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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Today and every day, I want to walk uprightly and depend on God to strengthen me today and lead me into all my tomorrows, especially through the storms of life!

Even though the clouds are there, the sun is there, too!  Same for the storms of life.....the Son is there!

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

"Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us everything that is good for us." ~Matthew Henry

God promises to take care of His children, as long as we first trust Him and obey Him.  He is faithful in His promises!  But, the children of Israel were rebellious and stiffnecked, just like I am most of the time.  Just like the children of Israel wanted to do things their way, I want to have it my way!  When I don't get it my way, sometimes I pout and throw the proverbial hissy fit!  Oh!  Not out loud, of course!  After all, I am (or was) a pastor's wife!  What would people think?  But, in my heart, those hissy fits are the same as if I'd thrown them out loud for the world to see and hear, because God sees my heart, even when others cannot!

I am so glad there is pardon for my sin when I confess it before my heavenly Father!  That's another promise that God keeps, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

If you are thinking to yourself, "I'm not a bad person.  I try to treat people right and do good things.  I'm certainly not a drunk, or an addict, or a murderer!  I haven't done anything bad enough to go to hell!" listen with your heart to what these verses say, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."  1 John 1: 8, 10  

And listen with your heart to this, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Romans 3:10-12  "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23  "For the wages (you earn it) of sin is death (eternal punishment and separation from God)" Romans 6:23a

But, as bad as that is, there is good news:  "the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord!"  Romans 6:23b   Jesus is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Salvation!  " one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death (eternal separation from God) (entered the world) by sin; and so death passed upon all men (mankind), for that all (that means all, and that's all "all" means) have sinned" Romans 5:12  "For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many (all mankind) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many (those who trust Jesus' death on the cross to take the place of their deserved punishment) be made righteous (free from sin in God's eyes)." Romans 5:19

Our requirement to change direction on the path to eternal punishment is this, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9, 10

The word "repent" is used many times in the New Testament by Jesus, by John the Baptist, by the other apostles.  The Greek word means to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction).  Repentance is often pictured as someone heading in one direction (to hell) and then doing an abrupt about face to head in the opposite direction (to heaven).  Or to make a complete change in action or mind.

The message for today is about God's GREAT faithfulness in forgiving our sins if we will but ask.  Thank You, LORD!  GREAT is Thy Faithfulness, Oh, LORD to me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

I enjoyed some reading on the deck today in the warmth of the sun.  But, it was chilly when the sun went behind the clouds!

The following poem was shared with me from a sweet friend of mine.  Thank you, Gayle!  This will be a great poem to remember during the holidays, especially!

The Blessings that Remain
There are loved ones who are missing
From the fireside and the feast;
There are faces that have vanished,
There are voices that have ceased;
But we know they passed forever
From our mortal grief and pain,
And we thank Thee, O our Father,
For the blessings that remain.
Thanksgiving, oh, thanksgiving
That their love once blessed us here,
That so long they walked beside us
Sharing every smile and tear;
For the joy the past has brought us
But can never take away.
For the sweet and gracious memories
Growing dearer every day,
For the faith that keeps us patient
Looking at the things unseen,
Knowing Spring shall follow Winter
And the earth again be green,
For the hope of that glad meeting
Far from mortal grief and pain—
We thank Thee, O our Father—
For the blessings that remain.
For the love that still is left us,
For the friends who hold us dear,
For the lives that yet may need us
For their guidance and their cheer,
For the work that waits our doing,
For the help we can bestow,
For the care that watches o’er us
Wheresoe’er our steps may go,
For the simple joys of living,
For the sunshine and the breeze,
For the beauty of the flowers
And the laden orchard trees,
For the night and for the starlight,
For the rainbow and the rain—
Thanksgiving, O our Father,
For the blessings that remain.
- Annie Johnson Flint