Stubborn and Stiff-necked?

Today is Saturday, the seventeenth of April, 2021, in the second week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,046

33 days until our weekend in Glen Rose

I’m up early, preparing for my Saturday workday. At this point, I have no idea how long I will be working. I’m hoping that it’s not more than four hours, but it will be what it will be, right? And I will be fine.

I was going to try and put in a grocery order, last night. But it got frustrating when Walmart didn’t have any Kraft light mayo. They also don’t carry the Johnsonville turkey sausage links that I discovered at Kroger a few weeks ago. The question, at this point, becomes, why can’t I get everything I need at one store? It’s almost like there is this huge conspiracy between Kroger, Albertson’s, and Walmart; you know, like they had a meeting where they all agreed to not have everything so that we would have to go to all three stores to get what we need. But “no one else was in the room where it happened,” so we will probably never know.

It’s hard to know how much weight I would lose today, were I going to the WW Workshop. I’m a pound down from last Saturday, at home. But I also got up a couple hours earlier than I normally would on Saturday, and that makes a difference, as well.

We made our favorite Pecan-crusted Buttermilk Chicken last night, for dinner, and it seemed better than usual, for some reason. I’m thinking it’s because we haven’t had it in a while. Or maybe the chicken was better, this time. Sometimes, the quality of the chicken we get is inconsistent. Our stir-fry on Thursday night seemed really good, as well. A previous time, the chicken seemed less tender and more “chewy.” Who knows?

The Texas Rangers lost to the Baltimore Orioles, last night, 5-2. Mike Foltynewicz (0-3) was the losing pitcher. Texas is now alone in the cellar, as Oakland continues to win. But Houston continued their losing streak, so the Rangers are only a half game behind them. They are three games behind the first-place Mariners. They will play again, this evening, at 6:05 CDT, with Dane Dunning (1-0) taking the mound for Texas.

The Red Sox game with the Other Sox was postponed, last night. They will try again today, at 3:05 CDT, with the same pitchers scheduled.

The LA Dodgers continue to dominate the MLB, with a stunning 12-2 record, so far, and a seven game win streak. The Colorado Rockies currently hold the worst record, at 3-10, and a six game losing streak.

It looks like today is my wife’s niece’s birthday. Happy birthday, J!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

The Precious Way, by Daryl Madden

Dependent on a being
One that I can’t see
Connection through the soul
That He is loving me

Guided by a Spirit
That the ear can’t hear
A knowing in the soul
That He is dwelling near

Hope within a faith
Of not completely known
Through insights of the soul
The precious way is shown

Wisdom in the Word
Of seed that scripture sends
The promise for the soul
Of One that never ends

But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude
(Psalms 77:11-15 NLT)

Today, I am grateful:

  • that I am gainfully employed and have a job to go to, even if I have to work on a Saturday
  • for the cooler weather we are currently receiving
  • for the rain that replenishes the earth
  • for the story that each of us has; may we be faithful to share it with others, openly and willingly
  • for a spirit of vulnerability

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

INVITATION

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV)

I am pausing, briefly, to reflect on the holiness and mightiness of God. He is the God of great wonders!

BIBLE SONG

A maskil of Asaph.

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
(Psalms 78:1-8 NIV)

BIBLE READING

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:7-12 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I linger over these passages, I invite the Holy Spirit to move within me, directing me toward words or phrases that speak to me.

My first leaning is toward wondering if we have, perhaps, failed in doing what the psalm passage directs us to do. There seems to be a massive move, in younger generations, away from faith in God. I could go on, and could certainly fall down a deep, deep rabbit hole, regarding reasons that I see that could be an explanation for this. But that is not the intent of this forum. Neither is it to complain and moan about the situation.

Nevertheless, I see the admonition in Psalm 78 to teach future generations about the deeds and commands of the Lord. My prayer is that His Church can get back to that goal and do a better job of it, and present them in such a way that they do not seem obsolete or irrelevant. This doesn’t mean that we alter them to fit our culture. It means that our own relationship with this God and His commands and deeds must stay fresh and alive.

Father, I pray that my relationship with You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will remain vibrant and fresh, never getting stale. Please make it so that, when I have an opportunity to teach someone from a younger generation about Your love and Your mighty works in history and my own life, it will feel relevant, not stale; fresh and alive. Your deeds and commands do not change. The only thing that changes is my own approach to this loving relationship with You. If I am stale, then my testimony will be stale. Keep it fresh, Lord, living and active, just like Your Word.

Purposeful God,
thank you that my faith is not a cosmic fluke or a lucky accident of circumstance -
you've called me by a larger and longer wisdom.
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus,
your aim is to redeem all those you've called from every people,
tribe,
nation,
and language.
As you have called me,
make me now a messenger of your mercy.
Amen.
(Canons of Dort 2.8)

BLESSING

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29 NIV)


“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.”
(Zechariah 7:11 NIV)

But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the LORD their God.
(2 Kings 17:14 NIV)

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.
(Isaiah 30:8-9 NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Why do I share these passages (except for the last one) that seem so negative and condemning? It’s a reminder. Some folks I know would read these passages and point their fingers at other groups and say, “Yeah!” I read these passages and look inward, because I know how apt I am to being rebellious and stubborn. I know how difficult it is, sometimes, for the Spirit to get my attention and get me to listen.

The Lord’s promises are wonderful! His mighty deeds are magnificent, transcending anything else we might experience anywhere or anywhen else. Why, then, are we so slow to listen? Why are we, why am I so stubborn? Why am I so stiff-necked?

But notice that it ends with Isaiah 41:10, in recent years, a favorite, go-to verse for me. He is with me. He is with you. Do not be dismayed. He will strengthen, He will help, He will uphold. Even when we are stubborn and disbelieving.


The LORD told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
(Exodus 32:7-8 NLT)

And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
(Romans 1:23 NLT)

for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
(1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NLT)

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
(1 John 5:21 NLT)

I believe this progression to be the answer to the problem above. To move away from stubbornness, to stop being stiff-necked, I need to obey 1 John 5:21, and make sure that there is nothing in my life that replaces God or usurps His authority in my life. I need to make sure that I have no “gods” (small-g) in my life, but only the one true God.


Father, I pray for Your Spirit to work in me today. Lead me toward obedience; lead me toward listening. Open my ears to what You have to say to me today. Give me a willingness to share my story with anyone who is curious. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your Truth. Help me to rid my life of “gods” that are unworthy of my worship or attention.

Lord, I pray, this morning, that a Your Church would be marked by a “deep missional identity.” Give us servant leaders, kingdom vision, godly stewardship, and effective organization, enabling us, as a local body of believers, to fulfill our purpose in Your kingdom. I pray for all denominations, agencies, and programs within Your Church, all around the world. I also pray for unity within Your Church.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; heal our nation, and heal our world. We pray for this pandemic to end. We pray for racial injustice to end. We pray for a love revolution.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.