The Light of Love

Bible:

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. I John 2:7-11 ESV

{Jesus said:] “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV

Reflection:

Alice had been born in Korea, but she was adopted by American parents and lived in a community where there were very few Korean people. Then a boy from Korea named Yoon Jun came to her town and her school, and Alice’s parents wanted her to be friendly with him. But Alice was popular, and everyone thought that Yoon Jun was weird, so she didn’t want to be his friend. But after awhile she came to see that Yoon Jun was a pleasant and worthwhile person who could be a good friend, and also that he could teach her about her Korean heritage. Instead of being blinded by what her friends might think and her prejudice toward people who were different from her, Alice learned to clearly see the value in her new friend.

John wrote about a commandment that Jesus had given, a commandment that would not be new to the people who read his letter, because they would have learned about it when they first learned about Jesus. This simple commandment is that we love one another. It is a commandment that is old, but it is also always new, because the light of God’s love is new for us every day, and through the love of God we can see people in a new light. We don’t look at them as people who cause us trouble and pain, but rather we see others as people that God loves. We can see their value in knowing that they are all people who were made in God’s image, and people that Jesus died for. If we can’t see any of that, then we are still in the darkness of not really understanding the love of God.

The love of God is made the most clear by Jesus and what he’s done for us on the cross. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to bring us back to himself. Jesus allowed himself to be beaten and made fun of and put on a cross to die for us. He took the penalty for all of our sins, and because of him our Heavenly Father forgives us every day. We can look at other people through Jesus, not keeping track of all the things they do that we don’t like, but instead knowing that Jesus loves them the way he loves us, and that God’s forgiveness is for them, too. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts, helping us to love and forgive, and soothing away the hatred that wants to pull us back into the darkness and away from the love of God.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wonderful love for us. Help us to love other through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

Lee, Marie G. If It Hadn’t Been for Yoon Jun Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Advertisements

Forgiveness and New Life

Bible:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. I John 2:1-6 ESV

[Jesus said:]As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a story, probably true, that the apostle John was visiting the church in Smyrna when he saw a handsome, high-spirited boy, and he told the bishop of the church to take care of this boy and to bring him up as a Christian. The bishop took the boy into his home and raised him and taught him about Jesus, but when the boy grew into a man he ran away and joined a gang of bandits that had a hideout in the mountains. When the apostle John returned some years later he asked about the boy, and the bishop told him the sad news. John went up into the mountains looking for this young man. When he found him, the young man was so ashamed that he tried to run away, but John ran after him, even though he was a very old man. He called out, “Why are you running away from me, child–from your own father, unarmed and old?” John said that he was willing to die for this young man, and begged him to believe in Jesus again. The young man threw down his weapons and cried, and John assured him of God’s forgiveness and brought him home to the church.

John wrote a letter to encourage Christians to walk in the light of God’s commandments and to turn away from sin. John said that anyone who claims to know God but doesn’t obey God’s word is really a liar. If we love God, we will live our lives in the ways that please God and not go our own sinful ways. The love of God is made perfect in us when we live in his love and follow him every day, walking in the way that Jesus did.

The truth is that we can never follow Jesus perfectly, though, and John wrote comforting news for us. He said that if anyone sins, we have someone who will plead for us with our Heavenly Father, Jesus. God will always hear our prayers for forgiveness because of what Jesus has done for us. John assured people who sin that there is forgiveness for even the worst of sins, just as there was forgiveness for the young bandit who had turned away from his life in the Lord. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. God will always forgive our sins because of Jesus, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us live our lives in loving obedience to him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for always forgiving our sins for Jesus’ sake. Help us to live our lives in obedience to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Maier, Paul L., translator Eusebius: the church history Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2007, pp. 97-99.

Walk in the Light

Bible:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. I John 1:5-10 ESV

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 

I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

Calvin borrowed his dad’s binoculars, promising that he would be extra careful with them, but he wasn’t careful. Instead, he broke them. When that happened, Calvin was extremely afraid of the time when his dad would find out what he had done. He even thought about running away from home. He tried to keep it all a secret, but it ate away at him on the inside. He was full of fear and worry until he confessed what he had done to his dad. His dad was very angry with him, but when he saw Calvin’s tears, he forgave him and comforted him. It was much better for Calvin after he confessed his wrong to his dad.

