February 28 – Living Hope

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” –  1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

When we hear the term “born again” we need to keep in mind that many have used it in ways to make it commonly misunderstood – especially from its original meaning in the Bible. In our verse today we have a promise of God’s great mercy. He has caused us (faith believers) to be reborn with a living hope. Again we consider the difference between the today’s usage of ‘hope for’ and the living hope that Christ has provided. Our hope in Jesus is a living hope. We have absolute assurance because what we hope for has already been done. We have already a living hope and all it promises in Jesus Christ. When Jesus died physically while hanging on the cross, He, the Son of Man, was absolutely dead. He had committed His spirit into the hands of God the Father. But Jesus did not remain dead. He was resurrected to a new life. That is what our living hope is about – we too have in Christ the benefits of His resurrection. He has already caused it to happen for us through our spiritual birth. It’s a hope that is alive and never will disappoint us.

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January 17 – Believe and Follow

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NASB)

It was about A.D. 51 when the Apostle Paul wrote from Corinth this letter to those believers in Thessalonica. They constituted the church which was founded on Paul’s second mission trip. With Paul was Timothy and Silas, so it is those three that make up the “we.” Paul was a man of prayer and he with his companions prayed frequently for the all those who were in the church. Paul uses a favorite three-fold combination of faith, hope and love. The Thessalonians’ response to the preaching of the gospel in their midst established indisputable proof of their salvation. The evidence of God’s love for the Thessalonian believers was His choice of them unto salvation. From the Greek word translated chosen (eklogēn) comes our English “election.” That God has chosen to bless some individuals with eternal life is clearly taught in many places in both the Bible. Likewise clear, is the fact that God holds each of us personally responsible for our decision to trust or not to trust in Jesus Christ. Verse six affirms their choice as they followed Paul and in his submission to Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

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January 14 – Hope With No Shame

“ …and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” –  Romans 5:4-5 (ESV)

Aren’t there times for each person when what is hoped for ends in deep disappointment and even shame? We stake our hope on uncertain outcomes and when it fails us, we may well be downcast for a time. This isn’t the kind of hope that we receive as believers from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’ve learned that even the times of sufferings are times that produce good traits in us. Endurance, character, and hope are mentioned in our verse. In this promise is this hope. A hope than will never result in our shame or disappointment. The hope comes from God and is built upon His Word and His promises. How is it we can be so certain that this hope won’t disappoint us? Because it comes as a result of God pouring His love into our hearts. This is the ministry of His Holy Spirit. This is why God gave to us His Spirit dwells within us never to leave us without His encouragement and counsel. We’re assured by God and so our hope is in that assurance. We are His precious people and He our marvelous God.

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January 13 – He Knows and Gives Hope

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

The verse selected for today is often a favorite. Many take the promise in this verse as if it is given directedly to each believer. In a much larger sense it is true but not in the primary sense. Jeremiah, was sent to give God’s messages and warning to the His people in the Kingdom of Judah. (The northern Kingdom of Israel was gone and its people dispersed.) Warnings of conquest and destruction were repeatedly given to them by God through Jeremiah and each was ignored, mocked, and disregarded. They treated Jeremiah treacherously with malice and physical torture. But look one verse back to Jeremiah 20:10 we have the necessary context. God promises a time to bring the captives back from Babylon after seventy years in exile. Not all came back but God is promising in verse 11. God promised welfare and no longer calamity. He promised a future and a hope. While not directly in this verse, God has promised each believer a future and a hope. We too have this promise of welfare and not calamity from God from God. We find these promises many places. He gives us hope that is absolute and never disappoints.

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December 25 – Our Clear Purpose

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:7-8 (NASB)

It’s Christmas Day on our calendar and our thoughts are turned to the Gift of Gifts, Jesus the Son of God. Remembering so many other names we can use; King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. We might think our selected verse is sort of unusual for this day. But, no. It is appropriate in many ways that we recall and think about the reason we have this day on our calendar and what we celebrate God becoming fully Man while remaining fully God. It is mind blowing.  Let’s take time to contemplate this extraordinary situation.. If the Son of God came to help us stop sinning — to destroy the works of the devil — and if he also came to die so that, when we do sin, there is a propitiation, a removal of God’s wrath, then what does this imply for living our life? For the next three posts, thanks to notes from John Piper’s “Solid Joys”, we will look at three gifts which God in Christ has given us. They are, A Clear Purpose for Living, Hope That Our Failures Will Be Forgiven, and Christ Will Help Us.

