Rich, But Living Poor

Good morning. It is Thursday, October 8, 2015. Pre-Friday!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is discerptor. This is, “A person who pulls something apart; a person who divides or separates something.” I suppose this could be good or bad.

Today is World Octopus Day. Go hug an octopus today.

Last night, as we were driving home from work, Christi and I had a good discussion (on the phone), about things that we need to do/figure out before we go on our trip, Saturday. One of our friends has graciously offered (practically insisted) to drop us off and pick us up at the airport, which will save us about $60 in parking fees. The funny thing is that I was supposed to stop at O.C. Burger and pick up dinner, but suddenly, I was in our driveway, still talking to Christi! So I called the burger place and Christi picked it up.

The Cubs shut out the Pirates in last night’s NL Wild Card game. Both Wild Card games were shutouts. Interesting. I was right in the middle of rooting for the Cubs when one of my Red Sox Facebook friends reminded me that Joe Maddon is their coach, now. That certainly soured things for me, but I did not switch horses. Theo Epstein is their GM, and Jon Lester is one of their pitchers, so I will pull for them in spite of Joe Maddon.

Today, the ALDS games get under way, with the Rangers playing Toronto at 2:37 CDT, and the Astros playing the Royals at 6:37 CDT. I guess the Royals are getting the prime time spot because they had the best record. I’m glad to see the Royals back in it, but I kind of have to root for the ‘stros, you know? Texas and all that. Plus, it would be great fun to see a Rangers/Astros ALCS!

Only two more sleeps before we leave for Playa del Carmen!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer me!
God has promised in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 108

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Chapter Eleven is called “As Encounter: Seeking His Face.”

“Prayer is a conversation that leads to encounter with God.” As we considered John Owen’s three stages of meditation, the third stage (that of enjoying or crying out) “anticipates a character-forming experience of God’s presence and reality.”

John Calvin insists that many people do not fully experience the gifts that Christ has for them. This is enjoyment that can only come through “communion with Christ” and “the secret energy of the Holy Spirit, by which we come to enjoy all his benefits.” We cannot afford to settle “for an informed mind without an engaged heart.”

So what kind of experience should we be seeking?

Timothy Keller begins in Ephesians 3.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father . . . that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (14, 16-19)

Paul has three basic prayers, here:

  • “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”
  • That the Ephesians would “know the love of Christ”
  • That they would be “filled with all the fullness of God”

But weren’t these people already Christians? Didn’t they already have all of these things? Why is Paul asking for these things if they already have them?

The only possible answer is that, while Christians do have these things, at some level, they have not yet experienced them fully. “What Paul is talking about is the difference between having something be true of you in principle and fully appropriating it, using it, and living in it–in your ‘inner being’ (Eph. 3:16) or ‘in your heart’ (v. 17).”

He goes on to say that, “It is possible for Christians to live their lives with a high degree of phoniness, hollowness, and inauthenticity. The reason is because they have failed to move that truth into their hearts and therefore it has not actually changed who they are and how they live.” Some might argue that this person is not, in fact, a Christian at all, but that is a totally different subject.

Keller goes on to relate stories of Blaise Pascal and Dwight L. Moody, who both had life-changing singular encounters with God. They were both Christians before these encounters, but at some point, “the objective reality of who [they were] in Christ and the inward subjective experience came together.”

Paul, in Ephesians 3, is “praying that by the Spirit’s power we may have our hearts and affections engaged and shaped by the truths of the faith we hold in the mind.” This can happen gradually, suddenly, from a “mild and gentle warming to an explosive epiphany.” The main point in all of this is that, until we have this experience, we are, in a sense rich, but living poor. Paul prays that we might avoid this.

Father, I, too, pray to avoid this. I confess, that at least for part of my life, I have not fully realized the great riches that I have in Christ. I pray that your Spirit would remind me, fill me, and give me these kinds of encounters that are life-altering as they take the truths that I have ingrained into my head and embed them in my heart. May I truly know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

I pray for this day, that our time on the roads will be safe. May we have a good work day, and display your Kingdom in every circumstance and opportunity. I pray for your great love to be known by Stephanie, as she lives her life. May you show her that she has value in your Kingdom. I pray for Rachel and Justin today, that your light would shine on them. And may you give my mother strength and peace today.

Come, Lord Jesus.

May we truly be able to know the great love of Christ and appropriate it into our lives, that we might live in the riches that we truly possess.

Grace and peace, friends.

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