Good morning. It is Monday, July 27, 2015.
Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is nabob. This is a noun, meaning, “any very wealthy, influential, or powerful person.”
Today is Take Your Houseplant for A Walk Day. I don’t think so. However, it is also Walk On Stilts Day, so what if you took your houseplant for a walk on stilts? Now that would certainly be interesting!
We had a very nice time with our friends, last night. They cooked fajitas, and we had some great conversation, as well as watching their cute kids do stuff. It was a very nice time. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting groceries for Christi’s mom and stepdad, so it seemed like a very full day. There really isn’t much else to report about the day.
It’s back to work today, as the new week begins. Looking forward, August begins next Saturday, and rehearsals for the Southlake Community Band kick off again next Monday, August 3. I’ll be excited to get back into that. I’ll need to get a little practicing in this week. Oh, and Christi will more than likely be working next Saturday, because it is the beginning of the bowling year, and they have software rollouts that will be happening. It’s very important that they be working right.
Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 21-23 and Matthew 4. In Genesis 21, the promised son is born to Abraham and Sarah, and they name him Isaac. Sarah demands that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away, but God assures Abraham that they will be protected. Abraham makes a covenant with Abimelech.
In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Abraham proceeds to obey, and is stopped at the last minute by God, who then provides a ram for the sacrifice. God makes this promise to Abraham: “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (vv 16-18)
In Genesis 23, Sarah dies, and is buried “in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.” (v 19)
In Matthew 4, Jesus, after fasting forty days and nights, is tempted by the devil. Jesus resists, quoting Old Testament Scripture to him at each temptation. Immediately after this, Jesus went to live in Capernaum, where he began his ministry, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (v 17) He also calls his first disciples, Simon and Andrew, and James and John. His fame begins spreading, and great crowds begin to follow him.
Today’s Psalm reading, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 88.
A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah.
You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah.
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
God is not called “Father” very much in the Old Testament. But when the Trinity “becomes explicit in the New Testament,” we begin to see God’s fatherhood becoming prominent. “The Father sends the Son to save us from our sins so that we can become God’s adopted sons and daughters (Eph 1:3-10). When we are born again through faith in Christ, we receive the right to be his children and call on him as father (John 1:12-13).” God has sent his Spirit into our hearts, that same Spirit that cries out, “Abba, Father!”
We might hear people ask, “Aren’t all people God’s children?” It is true that, in a sense, God is the father of all people, “in the sense that Henry Ford is the father of the Model T.” But the word father “denotes a relationship of love and care.” We’ve all heard of young people who might say to their physical father, “You were never a real father to me!” Flesh and blood alone, does not make one a father.
There is a certain richness implied by the phrase “children of God.” These are those who have been “adopted into God’s family by grace through faith.” As God’s adopted sons and daughters, we have more than just a legal relationship with God. We are also “personally established in God’s fatherly love.” Because of the work of Christ, “we can run to our Father without fear. We have the most intimate and unbreakable relationship possible with the God of the universe.”
As true children of God, we have access. “We know God is attentively listening to us and watching us.”
So what does all of this have to do with prayer? “Prayer is the way to sense and appropriate this access and fatherly love, and to experience the calm and strength in one’s life that results from such assurance of being cared for.”
Father, as I pray today, may I know this access; may I know the reality of being able to run to you without fear. I thank you that you have chosen me as one whom you have adopted into your “family.” It is a joy to share the Supper each week with other members of this family. I pray for each of us, that we would all know this access and feel this same freedom in you through Christ.
I pray for this day, that our passage to work and back will be safe. I pray especially for Christi today, as the source of her drama is returning from vacation. Give her strength and wisdom, Father, and I pray you would intervene in some way to put an end to the stress and anxiety. May your grace be known to Stephanie today, and show your great love to her. I pray for Rachel and Justin in whatever they find themselves doing today, especially for Rachel, as she is so very close to finishing her Master’s studies. And may your presence be known by my mother, today, as she rests in you.
Father, several people have lost loved ones, over this past weekend. I pray for comfort for these families as they grieve their loss.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we truly know our Father in heaven, through our prayers and through our reading of Scripture. May we know the love he has for us and how much he cares for us.
Grace and peace, friends.