Living Hope

APR 2020 Central Park

Right now, in the midst of the confusion, I’m thinking we need all the words in this verse, especially mercy and new and hope. Yes, yes, yes.

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.  1 Peter 1:3 

This encouraging letter from Peter starts where we need to start — where we must start — with praising God, exclamation point.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Peter 1:3

We know and love God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but Peter is pointing us to God the Father, reminding us “how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!” (MSG). Amen to that.

If ever we needed to give “all honor to God” (TLB), it’s today. With the world around us falling apart, our Heavenly Father is the One who remains immovable and unchangeable.

So, beloved, “let us give thanks” (GNT) and “celebrate with praises” (TPT) the Father of our Savior, “Yeshua the Messiah” (CJB), who deserves to be “gratefully praised and adored” (AMP) no matter what is happening on the news and in our lives. 

Here’s why.

In his great mercy… 1 Peter 1:3

The photos in this post were taken on a beautiful spring day in New York’s Central Park, reminding us to pray for this great city, for its heroes and its fallen, for God’s mercy to shower its people like sweet April rain.

Someday this novel coronavirus will be held in check, but the Lord’s “abundant and boundless mercy” (AMP) can never be contained. His compassion is so “extravagant” (TPT), His grace so “vast” (CEB), and “His loving-kindness” (NLV) so beyond measure, it’s positively contagious.

One of the reasons we’re struggling right now is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. But dear friend, we know what lies ahead for us because our future is guaranteed.

…he has given us new birth… 1 Peter 1:3

However anxious we might feel emotionally, however worried we might be about our physical well-being, if He has “caused us to be born again” (EXV), we can rest in knowing whatever happens, we are safe, we are secure, and we are altogether His.

When the Lord “granted us a new birth” (ISV), we were “spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose” (AMP). Nothing that comes our way can change that reality.

Some of us celebrate a specific day when we were “given a brand-new life” (MSG). Others among us may remember a certain season when we were “born anew” (CEB). Even if you can’t recall the exact details, you are no less “reborn” (VOICE), if you call Him your Father and He calls you His child.

…into a living hope… 1 Peter 1:3

This is what belonging to Him means for us. Not a faint and fragile hope, but “an ever-living hope” (AMP), filled with “great expectation” (NLT). This world, much as we cling to it, is not our home. Instead, “we live in the hope of eternal life” (TLB).

What’s happening now doesn’t matter nearly as much as what’s happening next.

This is where my cancer adventure comes in handy. Since I had to face the possibility of leaving this life behind, I was forced to consider what heaven might be like. And guess what? It is going to be amazing.

Nothing describes it better than this phrase, living hope. It’s “an immortal hope” (ISV), a “living, energetic hope” (TPT), a “hope that never dies” (NLV). You and I “have everything to live for, including a future in heaven — and the future starts now!” (MSG).

That future, that hope was secured for us on Easter morning.

…through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

That glorious day we celebrated earlier this month gives us everything we need to face down our fears, day in and day out. Very simply, “this hope is ours because Jesus was raised from the dead” (NLV). He conquered the grave. He left death in the dust. We can be born anew because of “the again-rising of Jesus Christ” (WYC).

No wonder Peter exclaimed, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Lord Jesus, we confess that fears sometimes overwhelm us, and a thousand anxious questions often crowd our thoughts. Remind us, again and again, that You alone are our living hope, our promise of salvation, our assurance of heaven, our guarantee of eternal life. In a world full of bad news, You are our Good News. Amen and amen.

Our giveaway this month is a timely new book, Human(Kind), from a talented new author, Ashlee Eiland, who explores how embracing kindness can bring us back together. Publishers Weekly calls it a “revealing and enthralling debut.”

On April 24, I chose three winners at random — Martha, Amy, and Cynthia — to receive a copy of Human(Kind). You are still welcome to leave a comment below, describing one new experience you’ve had or new discovery you’ve made during this challenging season. As you’ll see, they make inspiring reading.

Join me Tuesdays @ Twelve on Facebook LIVE, as I read the book of my heart, Embrace Grace: Welcome to the Forgiven Life. I’ll post the weekly links on my website, so if you miss one, each chapter is easy to find. Here’s Chapter One, recorded live, and Chapter Two. Can’t wait to see you on Tuesdays.

“Ours is not a false hope spun from well-meaning wishes but a trustworthy hope based on the reality of countless lives changed by a leap called faith into the arms of a hero called Faithful and True.”

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