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On Good Days and Bad, We Hope in Christ's Shed Blood

Do you ever have a day that runs something like this? You get up in the morning …. [and] you stub your toe on that nail sticking out of the wall that you knew you should have fixed about three years ago …. You go out to the car, put your key in the ignition, and it will not start …. You get to work late, and … your boss says, "Have you finished that report yet? You're staying late tonight if you haven't." The whole day unfolds in one endless set of mini-irritants ….. Eventually you return home, and your [spouse] has cooked this disgusting stew that your children like and that you detest … The kids that night are really not behaving particularly well ….

Finally it is time for bed at the end of this long day, and your prayer runs something like this: "Dear God, this has been a rotten day. I'm not very proud of myself; I'm frankly ashamed. But I really don't have anything to say. I'm sorry I have not done better. Forgive my sin. Bless everybody in the world. Your will be done. In Jesus' name, Amen."

But then a few days later you wake up … [and] the sun is shining, the windows are open, the fresh air is wafting through the screen, and you hear the birds singing …. Then you have a wonderful quiet time with your spouse. You eat a hearty breakfast and then go out to your car, put the key in the ignition, and VROOM!—the car starts right up and takes off. You get to work early …. Your boss says, "Wonderful to see you today! Did I tell you that you are going to get a raise?" … Then you arrive home, and there is a joyous family dinner. The kids are behaving, and you have intimate conversation with your [spouse] while the two of you clean up the kitchen.

Finally, at the end of that day you get down to pray, and your prayer goes something like this: "Eternal and matchless God … we bless you that in your infinite mercies and great grace you have poured favor upon us" …. And then you pray for missionaries and their children and first cousins twice removed … and then you meditate on all the names of Christ that you can think of in Scripture. An hour goes by, and you go to bed and instantly fall asleep. Indeed, you go to sleep—justified.

On which of these two occasions have you fallen into the dreadful trap of paganism? God help us, … both approaches to God are abominations …. Do you not understand that we overcome the accuser on the ground of the blood of Christ? … This is the only ground of our acceptance before God. That is why we can never get very far from the cross …. We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the Lamb.

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