God’s Love Keeps On

Good morning afternoon. It is Saturday, May 2, 2015.

Today’s Word of the Day (OED) is citramontane. This word works as both adjective and noun. As adjective, it means, ” That is or relates to this (i.e. the nearer) side of the mountains.” As noun, it means, “An inhabitant or native of an area or country on this (i.e. the nearer) side of the mountains.” It seems to be used mostly in reference to the Alps.

Today is Free Comic Book Day. If you can find a comic book store, you might get lucky today.

Christi continues to be “under the weather.” However, she did get confirmation, yesterday, that it is NOT strep (hellelujah!), but probably (it’s always “probably,” isn’t it?) some kind of bacterial upper respiratory infection. They gave her some antibiotics, told her to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. She probably won’t make it to our worship gathering today. As for going to Mineral Wells tomorrow, that’s kind of up in the air, right now. We will make that decision later today.

Speaking of Mineral Wells, Mama continues to do pretty well out there. She was going to a senior adult activity yesterday, and some kind of “mother/daughter tea” thingy today that TWO different people asked her to! I tell you, these ladies are NOT going to let my mother be lonely! That is such a blessing.

Our power went out at work yesterday, at around 3:30, so we all left at about 4:00, around a half hour early for me. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of work left, so today’s crew shouldn’t have a difficult time of it. Unless, of course, the power is still off. We have no clue what happened. i couldn’t tell if there were more buildings than ours affected.

Update . . . Christi is feeling better, this morning.

Today, we will have our prayer gathering at 4:45, followed by our worship gathering at 5:45. I will be there to lead the prayer gathering for the first time in at least three weeks. I’m not completely into it, yet, but I will give it my best.

It was on this date in 1920 that the first baseball game of the Negro National League was played. It took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. The teams involved in that season were the Chicago American Giants, the Chicago Giants, the Dayton Marcos, the Detroit Stars, the Indianapolis ABCs, the Kansas City Monarchs, and the Cuban Stars. It would be another 27 years before Jackie Robinson broke the “color barrier” to play in MLB.

Today’s birthdays include Alessandro Scarlatti (composer), Benjamin Spock (pediatrician), Theodore Bikel (actor/singer), Englebert Humperdinck (singer), Lorenzo Music (actor), Bianca Jagger (Mick’s wife in the seventies), Lesley Gore (singer), Larry Gatlin (musician), Lou Gramm (singer, Foreigner), Donatella Versace (designer or ninja turtle?), Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson (actor), David Beckham (“footballer”), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (catcher), Lily Allen (singer), James Kirk (Canadian actor . . . wait), and Neftali Feliz (pitcher).

Neftali Feliz is a pitcher for the Texas Rangers baseball team. He turns 27 today. Here is a clip of him striking out A-roid to win the AL pennant in 2010, giving the Rangers their first ever trip to the World Series.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house,
and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him.
The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people.
All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her.
With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.
In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.
I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

Psalm 45

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “God Demonstrates His Love.”

. . .but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

It is important to note the tenses of the verbs in this verse. “Shows” is in present tense, while “died” is in past tense. (In the version Piper uses for the reading, the word “shows” is translated as “demonstrates,” but is still present tense.)

“The present tense implies that this demonstrating is an ongoing act that keeps happening in today’s present and tomorrow’s present.”

“Christ died for us” gives us the idea that the death of Christ was once for all, and will not be repeated. 1 Peter 3:18 supports this idea: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. (Emphasis mine)

We would normally expect Paul to use the past tense and say, “God showed his love for us.” After all, the death of Christ was the demonstration of God’s love for us, and it happened once, in the past.

If we look back a few verses, we get a clue.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

This passage leads us to believe that the “goal of everything God takes us through is hope. He wants us to feel unwaveringly hopeful through all tribulations.”

How do we do that? How can we feel unwavering hope in the midst of all kinds of tribulation? Because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit! There is a tense in that verb that tells us that it was poured out in the past, but “is still present and active.”

So we see that, yes, God did demonstrate his love in the past, by giving his Son to die once and for all for our sins. But this past love must be experienced “as a present reality (today and tomorrow) if we are to have patience and character and hope.”

God demonstrated his love at Calvary, and he goes on demonstrating his love through the Holy Spirit, today and for all of our tomorrows. “He does this by opening the eyes of our hearts to ‘taste and see’ the glory of the cross and the guarantee that it gives that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).”

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Father, I need this hope today. This reading was just what I needed. I am struggling with hope right now, and I know that this is normal, so I am not freaking out about it. I will not allow myself to be dragged down into spiritual despair. I pray for your patience with me, as you help me work through all the emotions I am feeling right now. Remind me, please, that this is not a good time to be making any kind of important decisions. I must lean on you for strength and wisdom, as well as emotional and spiritual support. Your grace has been so amazingly wonderful to me in the past few weeks. Please don’t let me go; keep your arms around me as I struggle.

I pray for this day. I ask that you continue to make Christi feel better and get her over this respiratory infection. I pray for Stephanie and me as we go to our church gatherings this evening. I pray for myself as I lead the prayer gathering today. Keep me focused and as positive as possible. Give me good points to pray over during this time.

Your grace is sufficient.

See the hope that God has given us, both as he demonstrated his love in the cross of Christ, and as he demonstrates it today through the Holy Spirit.

romans-8-38-39

Grace and peace, friends.

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