Good morning. It is Sunday, July 26, 2015.
Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is abulia. This is a noun, meaning, “abnormal lack of ability to act or to make decisions.” A good example would be, “Every time my family tries to decide what to have for dinner, everyone is stricken with abulia.”
Today is One Voice Day. This is a day when people all over the world unite to read the Universal Peace Covenant in “one voice.” You can find the Universal Peace Covenant online, by clicking on the link.
I really missed having my devotional time, yesterday morning, but, having to be at work by 7:00 AM would require me to get up even earlier than usual. Am I saying my sleep is more important than my devotion to God? Not at all. I honestly don’t believe that God cares if I miss a day every now and then. It’s my true devotion that’s more important than the ritualistic things I do to display that devotion.
Anyway . . . I had a really great day at work, perhaps the best Saturday ever. When I got there, there was almost literally nothing to do. The evening shift from the day before had completed all the make-ready except for one item, and when I tried to do the make-ready on it, there was a problem which prevented it. So I spent the morning receiving some stuff that didn’t have any kind of time restrictions on it, which made for a pretty relaxing day, since it didn’t matter if I finished or not. But I did finish, with about thirty minutes to spare. And we never got any new UPS or FedEx shipments, either, which made it even better.
I was home before 1:00 PM, had a quick shower, and we went to Fogata’s for lunch. Then we picked up some stuff for the pool party, after which we went up to church. We had a nice prayer gathering and worship gathering. Jacob’s message was difficult, but good. Very stirring. After church, we stopped by Walmart Neighborhood Market for some snacks and went home. The rest of the Pastoral Assist Team arrived not too long after, and we had a great time relaxing in and by the pool in the back yard. Jacob brought pizza, we had our snacks, and we spent several hours just talking and laughing, mostly about movies and comedians. Great times!
Today, we have to get our weekly groceries, and then, I think we are having dinner with some friends from church. Hopefully that will be early enough that we can get some rest before bed-time tonight.
On this date in 1745, the first recorded women’s cricket match took place. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed what would eventually become the United States Post Office Department. In 1788, New York became the 11th state of the United States. And, in 1882, Richard Wagner’s Parsifal was debuted at Bayreuth.
Today’s birthdays include George Bernard Shaw (Irish writer), Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist), Aldous Huxley (English-born author), Gracie Allen (American actress/comedian), Vivian Vance (American actress), Jason Robards (American actor), Blake Edwards (American film director), Hoyt Wilhelm (American baseball player), Jan Berenstain (American author), Stanley Kubrick (American film director), Joe Jackson (Jackson 5 daddy), Bob Lilly (American football player), Dobie Gray (American singer), Mick Jagger (English singer), Helen Mirren (English actress), Roger Taylor (English drummer, Queen), Susan George (English actress), Dorothy Hamill (American figure skater), Nana Visitor (American actress), Kevin Spacey (American actor), Sandra Bullock (American actress), Olivia Williams (English actress, Dollhouse), Kate Beckinsale (British actress), and Rebecca St. James (Australian singer).
Wow. There are a lot of big birthdays today. But I’m picking one that my dad would have enjoyed. Going way back to a day when the Dallas Cowboys mattered (in other words, pre-Jerry), and when football was still a man’s game, one of the greatest defensive players to play in the game was Bob Lilly. Lilly turns 76 years old today, born in 1939 in Olney, Texas. Here is a video, highlighting his induction into the Big Country Hall of Fame.
Pope Paul II, Sam Houston, William Jennings Bryan, Eva Peron, Ed Gein, and George Gallup are among notable deaths on this date.
My Bible reading for today is Psalm 11, Genesis 19-20, and Matthew 3.
To the choirmaster. Of David.
