Faith in Experience v. Faith in the Gospel

Today is Saturday, December 3, 2016. Twenty-two days until Christmas.

Quote of the Day

“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.” – Bil Keane

Word of the Day

Jackelope – A mythical animal depicted as a hare or rabbit with horns and said to exist in parts of North America. (I confess I am surprised to see that word in the Oxford English Dictionary!)

Today is Disability Day, also known as International Day of People with Disability. “The aim of Disability Day is to encourage a better understanding of people affected by a disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life, from economic, to political, to social and cultural.” It is important that we recognize, as well, that not all disabilities are visible. In fact, many are not. The scope of this day ranges from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis and more. If someone is not acting the way you think they should be, there may be more to the story than you know. In fact, it is likely that there is always more to the story than we know.

The main thing going on today is the Night of Worship that is happening tonight. We have this event at the house of some of our church members. He and his wife came up with this idea a few months ago, and we have been doing it pretty much monthly every since. The potential for blessing is tremendous, and we pray for God to meet us there, and anoint those who are involved in the musical side of things, the hosting side of things, and the technological side of things. What we desire is for God to “show up” and do whatever he wants to do. I’ll be going to the house at 2:00 PM for practice, a little earlier than usual, because we have a guest playing and singing with us tonight. We’ve never played with her, so the leader wants to have a little extra time so we can practice together leisurely.

Our worship gathering is, of course, tomorrow morning, and our pastor will continue in our Christmas series. And we are actually singing three Christmas songs tomorrow morning! They are all contemporary, though. None of the traditional Christmas songs.

C’s step-dad seems to be doing well. He is now breathing on his own, with no help from the ventilator. He was scheduled for a dialysis session this morning, as he still had a lot of fluid. But things seem to be looking good.

84 days until the first Spring Training game.
121 days until Opening Day.


Saturday of the first week of Advent

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. Psalm 46:8

O LORD . . . answer us when we call. Psalm 20:9

O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. Psalm 59:9

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:22-23

A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 
  who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 
  in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 
  who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 15

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 
  They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. 
  Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 
  I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 
  Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:19-24

The fact that God sees all and knows all does not strike me as intrusion, making me want to hide from him. Rather, it causes me to look at him as a companion. I welcome his knowledge of me and find it comforting. “God’s knowledge of me and his presence with me bring understanding and freedom.” For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. (Psalm 36:9)

“Lord, I see through a glass darkly; I am full of obscurities and shadows. You are the light of the world. Show me what I am in the light of your love so that I may find myself in your way and in your salvation. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 1 Corinthians 2:4

“If in preaching the Gospel you substitute your clear knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the Gospel, you hinder people getting to Reality.” We must be rooted and grounded in our faith in God when we proclaim any knowledge. Our faith must not be in our knowledge.

Once we are rooted in this “Reality,” we cannot be shaken. “If your faith is in experience, anything that happens is likely to upset that faith; but nothing can ever upset God or the almighty Reality of Redemption; base your faith on that, and you are as eternally secure as God.”

I can speak from experience to the truth of that statement. I have been in both situations. When my faith is in my “experience,” the least little thing that happens can shake it. But when my faith is in God, in the “Reality of Redemption,” I am unshakable. Unfortunately, I seem to vacillate between the two.

Father, help me to stay in the place where my faith is in you and your Reality, rather than the experiences that I have gained from you. Let my faith be in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than in any knowledge that I might have. My knowledge is faulty. You are not. I must not have faith in anything that is faulty.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.


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