Recently our church family was presented with a Sunday morning message that opened my eyes to a new realization. The sermon was based on a passage from 1 Peter chapter 1. I have read those verses many times, but that morning I saw them with fresh eyes. The speaker pointed out a word I had never taken notice of before.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
As a follower and believer in Jesus Christ, I have been “born again to a LIVING hope.”
For years I looked forward to the hope that would be realized in the future. I was encouraged, blessed and rested in the knowledge that Jesus loved me, died for me, and had forgiven me of my sins. I had the hope of an eternal home in heaven with Jesus my Saviour, and joy as I contemplated the future.
Every Easter Sunday morning, I would be especially blessed as I would be reminded of the hope that one day I too would rise again to live with God in Heaven. One day, God would take me from this sin-sick world. One day, there would be no more crying, sadness or sickness. One day, I would trade in this body that is growing older and weaker for a new one.
The speaker helped me realize that my hope is a LIVING hope for today. I am not to waste any more time pining away, longing for God’s promises of my future in heaven, which will most certainly come to pass. Instead I need to be aware of the opportunities God presents to me every day. Each day is a gift from Him to be used and lived for His glory. I am to use today to share His message of hope. Living hope is an active hope, for me to share today and every day.
Inspired by Joel Zantingh
The words that follow were written several years ago. Even though I wrote them, I needed to hear them again, and once again put the principles into practice. Yes, sometime we forget what we have learned.
Have you ever felt “out of sorts”, left out, or neglected? Sometimes things don’t go the way I would like them to. Sometimes my ideas go ignored. You’ve probably got buttons of your own that, when pushed, send you into a “funk.” There are so many things that can put me in a bad mood and ruin my day. But, years ago I realized that I have a choice to make. I can continue to wallow in self-pity, or I can determine to do what is right and have a pleasant attitude. The verse in Acts 11:23 describes how I need to live in all circumstances.
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Barnabas had travelled to Antioch to investigate rumours that a group of unknown men were preaching about Jesus. The Apostles were concerned that this group might be preaching false doctrine. However, it seems that it didn’t take long for Barnabas to discover these men were indeed preaching truth and their ministry was being blessed by God. The verse states that “he was glad.” Some versions translate the word “rejoiced.” He was excited to see God working among these people. It doesn’t say so here, but I can imagine that Barnabas whispered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Then, true to his nature, Barnabas “encouraged them.” He went on to give these new followers of Jesus specific direction. He encouraged them to continue with the Lord “with PURPOSE.” They were to live a life pleasing to God with intention and determination.
It’s easy to fall back on the old “I’m a woman; it’s my hormones” excuse. Yes, hormones are real and we don’t have complete control over them. But, often it is not the female hormones. Both men and women fight bad attitudes.
Several years ago my pastor’s wife walked past me in the busy church foyer and didn’t stop to speak to me. I remember being faced with two choices of thought. The selfish, touchy Debi could have thought, “She walked right past me today at church and didn’t even acknowledge that I was standing there.” Or, the patient, understanding Debi could have thought, “She walked past me today and didn’t speak. She is so busy. I am sure she must have a dozen things on her mind. I’ll give her a call to see if there is something I can do for her.” And then, I could take it further and remember to pray for her as she faced all the pressures and responsibilities of being a pastor’s wife.
Many things can put us “out of sorts” if we let them. Many people in our lives seem to bring out the worst in us and get us into a bad frame of mind. I encourage you today to remember, and heed the words of Barnabas:
“…with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
Then you will be able to say with confidence:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” Psalm 28:7
We have arrived at the last stanza of Psalm 119: 169-176. My desire is that you have fallen more deeply in love with our God, His Word, and His work as we have studied this Psalm. In these last verses, we hear the psalmist cry out to God, expressing a love of God’s Word, respect for His laws and commands, and dependence on God’s guidance each day. Do you hear the passion in these verses? Do you experience the same desire for understanding of God’s Word?
When I take time to read a passage several times, the Lord reveals new ways for me to apply His truth to my life. What I have written in these devotionals is just the beginning of what God has to say through them. There is so much more in this chapter that God wants to teach us all. During this study, I have prayed that the Lord has spoken directly to you; that He will make His Words new to you each morning.
Anamorphic art is new to me. I read about it first in “Our Daily Bread” on September 28 of this year. Sheridan Voysey explained it this way:
“ Appearing at first as an assortment of random parts, an anamorphic Sculpture only makes sense when viewed from the correct angle. In one piece, a series of vertical poles align to reveal a famous leader’s face. In another, a mass of cable becomes the outline of an elephant. Another artwork, made of hundreds of black dots suspended by wire, becomes a woman’s eye when seen correctly. The key to anamorphic art is viewing it from different angles until its meaning is revealed.”
He went on to point out that Scripture is much like anamorphic art.
“…the Bible can sometimes be hard to understand. But Scripture itself tells us how to unlock
its meaning. Treat it like an anamorphic sculpture: view it from different angles and meditate
on it deeply.”
Dig deep. Take your time. Take one portion of Scripture and read it over and over again until God speaks deeply into your heart. His message to you will likely change how you think and alter how you will behave. Make that portion of Scripture yours.
Lord, please open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things on your law. Help me understand Your words and discern how You want me to put them into action for every situation I face during this pandemic and in the years ahead.
“May the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 7
Debi Snider... more