In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Genesis 19 is one of the most tragic chapters in the Bible, in my opinion. The Lord sends angels to rescue Lot from the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The wicked men of Sodom attempted to get the angels out of Lot’s house so they could rape them. Lot actually tried to send his virgin daughter’s out to the men, to try to protect the angels (thanks a lot, Dad??), but the angels struck the men blind. Lot, upon the instructions of the angels, attempted to get his future sons-in law to come with him, but they thought he was joking. And even when it was time to get out, Lot hesitated! The angels had to physically grab him, his wife, and his two daughters, to get them to leave the city. This is a tremendous indication of how much power sin has over peoples’ lives!
The next morning, God rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah, completely destroying them. Lot’s wife, still longing for the life that she had, turned back to look, and was turned into a pillar of salt. After they were safe, Lot’s daughters got him drunk and had sex with him, both becoming pregnant by their own father. The oldest daughter had a son named Moab; the younger had a son named Ben-ammi. Both the Moabites and the Ammonites were enemies of Israel. Once again . . . all could have been avoided if Abraham had simply followed God’s instructions when he left Haran.
In Genesis 20, Abraham and Sarah lived in Gerar. Once again, Abraham played the “Sarah is my sister” card, to Abimelech, king of Gerar. When Abimelech sent for Sarah, God set him straight, telling him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”
In Matthew 3, John the Baptist is portrayed, preparing the way for Jesus. Jesus shows up and requests to be baptized by John. John tried to resist, saying that he should have been baptized, instead, by Jesus. But Jesus insisted, saying, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” After the baptism, we get one of the first real life representations of the Trinity, as the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove, and a voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Yesterday’s reading from Heart Aflame, was Psalm 86:11-17.
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.
For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
“In the word unite there is very beautiful metaphor, conveying the idea, that the heart of man is full of tumult, drawn asunder, and, as it were, scattered about in fragments, until God has gathered it to himself, and holds it together in a state of stedfast [sic] and persevering obedience.” (John Calvin)
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
Chapter five is called “Encountering God.” Even though we consider prayer to be conversation with God, some conversations can consist of nothing more than exchanging information. “We do not want just to know about God, but to know God, to seek his face and presence.” When we read the words of the prophets in Scripture, we “encounter God in action.”
There is a primary theological truth at work here: “We address a triune God, and our prayers can be heard only through the distinct work of every person in the Godhead.” This triune nature of God can be found explicitly in the New Testament, even though the term “Trinity” is never found in Scripture. Matthew 28:19 is a great example, when Jesus tells his disciples that they are to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We believe it to be important that the word “name” in that verse is singular. While, in our culture, the word “name” might indicate a label or brand, in Biblical times, “it denoted the very nature and being of a person. This means the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all share one divine nature, that they are one being. There is only one God–not three.” But the Father, Son, and Holly Spirit are all equally God.
There are many implications for prayer in this truth. God has within himself “a perfect friendship. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are adoring one another, giving glorifying love to one another, and delighting in one another.” God is “profoundly happy.” Jonathan Edwards argues that the reason God created us (obviously, he did not need anything else to complete his happiness) was to share this incredibly profound happiness with us. Augustine argues that our ability to love one another comes only as an “image of the internal Trinitarian love that we were created to reflect.” So when we pray, we enter into the very “happiness of God himself.”
Father, as I continue this journey in prayer, I want to enter into this profound happiness that exists in you. Let me experience the joy that exists only between you, the Son, and the Spirit. Let me know you more, as I engage in Scripture reading each day. Let me find your presence in the words of the prophets, words that you spoke through them to your people. I desire to be in the center of your holiness, dwelling there, daily, knowing fully your presence and the joy that would come from that. I pray that daily circumstances would not steal my joy. I pray that my frequent inability to resist the flesh and its temptations would not steal my joy. Give me strength, as I continue to pray to you. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I pray for the rest of this day, as we run errands and fellowship with other believers. I pray also, that we will have some rest, as we prepare for another week ahead. May your sweet grace and mercy rain down on our family, on Christi, Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we know God’s grace and joy in the Trinity, and may that affect our prayer lives dramatically!
Grace and peace, friends.