Sunday, May 08, 2011

May 8, 2011 … Trials’ Lessons: Confidence in Heaven

Passage of the Day: 1st Peter 1: 4 [in context of verses 3 – 5] … 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

My Journal for Today: In today’s passage from the Apostle Peter, we read of the great hope of heaven that we, who believe, have in Christ Jesus. However, all too often it is easy for a Christian to “forget” this heavenly hope when he/she is confronted by everyday trials, let alone some type of excruciating circumstance which tends to overwhelm our psyche.

In his devotional for this date in Strength for Today, John MacArthur paints an apt word picture to describe this phenomena of temporal distraction. He pictures us going up a steep mountain side on one of those slow trains with many seats available. As we traverse up the mountain, we can either choose to sit on the side of the train closest to the mountain and look out the windows at the dreariness of the mountainside; or we can choose to sit close to the window looking out into the beautiful view of the landscape and the sunshine away from the mountain. How often we Christians, when confronted with the choice of how to view life, choose to look at the dark side rather than looking upward and outward to the wondrous hope that lies heavenward.

To Christ’s small following of disciples in the upper room at the Passover meal shortly before His betrayal, Jesus related openly to the Twelve about His impending death. [see John 16: 19 – 22]

SCRIPTURE: John 16: 19 – 22 ... 19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, "Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see Me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me'? 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

But note above (in verse 20 – underlined), … even in the midst of speaking of the grief they would feel, He reassured them of the joy that would come in their realization of seeing Him risen again. But even with that reassurance, Peter still chose to look at the dark side in fear as he denied His Lord just a few hours later in the garden; and the remaining disciples bolted and ran in fear as well. All of them chose to be influenced by the darkness of the moment rather than to remember all those miracles they had seen Jesus perform and to remember His promises from right there in the upper room just a few hours before. Oh, how easy it is to allow our fears to turn our eyes away from the hope that is heavenward in Christ.

As John MacArthur also put it, “Nothing in life can (or should) take away from the wonderful promise of heaven’s glory as it was revealed by God, bought by Christ, and guaranteed by The Spirit (see Eph. 1: 11 – 14 - one of my favorite passages to return to when I’m down on life) …

SCRIPTURE: Eph. 1: 11 – 14 ... 11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory.

I hope any and all who read here will truly grasp this … as I hope and pray I will. I’m no different that a Peter who bolts in fear from momentary challenges rather than standing in faith from the hope of heaven. As we traverse the mountain of life, we simply must develop the habit to view the panorama which is the heavenly hope we have in our Lord, Jesus Christ, no matter how scary the events in life become.

So, today, as you face life, which side of the train do you choose to sit?

My Prayer Today: Lord, You are my hope and my joy. Amen

BLOGGER’S PS: Can anybody reading here identify with what I’ve posted here today. If so, let me know either on Facebook or via email – ... wrb

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