Adapted from a letter to my family; February 4, 2004
This is yet another great day the Lord has given to us. It is up to us to take this gift and make it worthwhile.
Psalm 118:24, 25
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
Almost every morning (we have missed some) my wife and I start our day with prayer. Aside from praying for our families; our children, our brothers, our Aunt, we pray for our neighbors, our fellow workers in Christ, our church, other churches, our city, and our nation. We pray for those we know who are hurting. We pray for our fighting men and women. We pray for Israel. We pray for revival and repentance.
We pray that we please Him in all that we do. We pray for His Spirit to be alive in us and we pray we do nothing to stifle His work in us.
Psalm 19:13, 14
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
This short scripture sets the foundation of our day to strive to do things that are pleasing to Him. With this scripture citation we become conscious of not speaking evil of others and of giving to our Lord glory and honor. We give an honest day’s work. We tend not to gossip or be a part of gossip circles. We are reminded to reach out to others instead of withdrawing into a false comfort.
The Holy Spirit reminds me that I prayed earlier in the morning, “May the words of my mouth be pleasing in Your sight.”
I went to the Lord and confessed my sins around age 20 (1973). I knew of Jesus in the Second Grade. I have a vague recollection of being in a Vacation Bible School and being moved by “Jesus loves me, this I know….” I do remember where I was at age 20. I do remember that conscious prayer of a sinner. I sought Him and He saved me the moment I said that I believe Him and believe in Him. It was that day the Holy Spirit came into my heart. I was a Christian and my name was written in The Lamb’s Book of Life that day. “Jesus loves me, this I know….”
Sadly, I had no concept of what a Christian life looked like. It took me almost 25 years more to learn that God gave me an instruction set. He gave me His Holy Word. I did not open it with a serious intent until much later.
For decades I did not have the desire to know anything of His Truth. I could make the lamest of excuses to not read, to not study. At best I was a carnal Christian.
Why would the Lord want me? For crying out loud, I hurt so many people; people I was supposed to cherish. I denied Jesus and mocked God. Why does He want me? I cursed Him and ignored Him. I did things to spite Him. There is no earthly reason He would want me.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Today is completely different. The Holy Spirit has led me to pick up His Word and it is consuming me. His Word is His personal instruction to me. By following His Word and learning His purpose I am blessed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
Remember that I told you the Holy Spirit came into my life when I was first saved at 20. The Holy Spirit never left me. He waited patiently and worked on me, little by little. He gave me experience, which is necessary for growth, and He fed me little bits of Scripture until I wanted to consume it all.
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.”
As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
The Lord is describing the hearts of men. He is pointing out the calloused heart, the shallow heart, the distracted heart and the open heart.
Oh, Father, I pray our hearts are open to You and to Your Word, AMEN.
The Lord allows me to look back at my youth and make wishful statements like I wish I would have done better by my God and by my family. The Lord does not allow me to change the past.
He gives me a new day to have an effect on today and maybe a few days more into the future.
I could wish that I tried harder way back then to understand His ways better. I could wish that my heart would have been open to Him sooner.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
I am grateful to God that each of you knows how much I love you today and will love you unto death. We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. To Him give all Glory, all honor and all praise.
Christ Jesus sealed His Love for us in red.