Refreshment to God

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, “Hump Day,” October 24, 2012. Today is “Take Back Your Time Day.” Have you ever said, “Well, there’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back,” after watching a really bad movie? Obviously, you can’t take it back, but you can make sure that you don’t mope about it and use today to make the most of the time that you do have.

On this date in 1854, William Lassell discovered the moons Umbriel and Ariel orbiting Uranus.
On this date in 1861, the first Transcontinental Telegraph line was completed. Crossing the United States, it spelled doom for the Pony Express, which had been in business for 18 months.
On this date in 1901, Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. I don’t quite understand the fascination with doing that.
Harry Houdini’s last performance was on this date in 1926, at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit.
This date in 1929 was “Black Thursday,” as the stock market crashed. This same date in 2008 is known as “Bloody Friday,” as many world stock exchanges saw their worst declines in history.
On this date in 1947, Walt Disney ratted out some employees he thought to be communists. I never knew this.
On this date in 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower pledges U.S. support to South Vietnam. So it’s his fault?
On this date in 1958, Raymond Chandler began his last novel, The Poodle Springs Story. He died before it was completed.
On this date in 1969, Richard Burton bought Elizabeth Taylor a 69-carat, $1.5 million diamond.
Also on this date in 1969, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid opened. Coincidence? Who knows?
And on this date in 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves in games six of the World Series, for their first World Series victory.

Today’s birthdays include Bob Kane, creator of Batman, 1915, Y.A. Tittle, 1926, George Crumb, 1929, J.P. Richardson, 1930 (that’s The Big Bopper, in case you didn’t know), Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, 1936, F. Murray Abraham, 1939, Jerry Edmonton of Steppenwolf, 1946, Kevin Kline, 1947, John Kassir, 1957, Jay Novacek, 1962.

We had a really good lifehouse meeting last night. We’ve been watching a series by Francis Chan, called “Basic.” Last night’s video was about following Jesus. The week before was about fearing God. Next week’s is supposed to be on the Holy Spirit. I’m trying to figure what word that starts with “f” fits there. Anyway, the videos are very good. I’ve never heard Francis Chan before, nor have I read any of his books. But these two videos have made me want to read some of his writing. He’s very good. And he sounds just like Owen Wilson. I’m serious. Anyway…last night’s video was very challenging. Made me realize what a terrible job I’ve been doing of following Jesus. I need to take it more seriously.

Christi felt a little better yesterday, but I think it’s mostly because she timed her doses of ibuprofen better. That’s still good, though. We just have to figure this out before she destroys whatever organ it is that ibuprofen is bad for. Let me tell you this…I’m married to an amazing woman, that’s for sure. To be enduring this constant pain the way she is, and still being able to function…I’m very blessed. I just wish there was something I could do to make it go away. I’m praying. That’s the best thing I can do.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of you today, and a good dose of what it really means to follow Christ.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 125. This “Song of Ascents” is a very encouraging psalm, declaring the value of trusting in the Lord.

1 A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!

It’s both comforting and strengthening to know that the Lord surrounds us, just like Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains. It is also good for us to pray for the Lord’s benefit to those who are “good” and “upright in their hearts.” Of course, we have no way of knowing who is upright in his heart. Only God knows that.

In today’s reading of My Utmost For His Highest, called “The Viewpoint,” Oswald Chambers references 2 Corinthians 2:14. But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. “The viewpoint of a worker for God must not be as near the highest as he can get, it must be the highest.” We should strenuously strive to maintain God’s point of view, daily, bit by bit, not concentrating on what is finite.

What is this viewpoint? That we are “here to exhibit one thing–the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ.” Any other point of view is very small in comparison. We think we stand alone, battling for Jesus. We think we have to maintain the “cause of Christ.” Paul says “I am in the train of a conqueror, and it does not matter what the difficulties are, I am always led in triumph.” Are we working this idea out practically in our lives? Paul was a rebel against Christ, but God took him and made him a captive, “and now that is all he is here for.” Here, I think, is Chambers’s key statement for today. “It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. The Victor ought to have got us so completely that it is His victory all the time, and we are more than conquerors through Him.” Do we get that? The victory is not mine! The victory belongs to Christ, and he leads me, along with all other Christians, in the train of his “triumphal procession!”

I have a mental image of Jesus leading thousands of brothers and sisters in a procession, with the sweet fragrance of Himself emanating from the crowd, like the smell of sweet perfume, “a wonderful refreshment to God.” This is part of what it means to follow Jesus.

Father, I begin my prayer this morning by proclaiming your goodness and majesty. You are great and mighty! You are awesome in power. The victory is yours in Jesus Christ, and we, your children, are led behind him in victorious procession, celebrating the victory we have in Jesus. I pray that our sweet fragrance of him will spread his knowledge throughout the world, just as the verse says. May we truly be a sweet fragrance, not a sour odor.

My God, my God, how I desire to follow Jesus more closely! I am convicted that I am not even nearly serious enough about this. I pray that I would be strengthened in the Holy Spirit to be more committed to following. Give me the fear, Lord, that you deserve. Whatever it means to fear you…I’ve heard too many different definitions. I simply pray that you instill that into my spirit by your Spirit. Give me the fear that I might be committed to following. Am I greedy? YES! I’m greedy for the life of Jesus to be fully formed in me! Take away my interest in things that would hinder me from perfect communion with you. Garrison my imagination, so that I might constantly reflect on your point of view. I have no cause other than Christ, and he’s not a “cause.” I have no purpose other than to be shown to be your captive, your “bondservant,” as Paul put it. Make me fully yours, so that I may be a true refreshment to you!

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray that Christi will be healed from the pain in her foot and leg. Please give the doctor some good results when she goes back for the EMG test in a couple of weeks. I pray for some treatment that will eliminate her pain, if you do not choose to heal it supernaturally. Teach us what we need to learn from this. I thank you for Christi’s tenacity during this constant pain. I pray your blessings on her work day today. May it not be a stressful day for her. I pray for my work day, as well, that it would be a good, smooth day, with no issues to prevent us from achieving our objectives. I pray for this prayer ministry that you have me involved in. May your Spirit remind me, throughout the day, who I’m supposed to be praying for. I also lift up Stephanie to you today, that you would draw her heart closer to yours. Give her purpose in her life.

I lift up a special prayer today for a dear friend, Kandi Mitchell Sargent-Lowe. She is going to Santo High School today to share the story of her daughter, Janakae, who was killed by a drunk driver a few years back. I pray that you give Kandi strength as she shares this story, encouraging people to be responsible and not get behind the wheel when they are impaired. Lift her up, Lord, and give her comfort.

Your grace is sufficient, indeed. “Nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus. I’m sure that I would surely fall away, except for grace, by which I’m saved.” (Keith Green)

Be a refreshment to God today. Follow in the victory procession of Jesus Christ, as his captive! There’s truly no better life imaginable.

Grace and peace, friends.


2 thoughts on “Refreshment to God

  1. Thank you Jeff. I pray for Christi, that the pain goes away completely ( of course in the Lord’s perfect timing. I say this because sometimes pain is the only warning we get that something is wrong and needs fixin’). Many blessings, Carley

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