Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Hump Day.
Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is esoteric. This is an adjective, meaning, “designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone,” “requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group; broadly : difficult to understand,” “limited to a small circle,” “private, confidential,” or, “of special, rare, or unusual interest.”
Today is Apple Strudel Day. A pastry that is alleged to date back to 1696, “Apple strudel consists of a centre of apple, cinnamon and raisins, wrapped in crispy layers of pastry, that puff up in the oven; served with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of thick cream, comfort food at its finest.” Yum. Much better than “Eat Your Vegetables Day.” What’s this recent kick on vegetables, anyway??
It’s raining this morning, as Tropical Storm Jim has made his way up into north central Texas. It’s predicted that it will rain most of the day, today, prompting continued flash flood warnings, as we really haven’t recovered from the April and May “showers.” The Trinity River is still above floodplain, even after a couple of weeks with little to no rain.
Christi bowled in her league, yesterday, after work, and did quite a bit better than last week. However, her knee was severely sore afterward. Perhaps some kind of brace might be in order. I’ve been thinking about one of those for my knee, as well. Not much else going on. We have definitely decided to go to Mineral Wells for Father’s Day on Sunday.
Oh. Brock Holt hit for the cycle for the Red Sox yesterday, as they finally won a game, beating the Braves, 9-4. He is from Fort Worth, Texas, by the way.
A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
(From Solid Joys)
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Today’s reading is “What Kind of Prayer Pleases God?”
“The first mark of the upright heart is that it trembles at the Word of the Lord.”
Isaiah 66 deals with people who worship God in different ways; some of their worship pleases God, but some of their worship does not please God. Take verse 3, for example: He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations. Why are their offerings so offensive to God? The answer is in verse 4: I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.
Verse 2, quoted above, describes the kind of person whose prayers God will hear. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
“So the prayer of the upright that delights God comes from a heart that at first feels precarious in the presence of God. It trembles at the hearing of God’s Word, because it feels so far from God’s ideal and so vulnerable to his judgment and so helpless and so sorry for its failings.”
Compare this to Psalm 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. “The first thing that makes a prayer acceptable to God is the brokenness and humility of the one who prays.”
Father, teach me this humility in the face of your Word. For, in truth, your Word shows me my weakness and failures. It constantly shows me where I am lacking in my devotion and service to you. Therefore, I must be more humble as I even consider praying to you, for I am not what I should be. You have made me something new, something better, but I have yet to fully acquiesce to your commands and desires for my heart and for my life. I pray for more humility and more sincerity of heart, that I might be a better servant and ambassador for your Kingdom.
I pray for this day, that we might have safe travel, especially in this rain, to and from work. Keep Rachel and Justin safe, as well, in whatever they must do today. Show your great love to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama, as they do whatever must be done today. May your great grace and mercy never fail in our lives. We are grateful for all that you have done for us. May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.
I lift up the Henneke family, as they travel back from Florida today. May their trip be safe, and may it not be delayed by the tropical storm system.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we all tremble at God’s Word, rather than feeling any kind of pride in what we believe we have accomplished. In this way, we can be assured that our prayers will please him.
Grace and peace, friends.