Saturday, November 30, 2013

Focus on the Spirit, eternal

Two of my favorite passages:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

We saw the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, and I was reminded of the statement, "Freedom is not free."  Of course, our spiritual freedom is accomplished by the work of Christ; if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

It is easy to see and focus on the challenges of life day-to-day, but we have to keep an eternal perspective of things.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence of your Spirit.  Thank you for the freedom that you have given.  Lord, please help me keep my focus on you as you transform me into the image of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life in the Spirit

Romans 8:12-17 ESV

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Constant battle: flesh versus Spirit.  Flesh is associated with the body.  By faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells us (v. 11), and bears witness with our spirit (v.13).  And it seems to me that we must intentionally and diligently set our minds on the spirit (v.5-6).

So, we follow Christ, and the implication here is that we will suffer for following Him (v. 17). 

Heavenly Father, please help me be conscious of your leading, and may I be quick to obey.  Lord, may I be faithful to preach the good news of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Regeneration of the soul

ROM 5-8

It seems to me that the heart and mind are two important aspects of submission to the Lord.

We need the Lord to fill our hearts with Love.

Romans 5:5 ESV
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

And we need to set our minds on the spirit.

Romans 8:5-6 ESV
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Heavenly Father, may I love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength,  and may I love others as myself.  Please teach me to intentionally set my mind on the Spirit and keep in step with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for grace

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 57-58 NLT

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. ... But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Such an incredible gift, yet we so often take out for granted.

Heavenly Father, thank you for victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the promise that our work is never in vain.  Lord, please give me perseverance to work enthusiastically.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lord's Table

1 Cor 10-11

10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

The Scripture here teaches that we should not take the Lord's Supper in "an unworthy manner", but in context (vs. 17-22), I think the rebuke is for being cavalier. But I have heard preachers discourage people from participating in Communion (The Lord's Supper/Table) if your "heart is not right".  However, taking Ch. 10 and Ch. 11 together, I think the invitation to participate in Communion is always to choose Christ over the World - to turn away from the things of the world and turn to Christ.  He is gracious and merciful, and when we turn away from the things of the world and humbly come to Him, He promises to receive us and bless us with His presence.  I think we need to make it clear that the time of Communion can be a very special time of examination in which we really ask the Lord to test our ways and thoughts and invite Him to (gently) correct us and draw us back to Him.  I think we should approach Communion with an attitude of humility, thankfulness, and a desire to accept His offer of mercy and grace.

There is no specified frequency.  But, since we gather together weekly (usually on Sundays, in honor of Christ's resurrection), I personally prefer to celebrate communion every week, in honor of His death, resurrection, and return.  I think it is inherently evangelistic.  I have been in churches that celebrate only once per month or once per quarter, because they don't want communion to be taken lightly.  I acknowledge that familiarity breeds contempt, but I think the value of careful weekly observance far outweighs the risk of being taken for granted.  In fact, it is granted to be taken.

Furthermore, in most of the communions that I have observed, the emphasis is on the death of Christ.  No doubt, His death is crucial for us, individually and corporately.  (I think another aspect of Communion is recognizing the communal aspect of the Church being His body.)  But, in addition to His death, 1 Cor 11:26 includes the significance of proclaiming His return.  And thinking of the several parables in the Gospel of Matthew, I think we need to encourage each other weekly to expect His return.  We are living for Him.  While Communion should begin with self-reflection and listening to the Spirit, ultimately, participating in Communion should focus on Christ.  It is an act of worship.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for the Lord's Supper.  Thank you for your constant faithfulness, mercy, and grace.  Thank you for the frequent invitation to turn from the world and be united with you.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your body and blood, which has ransomed my salvation.  May the joy of my salvation be evident, for your glory.  May my life be lived in anticipation of your return, enjoying the encouraging fellowship of those who call on your name. We are your body. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

leaves have fallen

With a cool breeze on my face, and the glory of an emergent sunrise setting the tops of the trees on fire, the Lord impressed me with this thought on my walk this morning:

Most of the leaves have fallen.
  Seems like winter has come.
Some yellow leaves still hold'n on;
  Fall is not yet gone.
A few red leaves still hold'n on;
  Fall is not quite gone.

I love the sigmoidal change from one season to the next.  (Occasionally, it occurs more like a step-function, but most of the time it is a gradual transition.)  

Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of your creation.  Your creativity is so inspiring!  Nature is so complex and dynamic.  I am amazed by your creativity and power.  I pray that I will continue to be impressed and awed by your creativity, and I pray that I will take time to enjoy the creation that you have made.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Be joyful always

1 Thessalonians 5:16 ESV

Rejoice always,

On Friday morning, as I was walking from the parking lot to the office, one of the Olin professors heard me whistling and said, "Shane, we're going to miss you next semester.  Your always so happy."

It was so encouraging to me to hear that in only a few months of being here, I was observed to be a joyful person.  I wish I could take credit, but this is the work of the Lord.  I had let sin creep in to my life, and I became a cynical and pessimistic person.  But over the past eight years, the Lord has done an amazing work in my heart, and especially in the past year, the Lord has brought me to a conscious decision to be joyful and optimistic. 

