Sunday, May 5, 2013

Living Hope

Lately, I've found myself sitting in the book of 1 Peter.  Mostly I'd been just reading here and there, and then thought maybe I should just go back to the beginning and really go through the whole book.  Well, I made it to verse 19 of chapter 1.

In these verses, I will need to stay some time, to really soak it in. 

A lot has been going on lately.  Life is moving at a faster pace than I am ready for; I'm still in culture shock as I am re-entering life/culture.  On top of this- our family has had several 'hits' the past few weeks...really, sometimes the oppression of where we live ramps up, and it can be discouraging.

Throw in continuing to battle Lyme, well, you know---

Now, as you probablly have, I've read through these passages multiple times before; in fact, so well marked are many of the verses and word that it's gotten a bit messy on that page...different marking utensils for different life-seasons in which I've visited this text...notes scribbled in the margins...pencils, pens, different colored markers...

And today- I read them again like I've never seen it before.  There is something there, deeper, that is unwrapped before me by the Holy Spirit- and the gift is laid bare; and it is just what I need.

Living Hope.

Hope.  I've been wrestling with as I fight Lyme...what is Hope, and how is it/not congruent with my fleshly/ worldy understanding- and what biblically is it...  It is Christ.  He IS Hope.   Many times I have experienced that Truth as a 'landing point' as I go through life's battles. 

But, Living Hope; this takes it to another dimension. 

The translation I prefer is the NASB-  The chapter begins by identifying Peter's audience: aliens.  Yep- feeling more like an alien than ever.  :)  And, Peter goes on into the LORD's identity as the Trinity- Father, Holy Spirit, Son... vs2...'May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.' 

Grace, peace... fullest measure.  Fullest measure of grace and peace...  Oh, I need to breath that in! 

Verse 3 " Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the ressurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

Living Hope.  There it is.  I am more apt to land on Hope- but do I experience it as living, alive?

Look at these words that pop out in verse 4: inheritance, imperishable, undefiled, not fade, perserved in heaven....   Verse 5: protected by the power of God, through faith/salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time...

6: " In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,"

Yes, the trials-  and yet Peter reminds me in those things I can rejoice, greatly rejoice.  He also reminds me of God's perspective of time- 'a little while'.   I think of the saints/prophets about whom the Scriptures speak-- those who spent years...decades enduring various trials, and yet- I read about them in a few words... to me it was a 'little while'... to those going through it- it must have felt an eternity at times... 

Necessary-  did you catch that word?  'If necessary'-  this speaks to purpose/reason for these trials.  Through which are opportunities to glorify God, to learn more deeply His principles, to encourage others with understanding, to give a witness.... 

Verses7-9 "...that the proof of your faith , being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him you love Him, and though you do not seee Him now, but believe Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining a the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Outside of the heavenly, things are perishable.  This is so counter-cultural in my world.  I am dependent on the Holy Spirit to help me see this heavenly perspective, and on HIs giftingf of self-control to discplin my heart and mind in turning toward the Truth of it.

Faith is believing in the Object of our Faith- when unseen...therein lies joy.  We reach beyond our mortal senses and into 'knowing' His reality- even though we have yet to 'see Him'; His handprints are all around us; He fills a surrendered heart with His distinct presence...and we know.  In fact, we know-that-we-know-that-we-know...  there is a deep satisfaction and peace that comes with this knowing that nothing earthly can bring to us.

In verse 13, we find 'Therefore'-  So, after soaking this all in-  Peter implores us:
"Therefore, gird your minds for action,

keep sober in spirit,
fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."  ..... verse 18-19 "..knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."

The word 'action' may seem odd to us, especially when strings of days...weeks...months...may find us primarily in our bed... but ah, we are to 'gird our minds' for action.  In Peter's day- this was an expression from the when those with long Eastern garments had to gather and fasten them up in order to freely move about.  Basically- we are to ready ourselves.

Yes, and we can be readying ourselves- even in the long seasons on a sick-bed.  There is still a Great God who desires to meet with you, to teach you, to encourage you, to ready you- according to His great design and calling upon your life.

Peter implores- be sober; to be intentional in studying His Word.  Truth can permeate through the foggiest of minds--  Find some way to study, to listen, to hear, to read, to soak It in...even if it is one Word, one verse... Meditate on His Word..

And Hope.  Not hoping you get well, hoping you can do this or that....Fix your mind on the Living Hope that is in you.  In fact, look again, Peter states, "..fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Fix, completely, grace.... 

No, this (life, this season of battle) is not 'all there is' Beloved-- there is oh-so-much-more to come.  All these trials- they are for a little while.  Let us fix our minds and hearts steadily on He Who Is Hope-  our Living Hope.  

Dear One, may you experience Living Hope in your life today. 

(All highlights/italics...used with the Scripture passages, I have added)

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