Good morning. Today is Wednesday, December 12, 2012. You know that makes today 12/12/12, right? If my calculations are correct (which is unlikely), we won’t have a matching date like this for 89 more years. Which means that I more than likely won’t see it.
Now I’m depressed.
Today shares a number of “special” days. The most unique one, I thought, was “Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts.” Very strange.
14 days to Cancun.
On this date in 1408, the “Order of the Dragon” was formed by Sigismund of Luxembourg.
Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the constitution on this date in 1787.
On this date in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi (mistakenly credited by some as having invented the radio) received the first transatlantic radio signal.
On this date in 1970, “Tears of A Clown” gave Smokey Robinson and the Miracles their first #1 hit.
Today’s birthdays include Edvard Munch (painter), 1863, Edward G Robinson (actor), 1893, Sammy Davis, Sr., 1900, Frank Sinatra, 1915, Bob Barker, 1923, Ed Koch (politician), 1924, Connie Francis (singer), 1938, Dionne Warwick, 1940, Dickey Betts (guitar player), 1943, Bill Nighy (actor), 1949, Cathy Rigby (gymnast), 1952, Jennifer Connelly (actress), 1970, Madchen Amick (actress), 1970.
Yesterday was another pretty rough day. It was like Monday just kept going. So, I didn’t really have a “Tuesday” this week. We did have our lifehouse meeting last night, though, and it went pretty well. We shared some stuff that’s going on in our lives and then talked some more about the parable of the prodigal son, which Timothy Keller calls “The Prodigal God.” We focused on the elder brother last night. There are so many more elements in this parable than I really had ever stopped to think about. Growing up, I only heard about how awful the younger brother was and how gracious the father was. We never really focused on the elder brother. Could it be because I grew up in a church full of “elder brothers?” Food for thought, eh? Also, there was a huge answer to prayer last night. Sometimes God answers prayers in a way that just almost knocks you to the floor. We have a lifehouse member who had a fibroid found in her uterus last week or so, and, naturally, we were all very concerned about it. When she went to the doctor on Monday (I think), there was no fibroid! It was completely gone! I’m getting “goosies” just typing this, people. This was exactly what I had been praying since we found out about the initial discovery. Maybe the first doctors were wrong. Maybe God disintegrated the fibroid. Either way, I believe God answered prayer. Not just mine, either, because I’m sure others were praying the same thing. Now, I could go into a whole theology/philosophy of prayer right here, about whether God did something because we prayed, or he was already going to do it because he’s sovereign…what I take away from this is that, in this particular case, I was praying God’s heart about something, and that, I find greatly encouraging. This doesn’t make me great. It makes God great.
Christ’s MRI got cancelled yesterday because the insurance precertification wasn’t finished. Don’t get me started. Anyway, it got finished, and she’s having it done at 6:10pm tonight. Even so, it will probably be a week before we find out any results. When asked how her foot is this morning, she replies, “It hurts. It’s alright. It’s not any worse.” That’s my Christi.
I love her so much!
Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. (Psalm 28:6)
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)
Father, may you show me a vision of your face this morning, as I look into and meditate on your word. Keep these meditations close to my heart throughout this day.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 9:1-7.
1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
This passage is a favorite of many, and is pretty well known, especially verses 6 and 7. The beauty of it is the way it moves right on from chapter 8, which ends in extreme darkness, but then declares that “those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” This “light,” of course, is the child born to us in verse 6, our Savior, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest, as promised yesterday, is called “Personality.” The scripture reference is John 17:22. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.
Yesterday, there were some difficult words regarding individuality, and how its assertion hinders our spirituality. This seems to be a recurring theme for Oswald Chambers, too. Of personality, Chambers says this: “Personality is that peculiar, incalculable thing that is meant when we speak of ourselves as distinct from everyone else.” It is something that is really too large for us to fully grasp. “An island in the sea may be but the top of a great mountain. Personality is like an island, we know nothing about the great depths underneath, consequently we cannot estimate ourselves.” (Raise your hand if you thought islands floated when you were a kid.) I have come to realize the truth of these statements (not the “floating” one). Not only can I not grasp the depths of another human’s personality (heck, I can’t even grasp the depths of my cat’s personality), I can’t even begin to understand my own! There is only One who fully understands me.
“Personality is the characteristic of the spiritual man as individuality is the characteristic of the natural man.” Jesus cannot truly be defined in terms of individuality and independence, because he was neither one. He was one with the Father. I and the Father are one. (John 10:30) Those six words just about got him stoned to death. The next statement Chambers makes is rather heavy and deep. “Personality merges, and you only reach your real identity when you are merged with another person.” Take a moment and read that again.
“Personality merges, and you only reach your real identity when you are merged with another person.”
Those of you who are married, think about that moment when you realized you were in love with that person. Once that love struck you, you would never be the same. My personality is merged with that of my wife. We are, in essence, one. The same thing happens when we receive the Spirit of God. Our personalities become merged with that of Jesus Christ, and, consequently, the Creator of the universe. (This is getting really huge.) To carry it even further, my personality and yours, should you be one who calls the name of Jesus, are all merged together as one cohesive unit! We are the Church, the Bride of Christ. We cannot, we must not, insist upon separate individuality! When we finally come to that place where we give up our right to ourselves, “the real true nature of [our] personality answers to God straight away. Jesus Christ emancipates the personality, and the individuality is transfigured; the transfiguring element is love, personal devotion to Jesus.” What is love? In this case, it is defined as “the outpouring of one personality in fellowship with another personality.”
And this is what we experienced last night with our lifehouse group. When we gather together, even for the most trivial of reasons, when we fellowship together, we pour our personalities into one another, and that is the most sincere essence of love.
Father, I thank you for the Son that was born to us. I praise your name for our Wonderful Counselor, our Prince of Peace! I thank you that you came and shed great light on our deep darkness, and that because of this Light, my darkness is always temporary, no matter what happens in my life. Lately, work has been a challenge to me, but your Light, shed in my heart by your Spirit, has kept me from sinking.
I thank you for these teachings on personality and individuality, over the last two days. I pray for more understanding of a topic that is quite deep. I praise you for the love that comes when we pour out our personalities in fellowship with each other. I thank you for the merged personalities that I experience, first and foremost, with my Savior, Jesus Christ, and with you, my God. To think that my personality is one with yours through Jesus is, frankly, more than I can grasp. I feel like David when he wrote Psalm 139. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Nevertheless, I don’t have to “attain” it to believe it and celebrate it. I thank you for the beautiful thing that is the marriage between Christi and me. In that marriage, I can truthfully see the merging of personalities that is an example of the relationship between us and Christ. I thank you for this relationship and how it has bloomed over the last 27+ years. Help us to understand the union of the saints that is called the Church. I pray for all believers, around the world, that they might understand the importance of the Body of Christ, and the necessity to be involved with a community of faith. We need each other, Lord. We cannot truly survive in faith without each other. Thank you for revealing this truth to me during this past year.
I pray for this day. I pray, as always, that you would relieve Christi’s pain in her feet today. I thank you that it is not as bad as it has been in the past. I pray that the MRI will reveal something that can be done to fix this. I pray for her work day, as well, that you would cover her with your Spirit, protecting her from stress and anxiety. I pray the same for Stephanie today, that you would protect her from anxiety, which has a totally different effect on her than the rest of us. I pray for my work day, that it will be better today than the last two. May I help someone find your peace today.
These last two days have been really heavy duty, in terms of personality and relationships. I have much to chew on.
Grace and peace, friends.