Oh! How He Loves Us!!

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day. Christi likes that. Actually, she says she likes Coconut Meringue better. I’m not a fan of either. Never been much for coconut. I guess the biggest news on this day is that, in 1945, it was V-E Day. Victory in Europe. However, in 1963, Sean Connery starred in his first James Bond movie on this day. Connery IS the best Bond. I will accept no arguments. Don’t even try.

Christi continues to work at the madhouse. Her quest goes on. All prayers are appreciated.

Stephanie should be able to get her diploma any time after June 2. As previously stated, there will be great joy and celebration, and possibly the Myposian Dance of Joy.

Father, I pray that you would show me more of you today. Give me something that will help me live this day looking to you.

I know I’ve shared this before, but I felt like starting off with some worship music this morning.

My heart will sing no other name…Jesus!

My Utmost For His Highest

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance… Revelation 3:10

Chambers compares the patience of a saint with a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. “God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand any more.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands.” We must maintain our relationship to Christ by “the patience of faith.” As Job (who, contrary to the popular saying, wasn’t all that patient) said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him!” No matter what the cost, I will wait for him.
Some see faith as sentimentality. “Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.” We cannot see what he is doing, but we know that he is good; that he is love, therefore, we “fling [ourselves] in reckless confidence on God.” (This is really good stuff!)
God gave all to save us in Christ; He desires us to place our “abandoned confidence in Him.” We have places in our lives where this confidence has not touched us yet. Jesus had none of those; our goal is to have none of those. “The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.”

Today’s Bible Readings

John 3; Psalm 13; 2 Samuel 18

John 3 contains what is probably the most famous of all Bible verses, John 3:16. It also gives us the phrase, “born again,” in verse 3, as Jesus answers Nicodemus’s questions. However, it is noted that the word “again” is literally “from above.” The point is, to enter God’s kingdom, we must be born of the Spirit. When we read John 3:16, we tend to think it is telling us how much God loved the world. This is not quite accurate. It might be better translated, “This is how God loved the world…” How did he love us? By sending his only Son to die in our place.
Later in the chapter, John the Baptist utters the famous words, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (v 30). But he utters something equally profound a few verses earlier that not so many people quote. “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (v 27). Do we really comprehend the gravity of that truth? I have not received even one thing that was not given me from heaven! This is truly a beautiful chapter!

Psalm 13
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

David feels forsaken. He prays for light in his eyes and is concerned about his enemies prevailing. But at the end, he trusts in the Lord and sings praises to him.

In 2 Samuel 18, David and company are about to head into the final battle with Absalom. The men would not allow David to go with them, saying that he was worth ten thousand of them. David acquiesced. However, he ordered them, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” Even after all of the treachery and betrayal, David still loved his son. How his heart must have broken! While Absalom was riding, his long, beautiful hair got caught in a tree. He hung helplessly in the tree. One of David’s men saw him and told Joab. Joab rebuked the man for not killing Absalom, but the man remembered David’s orders. Joab was not so compassionate. “I will not waste time like this with you,” he snarled (I’m embellishing…it doesn’t say he “snarled”), and thrust three javelins through the heart of Absalom. Runners carry the news to David. His reaction is recorded in verse 33: And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Father, I have worshiped you this morning, and feel as though I have already run into your arms. My heart will sing no other name…Jesus! I believe that your presence is here with me, and is with me at all times, 24/7. What I need is to recognize your presence throughout the day. If I truly believe (and I do) that you are with me all the time, then there are times during my day that I need to acknowledge that presence. Times when things may not be going quite the way I think they should; times when I have stress; times when I experience crisis; times when I doubt that you are actually in control of the madness. Father, I pray today…help me to fling myself on you with reckless confidence!! May I take no thought of consequences of following you! You are in control of my life. I have not one single thing that was not given me by you! By the power of your Spirit, and by the power of the ascended, glorified Christ, may I live my life in this manner! May my faith be a patient faith, one that shows complete and utter confidence in your loving hand. I also pray that you do these things for Christi as she makes her way to work today. Give her this reckless confidence in your hand; in your power. May she look to you today, by the power of the Spirit, for her confidence and guidance. Help her deal with the madness and appear to be the lone voice of sanity. I pray by your Spirit that you would give her favor with those in authority over her. I pray that you would change the hearts of those who deal recklessly with other people. I pray that you would shatter the immorality and materialism of one, bringing her to her knees in repentance! Unleash your power on this place, Lord. Only you can change hearts.

