God’s Well-Timed Grace

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 19, 2015.

The Word of the Day, from Dictionary.com, is petrous. Petrous is an adjective, meaning, “noting or pertaining to the hard dense portion of the temporal bone, containing the internal auditory organs; petrosal,” That’s an anatomical reference. It also means, “like stone, especially in hardness; stony; rocky.”

Today is Daiquiri Day (that’s a tough word to remember how to spell). Apparently, this drink was invented in a town by the same name, near Santiago, Cuba. With temperatures hitting triple digits in Texas, it would be a good day for a refreshing Daiquiri.

Our evaluation appointment with Stephanie, yesterday, went very well, we believe. The psychologist with whom we met was very good. I let her know this, too, during the time we spoke to her without Stephanie in the room. She had a very bright, positive, countenance, and was very good at drawing Stephanie out. This was obvious, because, when we talked to her, it seems that Stephanie told her pretty much exactly the same things that we checked off on the form we were given. The psychologist told us that we had given her very good information. It will take about two weeks to get the report, which will let us know if Stephanie is eligible for additional service.

We barely had time to get Stephanie home and get up to church on time, to begin preparations for the evening’s activities. But we made it. The prayer gathering, in my opinion, was extremely good. There were some deep prayers that happened, and I think that there was a strong sense of God’s presence in the room. Our worship gathering was good, as Jacob finished the second part of what I still believe to be the best sermon I have ever heard. He finished talking about Psalm 37:1-7. Last week, the two points were that we need to trust in the Lord and do good, and that we need to delight ourselves in the Lord, which means that we should treasure God above all things. This week’s two points were that we need to commit our way to the Lord, which essentially means wrapping up our entire lives in a bundle and handing it over to him, and don’t take it back. The problem is that tend to be okay with giving everything over, but we frequently take it back when things get iffy. The last point was that we need to be still before the Lord. The passage finished up with the same idea that it began with. “Fret not.”

Today, we have grocery shopping, and then Christi is going to lunch with some friends from Supermedia/Verizon at 1:00, during which time I plan to go see Jurassic World. It also starts at 1:00 at the theater that I currently like to go to.

After all that is done, if we have the energy, we might go bowling. We are also considering joining a bowling league for the fall. We are currently looking at a couple of leagues that are on Sunday evenings, beginning in September.

On this date in 1692, five women (Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, and Rebecca Nurse) were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1879, Doc Holliday killed his first man, after the man shot up his saloon in New Mexico.

Today’s birthdays include Lizzie Borden (took an ax, and so on . . .), Charles Horace Mayo (American surgeon/founder of clinic), A.J. Cronin (Scottish writer), George McGovern (American politician), Vikki Carr (American singer), Brian May (English guitarist/Queen), Beverly Archer (American actress), Lisa Lampanelli (American comedienne), Anthony Edwards (American actor), Benedict Cumberbatch (British actor), Vinessa Shaw (American actress), and Jared Padalecki (American actor/Supernatural).

Brian May, guitar player and co-founding member of Queen, was born on this date in 1647, and turns 68 today. Here is their song “’39,” which, over time, has become my favorite Queen song. Brian May actually sings lead on this song.

Joe Flynn, Lefty Frizzell, and Bill Bright are among those who passed away on July 19.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Psalm 84:6

” . . . those who have true heart religion, and who sincerely serve God, direct their steps to the sanctuary of God, not only when the way is easy and cheerful, under the shade and through delightful paths, but also when they must walk through rugged and barren deserts.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 201)

(From Solid Joys)

In the midst of my continued reading about prayer, comes this gem from Solid Joys, called, “His Timing Is Perfect.”

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Any kind of ministry that we do is in the future. It may be a decade away, a month away, or it may be mere moments away. The point is, we always have time to fret about our ability to perform ministry. “When this happens, we must turn to prayer.”

“Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.”

What if the needed grace came too early? Or, even worse, what if it came too late? Piper lets us in on a translation secret. He says that the more traditional translation (cited above) hides a precious promise. He gives us a more literal rendering of the Greek text. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help.” Rather than simply “grace to help in time of need,” it becomes much more urgent “grace for a well-timed help.”

“The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help.” The grace that we need always comes from the “throne of grace,” just in time. Our King, who sits on that “throne of grace,” “sets the times by his own authority.”

As we recognize that God’s timing is perfect, we rarely find that it is the same as our timing. Moses wrote in the Psalms, For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. On a global level, we see in Acts 17:26 that God sets the time periods and boundaries of the nations: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. But on a more personal level, in Psalm 31:15, David says, My times are in your hand.