We are often like Calvin. We are afraid of God’s anger when we sin, and so we try to hide it. We not only try to hide it from God, but we even try to hide it from each other, and even, sometimes from ourselves. We say that we haven’t done anything wrong, and that’s simply a lie. It shows that we are walking in the darkness, and this darkness keeps us from loving and helping each other. Most importantly, it moves us away from our Heavenly Father and the light of his love for us.

When we come into the light of God’s love and confess our sins, he doesn’t get angry the way Calvin’s dad did. Instead, he forgives us, just the way he promises he always will. He does this because he loves us so much, and because he sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus took all the punishment for our sins when he shed his blood for us on the cross. Because of Jesus, we never have to be afraid of God’s anger. Instead, we can walk in the light of his love and forgiveness every day, and we are always happy to share that forgiveness with others and invite them to walk in the same light.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for always loving and forgiving us, and for sending us Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

Watterson, Bill Weirdos from Another Planet Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1990, pp. 43-45.

Beware of Troublemakers!

Bible:

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 17-25 ESV

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever heard of Puck, the mischievous fairy? He is always making trouble, and one time he made a lot of trouble for two sets of lovers on a midsummer night. He was sent by Oberon, the fairy king, to put some magic potion into the eyes of a man named Demetrius so that he would fall in love with Helena, but Puck put the potion into the wrong man’s eyes! Lysander and Hermia were in love with each other, but after Lysander got the magic ointment in his eyes while he was sleeping, he started to love Helena instead, and that broke Hermia’s heart. Helena kept trying to win Demetrius’ love, but he wouldn’t love her, and that made her sad. There was a lot of confusion and trouble and sadness before things finally got straightened out, and Puck was mostly to blame because of his tricks.

Jude, who was Jesus’ brother, wrote a letter to some Christians warning them about people who cause more serious trouble than Puck did. He said that some people like to cause divisions within the church because they don’t follow God’s ways and instead have selfish and wrong ideas. Jude wrote that we should keep ourselves in the love of God and wait for Jesus to return and give us eternal life. He also said that we should help people who are doubting and carefully try to bring back people who are wandering away from God. We need to be careful because we might be tempted to turn away from God ourselves, though. People who are selfish and cause others to doubt and stumble or to turn against each other can cause a lot of harm, including tricking us to do the same kinds of things.

But Jude gives us a wonderful word of comfort. He said that the Lord is the one who is able to keep us from stumbling, and to present us blameless in the presence of his glory. We had wandered away from our Heavenly Father because of the devil’s tricks, but Jesus came to bring us back again. He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to keep us strong in our faith so that we don’t stumble or have doubts or wander away. He gives us our fellow Christians to love us and care about us when we might start to go wrong. Jesus is the one who brings us to God’s holy presence, and he is the one who is with us to keep us his, now and always.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing us back to our Heavenly Father. Please keep us safe from any tricks that might turn us away from you. Amen.

Source:

Shakespeare, William A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I Have Finished the Race

Bible:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. II Timothy 4:6-8 ESV

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Reflection:

In the country of Wales there are races that are called Brutal Extreme Triathlons. There is more than one version of these races: half, full, double, and triple, but they all involve running, swimming, and bicycling. The running involves running up and down Mount Snowdon, and the swimming involves swimming in Lake Padarn, a very cold lake! People who take part in these races must be in excellent physical shape and keep running, swimming, or bicycling with great endurance if they want to finish. But when someone does finish the Brutal Extreme Triathlon, he or she will feel a real sense of accomplishment. People who finish can say that they didn’t give up, and that they finished the race, no matter how difficult it got.

Paul used three different pictures when he talked to Timothy about his own death. He used the picture of having finished a race, and also the picture of fighting a fight and winning. The other picture he used is that of a drink offering. When priests offered drink offerings to God in the tabernacle or temple, they would pour the offerings out on the ground, and Paul felt as if he were being poured out for God like that. All of these pictures show the idea that the apostle had done everything he could for the Lord’s work, and now his time was up. He was looking forward to the end of his struggles, when he would meet Jesus and receive a crown of righteousness from him. This crown wouldn’t only be for Paul, but for everyone who loves Jesus and looks forward to meeting him face to face.

