God Speaks First

Good morning. It is Thursday, July 16, 2015. Pre-Friday.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is weasel word. A weasel word is, “a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position.”

Today is Corn Fritters Day. It was the only choice they gave me. But maybe it’s not so much about the fritters as it is simply about comfort food.

Well, we watered our front lawn for nine hours last night. Not intentionally, mind you. We just forgot. I woke up at 4:15, and suddenly thought, “Did we turn the water off?” Actually, I more than thought it. I kind of blurted it out. Christi said, “No.” So I jumped up and ran outside to turn it off. At least it was our legal night to water. You see, Fort Worth will not relax the watering restrictions, even though the drought is over and the Trinity River is still above flood level. Nevertheless, we certainly had no intention of watering for that long.

Tonight is Christi’s Huddle night. I plan to get some trombone practice in, especially since the band is not practicing again until August 3. Nothing much else to talk about on a personal level, this morning.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Psalm 84:1-2

“Those are sadly deficient in understanding who carelessly neglect God’s instituted worship, as if they were able to mount up to heaven by their own unaided efforts.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 198)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

In previous chapters, Keller has discussed that prayer is “both an instinct and a spiritual gift.” If we consider prayer as an instinct, it is, more or less, a response to a fragmented knowledge of God, almost like throwing a note in a bottle out to whoever might be listening. “God, if you’re up there, I really need . . . ” But when we consider prayer as a spiritual gift, it becomes, as previously noted, “the continuation of a conversation God has started.” When that conversation proceeds, it becomes a true “meeting with God.” In chapter four, “Conversing with God,” Keller writes about how God “first speaks to us, and then how we can learn to answer him.”

God is not impersonal, as Eastern religions believe. If he were, love would be an illusion, since love is something “that can happen only between two or more persons.” And, if God were simply “one,” then “love could not have appeared until after God began to create other beings.” This would make God more power than love, making power more important than love.

Christians, however, believe that God is three in one, that which we call the Trinity. These three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, “have known and loved one another from before the dawn of time.” This puts words and language in an entirely new light. We can see Jesus speaking about the Trinity, and how they communicate with one another, in John 14-17. “The Father speaks to the Son, the Son speaks to the Father, and the Father and the Son speak to the Spirit.”

There is a brief discussion on philosophies that believe that, since God is pure spirit, he cannot possibly speak, since speaking is a purely physical act. I won’t get into the depths of that discussion here, but simply note that, since we believe God to be a community of persons, “and because language is intrinsic to personal relationship, there is every reason to expect that God communicates through words.”

“Therefore, “Christian prayer is not plunging into the abyss of unknowing and a state of wordless hyperconsciousness.” Our prayer is a fellowship with this God, whom we believe to be personal, and who “befriends us through speech. The biblical pattern entails meditating on the words of Scripture until we respond to God with our entire being, saying, ‘Give me an undivided heart, that . . . I may praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.’ (Ps. 86:11-12)

Psalm 86:11-12 includes the verse that I chose many years ago as my “life verse.”

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

Father, as I continue to learn how you speak to us, I pray for depths of understanding. I pray, along with Paul, as he prayed for the Ephesian church, that I might have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. How do we know something that surpasses knowledge? Only through the power of your Spirit, which dwells within us. Teach me, O Lord! Teach me through your Word. I pray that your Spirit would drive me further into your Word, into meditation and prayer, that I might know and understand you better, and in knowing, may pray more completely.

I pray for this day, that your grace would travel with us to work and back. I pray for Christi’s day to be full of your grace, allowing her to be a representative of your Kingdom. I pray also for the Huddle group meeting tonight, that your name would be lifted high in their discussions. I pray for Stephanie, that your grace would fill her day, teaching her more about you. May you provide daily bread for Rachel and Justin, and may your grace go ahead of Rachel as she works on finishing her time at UNT. May your Spirit be strong in Mama today, in whatever she finds herself doing. Protect, provide and bless our family, Father.

I pray for Nansii, who is having a biopsy today, that no surgery would be necessary.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we listen as God speaks to us, and then join his conversation.

Grace and peace, friends.

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