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- 1/4/2021--As I hiked up a mountain with my son and wife on Saturday, I had about an hour on the way up to think about my physical ups and downs. As I pressed on up this mountain and looked out over all the peaks and valleys, I could not help but think about my spiritual ups and downs as well; my spiritual mountains and valleys. Then as my legs were burning and I pressed on up the mountain, I shut my mind down and pressed on. As I was reading in my daily communion time with God, a verse popped out and pointed me right back to that mountain I had hiked. Luke 3:4, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Nothing about that hike we did was straight except for the straight up parts. But I think that we need to take this passage to heart and do work in our hearts as this passage guides us. C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “Low and growling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of grace must be raised. Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud self-sufficiency and boastful self-righteousness must be leveled, to make a highway for the King of kings.” What an awesome picture of what we need to do in our heart and mind for God. We need to fill the valleys of our heart where we are low spiritually and we need to knock down those moments of pride and self exaltation to make way for Christ. We have to make a clear, wide, and straight path for Jesus Christ the Savior. Spurgeon wrote, “The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have marked out for it a straight path of decision for God and holiness. Double-minded people are strangers to the God of truth…..The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honor His favored ones with His company.” Therefore, we must make way for Christ and do our part to make a path for Christ in our hearts. Jesus is worth the work that we will have to put in no matter how hard it becomes to make straight a path for Him. William Whitaker wrote, “In Christ we have all. If the Father was willing to give us Christ (Rom. 8:32), then this removes all grounds of questioning his bounty in anything else. If God has given you his Son, it is more than if he has given you a whole world!” Remember that we play a small role in our sanctification (the process of being made Holy) and Christ plays the main role. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Make way for the King in your heart but as you do, rely on the King to do the heavy lifting.
- 1/2/2021--One of Hudson’s favorite things is to have a sleepover with Kristin and I. I am not sure why he like these so much as we sleep on the couch, which is by no means more comfortable than a bed. It is fun to see him so excited as we all lay on the big couch together. As he falls asleep some realities set in for me. The biggest one is: I never go to sleep as early as I am now and there is no way that I will fall asleep. So, as I sit in the semi-dark living room (Hudson doesn’t like it totally dark) and I have nothing I can do because if I move or have any extra light, Hudson somehow magically wakes up and asks, “Dadda, what are you looking at?” I found this a good time to pray. I prayed for my son, my beautiful wife, and I prayed for North Morro Church. Then when I came to my devotions in the morning I was not surprised as God pointed out the importance of prayer. As I read Thomas Manton, he wrote, “Omit secret prayer, and some great sin will follow. A man who is often with God, does not dare to offend him so freely as others do.” What an insight into our fight against sin, Satan, the schemes of the world, and ourselves. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian. If you are a child of God, you will seek your Father’s face and live in your Fathers love.” So, as believers in Christ, we need to come to the Father always. We need Him in everything we do even if we realize it or not. When we draw near to God in prayer and through the Word, we will experience life in a different light. William Whitaker wrote, “Christ fills the souls of believers with all the good which may enable them to be happy—with the sweetness of spiritual enjoyments. He gives us something of heaven here on earth! His grace creates a suitableness and harmony between our souls and heavenly mercies to make us capable of tasting the sweetness of them.” Taste the sweetness of the mercies and grace of God this day!