No matter how hard Paul worked for Jesus, and no matter what good things we might do for the Lord, in the end it’s not our hard work and running and fighting that win us the crown. Jesus won the crown for us when he died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Everyone who believes in Jesus will meet him face to face and receive this crown, a crown of his own righteousness that covers all our sins and makes us right with our Heavenly Father. Because Jesus has won our crown, and stays beside us to help us each day, we can continue in our race of life, no matter how hard it gets.  We trust him to help us every day, and we look forward to the time when we will see him and be with him always.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for winning the crown for us. Please stay beside us and help us to run our race for you. Amen.

Source:

https://www.runultra.co.uk/Events/Brutal-Extreme-Triathlons

 

The Sacred Writings

Bible:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. II Timothy 1:5 ESV

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 ESV

Reflection:

What is the greatest gift parents can give their children? Different people have different answers to this question. Some say that the greatest gift is an imagination. Others say that it is to believe in them. Another answer is that the greatest gift for children is time together. A popular saying is that the greatest gift parents can give their children is the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. Some people think that the greatest gift a parent can give a child is a brother or a sister. What do you think?

Paul wrote to Timothy about one of the greatest gifts parents can ever give their children, and that is to know God’s holy word. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, taught him the sacred scriptures from when he was a little boy, and Paul reminded him of what he had learned and who had taught him. God’s word is a precious gift, because it isn’t just ideas that people have written down, but instead it comes from God himself. Paul said that all of scriptures are breathed out by God into the hearts and minds of the people who wrote them. Because they are from God, they are good and helpful to us in many ways, especially in understanding God’s will and living God’s way.

The best gift that God’s word gives us is faith in Jesus, our Savior. Everything in the Bible is put together to point to him and to what he did for us. Jesus came from heaven to live as one of us, and he died on the cross to take away our sins. Everyone who believes in Jesus has life forever with him. Our parents can teach us about Jesus, but the gift of faith is from God himself. New life as God’s children is the greatest gift of all, a gift that our Heavenly Father has given us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your precious word, and for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

I Endure Everything

Bible:

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself. II Timothy 2:8-13 ESV

I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.

As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me! Psalm 40:9-11 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago, a Christian tribe in the highlands of what is now Myanmar were starving. A plague of rats had destroyed their harvest, and in order to survive, the people were eating the rats. When some missionaries came to visit them, this tribe gave them a small gift of money. The missionaries didn’t want to take the money, because they knew the people were starving, and perhaps they could use the money to help themselves. But this tribe insisted that the missionaries take the money to help bring the Gospel to another tribe where the missionaries were working. “We can live on rats,” the people said, “but they can’t live without the Gospel.”

These people were willing to suffer terrible hunger without the little relief their money might have given them for the sake of others who needed to hear the good news about Jesus. Paul was the same way. He wrote to Timothy that he was willing to endure being a prisoner and facing death for the sake of the salvation of other people. He knew that he was sharing in the suffering of Jesus and would soon share in his glory, and he also knew that nothing could stop the word of God from being free and continuing to spread in the world. He might be in chains, but the good news of Jesus was not. This is what gave Paul hope and comfort in his last days in prison.

The most important part of Paul’s hope was in God’s faithfulness. Nothing, not even the unfaithfulness of people, will ever stop God from being faithful to his promises to save us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross so that all our sins could be forgiven and we could have life with God forever. We might endure some suffering for Jesus’ sake, but that’s not what gives us life with God. We don’t have to earn what God has to give, but instead we trust in his faithfulness to do what he has promised for us, and we are happy to share that good news with others.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to your promise to save us. Help us to share your good news freely with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Moffett, Samuel Hugh A History of Christianity in Asia: Volume II, 1500-1900 Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books: 2005, p. 649.

Never be Ashamed

Bible:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. II Timothy 1:8-12 ESV 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 ESV

Reflection:

Queenie’s dad was in prison, and she was terribly ashamed of that. The other kids made fun of her all the time, and while she pretended that she didn’t care, she was very hurt on the inside. On the outside, though, she was mean and defiant and always getting into trouble at school and in the community. Queenie wanted her dad to come home more than anything, because she thought that that would make everything better and put an end to the shame of having her father in jail.

