Test Time!

2Corinthians Overview Cont’d: Test Time!

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Are you a good test-taker? Do you prefer a pass/fail test to a graded scale test? Would you rather see 5 questions on the test or 50? Paul exhorted? Commanded? the Corinthians to take a test at the end of his second letter. It’s a test we can benefit from. But first, let’s return to the beginning for some review.

  1. Paul began this letter noting the comfort and hope belonging to all the saints. He reminded the saints of God’s faithfulness to His word, our security in Christ as the chosen of God, and our security found in the witness of the Holy Spirit in us.
  2. Paul packs the middle of this letter with the promises, purpose, and God’s perfecting of His saints through trials, comfort, encouragement, and instruction.
  3. Then at the end, Paul halts it all to call us to take a test.

This Weeks Scripture Passage:

“Test yourselves

to see if you are in the faith;

examine yourselves!

Or do you not recognize this about yourselves,

that Jesus Christ is in you—unless in deed you fail the test …

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:5,11(NASB95)

For Thought: What kind of questions would you expect to see on this test?

Our Prayer:  Heavenly Father, open our understanding that we may know we are your saints. No matter the trials we face, help us walk in the assurance of Christ in us. Open our eyes to see what you see in our hearts and minds. Help us recognize whether Jesus Christ is in us or not. And if any of us fail the test, show us that today can be our day to do a retake—our opportunity to receive Christ as our answer. Amen.

Done In Love

1 Corinthians 16: Let It Be Done In Loveblog shield

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men,

be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16:13,14, NASB*)

“Mom? Mom, I need you to wake up.” Mom raised her head, patted my cheek, and smiled. “I’m sorry to wake you but it’s time for your medicine.” I lifted her head enough for her to take her meds.

She smiled again, and lifted her hand to my cheek one last time. “I love you, baby.”

Those were her last true words of endearment to me before she walked with the Lord to her eternal home. They warmed my heart for Mom had dementia and died a couple weeks later. Last words can leave unforgettable marks on a person’s life.

In the last chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul sums up the whole of his letter to a church wrestling with itself and the world. He knew when all else might be forgotten, the last words of his first letter would be remembered as he summed up the letter in so few words.

“Be on the alert … Concerning—

1.Divisions in the body of Christ/the church;

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • that you all agree,
  • and there be no divisions among you,
  • but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1:10)

2. Sin in the body of Christ;

“Or do you not know

  • that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
  • Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, or the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • And such were some of you;
  • but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God …
  • you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (6:9-11,20)

3. Traditions ruling the body of Christ;

  • “You were bought with a price;
  • do not become slaves of men …
  • take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak …
  • Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
  • I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
  • but I buffet my body and make it my slave,
  • lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified
  • … each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good …
  • If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal …
  • Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially prophecy …
  • let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (7:23; 8:9;9:26,27; 12:7; 13:1; 14:1,40)

4. And the hope of the body of Christ.

  • “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
  • But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
  • For since by a man came death,
  • by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
  • For as in Adam all die,
  • so also in Christ all shall be made alive … 
  • Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep,
  • but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;
  • for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable,
  • and we shall be changed …
  • then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ …
  • Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
  • knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (15:19-22; 51-52,54b, 58)

Paul’s exhortation to the believers:

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men, be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16;13,14)

Paul’s warning to the unbelieving:

“If anyone does not love the Lord,

let him be accursed.

Maranatha.**” (22)

Paul’s and my blessing and acknowledgment to you:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

(23,24)

Mom’s last words to me left me a memory of her love, and another reason to look for the Lord’s return—knowing I’ll see her again, as she said, “riding on her white horse with Jesus.”***


For thought: What last words would you want to leave for those you love?

Today’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 22:10-15. Are you among the blessed looking for the Lord’s return or the cursed living outside of the Lord’s blessing?

Our Prayer: May we live with our hearts fixed on things eternal, looking for and working toward your kingdom coming.


*All scripture is taken from the NASB. **Maranatha—O Lord come! ***Mom wrote in her journal, if she should die before the Lord’s return she would be among the saints on white horses when He did return.

Where’s Your Mind Set?

