Good morning. Today is Wednesday, June 20, 2012. First day of Summer. Today is “National Ice Cream Soda Day,” as well as “National Vanilla Milkshake Day.” Two closely related items. This could explain why Sonic is offering all milkshakes at half price today.
On this date in 1975, “Jaws” was released, forever immortalizing this music:
On this date in 1863, West Virginia entered the Union. That’s about all I know about West Virginia. And, on this date in 1900, the Boxer Rebellion began in China.
Extra points to anyone who knows what this picture is…
Last night at 24 Hour Fitness, I had my 100th workout there, since we started all this back in January. As reported on Facebook last night, in the past five months, I have lost nearly 70 pounds, Christi has lost almost 60, and Stephanie is close to 50 pounds dropped. Together, we have lost over 170 pounds since January. Workouts at 24 Hour Fitness, along with a lot of meals at Subway. Maybe we could be the next Jared? Still a long way to go, though. I still want to lose a little over 100 pounds. But I’m very pleased with our progress.
I have a couple of prayer requests before I get into my devotional. We have two church family members who went into the hospital yesterday. I’ll give first names. Bart, who has been in the hospital once before in the past couple of months, is having trouble keeping any food down and is getting dehydrated. This seems to be just like what happened before, and they have still not identified what’s wrong. Robin went in for some tests yesterday, and I don’t have any more information at all. Something appears to be wrong, though. Prayers would be appreciated.
Father, I pray that you would show me something today that would help me live this day looking to you. Help me remember what you show me, and make your Word come alive in me today.
Today, I’m reading Psalm 20.
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt offerings!
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
This psalm was written by David, and the subject of the prayers was the king. However, I see nothing wrong with praying the words of this psalm over friends and family members, or anyone else that we desire to be blessed by God. Verse 7 speaks volumes. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. I don’t have any chariots or horses. But my world is full of things that could be trusted instead of the Lord. I choose to trust in God…perhaps I should say that I choose to attempt to trust in God. I don’t always succeed.
My Utmost For His Highest
And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. Job 42:10
“The plaintive, self-centered, morbid kind of prayer, a dead-set that I want to be right, is never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is a sign that I am rebelling against the Atonement.” You see, there is nothing that I can do to make myself right with God. “I can only be right with God if I accept the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift.” There is much to think about in today’s reading. Chambers says that much of our prayer arises “from real disbelief in the Atonement.” How much of our prayer is directed at making ourselves more holy and righteous? I look back at my prayers. I spend a lot of time praying for myself. However, I spend close to an equal amount of time praying for others, too. In fact, I spend a good deal of my drive to work in prayer, as well. I see his point, though.
Look at the verse from Job, above. “…the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.” “The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer.” Honestly, I’m not sure I agree 100% with this. There are many people out there, telling me what the “real business” of the Christian is, and they all have a different idea. I do believe that intercessory prayer is of major importance. But I believe the “real business” of my “life as a saved soul” is to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5) As stated by Jesus, the second part of my “real business” is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39) Part of loving my neighbor as myself is praying for that neighbor. I don’t see any crime in praying daily for the Lord to fill me with his grace and mercy, and asking him to work out in me what he has taught me during the day’s readings. However, I can see the point that Chambers is making here. We should spend at least as much time, if not more, praying on behalf of others as we do ourselves. “…pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours.” Part of this requires that we believe in and trust the Atonement in our lives!
My Father, I see the words that were written for today, and I hear them. I will listen to what Mr. Chambers was trying to say, and, though I may not agree totally with it, I see the importance of prayer in a believer’s life, and especially intercessory prayer. For most of my life, you have been bringing me back to this point. The topic of intercessory prayer has come up continually in my life, and I cannot ignore this fact. I feel so weak when I think of my own prayer life, though. So often, I am at a loss for words when attempting to pray for people. (I’m sure people who know me find that hard to believe.) What do I pray for so-and-so? What is best for them? This is where I must trust your Holy Spirit to intercede as the Scriptures say he does. This is where I must trust that Jesus Christ is interceding for us. (Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34) I will spend time praying for myself, as it is usually reaction to what I have read for the day. But today…I see the connection between Psalm 20 and the reading from Chambers. I believe that this has come from your Spirit, just this moment, in the middle of this prayer. It is as though a light bulb just appeared over my head. Psalm 20 is an example of an intercessory prayer. I could pray that psalm for anyone, pretty much. Make me an intercessor. Show me how to pray for others, Lord. But make me humble about it. I will never get up on a pedestal and proclaim that I am a prayer warrior. Rather, I would hide in a closet while I pray for others. For it is not me that is to be central. It is you. Hide me in the center of your holiness, Lord, and make me the prayer warrior that you desire for me to be. May I worship you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I pray for this day, Father. May Christi have a good, positive day at work, and I pray that she will have a nice time at dinner tonight, as she meets with old friends. Keep her and them safe as they travel to meet together. I pray that Stephanie will have a good day today, doing whatever she chooses to do to pass the day. I pray that she may find some time during this day to read your Word and let it come alive within her spirit. She is your special child, Father, and I pray that you would use her as you see fit. I also pray for my day at work, that there would be minimal stress today. I pray for the good success of both companies that we work for.
Father, I lift up Bart and Robin to you today. I pray for healing for Bart, that his body would get stronger and that he would be able to eat and drink and keep it down. Give the doctors wisdom and show them what is wrong. I pray for Robin…I don’t know what’s going on, but I pray for strength for her, healing for her, and wisdom for any attending physicians.
I pray for the leadership of our church. Give them wisdom as they seek your face for direction. Give them humility as they lead. Lord, they have a passion for you and to see people’s lives changed. I pray that you fan that flame, and grow that passion. I ask for extra grace for Joel, as he has the super-burden of being the lead pastor. I can only begin to imagine the amount of stress that he is under in this position, and I pray that you show him how to place all of that stress on you, because you care for us. Any anxiety that he is feeling, I pray that your Spirit would dissolve it. I pray that you would show him where you want The Exchange to be; where you want us to go. May he focus solely on your word and your direction. Fill him with your Spirit. I pray that words may be given him as you open his mouth to boldly proclaim the gospel. I pray that you would open the ears of everyone who attends The Exchange that we might hear the words of the mystery of the gospel, and that we might fully understand this mystery.
Show us your grace, Lord. May we know it fully. Make your Word alive in us. Alive and awake.
May we focus more on others than ourselves.
Grace and peace, friends.