I thank you for the third chapter of John. I thank you for the way that you loved us. I also thank you for the words of John the Baptist that affirm our status before you. I have nothing, Lord. I remember from last week…I have nothing and I am nothing! I am not second, I am last! Make me last, Father. Humble me down to the dust with your Word. Glorify yourself and Christ through my life. Aim me at things I cannot see; stretch me to the point of breaking. I might complain, true. I probably will. (I think I just heard Christi laugh somewhere.) But you are God and you know what is best for our lives.

I pray for this day, Lord. Give Christi the bold confidence to get through it. May she not waver; may she not back down. Make her tough. I pray for Stephanie. She has not been feeling well for a couple days. Help her feel better and get her work done today. Sharpen her mind for the task ahead. May my day go smoothly today.

I pray for our friend, Dennis Jernigan, your psalmist. May his shoulder surgery go smoothly this morning, and his recovery be quick. It’s hard to play the piano with your arm in a sling. Get him through this with his eyes fixed on you.

I lift up my brothers and sisters in Christ at The Exchange. I pray for our church and its ministries, that we will be successful in the mission that you have given us. I pray for a place for us to worship; a permanent place that we can call home.

Fix your eyes on the Lord and fling yourself on him with reckless confidence! He is faithful and true, and oh, how he loves us!

Grace and peace, friends!

What Do I Want?

It’s FRIDAY, April 27, 2012! Woot!! It’s going to be another warm day in DFW, currently 69, with a high of 91. Summer aproacheth. We can only hope that the ice man cometh along with it.

We had our lifehouse meeting last night, during which we discussed last Sunday’s sermon, “Guard Your Mind.” It was an interesting discussion, highlighted by the differences between knowledge and feeling, or mind and heart. Do we allow our knowledge to affect our feelings, or do we work the other way around? We ended up thinking about the knowledge that God loves us. What if I don’t feel like God loves me? How does the truth that God loves me make me feel? All good questions.

One baseball comment. I felt a little sorry for Phillip Humber last night, as the Red Sox pummeled him en route to a 10-3 victory against the Other Sox. Why do I feel sorry for him? He pitched a perfect game last Saturday. And of course, there are about a kabillion references in the media to him NOT being perfect last night. Oh, well. As one baseball managers has been famous for saying, “That’s the way baseball go.”

Father, I pray for some inspiration this morning as I read and think on your words. Help me to use my mind and heart together, balancing knowledge with feeling. Most of all, help me live this day looking to you. I also pray for some motivation this morning, as I seem to be dragging my feet into this devotional time.

My Utmost For His Highest

And do you seek great things for yourself? Jeremiah 45:5

Am I seeking great things for myself? Would I rather receive God’s gifts or be in a more intimate relationship with him? I’m not sure what the answer would have been a few months ago. But at this point in my life, it is God that I want more than his gifts. I believe I am being totally honest when I say that. “There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.”
If we are only asking God for things, we have yet to reach the first step of abandonment…we are not seeking him, but seeking something for ourselves. If we ask and do not receive, it is because we are not abandoned enough to him. “God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection.” That’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? But we must realize…God is looking at the “big picture.” We tend to look in the wrong end of the telescope. “Tunnel vision,” as it were. God is not concerned about making you happy! (I can hear the gasps from the health and wealth camp!) God is concerned about working out his plan; his ultimate perfection. So…what do you want?

Tabletalk Magazine

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

The Tabletalk reading today tells us that one of the ways that we make a thanksgiving offering to the Lord is by offering ourselves as a “living sacrifice.” God has not dealt with us as we deserve, but has shown us mercy and grace. Therefore, we give thanks to him. “A life of thanksgiving is the only proper response to His grace.” As we live, we consider ourselves dead. Dead to sin, but alive to Christ. “We thank God by living as He does in holiness and righteousness.”