1 Corinthians 10: Where’s Your Mind Set?

“Now these things happened as examples for us;

that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.

And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.’

Nor let us act immorally, as some of the did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-9, NASB

What a party they had! The noise reached the ears of Moses and Joshua as they came down the mountain. But the volume didn’t stop there. It reached the ears of heaven. The people set their minds against the God who had delivered them from slavery, only to make themselves slaves to a god made by their hands—a god made from the bounty the Egyptians received as they left their land. How quickly they forgot the goodness of God toward them.

After delivering them from Egypt,

  • He made a way to escape through the Red Sea;
  • He provided water when they thirsted,
  • manna when they hungered,
  • and strengthened them in battle.
  • His presence walked with them in the cloud.

But they wanted to play god.

When our minds are turned from God, they turn to another god. This is idolatry. Americans are good at playing this game. No matter what, don’t take away our playtime. Let us make our own rules and play our immoral games. We have become our own gods. Heaven help us.

The world, not just the United States, is filled with those who want to rule not only their lives, but all lives. It’s nothing new. The ideology came when Satan tempted Eve and said she could be like God. As the population multiplied so did the number of gods. In truth, any who have set their minds against the one true God have become idolaters—worshippers of false gods.

Paul reminded the Corinthians of the end for those who chose to set their minds against God.

“Nevertheless, with most of them,

God was not well-pleased;

for they were laid low in the wilderness …

and twenty-three thousand fell in one day …

some… were destroyed by the serpents …

some were destroyed by the destroyer.”

(taken from 10:5-10)

When we choose to set our minds against God, death follows. God told Adam so in the garden, and He tells us.

“For the wages of sin is death …” Romans 6:23.

But God has not left us without hope. Nor did He leave Israel without hope. The people spoke against God and Moses. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and many died. The people cried out confessing their sin. The Lord heard and made a way to save them. He told Moses—

“Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard;

and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten,

when he looks at it, he shall live.”

Numbers 21:8

Moses did. Those who suffered bites and looked to the bronze standard, lived. I wonder how many refused to look to God’s way? I believe some refused. For such is the nature of those who set their minds against Him, and we see it in John’s gospel when he writes—

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.”

John 3:14,15

Paul tells us all these things were written for our example. The question remains—will we learn from these examples or die in our sin. Our heavenly Father has offered us life through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son. Will we call out to Him and be saved? Or will we keep our minds set against Him?


For Thought: The Israelites saw God’s goodness and turned away. Why do people find it easy to set their minds against the One who loves them and gave himself for them?

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: A spiritual battle began in the Garden of Eden and continues to be fought. According to these verses, where is the battle field? And how do we win the victory?

Our Prayer: Father, you are God there is none other in heaven or on earth. You fill our lives with your goodness. Help us to set our minds on you and to bring our thoughts captive in obedience to you.

Hopeful or Hopeless

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ,

we are of all men most miserable.”

1 Corinthians 15:17-19

The scene repeats itself minute by minute. Someone takes the last breath of life on this earth. Death is no respecter of persons – young, old, male, and female; black or white – color doesn’t matter; saint or sinner. Death leaves someone grieving by a graveside.

That’s the sad news. But the happy news tells us life does not end be the graveside. In fact, no one is left in the grave. The only thing found there is the body that housed the person. The sad news – many die to face death eternally apart from God. They will remain in darkness and torment forever. The happy news – many leave their bodies behind to be with the Lord for evermore for He has told us –

“I am the resurrection, and the life:

he that believeth in me,

though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Believest thou this?”

John 11:25,26

Stories of hope:

Job sat covered in boils with no relief from the pain. Before his pain came heartache from the sudden loss of his children, and possessions. Now he sat in his misery listening to so-called friends as they judged him. And God’s remained silent to his cries. In lack of understanding, he bemoaned his Maker.

“He hath stripped me of my glory,

and taken the crown from my head.

He hath destroyed me on every side,

and I am gone:

and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.”

Job 19:10,11

When his friends judged him, his neighbors loathed him, and his loved ones left him, Job looked to the heavens and remembered the one thing that would bring him comfort. By faith, he speaks –

 “For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body,

yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself,

and mine eyes shall behold, and not another,

though my reins be consumed within me.”

