Hope Chapel Blog
Learning and living the Way of Jesus!
Daily Devotional February 10th
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:35,37)
God’s love is not demonstrated through the absence of difficulties. Life is hard and especially for those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Yet, how often do we assume that when bad things happen, it must be as a result of punishment or because God does not care. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While it is true that suffering is at times used as a tool by God to draw us back to Him, it is also at times the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15:20-21). Bad things happen to God’s children, not because He doesn’t love us, but because we live in a fallen world, with people who do not understand God’s love for them. They hate what they do not understand and we will sometimes suffer as a result.
Knowing this fact should not cause us to be fearful or anxious, however. Paul tells us why: “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering” (Romans 8:15-17). We have the hope the world needs, because we have discovered the truth of God’s love. As God’s adopted children, we are not called to enjoy a life devoid of difficulties and endless ease. The promises of heaven are not for this side of the grave. We are told to courageously share the truth about God, compelled by the gratitude that should be ours having experienced the grace, love and forgiveness of God firsthand. We can do so knowing that the best is yet to come and our hope of eternity in heaven with our Father is assured.
~ Pastor Jane
Daily Devotional January 26th
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ Jesus (John 13:34-35)
The word ‘Christian’ has become associated with hate in its many forms. For some people the mention of Christianity brings up painful memories; their experiences with those who claim the name of Christ have left them rejecting Jesus and the Church. The Bible does warn us that the world, those who do not follow the Way of Jesus, will hate those that do. Unfortunately, much of the world’s contempt is not due to our allegiance to Christ, but because of our blatant hypocrisy. No, Christians aren’t perfect and we will find ourselves guilty of hypocrisy at times. That’s not my larger concern. Even the world can appreciate a heart-felt apology when we recognize and openly admit our failures.
Our more serious problem is that we have forgotten what is to form the basis of our message of Good News. In so doing, the world has rejected us. We have too often neglected the Apostle John’s words and as believers don’t even recognize our own spiritual brothers and sisters. We have relied on the wrong criteria for identification. We draw conclusions about another’s spiritual life based on church attendance, political affiliation, the words they speak or how ‘blessed’ they appear to be. So, it’s no wonder that the world has no particular fondness for the term ‘Christian;’ we ourselves don’t recognize the true measure of determining someone’s loyalty to Christ. John is pointed in his declaration: others will know we are Christians by…our love!
Calling yourself a Christian is not enough to make yourself one. John warns us that if you don’t love, then you don’t know God and His love is not in you; “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). A Christian is an individual who has accepted the ultimate gift of love given to us through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, is committed to living in service for God and has the Holy Spirit living in them. Because one of the fruit of the Spirit is love, an individual with no love, logically does not have the Holy Spirit residing in them, and therefore is not a Christian. At the heart of Christ’s sacrifice for us is God’s love, a love that we are now impelled to live out each and every day.
The world needs a dose of true Christianity…the embodiment of God’s love. The love we share with others may be the only manifestation of God that they will experience. We as Christ-followers desperately need to reclaim the name of ‘Christian’ from those who have misused it, either for their own selfish purposes or because of their lack of understanding of what is to be the core of our testimony. Here are some final thoughts I hope that you will consider this morning:
1 John 2:5-6 “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” - Do the choices I make, the goals I pursue, the ways in which I interact with others resemble how Jesus lived during His time on earth?
1 John 3:16-17 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” - Compassion and generosity are evidence of the love of God residing in us.
1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” - God is made visible to the world through our lives when we truly love others…not merely give lip-service.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!