I’m going to be that guy, who when he’s old and gray will still be sending out handwritten letters and postcards to close friends and family. Yep, I’ve decided. Not an email, not via the internet, but via the US POSTAL system, baby! That’s going to be my little thing. I’m going to be a letter writer, handwritten and heartfelt! Write it, stamp it and drop it in the mailbox (assuming there will still be such things). You can’t beat a handwritten letter in my opinion. That’s gonna be my thing. We all have our little things, right?
In a recent sermon, John Piper enunciates so beautifully what it means, or what it’s like to love Jesus- not a duty or obligation, but something that we value and treasure above all other things. Loving Jesus is savoring His words and life. “Taste, and see that the LORD is good” Psalm 34:8. Here is how Piper says it:
Loving Jesus is a reflex of new birth. Once you had a soul whose tastebuds found him bland, or even bitter. Then you were born again and you licked the gospel, and for the first time it caused a high. What was that?? You saw him you tasted him, you saw that the lord was good. That’s new birth. You must be born again to see, to taste this Jesus. You can’t love Jesus if you’re not born again because he’ll taste bad.
“Thank you Lord that you taste good to me. Thank you Lord for being sweet in my mouth and life. Thank you for opening my taste buds so that I now can savor you. Always taste sweet to me Jesus. Amen!”
So I watched this video the other day from our good old friends The Crash Test Dummies. No, not the guys who get hit by cars, but the band. Anyway this video made me laugh so hard. It’s a pretty silly video. So there you go. If you’re in a silly mood watch this video. Hehe!
We’re counting down the days now till we get back to the States. Just barely over a month to go. Honestly, it’s hard to keep focused on life and job here in Indonesia when such new and exciting things are in store for us in the very near future. We always think about America as this great place to return to. I mean, what’s not to like about it- great food and restaurants, ease of travel, peace and quiet, privacy, comfortable lodging and homes, sofas, air conditioning. . . and best of all- friends and family whom we miss so dearly! There’s much to look forward to. And even more so this time. We’re expecting the birth of our first baby Sept. 22nd. We found out recently that he’s a boy, so we just couldn’t be happier. We already dove head first into ‘baby world’ and all that that encompasses; reading books, magazines, registering for baby stuff, making decisions, baby names, baby clothes, diaper choices, etc. Man, there’s a lot of stuff out there! Who knew? We’re just taking this one baby step at a time grateful for these new changes in our life.
I love that famous quote by C.S. Lewis:
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’
C.S. Lewis says that there are two kinds of people- people who believe and submit to God for what’s best for their life, and those who think that’s just a bunch of baloney and want to do things their own way. Two paths in life. Two outlooks. Two philosophies.
I’ve found that the more we align our life to God and His way the much better off and happier we are. We’re much more satisfied when we do things God’s way. After all, He created us. He knows better than I do what’s best for me. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to acknowledge. This isn’t a new thing. We’ve been following in our ‘parents’ footsteps ever since Adam and Eve made the decision to choose knowledge (tree of knowledge) over trust (trusting God). They chose to trust in themselves rather than in God. And we’ve been making the same mistake they did for thousands of years. Do we trust God with our lives or would we rather do it ourselves? It’s probably our most basic struggle.
Romans chapter 1 talks a lot about what this struggle looks like in people:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom 1:20-21
People have a basic knowledge of God- a basic awareness. God is ‘clearly seen’. But though He’s known He doesn’t force obedience. He always gives us a choice. And in the case of the Romans they chose their own way. He “gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts. . . they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” This is an example from long ago, from the early church, but we don’t need to look very far to see this struggle still being played out (and failing) in our society. Look at all of the ills in our culture. Look at the things that divide us- marriage, children, family, neighbors, leaders, work, relationships, etc. Look at the political debates (or don’t). Everybody has an opinion. Do we ever consider what God says about all this? It might not be trendy, but it’s always the right answer.
This choice has never been easy. Sin has a way of enticing us to do it our way, convincing us that our way is right. We forget that there’s something so much better out there. Sin has a way of corrupting things. It takes what God has created, His standard, and warps and twists it. But sin always has its consequences, as we see so clearly when we get it wrong. Let’s get our heads on straight and come back to God’s standard. Let’s consult the boss. “Thy will be done.” Amen!
Probably one of my most favorite things to do, especially in the morning, is to brew a small cup of coffee, sit down with my Bible, and read and enjoy God’s word. I can’t think of a better way to start the day really. A healthy dose of Truth and something yummy to sip on. Can’t go wrong.
This morning I read and prayed through Psalm 5. Lately I’ve been reading and praying through the Psalms. It’s been a great way to point my prayers. Oftentimes I sit down to pray and just kind of draw a blank. Or more often too, I sit down to pray but my prayers are very self-focused, like ‘Lord, please DO this or MAKE this happen’ which really is all about me and has little to do with God. But reading the Psalms and praying through them is a great reminder that I need to have the right perspective of who God is before I start praying. It’s like sending a letter to someone you don’t know. What do you tell someone who you don’t know? All very general stuff I’m sure. But once you KNOW the person who you’re sending the letter to you can communicate more thoughtfully and meaningfully. I think that’s how it is with prayer. Once I have an accurate picture (or reminder) of who God is I pray with so much more intensity. It feels like my prayers have more ‘bite’ to them, if you know what I mean. You can’t ever go wrong with praying God’s word back to him. After all, He said it first, I’m just repeating it back to Him. That’s the only time I can be sure what I say is true, when God says it first.
The part I really liked from Psalms 5 this morning was verse 3:
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
I was convicted a bit that that although I pray a lot, how often do I eagerly watch for His answer? More often than not I forget what I pray for as little as five minutes after I pray it. I simply forget to watch for God to provide the answer. God isn’t a genie that I can throw requests at and He’ll just do cause I say so. No. I think God wants to show us stuff when we pray. He wants to show us how faithful to us He really is. But how can He show me this if I forget what I even asked Him for? I miss out of an opportunity to see God work.
I want to eagerly watch for His answer. When I do this it changes the way I pray. If I have to wait for God to answer and watch until He does, that just might change the way I pray. It’ll make me pray for things much closer to me, for the people and situations around me. If I’m to SEE his response I have to be in a position to see. I don’t want to be too dogmatic about this, but it’s definitely something to think about. Does it mean I don’t pray for people far away from me? No, I don’t think that’s the right answer either. But I really think that my prayer life and therefore my spiritual life would be much healthier if I really focus and wait for God to answer- and keep praying until He does. Hold Him to it. That would change the way I pray. Instead of throwing coins at the slot machine not knowing what will come out I want to write a letter to God with intentionality, KNOWING who it is I’m talking to, expecting Him to answer according to His character. Intentional prayer. Expectant prayer. I’m reminded of the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. She kept coming back to the judge again and again with her request until finally he relented. Jesus teaches us through that story to ‘pray consistently and never quit’. Oh how my prayer life would be changed if I prayed like this.
“Lord, please help me to be more effective in my prayers. Lord teach me to pray like the persistent widow, who never gave up no matter what. Lord, help me to SEE your hand move in response to the things I pray. God, be glorified in my prayers. I trust you Lord. Thank you for helping me to pray expectantly. Amen!”
- Thank you for sharing this information. This is a must for...December 20, 2022 - 3:44 pm by Allen
- I am Happy to find out about this chart and I Imagine that...February 23, 2021 - 1:19 am by Francia
- Randi, I have felt the same way about honesty. It creates...December 18, 2018 - 2:42 pm by Josh
- Thanks for sharing Wendy. I think your son is right to question...December 18, 2018 - 2:35 pm by Josh