The Bible Panorama

Luke 22; Psalm 8; 2 Samuel 13

In Luke 22, the religious leaders begin to plot Jesus’s death. Verse 3 says that “Satan entered into Judas.” Did Satan directly possess or control Judas? Both the MacArthur Study Bible and the Reformation Study Bible say yes. Matthew Henry adds something interesting here. “It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ’s kingdom by the power and policy of its open enemies, or by the treachery and self-seeking of its pretended friends…” Hmmm…a couple of “preachers” come to mind. Anyway…Judas, under the influence of Satan, went and sought out the religious leaders. They did not come to him. He knew what they wanted, so he went to confer with them.
This chapter takes us all the way through the garden arrest, Peter’s denial of Christ, and the illegal trial in front of the religious leaders. During this, excessive cruelty was displayed, as they blindfolded him, struck him about the face, and demanded that he “prophesy” who hit him. All of this, Jesus Christ endured, willingly, for our sin.

Psalm 8
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!


In 2 Samuel 13, we see what can only be continuing results of David’s sin with Bathsheba, as his household falls apart. Amnon, David’s son, rapes Tamar, Absalom’s sister. Tamar was Amnon’s half-sister. He “loves” her and can’t live without her, or so he thinks. So he cooks up a scheme, pretends to be sick, asks for her to come feed him, and then overpowers her and rapes her. Immediately afterward, he loathes her and forces her out. Absalom takes this to heart and devises a plan to kill Amnon (especially seeing that David did absolutely nothing about it), and carries that plan out. The word is mistakenly brought to David that Absalom had killed all of the rest of the king’s sons, but, in truth, as he found out shortly after, only Amnon had been killed. Absalom flees to another land, and David longs to see him again, after getting over the entire event. But he does nothing to get Absalom to come back. King David was a pathetic parent.

Father, what do I want? I want you. I certainly desire blessing from you, yes. I would be crazy to not desire that. But more than the blessings and gifts, I desire a closer relationship with you. I desire to live my life looking to you and following after Christ. I desire to give myself as a living sacrifice, as stated by Paul in Romans 12:1. My heart’s desire is to live my life in holiness and righteousness, just as Christ did. I pray that you make this true in my life. By the power of your Spirit, you can change my heart. I cannot change myself. Only you can change me, and what change you have wrought in my life in the past few months! Spiritual and physical changes, both! I credit you, Father, for my success. I acknowledge that you are not concerned (at least not ultimately) with my happiness. I believe that you will always do what is best. But my happiness is always too dependent on circumstances. I have peace and joy, however, that are dependent on you. You are concerned with your glory and honor. Therefore, I will be concerned with your glory and honor. Give me, as the Psalmist says, the desires of my heart. In other words, I’m asking you to make your desires my desires.

I feel like I’m rambling a bit and a little unfocused this morning, Lord. But that’s okay. I’ll still manage to get my prayers to you. And I know that the Spirit will intercede for me as I stumble through my prayers. I gratefully praise you for this. My prayers don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be sincerely from the heart.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name!” Indeed, your name is majestic! What are we? We, the tiny specks of dust on the surface of this planet…you care about us? That is truly amazing. What are we that you are even mindful of us? Yet you have exalted us to a place of importance in your kingdom. May we live up to that, Father! I pray for wisdom. I pray for inspiration. I pray for the power of the Spirit to inhabit my life so that I can live this life victoriously looking to your face. I do not ask for great things. I ask, rather, to be last. Make me a servant; your servant. For it is only by being servants that we can truly be victorious. Help me understand this, Father. Help me get it right.

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray that Christi will have a good day today, at her job. May she continue to gain knowledge of her job and favor with those around her, especially those above her in management. I pray that Stephanie will feel better today, and be able to get some homework done. Give us wisdom for her future, Lord. I also pray that I will have a good day at work today. May we have a good, solid workout this evening, and I pray that Stephanie will have a good session tonight with her trainer. May we continue to have good success as we work at being more healthy.

I lift up a special prayer for baby Micah Faith, who was born prematurely last night, at 2 pounds, 3 ounces. I pray for her mother and family, Lord. I pray that this baby will survive by your miraculous hand, and that you will keep her family right by your side during this time. Thank you for her aunt, Kim Worley, who has enough faith to broadcast this prayer request via Facebook.

Your grace is sufficient.

May the Lord make our wants match his wants.

Grace and peace, friends.