“The words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.”~~Sarah Fielding
Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is ludic, “playful in an aimless way.” You know, like kittens!
Today is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. What? Already?? Someone’s research shows that January 17th is the “most common date to give up on your resolutions.” Me? I haven’t made a “new year’s resolution” in years. I have goals, yes. Not resolutions.
I feel MUCH better this morning!! Somewhere around 2:00 PM, yesterday, we called Tony’s Pizza and Pasta for lunch delivery. I decided that some chicken fettuccine might do well, and it did fine. My stomach was still feeling a little off, but not as bad as during the previous night. The lunch settled fine, and, as the day continued, I felt better. I slept very well, last night, and feel much more rested, this morning, as we get ready to go to our worship gathering.
The Exchange Church meets at the Northpark YMCA, in Fort Worth, at 9100 N. Beach Street. The worship gathering begins at 10:15.
(From Praying With the Psalms)
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
“‘How much simpler everything would be if there were no God. His laws, his love, his will permeate everything and make it impossible for me to be myself. How much easier to get my own way if I simply do away with him. Good idea. I’ll do it. There is no God!’ Excellent reasoning–for a fool.”
“Father in heaven, I pray for the people I know who avoid you and deny you. Help them to realize that you are no cumbersome burden to be endured but grace to be enjoyed in praise. Use me as a witness to such reality, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
(From Daily Guideposts 2016)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Patty Kirk writes of a Sunday morning sermon in which she was finally given a definition of faith that she could understand. Patty, who had been an atheist for decades, describes this definition that finally made sense. The pastor quoted Hebrews 11:1, everyone’s favorite verse about faith: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV) Apparently, there are different versions of the NIV, because that verse was what was in her husband’s copy of the Bible. The one the pastor actually quoted said, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” To this pastor, faith is about confidence and assurance. For Patty Kirk, in her years of struggles, faith had always been “synonymous with hope.”
For reference, the ESV says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Patty had had hope during years of atheism. And even though she has now believed in God longer than she hadn’t, she finds that her faith is reliant more on hope than certainty. She finally understood, from this pastor’s message, that “grasping hope wasn’t faith.”
There is a huge difference between faith and hope. We hope for a lot of things. But there are things that we can be assured of, in light of God’s faithfulness. I don’t have time to list them all, but I can give a few. We can be assured that God loves us. I struggle greatly with that one, even at this stage in my life. My faithfulness to him as been so sporadic . . . how can he love me? It’s because his love for us/me is not related to my faithfulness to him! That is why we can have assurance of this. We can also be assured of our salvation in Jesus Christ. That’s a tough one, sometimes, too. But it is sure and it is firmly established by his work on the cross, and there is nothing or no one that can take it away from us.
Father, I rejoice in these truths, and I pray that, as my life goes on, you will teach me more about this faith that is assurance. Teach me that I don’t have to just hope that you love me . . . I can be assured that you love me.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.