In Some Sense

“The unfed mind devours itself.”~~Gore Vidal

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is gratulation, “a feeling of joy,” or, “the expression of joy.” This makes perfect sense, especially when considering our popular word, “congratulations.” The suffix “con-” meaning “with,” makes the word mean, literally, “with a feeling of joy,” or “with an expression of joy.” So when I tell someone “congratulations,” it means that I am feeling joy for them for whatever they have accomplished or received.

Today is Go For A Ride Day. We’re not just talking about bicycles here. Get out into the world, take a trip. Go for a ride. I’ll be doing that, later today, as I take my mother back to Mineral Wells. I’m sure it will be a thoroughly enjoyable ride. It will be sunny and cool, perhaps even a bit beyond cool, so I’m sure the windows will remain up.

The concert went, as far as I can tell, fabulously, yesterday evening. My mother (and Christi, too) enjoyed it immensely. They both were quite vocal, afterward, about how good we were, especially the trombones. 😀 I had a blast playing all of the Christmas tunes that we played. We will be performing more Christmas music on December 12, as the band performs at the grand opening of The Marq Southlake.

After the concert, we went straight to Martha’s Mexican Restaurant for dinner, after which we went home, talked for about an hour and then went to bed a little early. We’re up this morning, getting ready for church. If you’re in the area, we invite you to join us at 10:15, at The Exchange, meeting at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 N. Beach, Fort Worth, TX, 76244.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As I continue looking at Tim Keller’s chapter on petition, I’ve come to a section called “The Power of Prayer.” The Bible is replete with promises about prayer, even in “the affairs of history.” In the book of James, in the New Testament, the brother of Jesus reminds us that Elijah, “a man with a nature like ours,” prayed and caused the rain to go away. Then he prayed it back, in a little over two years. All of this was to confront an evil king. In James 5:16, he says, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. I think the KJV may say, “fervent and effectual.” John Calvin says this about what James teaches on prayer:

It was a notable event for God to put heaven, in some sense, under the control of Elijah’s prayers, to be obedient to his requests. By his prayers, Elijah kept heaven shut for two years and a half. Then he opened it, and made it suddenly pour with great rain, from which we may see the miraculous power of prayer.

Note Calvin’s use of the phrase “in some sense.” We know that, in the ultimate sense, God is in control of everything. We could not possibly, in prayer, take control away from God. “However, it is part of God’s goodness and appointment that he allows the world to be susceptible to our prayers.” This is one of the most “practical mysteries of the Bible.”

In Nehemiah, when the Jews were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, they learned that they were going to be attacked by their enemies. What did they do? The prayed. But then they posted a guard, too. When King Hezekiah was dying, he prayed to God. God heard his prayer, but then, when Isaiah went to tell him, he was instructed to prepare a dressing for the infection.

Our prayers matter; and God is sovereign and infallible. Both things are true at the same time. if we believed only in God’s sovereignty, and that our actions meant nothing, we would fall into “discouraged passivity.” Yet if we believed the opposite to be true, and that our prayers controlled even God’s plans, we would fall into “paralyzing fear.” But both are true, which gives us great incentive.

God allows for the world to be “in some sense” affected by our prayers.

Father, may these truths be evident to me in my prayer life, knowing that you are ultimately in control of all things, yet you allow my prayers to, “in some sense,” affect my world.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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