Stamped With His Presence

Good morning. It is Thursday, August 23, 2012. Before I get into my usual routine, I need to put out a prayer request first thing. For the past couple of weeks, Christi has been dealing with some pain in her feet. After going to a podiatrist, she was assigned physical therapy, at which it was discovered that her issue is likely not her feet, but something either in hip or lower back. In fact, the physical therapist said she had bursitis in her right hip. Well, yesterday, while doing some stretching activities at PT, that hip pretty much collapsed on her. She didn’t completely fall, but was unable to put weight on it. She says that she heard a sort of ripping or tearing sound, not a pop or crack that might indicate something of the severity of a broken hip. The therapist helped her to a table where they moved Christi’s leg around, up and down, sided to side and determined that (as far as they could tell) nothing was broken. They offered to get her an ambulance to the ER, but Christi elected to come home. She got home, we got her in the house, and to her usual chair. We debated Care Now, but decided (with their help) that they really wouldn’t be able to help, being able to only do X-rays, which would not show any muscle or ligament/tendon tears. We debated ER, but finally decided to let it rest for the night.

This morning, she got up at the usual time (we found a cane in the trunk of her car) and said it feels a little better. What’s really strange is that, if she keeps the knee bent, she can actually put weight on it. She quickly determined, though, that she will not try to go to work (I wasn’t going to let her…if I had to tie her down), and is going to try to get to the doctor later today. I’m sure she needs a specialist (orthopedic?), but will have to get a referral from our primary care doctor.

Please pray that this is nothing more serious than a torn or strained ligament or tendon, and for quick healing/recovery.

Today is “National Sponge Cake Day.” I love sponge cake (I tend to call it Angel Food cake, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily the same thing). It’s not terribly bad for you either, as cakes go.

On this date in 1902, Fannie Farmer opened Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, in Boston. She apparently was the first to advocate standardized measurements in recipes. Up to that point, I guess it was a “pinch” of this and a “dash” of that…
On this date in 1979, Aleksandr Godunov became the first dancer to defect to the US from the Bolshoi Ballet.
On this date in 1926, Rudolph Valentino died at the age of 31, sending his fans “into a hysterical state of mass mourning.”
On this date in 1927, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for crimes that they almost certainly had nothing to do with.

On this date in 1814, Dolly Madison saved a portrait of George Washington from British troops. After that, she made cupcakes.
And it was on this date in 1989 that Pet Rose was banned from baseball forever, including any eligibility to be in the Hall of Fame, because of gambling on his own team. I believe the emotional intensity of this decision is what killed commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, a man who truly loved the game of baseball. I will go on record as saying that I don’t believe he should have been banned from the Hall of Fame. It is unlikely that anyone will ever surpass the hitting accomplishments of Pete Rose.

Hmmm…today is a pretty dismal day, historically…

Father, I pray for a glimpse of your face this morning, as I read your word.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 84. This psalm was written by the “sons of Korah.”
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trust in you!

What a great way to start the day! And if you’re like me, this song is probably already going through your head (and heart).

My Utmost For His Highest
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Have you noticed how difficult it is to concentrate on praying, once you get in that room with the door closed? “…we cannot get our minds into working order, and the first thing that conflicts is wander thoughts. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer.” I find this to be true wherever I’m trying to pray.

Perhaps when Jesus said “shut the door,” he was speaking spiritually just as much as physically. “A secret silence means to shut the door deliberately on emotions and remember God. … When we live in the secret place it becomes impossible for us to doubt God, we become more sure of Him than of anything else.” We must get into the habit of “dealing with God about everything.” There is nothing in our lives that is too insignificant to take to our Lord. This is hard to get past, difficult to fathom. We don’t (or at least I don’t) want to bother God with trivial, unimportant matters. But I must, from my first waking moment (also a difficult habit to break into), open the door of my life to God, get in secret to pray to him, and allow everything that follows in this day to be stamped with his presence.

Ah, Lord! Truly, a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere! I am grateful to get to begin my day in this way, celebrating your presence in my life, bringing my day to you. I pray that you would remind me each day, before my feet hit the floor, that you are here with me, that I am yours, and that, as this day begins to happen, there is nothing that will come my way that can separate me from you. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!!” Amen! How I long for your courts, O Lord, my God!