I think it comes down to perspective.  How can you not be joyful when your heart is enlightened to "the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead ..."?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your redemptive and restorative work.  Thank you for the joy that you give.  May the words that I speak and the attitude that I portray be genuinely joyful to honor you and your love.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

love and (complete) holiness

1 Thessalonians

3:12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 

4:3 For this is the will of God, your [holiness]: that you abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor ... 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. ... 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

As I read 1 Thessalonians this morning, I was impressed with two themes, love and holiness, and it seems to me that these are connected (3:12-13).  John's letters make it clear that God is the source of agape love, so as we love, we are allowing God to work in us and through us.  It seems that that process of loving is sanctifying (i.e., making us holy).

How is this possible?  God accomplishes our holiness (4:8, 5:23-24).  Furthermore, it seems that God's desire for us is to be holy, entirely and completely, including spirit, soul, and body.

(I had a conversation with my Brother Jason, a few days ago, and I discussed this idea of tri-partite humanity.  He made the point that humans are compound beings with spiritual and physical aspects.  I like this point, but I still read three distinct aspects in 5:23, with the words entirely/wholly and complete.  Perhaps it was only a literary device for emphasis, but I don't think Paul's explicit listing here of spirit, soul, and body is insignificant, especially when coupled with Romans 8.)

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise to make me holy.  Lord, may I submit to your sanctification through love.  May your love be demonstrated more clearly in me, and more and more, so that I am molded into the image of Christ.  I pray that you will be honored. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Receiving God's promise through faith

Galatians 3:7-9, 13-14, 22, 26 ESV

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us ... so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.  ... so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  ... for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Forgiveness of sin, imputation of righteousness, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit are given freely through faith in Jesus Christ.  Only believe.  The saying "too good to be true" doesn't apply here.  Just believe.  Maybe that's one aspect of "faith like a child".  Children are not so skeptical of good things.

It's ironic to me that, even in the way that the world commercializes Christmas and makes a god out of Santa, it is still fundamentally a religious system of righteousness and reward by works.  "If you've been good, then you will get presents from Santa."  Pretty sad.

When we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  The gift of salvation and eternal life is given undeservedly.  This is amazing grace.

Eph. 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of blessing, and thank you for your grace and mercy through Christ that we can receive your promise through faith in Him.  Lord, may I continue to be impressed with your love and compassion toward us, and may I be faithful to share with others this free gift that I have received through Christ.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Church leadership team

Acts 13:1 NLT

Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called "the black man" ), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas ), and Saul.

Thinking about Eph 4, I have come to believe that a team of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers is how the Lord designed balanced leadership within the Body.  (And it seems to me that elders are critical for ensuring that shepherding happens.)

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating the church with a team of leaders.  Lord, please use me in the Body.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Acts 8-9

Last night, in the Children's Bible that we are reading with the boys, we read about Saul's conversion and Philip baptizing the Ethiopian.

This morning, my reading covered the same passages, and Beau sat and listened as I read, periodically asking for clarification.  It is so awesome to see him learning about following Jesus!

I am also reminded of and burdened for the millions of believers around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

9:4-5 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"  And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

We are His body.  He feels the persecution.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedom to study your word and teach my boys about you without fear of persecution.  Lord Jesus, may I be faithful to share the truth of Christ in the opportunities that you give me, and may I faithfully pray for the persecuted saints around the world.  Lord, please give them peace in knowing that you are with them and you care for them.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Acts 6-7

Stephen was a man of God, and he boldly and clearly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes I question if my desire to "not be obnoxious" in sharing the Gospel is legitimate.  Perhaps, to our postmodern culture, evangelism will mostly be perceived as "obnoxious" (or at least "annoying"). Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned with the way people perceive me, but rather concern myself with sensing and obeying the Holy Spirit's prompting to share the truth of Christ.

Heavenly Father, please help me boldly live and tell the Gospel.  Lord Jesus, you have called me salt and light, and you died for my sin.  Holy Spirit, please forgive me for disobeying your leading.  Lord, I want to be a faithful witness.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Christ.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Acts 5:40-42 ESV

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

I have never suffered any major persecution for following Christ.  Shoot, I can't even say that I have experienced any minor persecution.  Makes me wonder ...

Notice the strategy: engage people with the truth of Christ both publicly and privately. 

In these last few chapters, there have been several spontaneous public events.  But the consistent theme seems to be genuine fellowship in homes. 

In my own experience, our last three years in Austin were interwoven with close small groups with Brothers and Sisters pursuing the Lord.  Some of the best memories with those folks.

Heavenly Father, please give me boldness in sharing the Gospel of Christ.  May I be faithful in public venues, as well as intentional in home groups.  Lord Jesus, may I be a faithful witness to your resurrection.  I love you, and i pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Acts 2:42-47 ESV

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I love verse 42.  Pure and simple.  It's a shame that this verse is only descriptive of a small fraction of Christianity.   Somehow, a Sunday morning service stole the show.

