"O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together." Psalm 34:7
King David's Psalm of praise focuses on The Audience of One. When the glory of God becomes the priority of our lives, individually and corporately, everything changes. David's life never shined any brighter than when he was reflecting glory to God for the favor of God that was being directed towards him. David was not immune from becoming full of himself. His Psalm was an eloquent reminder to return humbly to The One who took him from the pasture and placed him in the palace.
Proverbs offers another powerful reminder to husbands tempted to think of themselves as the king of their own castle. Finding a good wife often leads them to the misguided belief that they are equipped to make her a better wife by finding fault in her. Finding fault with a gift from God does not increase the chances of finding favor with God. Don't change the price tag on something God values very highly. Praying with your wife reveals you share God's value system. He holds prayer and people very close to his heart. You should too.
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22
Since June of 1980, these two scriptures have taken on a significant role in my marriage. Dana and I had been married for three and a half years, when we came to the conclusion that we needed to take the focus off of ourselves if we were going to have any hope of building a lasting marriage. We were parents of a six month old baby girl, and actively serving on the staff of a growing church in a sprawling bedroom community of Oklahoma. We were stressed, stretched and struggling to make the transition from ME to WE. The harder we worked at our marriage, the more focused we became on our own navels. The new little bundle of blessing that arrived at our home added to the trauma and the drama of building a family.
A study of Luke 24 presented by my father, Don Miller, led me to believe that the two people on the road to Emmaus may very well have been a married couple. Recently, I came across an audio recording of the late, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse. He was a great Presbyterian pastor who went home to be with the Lord in 1960. I was thrilled when I heard him make the same observation as my father. Reading the passage with this perspective has had a powerful impact on our marriage and ministry.
"And behold two of them were going that very day to a little village name Emmaus...and they were talking with each other about the things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them...And He said to them, 'What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?' " Luke 24:14-17
The couple had talked themselves into a dilemma that was moving them downhill literally and spiritually. What was required in their lives was a change of focus and a change of direction. In the middle of their conversation with one another, Jesus took the initiative. He broke in and asked them to tell Him what was on their minds. The husband, Cleopas, responded with a saracastic remark, but Jesus simply responded to his initial annoyance with two inviting little words, "What things?"
This is the point. The trauma and drama of crisis, real or imagined, can blind us from the only One who can make a difference in the middle of the chaos and confusion of life. Talking about a problem magnifies the size of it, until Jesus is not recognized as being available to do something about it. Praying takes the problem to Jesus, and He provides hope for a solution. HOPE arrives by H-Having O-Our, P- Perspective, E-Elevated.
One year ago, Dana and I responded to God's call to lead people to TALK LESS! and PRAY MORE! These four little words will change your direction in life. It is never too early or too late to start taking Jesus up on His invitation, "What things?"
Recently, I gathered with thousands of people in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas for "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis." I was not surprised by the secular cynics who sought to block this prayer meeting being called by a Chrisitan who also served as a governor of the state of Texas. I have to admit I shocked at the spirit of Cleopas that came growling out of the snarled lips of many members of the Christian community. They criticicized the man, the motive, the mandate, and the managers of the event. They missed the point completely. The focus of The Response was not on the one who inititated it, but on The Audience of One who called for it.
When the great spiritual awakening known as The Fulton Street Revival of 1857 broke out in New York City, it transformed a nation in crisis, and impacted a world with a message of hope. Newspaper editor, Horace Greeley, sought to document the prayer meetings taking place around the city during lunch hour, by dispatching reporters on horseback and by carriage to the various locations. They reported over 10,000 people were praying during the noon hour, and calling out to God to step in and pull the nation out of the current financial collapse. In one year, one million converts flooded into the churches of America. Millions more would be touched by this movement of the Spirit in America and around the world. Jesus stepped in then, and Jesus is knocking on the door of His church today. I believe with all my heart that He is still asking His people to talk to Him about what is going on in their lives and their nation.
Time will tell if the thousands who participated in "The Response" of 2011 in Houston, Texas or thousands more who watched the simulcast was a "flash in the pan" or if it was a signal of a movement of God that will have long lasting impact and divine duration. That decision is all in God's hands. What remains in our hands is "a nation in crisis." The question of Jesus to the couple of the road to Emmaus remains to be answered by us today. Will we keep talking to each other about it or answer His invitation to tell Him "What things?"
I choose to focus on The Audience of One, and respond to the call of Jesus to return to my "first love." The voice of critics, secularists or saints, must not drown out His call in my ears. I must tell Him more about "the things" that are on my mind. I must stop talking to others more than I talk to Him. He is The Audience I must focus upon.
Don't be confused about God's value system in these days. Talk is not cheap. It is costly! It robs us of hope, and blinds us from seeing the face of The Audience who is seated at the right hand of The Father, and is available to hear us when we pray. Jesus is available, and accessible and attentive. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!