Shameless Assertiveness and Restful Submissiveness

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”~~Albert Einstein

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is gormandize, “to eat greedily or ravenously,”, or, “unrestrained enjoyment of fine foods, wines, and the like.” Be honest . . . it’s what we all plan to do today, right?

Today is Cake Day, which I find to be somewhat ironic, since most of us will be eating pies today.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. We have two days off, this week, to help us celebrate. I do intend to spend the day focusing on the positive, on the blessings that God has given us. I’m not at all concerned about the accuracy of the historical report that we were taught when I was a child, so don’t even try to bring that up. I’m not saying I don’t care about history. Just not today. We can talk about that tomorrow. Today, I will focus on giving thanks. Our God is amazing; his mercy and grace are well worthy of our praise and adoration, and I will give him that, especially today.

Christi has started cooking for our lunch today. We plan to leave here around 11:30, this morning, to head to Mineral Wells. We will be staying there for a couple of nights, returning sometime Saturday afternoon. Rachel and Justin are planning to join us, so the family will be together for lunch today, with the exception of my father, who went to be with Jesus this past April. He will be missed, but we will not focus on the sadness of missing him, at least not for very long. He would not want that.

Tomorrow is “Black Friday.” We do not typically participate in the shenanigans surrounding that day. We will, no doubt, venture out for something, but, in Mineral Wells, I doubt that it will be very frantic. Perhaps at Wal-Mart, but I’m sure we will avoid that place. We do plan to take my mother to the local used bookstore, which, sadly, will be closing its doors at Christmastime this year. I wish I could buy it from them!

I wish everyone who reads this a Happy Thanksgiving, today! I pray that the Lord will bless you richly, no matter what your “religious” persuasion.

On this date in 1778, James Cook became the first European to visit Maui. On this date in 1789, a national day of thanksgiving was observed, as recommended by President George Washington. At this point, it was only an occasional day, as called for by various Presidents and Congress. It was not made an official holiday until Abraham Lincoln established it, on November 26, 1863. Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday of each November as Thanksgiving Day. It was made into law by Congress in 1941, as the fourth Thursday of November. However, I think it is very cool that today, we are celebrating on the exact date that the first national day of thanksgiving was celebrated, 226 years ago. The first college social fraternity, Kappa Alpha Society, was formed on this date in 1825, at Union College in Schenectady, New York. In 1917, the National Hockey League was formed. It consisted of the Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs, and the Toronto Arenas.

Today’s birthdays include William Cowper (English poet), Bat Masterson (American Old West figure), Bill Wilson (American co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous), Maurice McDonald (American fast food pioneer), Eric Sevareid (American journalist), Frederik Pohl (American science fiction writer), Charles M. Schultz (American cartoonist, Peanuts), Robert Goulet (American singer), Rich Little (Canadian comedian/actor), Tina Turner (American singer), John McVie (British musician, Fleetwood Mac), and Natasha Bedingfield (British singer).

John McVie turns 70 today. He is the bass player and part of the inspiration for the name of the rock group Fleetwood Mac. Here is their early song, “Oh Well.”

Daniel Purcell, Sojourner Truth, Flora Call Disney, Bill Doak, Tommy Dorsey, Stan Berenstain are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

There is a “necessary balance” between the two differing purposes of petitionary prayer. The first purpose is to “put the world right,” as we pray for physical needs. The second purpose is to “align our hearts with God,” as we pray for his will to be done in all circumstances, even it it differs from our will. If we allow either one of these purposes to gain precedence, our prayers will either become “too shrill and frantic or too passive and defeatist.” It is essential that we both let our desires be known and rest in the infinite wisdom of our Father in heaven. We need only look to our Savior to see the perfect example of this type of petition: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

The first of these purposes is external. As we have already seen, God, through a great mystery, allows our prayers to affect the physical world around us (James 5:16b-18). Our prayers can affect justice in the world (Luke 18:7-8). Sometimes, God will not give us things until we ask for them (James 4:2b). Our God desires to answer our prayers and give us great blessings. He is in control of the universe, but he is also our heavenly Father. In a parable in Luke 11, Jesus uses a remarkable word to describe the persistent asking of a friend in need. In the ESV, the word is translated “impudence.” The Greek word means “rudeness or impertinence.” While we don’t want to be “rude” toward God, we are encouraged to pray with “shameless audacity,” continuously knocking, seeking, asking.

The other purpose is internal. Through our prayers and petitions, if done correctly, we receive peace and rest. When we offer up our petitions, we, in a sense, give up control, “a resting and trusting in God to care for our needs.” We must pray with both “shameless assertiveness” and “restful submissiveness,” having within “a confidence that God is wiser than we are and wants the best for us.” Tomorrow I will look at an example of each kind of prayer, found in two consecutive Psalms.

Father, help me learn how to be both shamelessly assertive and restfully submissive before you. I kind of have the first part down. I don’t have too much trouble asking you for stuff. It’s the resting in your will part that I struggle more with. Help me to understand and know, with my heart, that you have infinite wisdom. Help me to know that, once I submit my requests to you, I can rest in the knowledge that you will either answer the way I prayed, or you will answer in another way that is even better.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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