Trust and Hope

Good morning. It is Saturday, August 22, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is downwinder. This noun means, “A person who lives or has lived downwind of a nuclear test site or reactor, where the risk of being affected by radiation is greatest.” That doesn’t sound pleasant at all!

Today is Be An Angel Day. This is simply a day to try to make the world a better place by practicing kindness, putting others before yourself, and helping those in need.

I wound up having to work an hour over, yesterday, but it could have been a lot worse. It wasn’t that bad, and I got completely caught up from having a day off on Wednesday.

Stephanie wanted Lee’s Grilled Cheese for dinner, but we didn’t really want that. So Christi went there and picked up dinner for Steph (as well as finally getting those Krispy Kreme doughnuts), and I picked up naked breakfast burritos from O.C. Burger, along with our Sonic drinks. We both got home at almost the same time, and we were all set for the evening.

We finished watching the first season of How to Get Away with Murder (only six months behind on that one), and then spent about an hour listening to You Tube clips of Rod Stewart and Elton John. Not together. Some good memories there, as we went back to the seventies. One of my favorite Rod Stewart songs is this one.

On this date in 1770, James Cook’s expedition landed at Australia. On the same date in 1780, his ship, the HMS Resolution, returned to England after Cook was killed on Hawaii. On this date in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen. In 1989, Nolan Ryan records his 5000th strikeout, becoming the first MLB pitcher to reach that mark. No other pitcher has yet reached that mark. Nolan ended his career with 5714. The closest pitcher to him, also retired, is Randy Johnson, with 4875. The closest active pitcher is CC Sabathia, with 2549. And, in other baseball happenings, on this date in 2007, the Texas Rangers set a modern-day American League record by beating the Baltimore Orioles 30-3.

Here is Ryan’s 5000th K.

And here are the highlights of that Rangers-Orioles game.

Today’s birthdays include Pope Leo XII, Virginia Clemm Poe (wife of Edgar Allan Poe), Claude Debussy (French composer), Dorothy Parker (American writer), John Lee Hooker (American musician), Ray Bradbury (American writer), Honor Blackman (English actress), Valerie Harper (American actress), Carl Yastrzemski (American baseball player), Bill Parcells (American football coach), Ron Dante (American songwriter/producer, The Archies), Cindy Williams (American actress), Debbi Peterson (American musician, The Bangles), Roland Orzabal (British musician, Tears for Fears), Tori Amos (American singer/songwriter), Ty Burrell (American actor), Ant (American comedian), and Kristen Wiig (American comedian).

John Lee Hooker was an American blues musician. He was born on this date in 1917, and passed away in 2001. Here is his song “Boom Boom.”

Carl Yastrzemski is a retired baseball player and is my all-time favorite baseball player. He won the triple crown for batting in 1967, and, until Miggy Cabrera won it a year or so ago, was the last player to do so. There have only been 17 batting triple crowns won in the history of MLB. Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby both won it twice. Oh. And Yaz, of course, played for the Boston Red Sox. Here is a clip of his 400th home run, which was hit at Fenway Park.

Isabella, Queen of England, Richard III, King of England, Sebastian Cabot, and Colleen Dewhurst are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Bible reading will be Exodus 6 and Matthew 27.

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 96.

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

“Religion which meets with the approbation of the multitude is not necessarily the true religion, for then the judgment formed by the Psalmist must have fallen to the ground at once, if religion were a thing to be determined by the suffrages of men, and his worship depended upon the caprice.” (p 235) I’ll paraphrase this. Just because a “church” draws a lot of people doesn’t mean their theology is right.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, we look at John Calvin’s third and fourth “rules for prayer.” They really go together. The third rule tells us that we should have a “submissive trust of of God.” Calvin says, “Anyone who stands before God to pray . . . [must] abandon all thoughts of his own glory.” Jesus, when giving us the Model Prayer, told us that we should pray, “thy will be done.” A major purpose of prayer is “to bring our hearts to trust in his wisdom, not our own.”

The fourth rule is that we should pray with “confidence and hope.” Even when we are cast down and discouraged, we should pray with “a sure hope that our prayer will be answered.”

We might ask, in light of these things, why pray for anything at all? There are several reasons, the first and foremost being that God has invited us, nay, commanded us, to do so. He invites us to pray and promises that he will answer. Also, we may not get a particular blessing until we pray for it. Why? Because if we get something good that we have not asked for, it might “be interpreted by our hearts as the fruit of our own wisdom and diligence.”

These two rules or truths are not contradictory, but complementary. When we pray with submissive trust and the confidence and hope that God will answer, we live out the truth of Romans 8:28. We know that “God will not give us anything contrary to his will, and that will always include what is best for us in the long run.”

These two rules, held together, give us great incentive to pray. Jesus tells us, “Ask and you shall receive.” We should ask with confidence and hope. “Finally, where you do not get an answer, or where the answer is not what you want, use prayer to enable you to rest in his will.”

Father, help me to live out these rules in my prayers. Grant me this “submissive trust” in your will. I have been practicing praying through Jesus’s Model Prayer, focusing a great deal on that phrase, “your will be done.” This, I believe, has helped my prayers tremendously. Yet, I still struggle with how to pray for various needs. I also struggle with the confidence that you will answer. It’s not that I don’t believe that you can. It’s more of a doubt that you will. I believe, to the bottom of my heart, that you can do pretty much anything I could ask for. I have no struggle with your ability. What I struggle with is your will. It is a question of if you will give the answer that I am looking for, not if you can. So I pray that, in the near future, I will have a better understanding of this submissive trust combined with confidence and hope.

I pray for today, that we will get our errands done in a timely manner, but without a lot of stress and anxiety. May we be able to accomplish whatever is needed with joy and peace in our hearts. I pray for the afternoon’s activities, our prayer and worship gatherings, that they will be honoring to you. May you grant us peace today, as we worship you.

I pray for a good day tomorrow, as well, as we visit with my mother, and Rachel and Justin.

Your grace is sufficient. May we celebrate that, Father.

Remember to pray, when you pray, with submissive trust, hand in hand with confidence and hope.

Grace and peace, friends.

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