Archive | March 2016

An ever-living hope

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Today the news reports are filled with the story of yet another act of terror.  Photographs and videos of destruction and death play over and over with every station’s broadcasts and I am immediately tempted to allow myself to feel nothing.  It happened in another part of the world far from my quiet neighborhood and I am weary of evil reports.  I want to retreat into ignorance and pretend that this kind of horror cannot reach me.  But I cannot.  I will not.

The facts of the case are still being pieced together, opinions run rampant as many watch and wait to see if someone or some organization with a cause will claim responsibility.  The very nature of terrorism is to cause great fear and if you take the time to look around, read the comments on social media, provoke conversations with your friends and co-workers you will most likely find that whomever is behind this terrible deed has effectively accomplished their goal.  They’ve made us afraid.

Some would say that this kind of fear is necessary in order to be alert and prepare as best we can to protect ourselves.  However, having spent the vast majority of my life living fear-based, I would disagree.  You see, I think there is a vast difference in wisdom (which is what we need) and fear (which is not what we need). Wisdom is knowledge put to proper use.  In the aftermath of this bombing there is much to be learned and this knowledge will help governments and individuals be as prepared as possible as this evil huffs and puffs and threatens to blow down more houses.  But prepare as we might, there is an unpredictability in this life that we cannot avoid.  Herein lies the root of our fears.

As I watched the news this morning I forcibly focused on the fact that these were people just like you and me who are enduring a kind of suffering that hasn’t touched my life.  They are hurting and desperate and confused and angry.  And some are hopeless.  I cannot be there to bandage their wounds, comfort their hurts, mourn with them over their loved ones lost, or even speak encouragement to their hearts.  But I can pray that in the whirlwind that surrounds their lives, in this moment they find Hope.  Not the temporary kind of hope that this world has to offer, but an ever-living hope.  Hope that shows up in the darkest of times.  Hope that reveals Himself in the wreckage of plans and dreams, not as the creator of the destruction, but the One who remains when all else crumbles.

Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Born anew into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay, imperishable, unsullied and unfading…   1 Peter 1:3-4

Peter wrote these words to believers who were facing persecution and suffering.  It was during a time when the Roman government under Nero had shifted its attitude from toleration to persecution in Rome.  His letter was one of encouragement and exhortation, not to discover ways to avoid all suffering, but rather how to endure it as a testimony to the hope they held.  Calling them to a firm belief that there is so much more to this life than what we see and what we experience in the natural.  He knew that some would give their lives for being followers of Jesus.  He knew many would face false accusations, imprisonments, and great hardships. And while he was specifically referring to the religious persecution of the day, I believe that these words speak to us today in whatever suffering we find ourselves.

So brace up your minds; be sober; set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1:13)

The Passion has our focus this week.  Our thoughts are on the sufferings of Christ, His death, and of course, His resurrection, the very foundation of our hope.  He made it possible for us to replace our fears that rise in the midst of suffering or the threats of terror with true hope.  Ever-living hope.  He IS coming back one day and I believe that as eternity unfolds before us we will begin to understand all that He worked in our times of trials.  There will be no regrets for having put our hope in Him.

Join me and pray that the people of Brussels find this ever-living Hope.

 

An ever-living hope” was written by Kay Stinnett and was first published on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

Photo from India.com

 

 

 

 

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When you hear my story

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When you hear my story will you love me?  Will you look through eyes of mercy and give of your richest treasure?  Will you offer a kind word and a soft touch?  

When you hear my story will you judge me?  Will you withdraw in disapproval as my sins are laid bare?  Will you weigh and measure my failures and find me unworthy of your love?

When you hear my story will you see me?  Will you look deeper than my choices and experiences and see that I am more than the sum of those?  

When you hear my story will you walk with me?  Will you stay by my side as I continue this journey?  Will you step with me into uncertainty until the certain is found?

When you hear my story will you discover that you know me?  Will you throw off your pretense and find that deep within we are very much alike?

When you hear my story will you tell me yours?  Will you take advantage of my vulnerability – for good – and trust me with your joys and sorrows, victories and defeats?

When you hear my story will you find Him?  Will you hear His words of love and mercy and grace and favor spoken to you just as He spoke them to me when my life was anything but perfect? Will you see Him more than me?

When you hear my story will you love me?

It was the day to give my testimony at the end of a five-week study.  I know how important our individual stories are and I thought I was ready.  Until I began the drive to the church.  God began to speak to me about the things He wanted me to share and the tears began to flow.  My story isn’t tragic or extreme as compared to so many who have suffered greatly.  But it is marked with bad choices, difficult inward struggles, and deeper sorrow than I had ever believed possible.

My heart was so tender that particular morning that my first instinct was to guard it.  From what?  I would be speaking to ladies I’ve known all my life, a few I’ve known for many years, and those I had met only through this study.  What was I afraid of?  What we are all afraid of in the natural – what will they think of me?  If they really get to know me will they still love me?  It is the question that so often prevents our stories from ever being heard.

I knew I couldn’t resist His leading, for what would be the point?  I knew that once I opened my mouth these things would pour forth hindered only by feeble efforts to control the tears.  And so I told my story.

It was frightening and liberating and exhausting all at the same time.  I realized on the drive home that I had told them something I had never spoken to another human being.  And it was in this moment that I found new freedom.  We so often fear the vulnerability that is the pathway to the very peace we seek.  But He is there.  In the raw exposure of our lives He is evermore our Healer and our Comfort.

He may never ask you to share your story in a crowd.  But I daresay the very mission of Christ involves us telling our stories to others, be it one at the time or in groups.  Your story is someone’s answer.  Someone needs to hear how you found Him in your darkest times.  Someone needs to hear that the very Grace that has lifted you is calling to them.  Someone needs the love and mercy you have to give because you have a story that matters in this grand plan of God.

Let’s be sensitive to His leading when He says “Go and tell”.  Will they love you when they hear your story?  Some will, some won’t. But that’s not the basis on which we decide to speak because telling our story isn’t really about us.  It’s about Him.

 

When you hear my story” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com