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December 10 – Unending Comfort and Hope

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,  comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (ESV)

How about the times in our lives when what we need is encouragement or comfort? Today’s verse is about the grace of God through which we are comforted or encouraged.  God knows when his children need to be encouraged. He promises to give it to us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Father God in heaven have provided for us eternal encouragement to help us live the Christian life. This doesn’t mean that God encourages us once and it lasts forever. It means that because He is eternally the source of encouragement and comfort. He is with us all the time. He never leaves us so whenever we need encouragement, God will be with us to give it to us.  When we need comfort He is our unending supply by grace. It is a promise from God that lasts for eternity because God’s promises last that long. They never cease and He never exhausts the supply. Let’s take encouragement from this promise today.

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November 30 – Hope. Peace. Joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13 (ESV)

Three words which we use often in our thoughts and conversations. But does our use reflect the power and fullness of these words for us? The first is Joy and this verse should fill our hearts with rejoicing. We fully believe that these blessings are for us today just as they were available to the Christians in Rome to whom these words were written long ago. God desires to fill us with joy. God also offers to us Peace. But the peace God gives is not the peace found in this world. Peace treaties and conferences and summits all mean just one thing – lack of conflict between warring parties. The peace from God is the removal of the hostility that separates us from Him and binds us to His love. If our hearts and minds are disturbed by some crisis or difficulty, God wants to fill us with His peace. If you are wondering about your eternal future God wants to remove the uncertainty and doubt and fill us with His Hope. His joy, peace and hope are our promise today and so we give thanks God for His love.

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 October 21 – One Means One

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6 (NASB)

We have been promised as faith believers that we are one together. So it may seem strange, after reading these verses and understanding this promise from God that there is myriad of versions of Christian bodies each following a different interpretation or teaching. Paul, the apostle is teaching the body of believers in Ephesus that in all the world there is only one body of believers. Paul lists seven elements of unity centered on the three Persons of God. He focuses on the Trinity—the Spirit in verse 4, the Son in verse 5, and the Father in verse 6. Paul’s point is not to distinguish between the Persons of the Godhead but to emphasize that, although they have unique roles, they are completely unified in every aspect of the divine nature and plan. These are the basis for unity that should exist in the body of believers. One body refers to the universal church. One Spirit is the Holy Spirit who indwells the church. The words, one hope when you were called, all believers have a common hope regarding their future with God, a confidence that began at the time they were “called” to salvation.

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 September 22 – Merciful Father

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” – 1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

Even if we do not know them, there still is one father and one mother for every person created. Though God was known as Creator and Redeemer in the OT, He was rarely called Father except He is in Isaiah and Jeremiah. Jesus Christ, always addressed God as His Father in the gospels except in the separation on the cross (Matthew 27:46). In doing so, Christ claimed to be of the same nature and being, as the Father. Jesus does not forbid the showing of respect when He said “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Christ says no to the use of such names as spiritual titles, or in a sense that accords undue spiritual authority to a human being, as if he were the source of truth rather than God. By speaking of “our” Lord, Peter personalized the Christian’s intimate relationship with the God through His Son. For God provided a glorious salvation for mankind. He is merciful because sinners need God’s mercy. We were in a pitiful, desperate, wretched condition as sinners. Only by God’s mercy are we forgiven and born again.

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July 30 – Waiting Patiently With Hope

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)

We continue talking about hope, and by that we mean hope that has faith as its foundation. It is not a ‘wistful’ hope but a hope out of conviction that God’s promises are ours to keep and trust. “Seeing is believing” but that isn’t believing by faith and it isn’t “seeing is hoping.” Even our faith is a gift from God. Because of our faith, we have hope that what we do not see now is yet truly ours. It is not really hope at all if we say we hope in what we can see and confirm. We do not really have hope for what we see when assurance and proof is right in front of them. We hope for heaven and that hope will not disappoint; we know it is ours although we do not see it now. We have our hope in God’s promises, in His word. God has said, “Take My word on it.” So, we can and do that with faith and hope from God. It is because of that hope and our conviction in the promises that we are able to patiently wait for it to be.

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