Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Hump Day.
Three very good choices for word of the day, today. I chose the one from Merriam-Webster, which is octothorpe. Now, I never knew that this thing had another name. I usually refer to it as a “sharp,” or the number sign. Modern culture knows it as a “hashtag.” The definition for octothorpe is simply, “the symbol #.”
Today is Hammock Day. While the idea of relaxing in a hammock between a couple of nice shade trees sounds really nice, it’s really hot in north central Texas, right now, hitting triple digits daily. Perhaps I’ll wait until October. Octothorpe hot.
Our Huddle gathering was pretty good, last night. I did, however, get just a tad awkward at the end, as politics came up, rather, I believe, by accident. I really don’t enjoy political discussions at all, because I don’t see eye-to-eye with most conservative Christians. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. The bulk of the discussion was about how to lead people to be disciples, or pretty much how to lead people to do anything. The shape used is a square, and there are four levels of leadership. 1. I do, you watch. 2. I do, you help. 3. You do, I help. 4. You do, I watch. That’s really a pretty good process for just about anything.
Christi got her bowling in without hurting herself, which is always good. She did have a point where something almost started hurting, but she tweaked things enough to keep it from happening.
Today is a day that we will have time together, this evening. So we will, hopefully, cook something at home (we’re really into soups, these days), and watch a little TV.
The Rangers beat the Rockies 9-0, last night, while the Red Sox blew a lead and lost to the Astros, 8-3. I hate to give up on the Red Sox so early, but they really don’t seem to have it again, this season. They seem to be firmly nestled in last place. How very disappointing.
Today, from my Bible reading plan, I’m reading Psalm 8, Genesis 9-10, and Ephesians 5.
The reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 85:1-8.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah.
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
It has already been stated that the beginning point of prayer is immersion in God’s Word. “We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.”
Contrast these ideas with most modern books on prayer. Most of them are filled with the human element; what conditions have to be met, promises that must be claimed, and things we must do. If we do not immerse ourselves in Scripture, our prayers will not only be “limited and shallow but also untethered from reality.” We will be responding, “not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like.” (Emphasis mine) In fact, if we do not immerse ourselves in Scripture, thereby learning who God is, we will create God as we desire him to be. Modern culture desires a God who is loving and forgiving, but ignores his holiness. This is why Western prayers lack the concept of repentance. This is why popular preachers don’t really preach about sin any more. “Without prayer that answers the God of the Bible, we will only be talking to ourselves.”
Father, I would know who you are, therefore, I read your Word. In the days ahead, I will attempt to do more than just read it, but also meditate upon it, ponder it, digest it. I do not desire to simply be talking to myself, or to some imaginary god that I have trumped up. I desire to be praying to you, the God of the universe, creator of all that is, whom I learned from your Word. Teach me, O God! Teach me who you are, that I might respond to you properly. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name! I desperately need you.
I pray for this day, that we might have safe passage to work and back. I ask that Christi might have a good work day, today, free of anxiety. May she get much accomplished today. I also pray for her confidence to be high, not so much in herself and her ability (which is certainly great), but in you, as well, that you will hold her up as she leans on you and your grace. I pray for your grace and mercy to rain down on Stephanie, teaching your way to her. May you fill the lives of Justin and Rachel with your love, especially as Rachel tries to wind down her Master’s degree studies. And I pray that you would surround my mother with your sweetness today, allowing her to bask in who you are.
Your grace is sufficient.
Let us not be merely talking to ourselves when we pray, or even worse, a “god” whom we have imagined. May we learn who he is and respond to the God of the Bible in true, authentic prayer.
Grace and peace, friends.