Good morning. It is Monday, August 24, 2015. School starts today, in our area.
Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is lachrymose. This adjective means, “given to shedding tears readily; tearful,” or, “suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.” Those who are familiar with classical music might notice the similarity to the part of the Requiem mass, known as the lacrimosa, which is Latin for “weeping.”
Today is Pluto Demoted Day. Do I really need to say anything more about that?
Yesterday was a wonderful day! We got away from the house at the time that we planned, stopped at the store to pick up a red velvet cake for Justin, got some breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box, and hit the road. We stopped at my mother’s house to drop off the cakes (Christi made a strawberry cake Saturday night, at Stephanie’s request), and headed to First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells. We parked about five minutes earlier than we were shooting for. The only hitch in the entire morning was that Christi left her phone at home. Which, we decided, might be a good thing, so she wouldn’t get bothered by any “mama drama.” The church service was great. The choir (yes, this church still has a choir, and they are pretty darned good) sang a medley of “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” and “At the Cross.” “Wonderful Grace” is one of my very favorite songs from my younger days, and it brought tears to my eyes. The message was kind of directed at teachers, since school is starting up this week, and the pastor had all the teachers, Sunday School teachers, and other people in any way related to school work, line up at the front of the church for a prayer time.
We met up with Rachel and Justin at the house, chatted for a few minutes, then headed up to Pastafina for lunch. After a nice lunch, we spent the afternoon talking, had some dessert, and headed home around 5:30. It was an awesome day!
Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 97:7-9.
All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!
Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O LORD.
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
Yesterday, there was a lot of talk about praying in the name of Jesus. The section I’m reading today begins with the question, “Why are we always heard for Jesus’ sake?” All through history, God called both individuals and the nation of Israel his “sons.” But, also through history, these “sons” failed to trust and obey him, thereby failing to truly be sons of God. “At Jesus’ baptism, however, God speaks from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’ (Luke 3:22).” Australian theologian Graeme Goldsworthy says of this event, ” . . . here, finally and at last, is a true Son, one who can and will perfectly trust, obey, and please his Father.”
Because of this, we can see that to Jesus, and Jesus alone, “does the privilege of prayer and access belong.” Jesus is the only person who can say without a doubt, to God, “I know that you always hear me” (see John 11:41-42). Upon our belief in Jesus Christ, we are united with him, being called, as Paul the Apostle frequently says, “in him.” “This means that what is true of Jesus is true of us. Because he has the perfect and secure access of an obedient child to the Father, so now do we. . . . When we pray in Jesus’ name, therefore, we do so with supreme confidence and yet humble dependence on unmerited grace.”
God does not hear our prayers because we have been a member of any church for thirty-plus years, or because we have been a Sunday School teacher for twenty-five years, or because we have a perfect attendance pin long enough to trip on. God is under no obligation to answer our prayer because of anything that we have done or feel we have accomplished. The great R.A. Torrey said, “We must . . . give up any thought that we have any claims upon God. . . . But Jesus Christ has great claims on God, and we should go to God in our prayers not on the ground of any goodness in ourselves, but on the ground of Jesus Christ’s claims.”
Father, teach me to come to you on the basis of Jesus Christ and his claims on you, alone. Let me not think that I have done anything deserving of answers to my feeble prayers. Rather, let me pray solely based on the accomplishments of your true Son, knowing with faith that I am united in him, and that, because of that, you will hear me. That is truly praying in Jesus’s name.
I pray for this day, that we will have safe travel to and from work. I pray for the many students and teachers who will be on the roads this morning, going to school. May your truth be evident, even in places where teachers are forbidden to speak of you. Show yourself mighty in the lives of all of your people today. May all the teachers who are your children live the Gospel in front of their students, and may all of the students who are your children live the Gospel in front of their peers and their teachers.
I pray for a good work day for Christi and for me. May we face every circumstance in your grace and power. May your Spirit speak to us throughout this day. I pray that Stephanie will know your great love. I pray for Rachel as she gets ready to begin a new class this week, one that will help her complete her licensing phase. May my mother know your grace and mercy today.
Let us remember whence our access comes. It comes only through Jesus, not through anything that we think we might have done that is worthy. The truth is, there is nothing that we can do that will give us access to God, other than believing in his true Son, the only One who has ever truly trusted and obeyed the Father.
Grace and peace, friends.