Teach me to pray, Lord. Teach me to pray without distraction, without wandering mind. Teach me to bring everything to you. Help me to open the doors of my life to you, opening every compartment of my body, soul, and mind to your presence. Look in every room of my life, Lord, and clean them out. But don’t just clean them out, fill them with you.

I pray for this day, Lord. Especially I lift up prayers for Christi. I’ll come right out and say that I don’t understand what’s happening. Help me with this. I pray for her pain to be relieved, and something worse happens. But I trust you, Lord. I will not allow this new thing to sway me from my course of intercessory prayer. I don’t know if this a test or an attack. Doesn’t matter. I will treat it as if it could be either, and continue doing what I know you want me to do. But I pray that Christi’s hip would be healed and that her pain would recede. Give her wisdom as she consults the doctor today, and help her know what the next step needs to be. I pray for her safety today, that no more damage would be done.

I pray for my day, as well. I pray that everything that occurs in my life today would be stamped with your presence. Allow me to see your hand in everything that happens today.

How lovely is the dwelling place of the Lord Almighty! I would rather be a doorkeeper for the house of God than to live in the richest palace of wickedness. Remember the next to last line of that psalm. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Grace and peace, friends.

Should We Choose Suffering?

Good morning. We have finally arrived at Friday. August 10, 2012. Alright!! Today is “National Lazy Day.” I can most certainly get into that. I think it should have been combined with “Book Lover’s Day,” which was yesterday. That way, I could be lazy and read a book.

On this date in 1846, the Smithsonian Institute was created. On this date in 1776, London learned that the Americans had written a “declaration of independence.” News didn’t travel quite as fast back then, huh? On this date in 1937, the first electric guitar patent was awarded to the “Electro String Corporation.” It was for an instrument known as the “Rickenbacker Frying Pan.”

And on this date in 1981, Pete Rose set the National League hit record with his 3631st hit. Oddly enough, the man whose record he broke, Stan Musial, got his last two hits in 1963, against the Cincinnati Reds and their rookie second baseman, Pete Rose.

Father, I’m running behind, this morning, so I pray that you would show me something in the brief time I have left. I pray for focus later, as I get my prayers in.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 71. No composer is listed for this one.

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

The psalm continues along that same line, being a wonderful psalm of hope and praise to God. This is a composer who understands that God has been with him since before his life began.

My Utmost For His Highest

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:19

“To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing.” I agree with that statement 100%. I have known people in my life who would choose one option over another because it would make them suffer; because they liked it less than the other option, thinking that, surely, God would not want them to be that happy. I cannot understand that mindset. As Chambers says, “No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.” We also had better not interfere with the suffering of another saint.

“The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God.” It is not the ones who sympathize with us who strengthen us. If we accept sympathy, it makes us think that God is dealing unfairly with us. Remember Jesus’s response to Peter in Matthew 16:23? “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Jesus did not need Peter’s sympathy.

If we listen to the world, we will think that God wastes his saints by placing them in totally useless places. Don’t be guilty of saying that God will place you in such and such a place because you are so useful. “God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is.”

Father, I hope I am learning to submit to your will and accept where you place me. I have gone long enough thinking that you will surely do a certain thing with me because of the talent that you have given me. If you do that thing, very well. If you don’t do that thing, very well. It is up to you. I belong to you, I do not belong to myself. I am yours to do with as you see fit. Place me wherever you will be glorified the most. I will gladly submit.

I pray for strength and wisdom in this prayer ministry. As I go forward, I ask you to teach me more about how to pray for other people. Empower me by your Spirit to follow your direction, even when it comes in the most unusual places. Make me more aware of my surroundings and how they might relate to the ministry of prayer.

I pray for this day, Lord. Give me a smooth day at work, and I pray that Christi will have a good day as she works from home. I also pray that, as she visits the podiatrist again today, that some kind of hope might be received. I continue to pray that you heal her foot pain, whatever the cause may be.

I pray for some rest this weekend, even though it looks busy.

Give me clarity and focus as I pray on my drive to work today.

May we all have a healthy, God-driven attitude toward his will for our lives, regardless of the suffering involved.

Grace and peace, friends.