have given Christi and me through all of our difficult times. I know that our “difficult” times are nothing compared to some people. Nevertheless, when they were happening, they were tough. And even though there were times that we felt as if you had left us hanging, we desperately held on to the hope that you had not, which, of course, was the truth. You would never abandon us. I praise you for this. I praise you that you have me on a journey that, even though I may not quite understand it at the moment, is right where you want me. I will trust you. I will “keep the faith.” I will watch what you are doing, and I will obey what I believe you are telling me to do. I pray for the sensitivity and the spirit to be able to discern your direction in my life as I travel on this journey. Give me eyes to see where you are directing my feet. Give me ears to hear what you are speaking to me, in order that I might pray rightly. And give me the heart to believe in you at all times, trusting you implicitly with every ounce of my life.

I pray for this day. Again, I pray that Christi would have some relief from this pain she is experiencing. I pray that you would touch her back with your healing hand, Lord. I also pray that you would intervene in the process, that she might get the treatment she needs. Give her a good work day, free from stress. I pray for my work day, that it be good and productive, that my work will be efficient today, and that there would be no issues that would hinder us from our goals. Give Stephanie a good day today, drawing her attention to you that she might read your word and draw near to you in prayer.

Your grace is sufficient.

“When God looks completely enshrouded, will you hang on in confidence in Him?”

Grace and peace, friends.

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