What Does the Crisis Reveal?

Today is Friday! August 12, 2016. Only seven more days until S turns 23!

Quote of the Day

“Give me a room whose every nook is dedicated to a book.” ― Robert Southey

Word of the Day

Blandishment – something, as an action or speech, that tends to flatter, coax, entice, etc.: Our blandishments left him unmoved. We succumbed to the blandishments of tropical living.

Today is Vinyl Record Day. Vinyl records are the coolest. I was once excited to hear music on CDs, but, over time, I realized that it still sounds better on vinyl. It’s the whole “digital vs analog” thing. Digital sounds perfect, true. But life isn’t perfect, and life isn’t lived in analog. Records sound “warmer,” more alive.

Tonight, I’ll be going straight from work to a friend’s house, to practice for tomorrow night’s Night of Worship. I already packed my keyboard and stands in the car, so I’m ready to go. As long as my keyboard doesn’t melt while I’m at work. Anyway, this should be fun.

The Rangers and Red Sox both lost yesterday. The Rangers tried to pull one of their come-from-behind wins again, yesterday, but the bull pen let them down, giving up five runs in the top of the 8th inning. They had been behind 7-5, and score four in the bottom of the seventh, but just couldn’t hold on this time. The Rockies were having none of that. Then the Red Sox, ahead 2-1, gave up three runs in the top of the eighth, to lose the game and the series to the Yankees. Pretty soon, I’m not going to be able to console myself by saying, “There’s still a lot of baseball left.” They have played 115 games, give or take a few, so there are only 47 left. Roughly a quarter of the season left.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread,
he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron;
until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free;
he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions,
to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom.
Psalm 105:16-22

“The story of Joseph is continuously useful to the person of faith.” How true this is. I don’t have time to relate the story for those who aren’t familiar with it, but I will say that Joseph, from a certain point in his life, had every right to believe that God had abandoned him, but he kept his faith, believing with all his heart that the Lord was in control of all things. It paid off, as he was eventually placed in charge of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. So no matter how bad things get (or seemingly bad, because “bad” is only in the perspective of those of us who can’t see everything that God sees), we can have faith that God has the situation firmly in hand. He is not surprised by our troubles, and has always “prepared a way for our salvation.” In fact, he has already been at the finish line. “In difficult times the Christian is surprised, not by disaster, but by providence.”

“Dear Father, thank you for looking after me by sending Jesus ahead of me through temptation and suffering, so that with confidence I can walk through ‘the valley of the shadow’ and know that nothing will separate me from the love you have for me. In Jesus’ name (Psalm 23:4). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Theology of Rest

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Matthew 8:26

When we experience fear, we pray to God. In fact, it is all we can do. And he has a right to expect us to “have an understanding confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the reliable ones.” But, most of the time, our trust only goes so far before we revert to panic prayer mode, praying no more effectively than those who do not know God. When we do this, we show how little faith we truly have.

How must the disciples have felt when Jesus said those words to him, “O you of little faith?” “And what a pang will go through us when we suddenly realize that we might have produced downright joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, no matter what was ahead.”

When the crisis comes, we reveal where our trust lies. “If we have been learning to worship God and to trust Him, the crisis will reveal that we will go to the breaking point and not break in our confidence in Him.”

Where does “rest” fit into all of this (see the title)? All of this should “work out into rest in God which means oneness with God, a oneness which will make us not only blameless in His sight, but a deep joy to Him.” At this point, I would say that the word “rest” and the word “abide” would be interchangeable here. If we are abiding in Jesus and his words, the crisis will prove that to be the case, and we will be steadfast, relying solely on the grace of God and his care for us.

Father, that is my word for this year, abide. And you are still teaching me to do it. I do believe that I am learning, but slowly. I still encounter moments, every week, it seems, wherein I fail to bring you joy, and show that I am relying, not on you and your grace, but on something else, sometimes I know not what. But the good thing is that, these days, I realize almost instantly that I have done so, and am able to repent immediately, and, in some cases, apologize where necessary. Steps in the right direction, Father, but don’t stop working; don’t stop chiseling and forming me. My heart’s desire is to be like Jesus, and I will keep forging ahead, by your Spirit. Give me the faith of Joseph!

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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