Job 19:25-27

As Job finds hope and comfort in knowing his Redeemer lives, we can know the same. He has not left us alone or without hope when we face the worst of life. He lives. Job knew it though he had not seen him. Thousands of years later, the disciples  walked with their Redeemer but were slow in believing His resurrection. To them and over 500 others Jesus –

“shewed himself alive after his passion

by many infallible proofs,

being seen of them forty days,

and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

Acts 1:3

Peter, the other disciples, Paul, and many others through the centuries have given their lives to proclaim the truth of the resurrection. They knew  without the resurrection, we have no hope and the grave is all that remains.

With eyes of faith, we can see our resurrected Redeemer today. For He lives. And God has –

“raised us up together,

and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:6.

One day our eyes of faith will turn to sight when our Lord, our Resurrection and Life comes for us –

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

and with the voice of the archangel,

and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain

shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air:

and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

 And When we sit at the table with him –

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:

for the marriage of the Lamb is come…

Blessed are they which are called

unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Revelation 19:7,9

If this life is all there is, what’s our purpose? But praise God, we have a hope in life here and beyond for –

“now is Christ risen from the dead,

and become the firstfruits*

of them that slept.”

1Corinthians 15:20.

*[We are the fruits to come]

Having this knowledge Paul exhorts us to –

  • “Awake to righteousness,
  • and sin not;
  • for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34

We who are followers of Christ, walk in the power of the resurrection and the life of Christ. The hope, the life, the power of the resurrection we have freely received, may we freely share with those “who have not the knowledge of God.”

This world offers band-aids of hope. Jesus offers a life of hope. Where do you put your hope?

Rock-Solid Promises

“If God will heal my son, I will be His for the rest of my days.” The man negotiated with God to receive what he wanted. He followed this pattern throughout his life. In this instance, God did heal his son. But the man failed to keep his end of the promise. People are fickle but God is not.

rock-1532902_640“For all the promises of God

in him(Christ) are yea, and in him Amen,

unto the glory of God by us.”

2 Corinthians 1:20

When God says he will do something or give something, it is done. God does not negotiate with us concerning his word. He lays down the terms of the promises and performs them. By his grace through faith we receive the promises. His goodness coupled with our faith works his promises in us.

“Who through faith

subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,

obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,”

Hebrews 11:33

Even when we are faithless God remains true to his word.

  • “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself …
  • God is not a man, that he should lie …
  • My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips …
  • Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away …
  • it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.”

(2 Timothy 2:13; Numbers 23:19a; Psalm 89:34; Matthew 24: Hebrews 6:18 (NASB)

The hope spoken of here is based on the character of God who cannot lie or change his mind concerning his promises. In this case we have hope- a steadfast confidence- that what God has promised he will do. He gives to us who are in the faith this promise –

“eternal life,

which God, that cannot lie,

promised before the world began …

And this is the promise that he hath promised us,

even eternal life.”

Titus 1:2;1 John 2:25

God made his gracious promise of eternal life available to all. But all will not receive his promise – not by his exclusion but by their choice.

“Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein,

and they to whom it was first preached entered not in

because of unbelief.”

Hebrews 4:6

Those believing receive the good fruit of God’s promises. We have received eternal life and the many promises bound in the one. But as with eternal life, we will not see completion of all God’s promises in this world, some, yes, but if not here, then in the world to come. The writer of Hebrews gives us Abraham and those before him as an example  –

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

When we have prayed long and waited longer to see the fulfillment of God’s promise, let’s cling to these two verses –

  • “But without faith it is impossible to please him:
  • for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
  • and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him …
  • He is the Rock, his work is perfect:
  • for all his ways are judgment:
  • a God of truth and without iniquity,
  • just and right is he.” Hebrews 11:6; Deuteronomy 32:4.

