Paul commands, “Pray continuously.” He sees prayer as an ongoing relationship. Sometimes this takes the form of a quick plea for help or offer of praise. Sometimes it takes the form of an extended prayer like when Jesus went up the mountainside to pray. I, too often, see prayer as a discipline. Oswald Chambers encourages us to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood in our veins. Both are continuously exchanged and when we are healthy, we are not even conscious of it. Prayer could be an unconscious part of my life with God.
I am truly blessed to have all four of our children. I cannot imagine the void a parent feels in losing a child—no matter what age they are and no matter the cause. But this weekend I’m remembering the parents who lost a child who willingly served our country and paid the ultimate price with his or her life. I do not pretend to grasp the sacred meaning of Memorial Day to them, but I hope to honor the day in my own way and pray for the parents out there who lost sons and daughters serving our country.
Sometimes when reading Oswald Chambers I am reminded of Proverbs 24:7 “Wisdom is too high for a fool….” I’m not too sure I really understand. Early this week his devotional said to me that when God commands what I think I cannot do, He commands Christ in me to do it—and Christ can do anything. This brings new meaning to Galatians 2:20—“I no longer live and Christ lives in me.” All I have to do is delight in moving with Christ in obedience and Christ in me will make the difficult thing become divinely easy.
I need to digest Oswald Chamber’s thoughts that vision has moral inspiration. A vision, he says, is more than just some ideal situation I hope to enjoy someday. There’s not a lot of inspiration in that. A vision is inspired (it comes from God) and moral (failing to take action on it is wrong). A vision is a situation God wants to create through my cooperation even though at the present I do not have or see the resources to create it. We cannot do what God does; God will not do what we can do. Pray. Listen. Take Initiative.
Priscilla occasionally cans (usually tomatoes or undersized potatoes). She makes sure that each jar seals so that the contents are preserved good. When she does chokecherry jelly like she did this last week, she uses a wax seal. Psalm 119 (the chapter with the most verses in the Bible) is all about how the Word of God preserves us. If we take it in and do what it says, it will preserve and protect us. The Word of God keeps us from becoming rotten! It holds us steady in uncertain times. “Preserve my life according to your word.”
No one that I know of likes picking rocks—not even people who have equipment for it. I certainly didn’t like picking rocks out of fields when I was younger—although now I think I should have enjoyed any experience without pain. Several people have been working on getting rocks out of the church grass in preparation for summer mowing and a beautiful yard. Picking rocks out of our lives is not fun either, but we need to pick rocks out of the soil of our lives to be effective and so the beauty of Jesus can shine through us.
Having come through the worst snow storm in at least 22 years, I was surprised at how many references there are to snow in the Bible. I don’t think of Israel as a place for snow, but Jerusalem gets some snow and the beautiful Golan Heights receives plenty of snow. Snow reminds us of the color pure white—our sins can be made pure as white snow (Psalm 51:7, Isaiah 1:18). Snow reminds us of the clothing of God (Daniel 7:9, Matthew 28:3, Revelation 1:14). The only pure whiteness we will ever have is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.