“Your Life In Me, My Life For You”

Good morning! It’s Friday! November 9, 2012. Today is “National Young Reader’s Day.” I like this one. Encourage a young person to read today. I’m not defining “young,” either. To my parents, I’m still young.

On this date in 1620, pilgrims on board the Mayflower sighted land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Missionary William Carey reached the Hooghly River in India on this date in 1793.
On this date in 1888, Jack the Ripper killed his last known victim, Mary Jane Kelly.
Theodore Roosevelt made the first trip outside the country for an active President on this date in 1906, visiting the Panama Canal to inspect progress.
On this date in 1921, Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect.
On this date in 1938, in an even that foreshadowed the Holocaust, Nazis launched “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” in which thousands of Jewish businesses were damaged, about 100 Jews were killed, and around 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
On this date in 1967, the first edition of Rolling Stone magazine was published. I think it was about music, back then.
On this date in 1985, Garry Kasparov because the youngest world chess champion at the age of 22.
On this date in 1989, East Germany opened the Berlin Wall.
Capital punishment was completely abolished in the UK on this date in 1998.
On this date in 2004, author Stieg Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50. He had just turned in the manuscripts for his “Millennium Trilogy,” which would go on to become bestsellers. He wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

Today’s birthdays include Hedy Lamarr, 1914, Sargent Shriver, 1915, Spirow Agnew, 1918, Whitey Herzog (baseball player and manager), 1931, Carl Sagan, 1934, Bob Gibson (baseball player), 1935, Mary Travers (Peter, Paul, and Mary), 1936, Tom Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), 1941, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), 1951, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), 1973, Adam Dunn (baseball player), 1979.

Christi is working from home, today, so she’s still asleep. I had my alarm set for 6am, but woke up shortly after 5am. Perhaps God has something special to say to me this morning.
We all got to the gym last night, and Steph had her first session with yet another trainer. But we had to switch, this time, since we moved back to the regular Sport facility. It went pretty well. Since we were on Thursday, her next session would have been scheduled for Thanksgiving, so she is having it next week instead. The trainer tried to get us to switch to once a week instead of every other week, but we explained to him our motive for these sessions, which is simply to keep Stephanie interested in going to the gym. We may still think on it some, though.

Father, I pray that you would teach me something today. Yesterday, you reminded me of the necessity of maintaining your “temple” within me. Keep me moving in that direction this morning. Or, whichever direction you want to point me. I am the clay. You are the potter.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 141. In this psalm, David prays that his prayers would be heard.

1 A Psalm of David. O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

We see prayer being compared with a sacrifice in these verses. And, in a sense, when we lift up our hands to our Father, either in prayer or praise, we are sacrificing something, we are offering ourselves up to him. We hope that our prayer to God is sweet to him.

3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!

A much needed prayer for anyone, I suspect! I know I need a constant watch “over the door of my lips!” And I certainly need the Lord’s help in keeping my heart from being inclined to evil, for it surely has an evil bent. If left alone, my heart would truly be wicked.

5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
6 When their judges are thrown over the cliff, then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

I understand the idea in verse 5, that I might be disciplined by another believer, if necessary. It is kindness, “it is oil for my head.” We need accountability among ourselves. I confess that I don’t quite understand verses 6-7.

8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.

I, along with David, pray that my eyes will always be toward God, and that I will seek refuge in him. May I not fall into the trap that the wicked have laid for me. In fact, let them fall into their own traps, David prays!

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Sacramental Service.” Chambers begins with Colossians 1:24, which says, Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

The idea, here, is that the “Christian worker…be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him.” I do not impose my personality on anyone else (heaven forbid!), rather, the presence of Jesus should be coming through the elements of my life. When I speak the truth of God’s word, my “words are made sacramental,” and God, through the power of his redemption, uses them to create something new in another’s life. But what we speak is important. If we simply speak of the “effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture.” I need to be “in such living sympathy with God” that when I speak his truth, he is able to create something in someone else that only he can create. My obedience…my speaking of his truth, brings about God’s creation in another life.

If we only notice the wonderful personality of someone, if we are fascinated with a man, if we laud his insight, what good is that? The gospel has no chance to get through. The “line of attraction” cannot be the “line of appeal.” We should not seek to attract by personality, or, if we take this to the level of the church body, we should not attempt to attract with “atmosphere.” We must be identified with the “personality” of Jesus Christ so that the appeal is on the line of what he can do. “The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.”

Father, I praise you this morning for being here with me. Thank you that you hear our prayers. I pray, like David, that my prayers to you, my devotion to you, rises up to you like sweet incense. I pray that you would set a guard over my lips today. Let me say nothing that would dishonor you. I go even further than my lips. Guard my heart and mind as well. May no wicked thought occur to me today. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you today!

I sense the seriousness of today’s reading, Lord. May I never try to attract someone to you through my personality. I chuckle at that thought, actually, but sometimes we fall prey to that notion, thinking that we have to prepare eloquent speeches and techno-savvy performances to attract people to you. But the truth is, Lord, that you are infinitely beautiful! You are more attractive than anything ever created, for you are the Creator! I insist that any effort, any human effort, on our part to make you more attractive, actually has the opposite effect! May we, may I, simply rely on the resurrection life within us to shine forth as we speak your words of truth, which will then become life in someone else’s soul as you create something that only you can create. I am not able to create life in another soul. I might be able to “create” a warm, fuzzy feeling in someone, but that does not help them, eternally. It might make them feel better for a few minutes. Jesus, live through me. “Your life in me, my life for you, this is the Great Exchange…” Use me today to help someone find your peace.

I pray for this day. Christi has her doctor appointment this morning. I pray that it will reveal something that can help her get rid of the pain completely. I thank you that it’s better. But we pray for total relief/healing from this pain. I pray for her peace as she works the rest of the day from home. I pray that she will accomplish whatever needs to be done today. I pray that we will have a good weekend as we celebrate her upcoming birthday. May it be restful and relaxing. I pray for my work day today, that it will go smoothly, as the rest of the week has, for the most part. Should issues arise, I pray that your Spirit will dominate me, that I might display your peace through all things. I pray that your life will flow through me, displaying your characteristics in all circumstances. I pray for Stephanie today, that you might draw her closer to you, giving her purpose for her life.

It is not our personality, insight, or great wisdom that should attract people to Christ. It is Christ in us that should attract people to Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.