Purpose is revealed in the waiting –

  • “ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 
  • FOR YET A ; LITTLE WHILE, AND HE THAT SHALL COME WILL COME, AND WILL NOT TARRY.”  Hebrews 10:36,37

God fulfills his promises according to his timetable, his purpose, and his grace for his glory and our good. Stand fast. He is faithful who has promised. He is our Rock-solid hope. If we do not believe He is – His promises are worthless to us. Believe He is and reap his promises as your reward.


When is it hard for  you to believe all God’s promises are yours as his child?

When Hope Comes

IMG_1812“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,

but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12

“It’s been a beautiful day, hasn’t it, Mom?” My front porch provided a shady place for us to sit and chat.

Mom muttered an, “Uh, uh,” as she turned toward the road.

“Who are you expecting?” I hoped my question would return her attention to me. Her dementia had taken her far away, leaving her saddened.

She turned. Tears filled her eyes and a sigh heavy enough to take us both down a depressing road bowed her slumping shoulders.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

Her lips quivered. Another sigh to gain composure. Then another car going by grabbed her away again. Her shoulders lifted – until the car passed. She stood and started walking away.

“Wait, Mom.” I hurried to stay with her. “What’s wrong?”

She stopped and turned my way. Her eyes begged me to understand. “I thought sure my mom and dad would come get me today.” She hesitated. “I guess they don’t want me either. I just want to go home.”

I gave her a hug and prayed for words. “Mom, you know that’s not true. Your mom and dad love you. If they could come today, they would. Maybe tomorrow. I know they will come for you as soon as they can.”

A flicker of hope brightened her eyes. Her smile told me she would hope, at least for a moment. She went inside to continue packing her things.

I saw firsthand how “deferred hope” makes the heart sick. Circumstances we don’t understand, don’t expect, or don’t like rob us of hope if we allow it. But when hope is renewed it generates new life in us. During Mom’s journey we often turned to God’s word – his promises saw us through each moment. They proved to be the seed of hope bringing new life to weary hearts.

Favorite promises can change with our circumstances. During Mom’s journey, one of my favorite was –

“FOR YET A LITTLE WHILE, AND HE THAT SHALL COME WILL COME, AND WILL NOT TARRY.” Hebrews 10:37

The Lord gave me this promise when I asked him how long Mom’s journey would be. So, when a caregiver said Mom would be a long-term resident at the memory care facility, the whisper of the Spirit spoke hope, “Remember my word.”  Twelve days after the nurse said those words, the Lord came for my mom. I don’t know if it’s theologically correct or not, but I tend to think her mom and dad were with Him.

No matter your situation, your pain, or your lack of understanding, you can know at the right time and place in just a little while, Jesus will come. He will not tarry. In fact, other promises tell us He is not far from us ever but walks with us through every trial. He is our hope.

You are invited to walk with me as we take a fresh look at some of God’s timeless promises and the hope – the sure hope his word plants in our hearts. I’m not sure how long this series will be, but along the way, may we find our souls renewed, strengthened and filled will life found in His promises.

What promise of God gives you hope for today?

Hope in the Valley

“Therefore, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope…” Hosea 2:15a.

Israel left the God who birthed them as a nation and took them for His own. But they played the adulteress choosing to marry themselves to the gods of the nations. Hosea portrays God’s anger and judgment against His people, as well as, His great love for them. Notice God will “allure” her with His love and give her hope in the valley of Achor.

For the full story of this valley of Achor Hosea refers to read Joshua 7. It is a valley of trouble, a valley where the sin that brought the trouble goes up in flames. But in this valley, where the accursed thing is destroyed, God promises to open a door of hope.

The accursed thing is sin born to us all and leads only to death.

“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise:

  • for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
  • As it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO NOT ONE…
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…
  • For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 3:9-10,23; 6:23.

We were without hope until,

Jesus became the accursed thing.

  • “For he hath made him to be sin for us…
  • “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…
  • “…Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree…
  • “Wherefore Jesus also…suffered without the gate…

Jesus became the door out of the valley of trouble.

“I am the door:

by me if any man enter in,

he shall be saved,

and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

John 10:9

“For through him

we both have access

by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Ephesians 2:18

“Having therefore, brethren,

boldness to enter into the holiest

by the blood of Jesus,

By a new and living way,

which he consecrated for us,

through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

Hebrews 10:19,20.

