Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
“I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your
appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you.
At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame.
At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.
- Zephaniah 3:14-20
Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
- Numbers 6:24-26
“Have you ever been invited to a formal dinner with people you’re not entirely comfortable with? You may have been thinking about what fork to use, how to place your napkin, or how to engage in small talk without making a fool of yourself. Then think about having a picnic with friends. You don’t worry so much about a little grease on your fingers or what to say, you just enjoy their company.
“Likewise, people often tend to be so busy minding their manners with God that they forget about what a gracious, loving, forgiving God He is. Jesus demonstrated what God is like by healing the sick, feeding the poor, and casting out demons. He put up with close contact with a bunch of regular guys for over three years. Before He died on the cross, He said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing: but I have called you friends” (John 15;15). Also, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ, indicating an intimate relationship (Ephesians 5:25-27).
“You feel more comfortable around friends you’ve known for a while and like. Similarly, as you spend more time in prayer and getting to know God’s word, trusting in His love and sacrifice, you will increasingly enjoy His company and not be so concerned about minding your p’s and q’s. Meditate on God’s character, grace, and mercy. He is Holy and just, but He is good. Pray for a deeper friendship with God, and for people of this nation and all over the world to receive His love in Jesus.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
This devotion, quoted above, gave me so many thoughts. I could go a lot of directions. The post title was just one of them.
About the title, Archie Campbell used to tell stories while pretending to be a barber on the old Hee Haw television show. He loved spoonerisms, as do I, and possibly his most famous story is the one about Rindercella, her mugly other, and her two sad blisters. Of course, you know that in the end, the pransom hence lolls in fuv with Rindercella, and they lived hafterly ever hampsters. Of course, the storal to the mory is: If you go to a bancy fall and you want a pransom hence to loll in fuv with you, don’t forget to slop your dripper! (My how spell check had fun with this paragraph!)
Sorry, I read ‘formal dinner’ and my mind went on a tangent to a bancy fall.
I have thought back to formal dining in the past. It never was comfortable. I once dined at the Officer’s Club in Heidelberg, Germany with five generals at the head table. It is hard to eat a meal when you can’t even breathe. I was able to breathe at the French Officer’s club in Karlsruhe. The battalion commander was a friendly guy, and the ones who seemed to be nervous were the waiters. As a kid, I would rather be sick than attend a formal soiree (yes, we had those.), but I had to attend a few just to have the experience and know what to do the next time. You knew you would screw up.
But when I think of listening to prayers when I was growing up, I remember stiff, King James English prayers. They were beautiful. They were reverent and respectful. But they were distant, unreal, and out of touch. My Dad, in my mind, had a great relationship with God, but he always was formal in public prayer, as an elder in the church, and in saying the blessing before a meal. For years, I thought that was the only way that you could talk to God.
And even though Jesus calls me ‘Friend,’ I need to remember that He is God. I can talk to Jesus about anything, at any time, but I am still respectful.
We sometimes lose that mutual respect, at least in language, when talking to one another, friend to friend. I recently had a door-to-door salesman who called me ‘dog’ through his entire sales pitch. I am not a dog. I do not want to be treated like a dog, but then again, some pet lovers treat their dogs pretty good. And as a nickname, the salesman did not know me well enough to adopt a nickname for me.
Sarcasm reigns among close friends. We tease each other. We poke fun. But I feel that I should draw the line on that when talking to my Savior. Hmmmm, maybe we should not treat our friends that way either.
But viewing Jesus as a friend who sits down to have a picnic with me, I am all for that. I can take the necktie off. I can relax. I can bring up any topic and talk to Jesus for hours. Now that’s a good picture and a model for prayer.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.