Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hope for Today, Inheritance for Tomorrow

Dear Journal:
Observation #2 regarding Peter: He uses long sentences. Long. And it takes a bit of time to restate his point in fewer words. But this is gold...
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [to] an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Or: Blessed is the God Who gives us this gift— The lively hope of an incorruptible inheritance, grounded on the resurrection of Christ, and reserved for those kept by His power.
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
In which hope we greatly rejoice (even in the midst of heaviness), and which Christ we love, believe, and rejoice in, even though we have not seen Him. So that the trial of our faith today might result in praise, honor, glory and salvation tomorrow.
"Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into…"
And which hope, (and which inheritance) is a miracle. Searched out by prophets, and marveled over by angels themselves...
I have always held that it is the way we relate to the unseen that makes Christians different than the rest of the teeming masses. Because we believe Him, rejoice in Him, though we haven’t seen him. Because we joyfully lay down today, in favor of tomorrow. Because we count the testimony of ancient writers sufficient to fasten our contemporary confidence.
And because we believe in the invisible, we have access to the power of the eternal.
I suppose it is a miracle. A miracle twice over.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Identity Before Activity

1st and 2nd Peter loom large on my horizon, thanks to the next GYC Memorization Challenge. And since that which is understood is better remembered, I’ve set out on a study of the same. What follows are some of my reflections, by section...

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied…” I Peter 1:1, 2

Before he’s said the first word of exhortation, or revealed the first of his agenda, he fixes this— his identity. And quite the identity it is.

Chosen by the Eternal God, long before he was,
Sanctified through the work of the Spirit,
Anointed and Obedient in and to Jesus Christ…

It is for this, and through this, and to these, that he writes, this “Apostle of Hope.” Because it is most significantly who he is, that informs and inspires what he does. Remember. And if the fruit is good, if his identity is worthy to be grasped, then hear his words...

Monday, April 20, 2015

No Fear Of Gethsemane

That place where the sun never rises, where sorrow never sleeps, where the trees watch somber as the grave;

That place where the rocks are rent from the struggle, where the earth soaks salt and red,
where the dew lays crystal blankets over bowed and fervent head;

That place where the songbird never warbles, where faithful friends nod off, where trembling hand takes bitter, burning cup, and one swallows. And where a kiss doesn't mean what it ought...

That place is called Gethsemane.

I know, dread horror.

But oh, wait. Before you follow instinct, wait. If you're brought here... do not flee away. Clutch the cold ground and take the cup. Whatever. bitter. cup. Yours can't end in death, only in morning.

This garden is no longer an eternal grave.
If you've been invited here, it's to find His company. This is the only place in the universe where one can be alone, together. Because He's “alone" here too...

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