The apostle Paul was in prison again, and this time things weren’t going to turn out so well for him. The emperor Nero was cruelly persecuting Christians, and Paul knew that this time he wouldn’t be set free. While he was in prison he wrote a second letter to Timothy, a pastor who had always been like a son to him, and gave him some last instructions. Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of Jesus or of Paul. Many people might have thought that being in prison was a shameful thing, and they might have acted as if being a Christian was something to feel embarrassed about, especially when an important Christian leader like Paul was in prison. But Paul knew Jesus, and that it was worth everything to believe in Jesus. He wasn’t ashamed, and he didn’t want Timothy to be ashamed either, but instead to be willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus and his people.

The reason Paul wasn’t ashamed was because of the wonderful things God had done through Jesus. Jesus had died on the cross and had risen again from the dead, and by doing that he had brought the power of death to an end for everyone who believes in him. Jesus had brought life and immortality, which means never dying again, to light. All this was done by God’s grace. We didn’t deserve any of this by anything we had done, but God did this for us because he loves us so much. On the last day we will all completely know the wonderful gift of eternal life, a gift we are starting to enjoy right now, but a gift that we will celebrate fully in eternity.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us the gift of eternal life through your grace. Help us never to be ashamed of you. Amen.

Source:

Burch, Robert Queenie Peavy New York: Viking Press, 1966.

Washing and Renewal

Bible:

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 ESV

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. Acts 2:38b-39 ESV

Reflection:

There’s an old story that when Jesus was a baby, a woman who had leprosy came to Mary and asked for help. She wanted to be healed from her leprosy, and Mary said that she could help her. After she had given the baby Jesus a bath and put him to bed, she gave the woman Jesus’ bathwater and told her to pour it over herself. The woman did as Mary told her, and she was cured of her leprosy! After a few days this woman found another woman, a princess, who also had leprosy. Her husband, a prince, had separated from her for this reason, and she was very sad. The first woman told the sad princess to go and see Mary and the baby Jesus and ask for some of the baby’s bathwater to wash herself with, and the princess did that. She also was cured of her leprosy, and her husband was so happy that he had a second wedding and began their marriage again.

These are only stories, but they give us a picture of something that is true. Paul wrote to a man named Titus that we are all washed in the waters of baptism, and are healed of something even worse than leprosy. We are healed of our sins and given a brand new life by the Holy Spirit. The waters of baptism aren’t magical waters, but we receive forgiveness and healing and eternal life because our baptism is connected with Jesus–not his baby bathwater, but his own baptism for us and his death on the cross and his resurrection.

We all once had turned away from our Heavenly Father in sin and rebellion and had fallen into hatefulness and death because of it. But God loves us had mercy on us and sent Jesus to save us. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sins, and because of this we are forgiven every day. Our sins are washed away in baptism and through the power of the Holy Spirit we live a new life in God’s grace. We have been made God’s children, and we will inherit heaven someday, all because of God’s love for us in Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and for sending Jesus to save us. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

I Infancy 12

 

Waiting for the Day

Bible:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. II Peter 3:11-13 ESV

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:1-6a ESV

Reflection:

Long ago, there was a time in history called the Three Kingdoms of China. People sometimes have looked back to that period of time as glorious for battles and for heroes, because there was a lot of fighting between the three kingdoms. After awhile they came to an end and were conquered by invaders, though, and as that happened the people began to lose hope. The last of the three kingdoms to fall was Wu. The last emperor of Wu was cruel and heartless, and he put to death anyone he thought might be a traitor, especially among his own government officials. When invaders came to the Wu kingdom, the Wu soldiers threw down their arms and surrendered without a fight. They had lost any hope that things would get better in their kingdom, and they didn’t care if they were conquered.

Sometimes life can get hard for us, too, and it is tempting to start to lose hope that anything will ever get better. But Peter reminds us that we have the certain hope that the day of God is coming. When that day comes, everything that is evil and wrong will be dissolved with fire, and a new heaven and a new earth will begin, a glorious new world that will last forever. What kind of people should we be because of this? We are not hopeless people, but we are hopeful people, and we don’t surrender to any of the forces of evil in the world. Instead, we live lives that please God, knowing that there will be a day when he makes everything new.

We have hope that this new world will come and that we will be a part of it because of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus came into our broken and sin-sick world because he loves us so much. He died on the cross and rose again from the dead to defeat death and all the forces of evil. For everyone who believes in Jesus, the day of judgment when he returns is really a day to look forward to. It will be a day of new beginning and of life with him that will never end.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for defeating sin and evil for us. We look forward to your return. Amen.

Source:

http://kingdomofwu.org/?page_id=98