Jesus is our hope.

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

“Who his own self bare our sins

in his own body on the tree,

that we, being dead to sins,

should live unto righteousness:

by whose stripes ye were healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,

being made a curse for us:

for it is written,

Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

That the blessing of Abraham

might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;

that we might receive

the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Galatians 3:13,14

“Wherefore Jesus also,

that he might sanctify the people

with his own blood,

suffered without the gate.

Let us go forth therefore unto him

without the camp,

bearing his reproach.”

Hebrews 13:13,14

Jesus is our only hope.

“Neither is their salvation in any other;

for there is none other name under heaven

given among men,

whereby we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12.

“For the wages of sin is death;

but the gift of God is eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23.

God’s righteous judgment meted out the sentence, the curse…death. His love took the judgment for us. The cross of Christ is the valley of Achor and our door of hope. The door was opened at the empty tomb.

“For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre…

two men stood by them in shining garments…

they said unto them,

Why seek ye the living among the dead?

He is not here, but is risen…”

Luke 24:2,5-6

Many live in the valley of trouble bearing their own sin. Jesus Christ opened the door and invites you to enter into His hope.

Hope is yours for the receiving. Have you received it?

Mercy Cries

Has the pain of sorrow ever consumed your soul to the point you believe there can be no more tears left to cry? What experience brought you to that place? The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah experienced such pain of sorrow.

“Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water

for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without intermission,”

Lamentations 3:48,49.

The destruction of Jerusalem caused his pain. He had warned the people time and again with no avail. In fact, his people turned against him. They would not listen. Now the destruction had come. But why?

  • “for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy…
  • Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed.” Lamentations 1:5,8.

Jeremiah was not the only one to weep over Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem for His final Passover Celebration on a donkey. The people cried out,

“BLESSED BE THE KING THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest…and when he was come near,

he beheld the city, and wept over it,

Saying, If thou hadst known,

even thou, at least in this thy day,

the things which belong unto thy peace!

But now they are hid from thine eyes.

  • For the days shall come upon thee,
  • that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
  • And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee;
  • and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another;
  • because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Luke 19:38,41-44.

Why did Jesus cry? ; “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

John 1:11

“But though he had done so many miracles before them,

yet they believed not on him:”

John 12:37.

Jesus prepared his disciples for the rejection to come.

“Saying,

The Son of man must suffer many things,

and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes,

and be slain and be raised the third day.” Luke 9:22…

“The Jews answered him[Pilate],

We have a law, and by our law he ought to die,

because he made himself the Son of God…

they cried out,

Away with him, away with him,

crucify him.

Pilate saith unto them,

Shall I crucify your King?

The chief priest answered,

We have no king but Caesar.”

John 19:7,15

Jesus cried because the people chose sin and death instead of righteousness and life. They missed the way of life before them. He knew the wages of their sin.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

thou that killest the prophets, and

stonest them which are sent unto thee,

how often would I have gathered thy children together,

even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,

and ye would not!

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

Matthew 23:37-38

Jeremiah and Jesus shared an agony over the people’s disbelief. Jeremiah reminds us there is another way, a way of faith. Where faith is mixed with the mercy of God, hope lives.

  • “This I recall to my mind,
  • therefore have I hope.
  • It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed,
  • because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning:
  • great is thy faithfulness.
  • The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;
  • therefore will I hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24.

The Lord’s mercy did not leave Israel without hope nor has His mercy left us without hope. For He is faithful to perform all His word.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;

for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

and hath raised up an horn of salvation

for us in the house of his servant David;

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,

which have been since the world began:

That we should be saved from our enemies,

and from the had of all that hate us;

to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,

and to remember his holy covenant:

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham…”

Luke 1:68-73.

Israel’s hope is our hope. The oath God swore to Abraham includes the Gentiles, us, the non-Jewish world. Their hope is our hope. From before time began God’s plan included all, to give us all His mercy and hope.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,

saith the LORD,

thoughts of peace, and not of evil,

to give you an expected end”[hope].

Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I would not brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery…that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so all Israel shall be saved…

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

For as ye[Gentiles] in times past have not believed God,

yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

Even so have these also now not believed,

that through your mercy

they also may obtain mercy.

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief,

that he might have mercy upon all.”

(Taken from Romans 11:25-32.)

Jesus Christ is God’s mercy in action. His mercy is our hope.

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour

toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done,

but according to his mercy he saved us,

by the washing of regeneration,

and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which he shed on us abundantly

through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

that being justified by his grace,

we should be made heirs

according to the hope of eternal life.”

Titus 3:4-7.

Our Savior cried for those who would live their days without receiving the mercy He brought. They chose to live in false hope rather than receive true hope. He cried for those who would make His sacrifice, His death on the cross worthless. He cried for there is no need for the perishing to perish. His mercy continues to cry.

I wonder, do we have such a love for the lost, the dying? Who are our tears for?

Reason for Hope

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meeekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15.blogcross-792538__340

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…

“If it be so,

our God whom we serve

 is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace,

 and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king,

that we will not serve thy gods,

 nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

 Daniel 3:17,18.

“And saith unto him,

All these things will I give thee,

 if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

 Then saith Jesus unto him,

 Get thee hence, Satan:

for it is written,

THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD,

AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.”

 Matthew 4:9-10.

“and be ready always to give an answer to every man…”

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD;

 though your sins be as scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they be red like crimson,

they shall be as wool.”

Isaiah 1:18.

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel,

that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

whom ye crucified,

 whom God raised from the dead,

even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

THIS IS THE STONE,

WHICH WAS SET AT NOUGHT OF YOU BUILDERS,

WHICH IS BECOME THE HEAD OF THE CORNER.

 Neither is there salvation in any other:

 for there is none other name under heaven given among men,

 whereby we must be saved.”

Acts 4:10-12.

 “That asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”

“And if Christ be not raised,

your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins…

If in this life only we have hope in Christ,

we are of all men most miserable.

But now is Christ risen from the dead,

and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

 For since by man came death,

by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,

 even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in his own order;

Christ the firstfruits;

afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

1Corinthians 15:14,17-23.

“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,”

 1 Peter 1:3.

“To whom God would make known

what is the riches of the glory

of this mystery among the Gentiles;

which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

Colossians 1:27.

“with meekness and fear.”

“Let your speech be always with grace,

seasoned with salt,

that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Colossians 4:6.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive;

but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;

if God peradventure will give them repentance

to the acknowledging of the truth;

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil

who are taken captive by him at his will.”

2 Timothy 2:24-26.

Our Sure Hope:

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32.

Are You Loved?

 “I have loved you, saith the LORD.

Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?

Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob,

and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage

waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” Mal. 1:2,3

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Image courtesy of pixabay

When life gets hard and yes, it does get hard. There are disappointments, pain, sickness, and death. Do these things cause you to wonder if God loves you? Have you like, Israel, accused God of not loving you? Have you ever felt like an Esau instead of Jacob?

Esau was the object of God’s hatred for sin. Esau defied God in pride.

“Whereas Edom saith,

We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places;

thus saith the Lord of hosts,

They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.”Mal. 1:4

Jacob and Esau, twins, one coveted the blessing of his father, the other despised it and sold it for a morsel of bread. Both were born in sin but one believed the blessing of his father would bring him riches. The other only cared about satisfying his fleshly appetites. Jacob went about receiving the inheritance the wrong way, but eventually came to God his way. Esau forfeited it altogether. Jacob came to know the love of God. Esau would inherit only the wrath of God. Neither boy possessed qualities to endear them to or make them worthy of God’s love, nor do we. Yet, we find in Romans 5:8-11…

 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies,

we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Rom. 5:8-11.

“I have loved you, saith the LORD.

Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?”

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are haled. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:3-6

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him…When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost…John 19:17, 18a, 30…

 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life…

blog tombb796a201f64ff34f04fe09f604ff0ae4--easter-crafts-crafts-for-kids“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus…He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” John 24:3,6,7

If you are asking, Does God love me, look at the cross and know the love of God, look at the resurrected Lord and know you have inherited everlasting life.