What We Deserve

“Jesus’ prayers were given the rejection that we sinners merit so that our prayers could have the reception that he merits.”~~Timothy Keller


“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”~~John Churton Collins

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is spoonerism. Spoonerisms are great fun! It means, “the transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as in a blushing crow for a crushing blow.” My favorite purveyor of spoonerisms shows up at Scarborough Renaissance Festival every year. He calls himself Zilch, the Toreysteller. Archie Campbell, on the old show, Hee Haw, was also notorious for this, telling such tales as Rindercella, and the Pee Little Thrigs. Zilch tells the stories of Jomeo and Ruliet, and Parunzel, among others.

Today is Cookie Day! Do I even need to explain that? I didn’t think so!

Yesterday was busy, at work, and today will probably be busier. I’ll probably be late this evening, but who knows? I might be surprised.

Christi’s having trouble with that calf muscle again, starting up last night. Hopefully, it will pass quickly. She thinks it’s because she started thinking about putting up the Christmas lights on the house.

There is sad news in the world of rock, this morning. Scott Weiland, former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, was found dead in his tour bus, in Minnesota. They have not yet determined if drugs were involved. He was 48 years old.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, I’m reading a section on an unpopular topic, unanswered prayer. Tim Keller has pretty much established that, in the end, there is no such thing as “unanswered prayer.” However, many of us have prayed desperately for a loved one to be healed, but then they have died, anyway. I have that experience. “Some requests that God turns down are shattering.” So the question comes up, “How can we really believe that God is hearing and responding to us, if he denies such desperate heartfelt requests?”

We can look to David for encouragement. Throughout his life, and in the Psalms, he remained confident in prayer, in spite of some serious disappointments. A perfect example is when the son of the illicit union between himself and Bathsheba died. But David had “his experiences with God over the years in which God saved him again and again, and he also had revelations of the Spirit of God in his heart.”

We live long after Jesus and have even better resources than David had. In a seemingly contradictory statement, though, Keller says, “We know god will answer us when we call because one terrible day he did not answer Jesus when he called.”

Our Savior prayed, in the Garden of Gethsemane, that this cup could pass from him, but his request was denied. On the cross, he cried out, “My God!” but he was forsaken. How could this be? Of all the people who have ever walked the earth, Jesus was the only one who deserved to have his prayers answered!

Hear this! “Sinners deserve to have their prayers go unanswered.” Read that again. “Sinners deserve to have their prayers go unanswered!” We are all sinners. Therefore, none of us deserves to have his prayers answered. Jesus’s prayers were denied as if he were one of us sinners!

The reason, of course, is the Gospel. “God treated Jesus as we deserve – he took our penalty – so that, when we believe in him, God can then treat us as Jesus deserved (2 Cor 5:21). More specifically, Jesus’ prayers were given the rejection that we sinners merit so that our prayers could have the reception that he merits.”

As this chapter closes out, Keller summarizes. “We should ask God for things with boldness and specificity, with ardor, honesty, and diligence, yet with patient submission to God’s will and wise love. All because of Jesus, and all in his name.”

Father, I seldom consider the truths in today’s reading. Jesus got the rejection that I deserve so that I can have my prayers answered, which I never deserve, because, in spite of what Christ has done in me through the Gospel, I am still a sinner. Thank you for your grace and mercy in the Gospel. I cannot, and never do, thank you enough. May my life be a life of gratitude, lived in the power of the Gospel.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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