Unbroken Communion

Good morning. It is Thursday, September 13, 2012. There are a ton of different “holidays” listed today (you would think that they would save some for those poor few days that don’t have any!), but the one that intrigues me is “National Defy Superstition Day.” So go ahead…step on that crack while walking under a ladder, purposefully allowing a black cat to cross your path. Yeah. That reminds me. When I do resistance training at the gym, I do two sets of THIRTEEN reps. So there. No triskaidekaphobia here, sir. Nope.

On this date in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
On this date in 1916, Roald Dahl was born. Willie Wonka for the win! Gene Wilder’s version. I like Johnny Depp, but I’m not fond of his version.
On this date in 1990, one of the longest running primetime drama series in history debuted. Law & Order went on to spawn several spinoffs.
On this date in 1936, Bob Feller, at the age of 17, struck out 17 batters in one game. At the time, that was an American League record. The current record is 20, held by Roger Clemens, for the Boston Red Sox. Kerry Wood also struck out 20 batters in the National League, for the Cubbies. In his rookie year. He’s from Grand Prairie, Texas, just a few minutes up the road from where we live.

Christi has an MRI scheduled for Friday morning at 745!! That’s one answer to prayer. She still hurts pretty bad, though, and had difficulty sleeping last night, because of it. Please keep praying for relief for her.
Some friends of ours had a new baby last night (as opposed to an “old” baby, I guess). Stephanie and Jason welcomed Charlee into the world at 958pm last night (on Stephanie’s birthday, no less). Blessings and congratulations go out to them. Charlee had some difficulty breathing at first, and was whisked away to NICU, but further updates seem to indicate that she is okay. We have another friend, Amber, who began early labor yesterday, but, as of yet, has not gone to the hospital. We’ll definitely be praying for her today.
The Red Sox lost a close one to the Evil Empire last night, 5-4. The Orioles won again, though, maintaining their tie for the lead in the AL East. The Rangers beat the Indians again, bringing them one game closer to another division championship in the AL West.
Tonight, our lifehouse gets going again, after a few weeks of hiatus. It will be good to gather again.

Father, I pray for light this morning. Bring light to my spirit as I read your words and meditate on your precepts. Fill me with your Spirit so that rivers of living water may flow out of me.

Today I’m reading Psalm 105. Another of the slightly longer psalms, this one gives thanks for the wonderful works of the Lord.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

I like the verse that says, “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” It kind of goes along with the idea of praying without ceasing. We should always be looking for the presence of the Lord in our lives, yet I know that I fail to do so.
The psalm speaks of the permanence of the covenant of God in verse 8: He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations…
Then, in verses 12-15, it speaks of God’s protection of Israel, even while they were wandering in the wilderness.
When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”

Verses 16-22 recount the story of Joseph, being sold into slavery, but eventually becoming second in command in Egypt. This is followed by verses 23-25, which briefly describe Israel’s increase in Egypt, but the growing hatred of the Egyptians toward them. Verses 26 to the end tell of Moses, Aaron, the plagues, and the exodus from Egypt. It closes out with these verses:
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD!

How does this apply to us today? It is always good to see the great works of God in the lives and history of his people, to know that he remembers his covenants and promises, and to know that he provides for and rescues his children.

My Utmost For His Highest

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:4

The greatest crisis in life is the one of the surrender of the will. Chambers says, “God never crushes a man’s will into surrender.” I’m pretty sure I disagree with that. Paul’s experience on the Damascus road was pretty crushing. God did not give Paul a whole lot of choice in the matter. I suppose Paul could have refused, and then remained blind for the rest of his life.

Jesus says, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” Once we begin to understand what salvation means, we begin to surrender our wills to Jesus. Sometimes, this takes years, nearly a lifetime. This surrender is truly a giving up of one’s rights to self. I surrender my rights to Jesus. I have not right to myself. I am fully his. Whenever I occasionally take those rights back, I begin to slip, to stray off of the firm foundation of his words. But as long as I remain firmly planted, my life will be a manifestation of this surrender. And as long as I stay surrendered, I “do not need to care what [my] circumstances are, Jesus is amply sufficient.”

Chambers cautions against “surrendering” during a moment of ecstasy. Who among us has not been guilty of that? Those “surrenders” never last, for they are not truly surrenders. To be truly surrendered means to be bound to death, even more binding than the marriage oath, “until death do us part.” “It is a question of being united with Jesus in His death until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.” I can tell you that I have not yet reached that point!

“After surrender–what? The whole of life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God.” That sounds so beautiful! “Unbroken communion with God.” The very idea brings shivers up my spine. That is my desire, and I pray that this is what I am working toward.

Father, I desire this kind of communion in my life. I desire the complete surrender of the will that leads to “unbroken communion” with you. I desire the kind of devotion that obeys the command of Psalm 105 to seek your presence, constantly. I pray that you would fill me with your Spirit to the point that I do seek your presence at every moment of the day. I can still do my work and be a productive employee while being aware of your presence with me all the time. In fact, I believe that awareness of your presence, and relying on your Spirit to enlighten me, would make me an even better employee. Give me that surrender, Lord, for I believe with all my heart that even the surrender of the will is a gift from you. Show me how…teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day, Father. I pray, still, for relief for Christi. I will not back down on this prayer, though I am not demanding anything from you. Rather, I plead for relief for my beautiful wife. Relieve her pain, please. I do pray for something positive to come from the MRI tomorrow…something that will give us some kind of solution to the pain. I pray that surgery will not be the necessary solution, though. I pray also that Christi would have a good day at work, that her thoughts might be drawn to you during her day, and that it be stress free. I pray the same for my work day as well. I pray that you would prosper the companies that we work for. I pray for Stephanie’s day, that she would have thoughts of closeness to you during this day, being drawn to read and think about your words.

I thank you for the birth of Charlee last night, and pray blessings on her parents, Stephanie and Jason. I pray that her health will be stable, and that you will give them wisdom from your Spirit as they begin to teach this child. I pray for Amber, that her labor would progress today, so that her baby would be born today.

Give me clarity and focus as I continue to pray this morning.

No matter what my circumstances, Jesus is sufficient. I work on surrendering that will to him.

Grace and peace, friends.