We had a nice weekend at my house. We didn't do anything special or go any place special. We just stayed around home and piddled. I washed my car Saturday for the 3rd week in a row and then did our laundry! So far so good on my routines I've established. But I can't help but wonder how long it will all last. I'm not known for sticking to routines. So it's just a waiting game to see how long I'll stick with them this time. But I'll tell you, it's nice to drive around in a clean car for a change. And it's nice to have my chores done each day so if anyone were to drop by, the house and I would be presentable. Not that we ever have people drop by. As I've said before, there's freedom in discipline.
Our internet server was down for most of Saturday and was only working sporadically on Sunday. Comcast had the TV cable messed up for hours on Sunday, too. So that was a little bit of a bummer but it gave us the chance to concentrate on just being home together without too many interruptions. We've had problems with our internet server for about a week now and I'm beginning to wonder if it has anything to do with the heat. We reached a high of 108 on our deck on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday felt a bit cooler but when I checked to record the highs and lows, it was the same except for a couple .10s both days.
The sermon on Sunday was really good. It was all about how God has done it all for me. He reconciled me to Himself! All I have to do is accept the free gift of grace and allow Him to live His life through me. I must relinquish my life to Him for Him to use as he sees fit. That's the catch. That's the difficult part. To live my life all day, every day, totally submitted to His will for me goes against my grain. My "inner man" cries out, "But what about me? What about what I want to do?" And when those questions flare up in my mind, I must determine to submit my will to His will and I must do it each and every time. Do I always succeed? No, I don't. I would love to say yes, but I wouldn't be telling the truth. It's a difficult thing to do; to live in total submission at all times. But it's what I strive for: A life totally submitted to my Lord every minute of my day. Will I ever be completely successful? Not in this life. But always I try.
We had 3 baptisms after church yesterday and part of my deacon duties is to help with baptisms so I got home late from church. I had laundry duty, so the trunk of my car was filled with soaking-wet gowns and tons of wet towels. Because I knew they'd sour in the heat, I started washing them as soon as I got home yesterday afternoon. And it took me all afternoon! I was surprised it took me so long. I hung the gowns and towels up outside for about 30 minutes to take some of the moisture out of them before I put them in my dryer. (I always do that with heavy things like levis and blankets and towels. It's easier on my dryer and also saves on my energy bill.) I'll take them back after I finish this blog and wash out the baptismal pool and replace the cover so no one accidentally falls into it and breaks a leg or something. I love baptisms. It's so much fun to watch someone dedicate their life to God. They come up out of the water with a smile on their face and tears in their eyes. It's hard not to tear up myself. It's such a joy just to watch!
My daily Bible verse for today was Matt. 7:7-8. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. ..." In the Greek of the New Testament this actually reads, "Keep on asking...keep on seeking...keep on knocking..." It's not enough that we ask, seek, and knock, we must continue to ask and seek and knock. Why? Because "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
I did a little reading about prayer yesterday while the TV cable was out (I guess it's nice to lose the cable for awhile occasionally) and came up with some thoughts I'd like to share. I thought about the reason we pray in the first place. We pray for many reasons but the primary reason is (or should be) to enter into God's reality. Sure we ask for things, but the real reason for prayer is to put us into a relationship with God and His life, His reality. And entering into that relationship where we can be intimate with our heavenly Father is one of the most rewarding parts of the Christian life. It's that association with Him that leads us into prayer. Prayer is far more than just asking for things. It's a time for communion with our Lord. Augustine wrote: "When you think of getting everything you want in life but never seeing God, the chill that you feel in your heart is your love for God Himself." As God's children we pray to know Him better. Prayer isn't really about getting more from God; it's about getting more of God. Relational prayer -- speaking with God as we would with a spouse or friend for the purpose of building our relationship -- must become central to our prayer lives, nudging aside petitionary prayer into an honored but secondary place. When we're talking with God we should have one main purpose in mind: to know Him better, to sense His presence, to enjoy his company, and to hear His voice. One thing we should strive for in our prayers is being real with God. We need to know where we are before we can try to get to where we want to be.
I have a note taped inside my Bible. I have no idea where I got it or who wrote it, but I keep it there to remind myself to be real with God when I pray. The note reads: "If you have a problem, don't hide it from God or from yourself. Tell Him about it. Don't put on a pious act and try to smooth it over. If you are angry with God, say so. If you are upset about something that He has done, tell Him so. If you are resentful, bring it out in the open and resolve it. If you are happy and glad, express your joy and praise to Him. That is what worship and prayer is all about -- the honest expression of your heart to God. If you can be honest before God -- even with all your moods, sins, failures, pain, and questioning -- you will find grace to meet all your needs."
Prayer is such an important aspect in the Christian life. I hope these thoughts have helped you with yours. Don't be afraid of prayer and don't think you have to come before Him in a certain, religious way. God just wants to talk with us. He wants us to share our lives with Him. All of our lives. Not just the good parts but the bad parts too. So the next time you feel like praying, remember you are entering into His reality in your reality. Be real with God. Get to know Him and let Him get to know you. That's what He desires and you should too.