Psalms 139 is the main source in the Bible for our theology on the omniscience of God, His being all knowing. This chapter says that He knows what I will say before I say it. Tonight I had a conversation with some friends about the Omniscience of God and a story in Genesis where God asks Abraham to offer up his only son, Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham goes ahead with the sacrifice taking Isaac to the place God calls for, ties him up, puts him on a pile of wood on an alter, and is about to kill him when God stops him with these words in Genesis 22:12 “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” So the passage says, “for now I know you fear God” which would suggest that before this act of obedience on the part of Abraham that God didn’t know what was in Abraham’s heart. Also in Hebrews 4:15 it says “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” This passage suggests that Jesus sympathizes with us because He now fully understands us, when before this He didn’t. Also in Hebrews 2:17 it says “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” This verse says that Jesus becoming like us in every way is what trained Him to be able to be a merciful priest. I tend to take scripture for it’s obvious meaning, and not try to bend it to fit with another passage or my theology. But the main point of these passages isn’t about what God knows or doesn’t know, it is about the great price that He was willing to pay in order for us to live with Him for all eternity.
I have a Prayer app on my iPad that I use while I am doing most of my praying. I really like it, and use it a lot. About every two weeks I spend a fair amount of time on it and update it. I put in the names of people who have visited church, and people who are new to JBC. I put their picture in the Prayer app also, along with their name and specific information that I have gleaned. I look hard to find them on Facebook in order to get a picture and info about them. If I cant find them on Facebook I try and take their picture with my camera. I put in all the information that I know about them and then collect as much as I can from my research of them from Facebook. When I get all the new people and visitors in my prayer app I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and a strong sense of God’s impending blessing on JBC in general and on these new people in particular. I believe all that the Bible says and promises about prayer, and I believe that God has given me a special gift and power in prayer as I intercede for these new people. There is an enjoyable sense of satisfaction in knowing that I can influence people, their lives, their marriages, their families, and their eternal blessing when I pray for them. This prayer app really helps me not to forget to pray, to remember what to pray for in particular and where a I left off from the last time I was praying for people from this app.
took the go Kart out fo it’s maiden voyage today, and it ran good, and my grandson Will is having a good time. The seat adjusts so I can ride in it, which I did, and then Will can ride in it as well. I am going to make some modifications in it after it’s initial run around the grass field. It has a solid axle with no differential so it wants to go straight and not turn and the faster you are going the more true that is. I am going to cut the rear shaft in two, put an extra set of bearings on both sides. It will steer different depending on whether you turn right or left, and the power wheel is on the outside or inside of the turning radius, but I think that it will work better than the present setup. I am having so much fun working with my grandsons on this project and they are learning quite a bit from their grandpa. Still have to finish the roll cage and paint the kart and we are having a lot of discussions on color.
This weekend I preached/taught 7 different times at Jefferson Baptist Church so I am ready for Monday. Monday’s are great days, sometimes I go fishing, sometimes I play golf, sometimes I drive up to see my Mom with Patty, but tomorrow I am going to sleep in until 8:00 am, then when I get up and go into the bathroom I will pray my morning prayer of commitment which takes about 5 minutes, but is probably the most important thing I do each and every day, as I declare Jesus Lord of my life, and ask for His guidance, power and wisdom for the day. Then I am going to repair my riding lawnmower, if it is a burn day, I am going to burn the huge pile of limbs and brush behind my house, I am going to work on my go-kart for a little bit, I am going to see if I can figure out why my hot tub won’t heat and fix it, and I am going to do a little shop clean up and organizing. After that some friends are coming over and we are going to watch Monday Night Football, eat fried chicken, pizza, tacos, chips, and ice cream! Anybody is welcome to come on over, it should be a really good game. After everybody leaves I will hop on my stationary bike and pedal hard for 60 minutes, and while I am pedaling I will read my Bible for 30 minutes, and then read in a good book for 30 minutes. Then I will go sit in my recliner and pray for 30 minutes, write my blog which usually takes about 30 minutes, write in my journal as I reflect, examine my life, think back on the day and confess all known sin to God. I usually do the confessing and repenting in writing, because it is usually much more heart felt and real. Sometime in the midst of this Patty will come in to go to bed, and we will pray together. I have been not doing very well on praying with Patty but I made a new goal and commitment today so it will happen. I will then read my goals, write down what I did that day with approximate times that I spent doing each activity, and then make a “to do” list for the next day. I will conclude the day with a short prayer time thanking the Lord for all that He has done for me. Yep, Monday’s are good days.
