These are important days to remember "Whose we are" and "who we are". So I have provided 3 reflections to help you to recall to heart and mind the person and character of God. Christ have mercy.
Read and ponder the following translations of Psalm 86:15 paying attention to which words/phrasing you are drawn to. What do these words/phrases communicate to you about who God is? What might these words/phrase indicated regarding the current cry of your heart, the condition of your soul? What is your desire for God in this season? What do you desire from God?
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (niv)
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. (nasb)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (esv)
What are you noticing?
Now I invite you to continue to focus on the person and character of God using the word faithfulness to guide your time. Here is what you do; using the letters found in the word faithfulness come up with words that communicate to you truths about who God is that ground you and center you in Christ.
NOW use your God-words and craft your own Psalm or Poem.
1 Thes 1:3
Faith producing works
Love prompting self-sacrifice
Hope rousing resolve
The above is a Haiku I wrote as I reflected on 1st Thessalonians 1:3. I find these three short phrases both challenging and energizing—a call to action that is fueled by hope.
Hope is so important to the now of our life. In Hebrews we are told to hold firmly to hope and that our hope is an anchor to our faith. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays that we would know this hope and Peter (1 Peter 1:3) calls this hope a living hope—there is a dynamic reality to it.
This hope is found in Christ and flows from Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In Colossians Paul writes these powerful 7 words that help us to get a handle on the source of hope; Christ in you, the hope of glory. This speaks to a secure future in Christ. Later in Colossians (3:1) reminds us that our life hidden in Christ and so we do not worry about the future. The difficulty is that one can view this hope as solely focusing our attention on a future reality but an important truth to name is this that there is a boomerangs quality to this hope. Our Christ-hope boomerangs back into the present and gives us the ability to live with courage and boldness today.
The boomerang quality of hope brings an inner stability to face the storms of life (hope is an anchor) so we do not get swept into the rocks of despair. Also it is a living hope—it has a dynamic power that sustains and energizes us to live in a world of trouble/tribulation and take heart knowing Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33). Paul writes in Romans 8:18; “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul’s words give testimony to the power of hope to provide strength and a different perspective on the current realities of life. Paul further states in 2 Corinthians 3:12; Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
This hope does not only sustain and stabilizes us in difficult times this hope emboldens us to live Jesus, to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God. It is a hope that rouses our resolve to follow Jesus, to heed the promptings of God’s Spirit—to get the salt out of the saltshaker of our privatize, me and Jesus faith and be God’s agent in the world and to shine our light, no longer hidden within the four walls of the Church—partnering with God in God’s kingdom coming in greater fulness and God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. A standing with and standing for the destitute, the disinherited, the dispossessed.
Hope rousing resolve to live Jesus with courage and boldness.
In what/who do you place your hope (your trust)?
How does the hope that is yours in and through Christ— Christ in you, the hope of glory—impact your daily life?
How does your hope sustain and stabilize you in difficult times—like Paul bringing a different perspective to what you are feeling, what you are dealing with?
How does this hope help you to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God seeking to be salt and light, partnering with God to champion the cause of the destitute, disinherited, dispossessed?
Spend some time considering how this future hope can begin to fuel your life, confront your fears, ease your anxieties, empower your life and give you a greater boldness with it comes to living Jesus.
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