Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 April 2020​ 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
 
And the Easter Celebrations continue, though somewhat muted because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But do you think anything at all can stop we believers from celebrating Christ’s revolutionary resurrection that assures us of life after earthly death? No way Jose! Yes, we couldn’t get together physically like we are accustomed doing at such a joyful time, but it in no way lessens the importance and awesome promise of the amazing event and consequently celebrations and church services were held in all forms and fashions, with the help of our modern technology. 

But unfortunately, so far, that modern technology has not been able to come up with an answer for the virus that’s causing us so much devastation, grief and heartache. But also, as true believers and followers of Christ, whom we believe can do anything, we keep hoping and praying and believing that a cure, an antidote, will soon be found. Yes friends, we are indeed ‘prisoners of hope.’ (Zech. 9:12) And speaking about ‘prisoners of hope,’ I recently read an article by one Joshua Ryan Butler with that exact title, and he had a rather interesting characterization of ‘hope.’ 

He says: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into the now – an explosion of life into a world marked by the death. It changes everything.’ And is that ever so true! Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection certainly catapulted us into the future, showing us God’s great, preordained plan for our lives. And there is no better verse of scripture that describes that situation than these words of Peter: 

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ And has Jesus’ resurrection ever given us hope for the future, for salvation! The scholars explain: ‘1:3-2:10. The Christian’s destiny: salvation. Salvation means “deliverance.” Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation, that is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.’ 

But remember what Joshua said in his definition of ‘hope’ above? It ‘breaks in from the future and transforms today.’ That means we don’t have to wait till we die to enjoy the benefits that Jesus died for us to have, but can begin enjoying heaven down here on earth right now! As Jesus said: ‘The thief cometh not but (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) And that’s the beauty of the Christian faith and life! We also have a now, as well as a then. 

The only problem is all of that doesn’t just happen automatically; there are some requirements, the first one being Jesus’ directive to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3, 5) So if we don’t meet that requirement, then we can forget about salvation through Jesus. Then we have to believe in Jesus as the Way, the Truth, the Light and the Life. All of which gives us hope that leads and morphs into faith, which makes us strong and keeps us going. Glory to God, my fellow believers! 

And now that we’ve said all that, let’s turn to the operating system of the situation; the real work horse of the Christian life, the ultimate means of communication with our Saviour and Father; prayer! Yes friends, prayer is our very life blood! Without it we’re just lost and alone; but with it, in God’s company, we’re powerful and NEVER alone! So let’s talk to our Father right now about our greatest need at this current time nuh; relief from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, in strong voice, with confident humility (smile) let’s cry out to Him for help through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Easter Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And now that we’ve fulfilled one aspect of our role in our covenant, our partnership with God, let’s go out and do the rest, basically living for Jesus, with supreme hope and faith in our hearts. And as He has faithfully promised, the Father will do the parts we can’t do. Much LOVE!

…without living hope…and strong faith…one can’t live for Jesus…

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