“He has begotten us again… To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4
While we live on earth we must live in hope. For although we know that through faith we possess all the riches of God (for faith certainly brings with it the new birth, adoption, and inheritance), we do not yet see it. Therefore it stands in hope, and is laid aside a little while, so that we cannot see it with our eyes. This he calls the hope of life.
In hope, he says, we await the precious inheritance to which we have attained through faith. For this is the order: out of the word comes Faith, out of faith the new birth, and out of the new birth we enter into hope, so that we are sure of the heavenly good and await it with certainty.
This hope leads us not to look at this world with disdain but with joy for the future the Lord has prepared for it! This world will be recreated by the Word of God in the same manner that we have been reborn in faith.
Prayer: Lord God, Heavenly Father, may we always be excited for the best day of the rest of our lives, the day of the Lord. The day of your triumphant return is indeed on its way and we cant wait! In the name of Jesus, Amen.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:13
Behold how daring and bold the prophetess? Who gave him such as stoned if I encourage? Or when it’s did he receive it? From the savior alone. The more people would drive us away from him the firm or reclaim to him. The more sorrow, misery, and harm people do us, the more we rejoice, for our joy is eternal. And the more people want to drag us away from it, the greater it becomes.
And this should be understood as follows: Christ as my Savior; if I no one believe it, it is an eternal joy to me, so long as I build upon it. When, however, the heart and conscience are devoid of Christ, the joy has ceased. Grace continues, but the conscience can stumble and fall. In this essay that you may not be offended if many of your number fall away from the gospel and denied Christ. For Christ is with his comfort and joy, the cross and persecution are not far away.
In this we see that our sinful conscience can often sway with our broken thoughts and intentions but that Christ holds fast onto us. This is the mercy of God, that the work of saving sinners belongs to Jesus and not to the hands, thoughts, and wills of mankind.
Prayer: Lord your Joy is indeed our strength. We know this and pray that you would continually hold it before our eyes that we can know where our true home is. Thank you Jesus! Amen.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
This is a noble and dear virtue of faith, that it closes its eyes and simply and joyfully leaves everything in the hands of God. Faith does not seek to see into the motivation of our Heavenly Father wanting to know why he acts as he does, it simply holds him to be the highest goodness and justice for all.
This is why faith is called the proving of things not seen, and even the very opposite of what is seen. The logic of the Gospel often runs contrary to our own human wisdom and therefore we are called forth from it to trust our Heavenly Father. It does not mean we close our eyes to the situations and needs of those around us. Rather, it means we see them very clearly yet simultaneously trust and rely upon the work of God for them in and among us.
Therefore this is the highest honor and love toward God in the highest degree of such honor and love for her neighbors. It is the trusting and believing God’s promises that he will be at work and is indeed at work now even though in many situations that may be hard for us to see or understand.
May you know and trust in the love of your Father, especially when it is hard and contrary to your natural desire for those are the faith moments when he is calling you from your human logic and into His Gospel logic.
Prayer: Lord God Heavenly Father, we pray that you would continue to strengthen and sustain saving faith in us and in all your people. We rely upon you for our hope and the hope of the world. Amen.
“I will pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplication.” Zechariah 12:10
The Spirit should create these two things in all Christians: first, that their hearts are sure in certain that God is gracious unto them; then, that they can help others to with their prayers. There is always and out flowing to others from the individual who has been touched, convicted, and freed by the power the gospel to those around them.
This is the same blessing that was given to Abraham by our Heavenly Father in Genesis chapter 12. “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The Creator of heaven and earth has a heart that seeks and loves the lost no matter their condition. So when our Creator and Redeemer puts His Spirit within the children of Heaven, His Spirit continues to do what the Holy Spirit has always done, He loves people. That means the people of God love others and care for them simply because the Holy Spirit is still doing that Godly work and is now using them as the hands and feet of God.
This concept is shown to us in the hymns the church sings when they worship together. For example “Take my heart and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee”. We hear this concept expressed even in the Lord’s prayer when we say Thy will be done.
May His love and Merciful will be done among you! Today, and for the rest of your tomorrows!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we submit to you in all things. We do this with Joy because you have shown that Your will is gracious and loving to all. We desire that our will be unified with yours. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” – John 15:11
It is to this end that we must celebrate that Christ holds fast to us. That he holds fast to our whole heart and soul, mind and body. Our joy is full when the Son joyfully presents us to our Heavenly Father in celebration. He shields us so that no calamity may befall us, that the Devil may not oppress us or snatch us from His hand. It is His work that breathes joy into all of our struggles and brokenness so that despair may have no place in our heart.
Jesus never tells us that life in relationship with him, that is saving faith, will be a life without struggle or suffering. In fact, He tells us the opposite! He tells us the world will hate us and war against us because we have the joy of Jesus! This is why it is important for us to remember and celebrate that just as Christ defeated sin, death, and the devil on the cross, so we too will forever be more than triumphant having received the victory of Easter in the waters of our Baptisms!
The only alternative to the Joy of Jesus is the happiness of the world. There are times, for sure, that the happiness of this world is very enticing! There are times when we are sinful fallen Children of God are tempted to give in and devote our lives to acquiring and pursuing the happiness of this world as the ultimate good!
As Christians we don’t reject the good things of the world but we definitely know that the good things of this world are only a blessing if they serve us in the right capacity. That is, they serve us but without us ever serving them. They must not and cannot replace or even challenge the rightful priority and spot that only belongs to Christ and the saving Joy that He give to us.
Prayer: Lord God Heavenly Father, please continue to establish your Joy in our hearts. Guard and protect us from this day forth and forever more! That we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Amen.