The Full Assurance of Hope

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 7, 2015. 30 more days until Opening Day!! Five more days until Paluxy River Bed Cabins! Six more days until I start another year of living.

Today’s word of the day is church ale. Only in England could they come up with something like this! It sure wouldn’t work traditional American Baptist culture! Anyway, here’s the definition. “A festivity during which ale is drunk, held by or in connection with a church esp. to raise money for church repair, the poor, etc. Also: the ale drunk at such a festivity.” Right. “Let’s all get together and drink ale to raise money for the poor!”

Today is Be Heard Day. Now, lest you think this is a day for you to go out and loudly voice your opinion, let me explain. That’s not what this means. It is a day for small businesses to have better means of competing against the larger corporate giants.

The drive to work yesterday morning was pretty uneventful, outside of the parking lot that invaded Hwy 114/121 in Grapevine. There were very few patches of leftover ice, and the roads were mostly clear. But, for some reason, traffic was horrid. So much so that I got to the time clock two minutes past the acceptable punch-in time. Oh, well. Another half-point. And I had already blown my “perfect attendance” for March when I left work early last Friday (not to mention coming in late on Wednesday). The day went pretty well, and I stayed an extra hour to try to help out in receiving, so that the person working today wouldn’t have as bad a day.

Christi wound up spending the entire evening with her mother. Her step-dad is in rehab, now, after spending a little over a week in the hospital. So Christi took her mother up there to see him, last night, and didn’t get home until around 11:00 PM. So Stephanie and I ordered Chinese food, and I caught up on The Walking Dead, and watched The Purge. Very disturbing movie, that one! I kind of like the way it played out, though.

Today will be a pretty normal Saturday. We have our usual Anchor prayer gathering, this afternoon at 4:45, followed by our worship gathering at 5:45. Christi will go do the grocery shopping in a bit, and I will stay here and help out with laundry and stuff. As of now, we have no plans for after our church time. Tomorrow, I think Rachel and Justin are coming over for lunch.

It was on this date in 1965 that a group of civil rights marchers was forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama. The marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and found their way blocked by Alabama State Troopers, who demanded that they turn around. When they refused to turn around, the troopers shot tear gas into the crowd, and went through the group of non-violent protesters, beating them with billy clubs. Over fifty people were hospitalized. The event is now known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Today’s birthdays include Nicephore Niepce (inventor of photography), Maurice Ravel (composer), James Broderick (actor/Matthew’s father), Willard Scott (TV broadcaster), Michael Eisner (ex-Disney CEO), Tammy Fay Bakker (crook televangelist), Townes Van Zandt (singer/songwriter), John Heard (actor), Peter Wolf (J Geils Band), Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum), Ernie Isley (The Isley Brothers), Bryan Cranston (actor), Donna Murphy (singer/actress), Ivan Lendl (tennis player), Wanda Sykes (comedienne/actress), Rachel Weisz (actress), Peter Sarsgaard (actor), Jenna Fischer (actress), TJ Thyne (actor), Laura Prepon (actress), and Abigail and Brittany Hensel (conjoined twins).

Townes van Zandt was an American singer/songwriter, born on this date in 1944. He is probably most famous for his song, “Pancho and Lefty,” which was released on his 1792 album, The Late Great Townes van Zandt. The song was later recorded by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and became a huge hit for them. Van Zandt passed away on January 1, 1997, following some strange and sketchy circumstances that began when he fell down the concrete steps outside his home and injured himself. According to wikipedia, his death came “forty-four years to the day after Hank Williams, one of his main songwriting influences.”

Here is Townes van Zandt, performing “Pancho and Lefty.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah.
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

Psalm 20

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “How Can I Be Filled With the Spirit?”

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

Here is a verse that gives us an answer to the question in the title. Romans 15:4 gives us at least a partial reason of why the Scriptures exist; that through their encouragement, we might have hope. That is how Paul kept his heart full of hope. And, by meditating on those Scriptures, we can be filled with the full assurance of God.

“The full assurance of hope comes from meditating on the promises of God’s Word.” This doesn’t contradict what Paul says in Romans 15:13 (which happens to be my verse for 2015), which says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” You see, we believe that the Holy Spirit is the author of all Scripture. So the way he fills us with hope is by “filling us with his own word of promise.”

“Hope is not some vague emotion that comes out of nowhere, like a stomachache.” This is true. We throw the word hope around so much that it loses its real meaning. “I hope I get that new joy.” “I hope that girl or boy will go out with me.” “I hope the Red Sox win the World Series this year.” “I hope the Yankees lose every game this year.”

Sorry . . . got side-tracked. (Forgive me, Cayman.)

Real hope is confidence. It is confidence that the life promised us by God, through the Word of the Spirit, will come to pass! “The way to have the power of the Spirit is to believe the promises of his Word.

“For it is the word of promise that fills us with hope, and hope fills us with joy, and joy overflows in the power and freedom to love our neighbor. And that is the fullness of the Holy Spirit.”

Thank you for your Word, Father, that you gave to us through the authorship of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you would cause me to devote more time to meditating on your Word, that I might be filled with hope through the power of the Spirit. Help to believe the promises of your Word. “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name! I pray for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, that they, also, may be made to believe in your most precious promises, that we may all be filled with hope.

I pray for this day, that we would get everything done that needs to be done. I pray for Christi, as she continues to try to help her mother and step-dad through this trying time. I pray for their future, as they try to make decisions on how they need to live their lives. I pray for wisdom for all involved. I pray for Stephanie, as she is concerned about a very close friend of hers. May you intervene in this situation, for the best of all concerned. Also, I pray for wisdom and understanding for her, and that you would show your great love for her. Help us to all be more loving and less judgmental.

I pray for our prayer and worship gatherings this evening. May your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. May your name be lifted high and glorified, as we continue to look into Colossians.

I pray for Brandon, as he apparently has been afflicted with gall stones.

Your grace is sufficient.

Are you short on hope today? Are you looking for the fullness of the Spirit? Try meditating on the promises that he has given us through his Word.

Grace and peace, friends.

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