The following verses used to bother me because I thought that people were giving away all that they had, and then they wouldn't be able to take care of themselves.  Today, I realize that God can replace anything we give (if He chooses) because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He is always more generous than we are.  Furthermore, we are only stewards, not owners.

Today, Beau said something about "his toys" and how he didn't want to share.  I told him that he didn't own anything; we share as a family.  Maybe there is a spiritual parallel.

I am reminded of the widow who gave her two mites.  To think that we can even take care of ourselves is believing a lie. We must always remember that it is the Lord who cares for us, daily.  The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name if the Lord. 

We can give generously and cheerfully because it is the Lord who prompts us to give, even sacrificially, as a reminder of His generosity through Christ.  We are privileged to partner with Him and collaborate with Him in His good work.

Heavenly Father, please help me see that it is you who cares for me and my family.  Lord, may I live a life of cheerful generosity that honors your providence and sacrificial love.  I love you, and I trust you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hide and Seek

Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  The Scriptures point us to Christ. 

Luke 24:28-31 ESV
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

And then there is walking with Jesus.  He teaches us His Way.  Sometimes we see Him clearly, but I feel like those moments are brief and infrequent.  And just when I think I see Him, He seems to disappear.

Luke 24:32-35 ESV
They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

But we continue to seek Him.  We grow in maturity as we persevere in seeking.  And though it seems that He is hiding, we can find Him as we meet with our Brothers and Sisters, and as we celebrate communion together.  He promises that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is with us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the presence of your Son, Jesus Christ, and thank you for the anointing of your Holy Spirit.  Lord, would you give me perseverance to continue pursuing Christ.  Lord Jesus, please let me find you as I seek you; may I seek you with all my heart.  And may my seeking be an encouragement to others who don't presently see you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 4, 2013


As I read the crucifixion account, I am reminded of a powerful statement from John Stott in The Cross of Christ (Chapter 2):


Herod and Pilate, Gentiles and Jews … had together "conspired" against Jesus (Acts 4:27). More important still, we ourselves are also guilty. If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. Indeed we have done it. ... We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate.
"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, "Yes, we were there." Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands.
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Indeed, "only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross," wrote Canon Peter Green, "may claim his share in its grace."

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sin, which caused the death of Christ.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your faithful obedience to the Father, which won my salvation.  Thank you for your grace in extending your substitutionary death to me.  May I be faithful to tell the story of your great love.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb that was slain for the sin of the world.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Switch: we falsely accused Him, and sent Him to die

Luke 23
18 But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!" 22 A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him." 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Switch:  Even a few days before, Jesus was demonstrating His authority and supernatural power, even raising people from the dead.  But on the night of His betrayal, it is like He threw a switch, internally, and allowed Himself to be betrayed, falsely accused, and even falsely judged.  Two judges ruled Him innocent, but the Jewish leaders, as representatives of all of humanity, sent Him to execution.  Instead of resisting, instead of exercising His proper authority and power, He submitted to the Father's will - Jesus let us kill Him.

Switch:  Every time I read through this passage, I can't help but identify myself with Barabbas.  I was guilty of real crimes, moral crimes against the Creator and Judge of the world.  But I was released, and Christ Jesus was sent to execution instead of me.  What an incredible sacrifice.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sin.  Please forgive me for my share in Christ's death.  Lord Jesus, I am so sorry for the unjust, angry, and brutal way that we treated you.  Lord, please forgive me.  May I always be impressed by your love and sacrifice.  I love you.  Please teach me to follow in your Way.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Denial and confession

Peter's denial was recorded by all four Gospel writers.  Seems significant.  Maybe related to the common experience of humanity.

Jesus finally admitted, very clearly, that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, at least twice to the Jewish leaders: once to the high priest and his conspirators in the middle of the night (Mk 14:62), and again to the leading priests and the Sanhedrin early the next morning (Mk 15:1, LK 22:67-69). So, practically, the Jews pursued the death penalty because Jesus claimed to be God (JN 19:7).

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for denying that I know Christ.  I want to be faithful to give my testimony of how you have saved my life.  And I want to be faithful to share that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Not my will, but yours, Lord

Luke 22:42 ESV

[Jesus prayed], "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."

I can almost feel the tension in Jesus's prayer - the tension between Divine will and human will.  Then again when Judas betrayed Jesus, and the soldiers and mob fell backwards when Jesus answered, "I AM"!  I can almost feel His divine power reined to the point of breaking when Jesus said that He could instantly call 12 legions of angels.  I can see the cosmic irony of the soldiers leading Jesus away, tied up, as those 12 legions of angels watch expectantly, poised to intervene instantly.

But He drank the cup that our Heavenly Father gave Him.  He submitted His will to the Father's will.  And in so doing, He won our salvation.

Heavenly Father, I don't understand your will or your plans.  You are mysterious.  Lord Jesus, thank you for obeying the Father and submitting to drink the cup of wrath for my sin.  I love you, and I pray that I will submit my will to yours, in honor of your example.  I ask in the name of Jesus.