The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Good morning. It is Tuesday, July 3. Tomorrow, we stay home!! Huzzah!! Wow…today’s “holidays” are rather lame, in my opinion. We have a choice of “Eat Beans Day,” which probably isn’t going to happen, or “National Compliment Your Mirror Day.” “Hello, mirror! You’re doing a great job of reflecting!” No. I don’t think so. And I’m certainly not going to stand in front of the mirror admiring what I see in it. While I realize that I’ve made great progress in the last 5.5 months, I’m simply not that vain.

On this date in 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg ended. On this date in 1981, “Back to the Future” was released. And that photo that made the rounds last week, stating that June 27, 2012 was the date set in the time-traveling DeLorean was a hoax. Check out this article. On this date in 1969, Rolling stones Guitarist Brian Jones was found dead from accidental drowning. On this same date in 1971, Jim Morrison died of heart failure in a Paris bathtub. Both of them were 27 when they died. What’s with rock stars and 27?

Christi thinks she is feeling a little better this morning, but is still very weak-feeling. She’s up and getting ready for work. Prayers for her day would be greatly appreciated. We are definitely looking forward to tomorrow, an oasis of non-work in the middle of the week. Also, if you’re a praying person, please lift up the youth group from our church, The Exchange, as they are in Falls Creek, Oklahoma, for youth camp.

Father, I pray for some vision of you this morning that will keep me focused during this day.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 33. This one begins with a shout of praise.
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

If I live to be 199, I will never comprehend how anyone can read that and not think we should use instruments in the worship of the Lord.

For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

Evil as it seems, the earth is full of God’s love. One only has to have eyes to see it.
The Psalm closes out with hope.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

My Utmost For His Highest

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5

When I get into the presence of God, I realize more than just the fact that I am a sinner. When I am in the presence of God, I sense the concentration of my sin in a certain area. “There is never any vague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular.” He will convict us, by the Spirit, of the one thing that is fixed in our mind, in our heart, that sin which “clings so closely” (Hebrews 12:1). For Isaiah, he immediately focused on his “unclean lips.” What did God do? He sent one of the cherubim to lay a burning hot coal on Isaiah’s lips to purge his sin. “The cleansing had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.”
Dare we pray for this revelation? I promise you…it’s painful. Can you imagine the pain of a searing hot coal placed on your lips? I believe that God tells us through this that we will not be cleansed without some hurt. He will show us the sin, but it will not be pleasant. At first we will want to resist, because the flesh is strong! But if we allow the Spirit to have free reign, God will cleans, and then we can move on to the next thing.

This is important to me in the matter of prayer. If I am to be a “prayer warrior” (which I am still not), then I must come to grips with any sin that God reveals to me. I must walk in the Spirit; allow the Spirit to have free reign in my life. This is my heart’s desire.

Father, it is my desire to worship you with my whole heart. I want to be obedient to the command that Jesus said was the most important, to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then I want to be able to turn this outward to love my neighbor as myself. Yet I find that I am tripped up daily in both endeavors. Though I am officially a “saint,” by the blood of the Lamb and the power of your Spirit, I am also a sinner. I pray that you would, by your Spirit, show me my sin, before it happens! I would ask that you would prevent me from sin, Lord. Prevent me by reminding me, convicting me, beforehand. Cleanse my mind from evil thoughts. Cleanse my heart so that all I care about is serving you. This does not mean that I will not care about doing my job or loving my family, because doing both of these things well serves you in the highest way possible. These are the things that you have given me to do in my life.
Lord, you have placed me where you have placed me for a reason. It is not necessary that I know all the reasons. It is only necessary that I acknowledge that I am right where you want me, and that I must follow your leadership. You are leading me down a path of prayer, specifically of intercessory prayer. I stumble at every step, it seems. Just yesterday, I had every intention of praying for our youth at 11am on the dot, because that’s when they were leaving for camp. It wasn’t until I was on my way home from work that I realized that I had forgotten to do this. I take that back…I was actually on the way to the gym with Stephanie when I remembered. But at that point, Steph and I joined hands (I kept one on the wheel) and prayed for the youth, hoping that they had arrived safely to the camp. My heart still has a long way to go for this ministry, Lord, but I pray that your Spirit will keep chiseling away at the impurities that clutter me. Yes it’s painful; yes it hurts, but I don’t care! I am nothing. As I’ve noted before, I am not second, I am last. This is not self-deprecation; this is reality; this is being completely comfortable with and acknowledging my place in your work, in your kingdom. Without you, I am nothing.

I see that the earth is full of your steadfast love, Father! It is so easy to see all the negative, and I have been very guilty of this for a long time. I believe that it is possible to acknowledge the failures of society and the wickedness of men, but see your love in the earth at the same time. I have been too cynical for too long. Turn me around, Lord. Make me a blessing!

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray that Christi will feel better today. I pray for your healing hand to rest upon her today, as you empower her with your Spirit that resides within her. Make her aware of your presence today, teaching her to draw on your infinite supply of grace and mercy during her work day. She is a blessing, Lord, both to me and others around her. I pray you heal her today from this infection. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you would make her aware of your presence and love in her life. I pray that you would inspire her to read some from your Word today and to draw from your grace. You have blessed me at work these last few days. I pray that this would continue. I also pray that you would make me a blessing to the people I encounter today.

I will continue to pray for Bart and Summer as they continue to recover from their surgeries. May you bring them back to full health quickly. I pray that this surgery that Bart had has fixed his issue completely, that it will not return again. I also continue to pray for Jeremy and his job situation, that you would intervene, both in his heart and in the heart of his boss. I also continue to pray for our friend, Susie, in her health and fitness goals. Help her to stay focused and committed to them.

I pray for our youth today. I pray that their week at camp will be marked by how much they feel your presence in their spirits. Yes, I pray that they have fun. But more importantly, I pray that they see you and see you in power and glory. I pray that they will experience you in such a way that will change their lives forever. I don’t pray that they will all be called to be pastors or missionaries. What you want to do with them is your business. What I do pray is that, in whatever you give them to do with their lives, you lead them and inspire them to do it to your glory, with all of their might, looking to your face to live, and drawing from that eternal fountain of grace that dwells within you. I also lift up Zach Schroeder and any others who have gone with him to be sponsors and counselors at this camp. Fill them with your spirit, Lord!

I pray for the leadership at The Exchange. Guide them by your Spirit, Lord, showing them the direction that you want the church to go. I pray that you would give our church a building to call home. While that may not be our most important need, I believe that it would give us a better face in the community.

Your grace is sufficient, Lord.

May the steadfast love of the Lord shine on your life today.

Grace and peace, friends.