Hold On With All HIS Might

Good morning! It is Wednesday, March 18, 2015. 19 more days until Opening Day!

Today’s word of the day is prestidigitator. Now there’s one I know! I had a good friend in high school who was a prestidigitator. Most people call them “magicians.” You see, a prestidigitator is “A person who practises sleight of hand or legerdemain; a conjuror; a juggler.” (Remember, this is the Oxford English Dictionary, hence “practises.”)

Today is Awkward Moments Day, for all those days when you events occur that make you wish the ground would just open up and swallow you.

I’m sitting in the dining room at my parents’ house in Mineral Wells, using my phone as a “hot spot.” I didn’t know it could do that until about a week ago. It works great!

I was up at about 6 this morning, and my mother and I will be leaving around 8, as they have told her, now, that she needs to be at the hospital at 9:45. I’m not actually sure what time the surgery is scheduled, but I have plenty to read. I slept in my childhood room last night, which was certainly strange, as I have not slept in there in a long time, perhaps even decades. Also very different sleeping without Christi next to me. I miss you, my love!

It was on this date in 1959 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that would make Hawaii a state. This would not become official until August 21.

Today’s birthdays include Mary Tudor (daughter of Henry VII), Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (composer), Neville Chamberlain (Prim Minister), Edgar Cayce (“psychic”), Ernest Gallo (winemaker), George Plimpton (actor/writer), John Updike (author), Charley Pride (musician), Wilson Pickett (singer), Irene Cara (singer/actress), Vanessa Williams (singer/actress/Miss America), Queen Latifah (actress/singer), Dane Cook (comedian), Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Sophia Myles (actress), and Lykke Li (Swedish singer).

Charley Pride is a country musician (and honorary member of the Texas Rangers baseball team), who was born on this date in 1938, making him roughly the same age as my mother (her birthday is in April). Here is one of his hits, “Kiss An Angel Good Morning.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Why We Must Hold Fast Our Hope.”

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
Hebrews 6:17-18

One of the greatest and most comforting truths is the consistency of God. He does not change. “He does not exert himself with promises, and oaths, and the blood of his Son simply to anchor down one end of our security while leaving the other to dangle in the air.”

What Jesus accomplished for his people was complete, not just partial. So, why, then, are we required to exert effort to hold on to this hope? John Piper offers several answers.

1. “What Christ bought for us when he died was not the freedom from having to hold fast but the enabling power to hold fast.”
2. “What he bought was not the nullification of our wills as thought we didn’t have to hold fast, but the empowering of our wills because we want to hold fast.”
3. “What he bought was not the canceling of the commandment to hold fast but the fulfillment of the commandment to hold fast.”
4. “What he bought was not the end of exhortation, but the triumph of exhortation.”

Christ died so that we could do what Paul exhorts us to do in Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. “It is not foolishness, it is the gospel, to tell a sinner to do what Christ alone can enable him to do, namely, hope in God.”

So when we take hold of that which Christ has gained for us, and hold on to it, we are not holding in our strength, or with our might; we are holding it with all HIS might!

Father, I thank you that, by the work of Christ, we have been enabled to hold fast to our hope. I pray that you would make us aware that we do not need to muster up the strength to hold on to our hope, but that we have been enabled by Christ to do it. I also thank you and praise you for your consistency, that you never change!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi, as she travels to work, that you would keep her safe. I pray for her work day, and for the next two nights when I am not there, that the house would not feel too empty. I pray for my mother’s surgery today, that it would be successful. Guide the hands of the doctor and his assistants. I also pray for quick recovery. Keep us safe as we drive to Fort Worth and back today, and again tomorrow. I pray for Stephanie, as well, especially that she would behave while I am gone, and that you would show your great love to her. Show your great love to Rachel and Justin, as well.

As you consider your day, and that we must hold fast to this hope, try to remember that Jesus has given you the strength to hold on, using his power and might, not your own.

Grace and peace, friends.

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