So when we are concerned about the timing of God’s future grace, we must turn to the throne of grace, in prayer. “Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.”

Father, may we truly understand the truth of this little verse, and know that your grace is always perfectly timed. Let us turn to your throne of grace when we are in need, sending up prayers that we might eagerly receive the future grace, that will always come just in time for the need that we will experience. When we relate this to ministry, whatever ours might be, this is nothing short of phenomenal! If we truly believe the truth of this verse, we would never fret about anything relating to ministry. I pray that Christians the world over would know this truth and understand how it relates to them, from the aspect of world missions all the way down to the smallest detail of their lives. Your grace is “well-timed help,” Lord! Hallelujah!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety as she runs errands for us and her parents, as well as for when she drives to Grapevine later for her lunch. I pray that she will have a good time reconnecting with old friends and work associates, many of whom she has not seen in quite some time. I pray for the rest of our day, that we will have some good rest as we prepare for the week ahead.

May your grace rain down on the rest of our family, as well. For Stephanie, as we wait for the results from yesterday’s interviews, for Rachel and Justin, as they go into another new week, and for my mother, as she continues to take care of business in her life. May we all know your well-timed grace each day.

Your grace is sufficient.

Having never seen this particular rendering of this verse before, I am grateful for John Piper’s word today. Even the reading, itself, is “well-timed.”

Hebrews416

Grace and peace, friends.

Abandoned

“If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because he wants you to discover his plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 19, 2014.

Today is Daiquiri Day. I will confess that I love an occasional strawberry daiquiri. Or peach.

Things have improved, perhaps even drastically, at Christi’s job. She had a good talk with the top people for the customer (at least the top people at her site), and it sounds like they really worked some things out. Wednesday afternoon, she was ready to completely give up. But the really good thing that came from the conversation was that the customer seems to be very happy with her and the work she is doing. So that’s good news.

We have our worship service and prayer time this evening, starting at 4:45. After that, I believe Christi (and maybe Stephanie) will be going out for a ladies’ night out.

Both the Red Sox and Rangers won their first game back from the All Star break. The Sox gained a game in their division, and are now only 8.5 games out, while the Rangers continue to be 21 out, since Oakland won again.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1799 that twenty-eight year old Pierre-Francois Bouchard, while rebuilding Fort Julien in Egypt, came across a stone that had Greek inscriptions, as well as two different forms of ancient Egyptian. We know this stone as the Rosetta Stone. Yes, it’s a real thing, not just an over-priced software package.

Today’s birthdays include Jared Padalecki, Brian May, Anthony Edwards, Lizzie Borden, Vikki Carr, Allen Collins, Ilie Nastasie, Samuel Colt, and Bernie Leadon. Brian May is the guitar player for Queen. He turns 67 years old today. Here is a clip of him playing “God Save the Queen” atop Buckingham Palace.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:15-17
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!
Psalm 79:9
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!Psalm 72:18-19
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalm 103:2
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
Psalm 90:2-7

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Abandoned To His Will.” Actually that’s yesterday’s reading. Whenever I miss a day, I have two to choose from, and I think yesterday’s is slightly better than today’s. It’s also brief, so I will quote it in its entirety.

“Concretely, abandonment to the will of God consists of finding his purpose for you in all the people, events, and circumstances you encounter. If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because he wants you to discover his plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up. The response of trust is ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ even if it is said through clenched teeth.”

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Father, help me to be abandoned to your will. I believe that, in several instances, you have, indeed, torn up my “beautiful game plan” and driven me into the valley, that I might look up to your beautiful face and discover your plan for my life. I’m still a little fuzzy on that plan, sometimes, even at 56 years old, but I’m trying to keep my eyes looking at you to determine which way to go. The last few years have been very interesting. I pray that you keep me on the path, and am open to you sending me whichever way you want to.

I pray for this day. Christi has gone out to get groceries for her mother. I pray that she will get this done safely. I pray that you continue to work in her job situation, and praise you for the progress that has been made. I pray for our church prayer time and worship time this evening, that both will be honoring and glorifying to you. I pray that you make your presence known this evening, in a new and fresh way for us. May your glory fill the room where we worship.

Your grace is sufficient.

I pray that we can all discover God’s beautiful plan for us, even if it takes us into the valley.
WILL OF GOD

Grace and peace, friends.