The Hope of Future Grace

Good morning. It is Tuesday, March 17, 2015. St. Patrick’s Day. 20 days until Opening Day!

Today’s word of the day is agra. Having nothing to do with agriculture (unless you use it to refer to your animals, I guess), it is a noun, and is Irish English (appropriate for the day). It is used, “As a term of endearment: ‘my love’; ‘dear’.”

Today is Submarine Day. That’s it. It was the only choice.

Yesterday was an okay day. Work went pretty well for both of us, I think. I stayed an extra hour because UPS came late in the day. They actually split our packages, bringing all the “Next Day Air” stuff early, but waiting until around 3PM to bring the rest. That was rather annoying.

Today, of course, after work, I will be driving to Mineral Wells to stay with my parents for the next few days. Tomorrow, I drive my Mother to Fort Worth for cataract surgery, then back on Thursday for bandage removal. Depending on how my Mother is doing, I will probably be back home Friday evening, or Saturday morning. That will be up to her, I think. I’ll stay as long as they need me. I have discovered that I can make my iPhone a “hot spot” for Internet, so I will take my laptop with me, just for doing my blogging. Tomorrow’s will probably be later in the day, as we will be driving to Fort Worth early.

This will be the first time I have spent nights away from home without Christi in I don’t know how long. Wait. There was that “men’s retreat last Memorial Day. Whatever . . . that’s the part I don’t like. I don’t sleep well without her near me. ❤

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Prayer’s Exclamation Point.”

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20

At first glance, this might seem like a repeat of a reading from a few days ago, but it is not quite the same.

“Prayer is a response to promises, that is, to the assurances of God’s future grace.

“Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all his promises of future grace.

“Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God of good intentions out there. Prayer goes to the bank every day and draws on promises for the future grace needed for that day.”

One of John Piper’s great phrases, over the past couple of decades, is “future grace.” This is our hope, he says, this is what we are banking on.

Once again, he separates the two halves of this verse, for further inspection. They are separated by the phrase, “That is why.” The first part of the verse is the “That is why.” “All the promises of God are Yes in Christ. That is why (therefore) we pray Amen through him, to God’s glory.”

If we turn it around, we see that we pray Amen to God, through Christ, because God, also through Christ, has said Amen to us in all his promises. ” Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ’s sake.” When we pray, we link our “faith in future grace” with the foundation of everything, Jesus Christ.

This word, “Amen,” is “a full an precious word in times of prayer.” It is more than just an add-on, an afterthought. At least it should be. It does not mean, “Yes, I have now said all this prayer.” It also is more than just an insignificant notification that my prayer is over, and you can pray now (if that’s how things are working). What it does mean is, “Yes, God has made all these promises.”

“Amen means, ‘Yes, Lord, you can do it.’ It means, ‘Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are wise. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ.’

“’Amen’ is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.”

Amen, Father! Amen! Yes, you are all powerful! Yes, you are all-knowing! yes, you are so very merciful! You, Father, all my future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Jesus Christ! Yes, your son is my firm foundation for everything in my life! All my hope is in you, through Jesus Christ. And you have shown yourself faithful. My hope has not been misplaced. I will continue to hope in this future grace, because it has been proven to be more than enough! Your grace is enough for me. I need look nowhere else. Thank you, Father!

I pray for this day, asking, as always, that our trip to work and home be safe and smooth today. In addition, I pray for traveling mercies tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday (or Saturday). This will be a lot of driving, so I pray that you keep me alert and awake the whole time. I pray for Christi and Stephanie while I am gone, that you would keep them in your hands, just as you do when we are all together. I pray for Christi’s work day today, that she will be able to accomplish whatever she needs to do, and that stress and anxiety will not be present. I pray for Stephanie, that you would give her wisdom. Help her make the right choices in her life.

I pray also, for Rachel and Justin, that you would draw them close to you. I pray that you would open the right doors for Rachel to complete her education and begin her career, and that she will be able to do that which is closest to her heart. May you grant Justin confidence and a life free from anxiety.

In all of this, I say a loud, confident, “Amen!”

“Amen” is not just an insignificant add-on to signify the end of our prayers. It is a word, full of meaning, showing that our faith is in the future grace of our Father, promised in the person of Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.

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