Good morning! I often wonder what is the purpose of suffering. Is it really necessary? However, in my pondering I always come back to Lord, your will be done. Your (God) thoughts are not our thoughts and your ways are not our ways, so I will trust you – my hope is in you alone Lord. Thank you for joining me today as we continue to walk through verse 15. Have a wonderful day. Enjoy!
“13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.[c] Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!”
Yesterday, we discussed our heart condition and ability to set apart our hearts for Christ. Later in the verses we discussed our hope in Christ Jesus. Let me share a quick story with you that I may have shared before, but is relevant for today’s devotion.
Two years ago my mother was ill and suffering. It felt like she was losing her mind. In the hospital walking down the corridor I could see people in the hall and I could hear my mother yelling. When I checked on her she was in a lot of pain. The type of pain that doesn’t allow you to think straight. The one thing she would say over and over again was Jesus, Jesus…Jesus, Jesus. Her pain had gotten so bad that the nurses would slightly close the door to muffle the sound of her profession of faith, in the midst of her pain.
My daughter who was home from college at the time and I were speaking as we walked out of the hospital that night she said, “mom, grandma is still witnessing to everyone who could hear her call on the name of Jesus.” Later that month, my brother and I were talking to the doctors about our mother’s care, and a nurse came in and said you are Mary her daughter and you are the son – your name is Ju-Ju. We said no, his name is Walter and they asked, “well, who is Ju-Ju. She keeps saying ‘Ju-Ju’. My brother and I looked at each other and said, she is saying Jesus, Jesus. My mother could no longer articulate the words Jesus, but she tried with the words Ju-Ju.
My mother didn’t live beyond that month and for several months after I couldn’t hear the name Jesus without a piercing in my heart and hearing an audio reminder of my mother crying out to Jesus. While my mother suffered in her earthly body, she remained with the hope that was in her. My family and I suffered the loss (God’s will), but we never lost the hope that is in us.
You may be asking again, what is the hope we have in Christ? Our hope is rooted in God’s faithful promise. Psalm 62:5-8 reads:
“5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.“
Also Romans 5:1-5 reads: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.“
Sisters and brothers, I want for you to understand that you can have hope today. Even when you are surrounded by hopeless, lost, and wicked people in the world – and you suffer. Verse 15 is reminding us to always be ready to explain our hope – our hope in Christ Jesus. The One who who came and died for our sins. Romans 5:6-11 is clear, “6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Sisters and brothers, where is your hope today? Do not be afraid of what others may say or do. Keep your hope in Christ Jesus and be ready to share it with those who ask or will listen. Jesus Christ is our only hope.
Father God, thank you for today. Thank you for the reminders in your word. Lord, only you can save us. Only you can make us new. Lord, today we ask that you be with us. Lead us in a way that speaks life into our hearts and encourages us in a way that follows after you. Lord, you know everything about us, our disappointments, failures, tears, cheers, accomplishments and moments of peace. Lord, you know how to transform our thinking and make us new in you. Lord, we surrender our hearts and minds to you today. Lead us in the way we should go. Lord, make it perfectly clear of the things we need to release to you and let those things go. Lord, help us to stand firm in our faith, firm in our speech and in our actions. May our lives be consistent with your word. Lord, release us from the spirit of laziness and fear. Help us to be bold in you and what you have called us to do as wives, husbands, women, men, children, daughters, sons, adults, teens and followers of you. Lord, be with us today. May we be a living example of Christ in us daily. Keep us and protect us. In Jesus name, amen.
Keep praying! Keep trusting! Keep pursuing the Lord!
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