I don’t believe I have ever gotten every thing done in a day that I planned on. There is always some things left on my “to do” list that I didn’t get done. The trick is not to get upset about what didn’t get done, but yet not to lose the desire and passion to get it all done. Because my plans on any given day are detailed and full it causes me to push and hurry all day long, but inevitably there will be an unexpected interruption, usually by a person, and I want to be flexible and sensitive to God’s agenda for my life, and be loving to people. So I have to work at being patient and relax in spite of the unexpected delay, that if I let it, will make me very agitated. Once the interruption is past I need to shift it back into 4th gear, pushing to get everything done, but knowing in the back of my head that it won’t happen now, and not letting that admission of not making the goal of my “to do” list lull me into complacency. Occasionally I just chuck the “to do” list and take a nap, watch a football game, read a Louie LaMour western, or go fishing. My goal is to be full of passion and drive to bear as much fruit as possible with my life in the time I have left, and also to enjoy life and to have fun. As long as I maintain the balance between the two, I can do both, which is a great way to live.
I believe that the number one blind spot of followers of Jesus is that they are very blind to how much we all need other people in our life. It is much more than simple physical or emotional needs, it is spiritual needs. God gives grace. Grace for followers of Jesus is His strength, inner strength, strength of will, the ability to manage the pressures and trials of life. What most don’t seem to understand is that God doesn’t give me His grace directly, He gives it to me through another person. If I am not humble enough to seek it and receive it from others, I won’t get it. In 1 Peter 5:5 and in James 4:6 it says, “God gives grace to the humble, but He is apposed to the proud”. God is the source of real and lasting joy, and He gives it to us through others. God gives peace and security, He gives it to us through others. God answers pray, my prayer for you, and your prayer for me. The primary message of the New Testament is the Church, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, the companion of Christ for all eternity, and the growth of the Church in beauty, holiness, love, character, and unity. God made us interdependent so that we would grow in unity and love resulting in holiness and character. The natural tendency of us all is to be self-sufficient, independent, and prideful. It makes as much sense as saying, “I don’t need to stop, and have someone put gas in my car, I will just keep going”. People in our country are falling away from God in droves because of their low view of the Church, and their lack of involvement in it, both to receive grace and to give it to others.
I was reflecting and remembering after having lunch with a guy today that I am training to be a pastor. After sharing a few stories that were intended to convey the message, “If I can learn to be a pastor anybody can learn to be a pastor”, I got to reminiscing about the early days of pastoring a little church, 40 years ago. As I did I started thinking about what has changed in me over the years, and one very big thing stuck out in my mind, and it was kind of funny in that I don’t ever remember thinking this before. When I started in 1976 as a very dumb 28 year old, I was driven by my love and devotion to God. I didn’t want to be a pastor, I wanted to be a dairy farmer, but I felt sure that God wanted me to be a pastor, and there was no way I was not going to do what God wanted me to do. I was a complete introvert, I didn’t really like being around people, especially people I didn’t know, most people intimidated me to death. I used to think, “pastoring wouldn’t be to bad a job if it weren’t for all the people I have to deal with”. Over the years I have changed, and today I still love God more than ever, and that love controls me, but I also have a strong love for the people in my church, I care for them deeply, I agonize over their problems and trials, and pray for every person every week that they would grow spiritually and be champions for God. In the early days I wanted to preach well because God was watching and I wanted to please Him. Today I work very hard at my preaching and teaching because I love God and I want so much for every person who listens to me to become more like God in character, to conquer sin habits, and to become more and more righteous and holy in their living.