Why Do We Believe?

Good morning. It is Tuesday, February 24, 2015. 41 more days until Opening Day.

Today’s word of the day is hoghenhine. This one is an odd historical legal term, meaning, “A person who has stayed in a household for three nights, and so becomes the legal responsibility of the host; a member of a household; a dependant.”

Today is Single Tasking Day. More and more research is showing that multi-tasking is actually quite inefficient. It seems that when you multi-task, you don’t focus well on any of the tasks. So it’s better to single task.

Well, I’ve decided that I’m going ahead and using one more day of the PTO that I already had scheduled for this week. Christi went to work this morning, and got there with no problem. She said there was one bridge that was kind of scary. The thing is, it hasn’t gotten above freezing yet, and isn’t projected to until later today. The other problem is that it is supposed to snow tonight, starting at close to midnight. But it is supposed to get up to almost 50 degrees on Wednesday, so that should not be a serious issue. I plan to go to work tomorrow and cancel the rest of the vacation, which will be needed, eventually, when my mother’s cataract surgery gets rescheduled.

On this date in 1868, Andrew Johnson became the first President to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He would later be acquitted by the Senate. There have only been two impeachments in our history, and both were acquitted.

Today’s birthdays include Wilhelm Grimm (the Grimm Brothers), Winslow Homer (artist), Honus Wagner (baseball player), Chester Nimitz (Admiral), Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle), August Derleth (writer/publisher), Abe Vigoda (actor), Michel Legrand (composer), Barry Bostwick (actor), Edward James Olmos (actor), Rupert Holmes (singer/songwriter), George Thorogood (singer/guitarist), Debra Jo Rupp (actress), Steve Jobs (Apple), Paula Zahn (journalist), Eddie Murray (baseball player), Beth Broderick (actress), Michelle Shocked (musician), Billy Zane (actor), Mitch Hedberg (comedian), Mike Lowell (baseball player), and Bronson Arroyo (pitcher).

Mitch Hedberg was an American comedian, born on this date in 1968. His style and delivery were unique. At one show, he was said to have laid on the stage during part of his delivery. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 2005. One of my favorite jokes of his in the following clip. “One time a guy handed me a picture and said, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’ Every picture is of you when you were younger!”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them.
I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.
As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.

Psalm 18:40-45

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “God Opens the Heart.”

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
Acts 16:14

Why do some believe and others do not? Every Paul preached this happened. Somehow, some of us, who were “dead in the trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) believe, yet others do not.

There are some answers why some do not believe. Some people “thrust it aside” (Acts 13:46), finding the message of the gospel to be “folly” and being unable to understand (1 Corinthians 2:14). Also, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” (Romans 8:7)

There are those who hear and reject the gospel who “hate the light” and will not come to the light, “lest [their] works should be exposed” (John 3:20). According to Ephesians 4:18, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” The truth is available to them, but “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).

But this doesn’t answer the question of why some do believe. All of us are in the same condition, initially. In the book of Acts, we get the answer in three different ways. The first is that they are appointed to believe. Acts 13:48 says, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

Another way of answering the question is to say that God has granted repentance. Acts 11:18 says, “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.'” Until God grants repentance, we are unable to do so.

Finally, in the passage quoted above, we see one of the clearest answers as to why some believe. God opens their hearts. Why did Lydia believe? “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”

Father, I thank you for opening my heart! I could never have believed, had you not done this in my life. Your grace in my salvation is amazing! I pray that you continue to open hearts all over the world as we go into the world to share your Kingdom. Make us faithful to be Jesus for the people in our lives, but we pray that you would open their hearts when we go out among them. Without your grace to grant repentance and open hearts, our message is nothing but a shouting into the wind. May we always remember that it is not the message that we bring that saves. Yes, there is power in the Gospel, power unto salvation. But it is your power that unlocks the heart and grants repentance, so that when our message, our ministry, reaches their lives, they are open to believe. Teach us, Father, keep teaching us!

I pray for this day. I thank you that Christi got to work safely, this morning. I pray for clearer road conditions tomorrow, as I attempt to drive to work, as well. I pray for the rest of the week, as we work, and that the weather would not get bad again. I pray for Christi’s day, that she would have a good work day. I thank you for putting her in my life. I pray for Stephanie today, that you would show her your great love in her life.

I pray for our Huddle gathering tonight, that it would be glorifying to you as we try to learn how to be and make disciples.

Everything about our salvation is a gift from God. We need to remember this. It is all grace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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