Hope Chapel Blog
Learning and living the Way of Jesus!
Daily Devotional - 12 August 2020
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47).
While reading in the book of Luke this morning, I was struck by the fact that while some people were effusive in their praise and worship of Jesus, others were downright miserly. The story I was reading comes from chapter seven and describes the scene that took place at Simon the Pharisee’s house. Simon, also know as Simon the leper, had been earlier healed by Jesus and now had invited Jesus to dine with him as his special guest. During the course of the meal, a woman who was a known ‘sinner’ came to where the meal was taking place and wept at Jesus’ feet. As the tears fell, she wiped his feet with her hair and even anointed them with a special perfume. What a luxuriant display of affection!
But rather than commenting on the gift this woman had bestowed on Jesus, Simon’s thoughts were far more carnal, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner” (Luke 7:39)! Even though he had not spoken the words aloud, Jesus responds to him. He asks Simon to consider the response of two indebted men–one is forgiven a little, the other a rather large sum. Which will be more grateful? Simon, probably sensing the coming rebuke answers, “the one who is forgiven the most, I suppose.” Jesus confirms to him that he is correct and then compares the treatment He has received at the hands of this sinful woman in contrast to that of His host.
Simon had neglected all the usual niceties associated with hosting a dinner party in his day. He hadn’t provided water for his guests to wash their dusty feet; he hadn’t kissed his guests with the customary greeting; he had neglected the courtesy of providing olive oil. His behaviour bordered on outright rudeness. It might even beg the question, did he actually want to be hosting this dinner party? Or did he do it from a sense of obligation–Jesus had healed him after all. On the other hand, the woman had been profuse in her tears and had literally washed Jesus’ feet, drying them off with her hair. She had kissed His feet over and over and then anointed them with perfume. Her gratitude was unmistakable.
What made the difference? Both had experienced Jesus’ touch, yet one’s response is that of effusive praise and worship and the other duty bound and withdrawn. Jesus tells us that the one who is forgiven little shows only a little love, whereas the person who has been forgiven much will demonstrate their love in overflowing quantities. How is it that this disparity in forgiveness exists? Being forgiven much versus just a little? It has to do with the one seeking forgiveness. The one who will not admit their need of a Saviour will experience very little in the way of forgiveness because they are blind to their need; the one whose sin is out in the open for all to see is far quicker to recognize their need. It is in their recognition of their own sinful state that they can experience much forgiveness. The woman could not hide her sin; Simon refused to admit to his. Their experience of God’s grace determined their response to Jesus–an unrestrained flow of love by the woman in comparison to Simon’s self- righteous attitude.
In Jesus’ eyes, Simon was as much in need of forgiveness as the woman; but it is only those who confess their need who will know His overflowing love and grace in their lives. If you don’t feel a deep overflowing love for God, the place to begin may very well be in your estimation of your own attitudes of self-righteousness and your resulting refusal of His grace in your life.
~ Pastor Jane
Daily Devotional - 17 July 2020
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor” (James 4:7-10).
There is a lot of talk these days about people wanting to take God more seriously. The pandemic has put a spotlight on humanity’s inability to control and even understand everything there is in our natural world; as a result many have turned their eyes heavenward. That’s a great place to start...but it is just the start. Turning to God in times of desperation is often our practice as inhabitants of planet earth, but we need to go deeper...not just adding God to our list of possible solutions, but recognizing Him as our only source of reliable help.
If we are serious about not simply negotiating a deal with God to get us out of a jam, but intent on developing a relationship with Him as our guide and constant help through life, there are three things we must do according to James.
1) Humble yourself - We need to recognize our insignificance, insufficiency and inability in comparison with Almighty God. God has given us freewill and He chooses to work within those parameters. As long as we want to insist on our way, God will not interfere..and you will miss out on His help. Set aside your pride and insistence on taking charge and God has promised to “lift you up in honour.”
2) Repent - No one is perfect and we all make mistakes; however, some of us resist acknowledging our mistakes and imperfections. We’re ‘sorry’ when we get caught, when someone is displeased with us; but in truth, if we thought we could do it again without witnesses, we probably would. That’s not repentance. Repentance involves heartfelt sorrow for wrong doing, confession without excuses and a desire to change and not repeat our mistakes. That is the kind of attitude that reflects the heart of God’s desire for humanity.
3) Be loyal - James accuses us of having divided loyalties, “your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” We want God on our terms. We don’t want to totally sellout for this ‘God-thing.’ We think that by making promises or adding church attendance or doing a good deed, we can negotiate better terms with God without having to give up any of the other ‘fun’ stuff. Unfortunately for us, God knows and refuses to play that game. He may tolerate it for a while due to His immeasurable patience with us, but ultimately it does not buy us any favours with God. He expects those who claim the benefits of a relationship with Him to also be loyal. Should we expect any less? No!
In times like these and always, we need God. He is more than willing, but He does have some stipulations. If we’re serious about gaining His help we need to do so humbly, with a repentant heart and a determination to be loyal. Get these right and God has promised to come to our rescue!
~ Pastor Jane
Daily Devotional - 9 July 2020
“I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
What causes the angels to rejoice? The act of repentance by a person–man, woman, child. A party starts up every time someone on earth admits to his/her imperfections and need for God. Our acceptance of God’s plan to bring about a restored relationship between Himself and His creation through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, is a cause for celestial celebration. It is reminiscent of another event that caused the angels to break out in wonder, adoration and exultation. The story of the Nativity.
On the night Jesus was born, amazing things occurred...many of which remained unseen to the human eye. God performed a miracle. Cradled in the arms of His human mother, Mary, was the Son of God–fully human and fully God. The Messiah had come. And while the Jewish nation had been awaiting for the Messiah to arrive as a conquering king who would free them from the tyranny of earthly oppressors, the angels had an entirely different perspective.
You see the angels had witnessed God’s amazing work at Creation; they had marvelled at His ‘very good’ work. How devastated these same beings must have been when they witnessed Adam and Eve, through an act of disobedience, literally unravel much of Creation’s goodness. Sin became part of human existence affecting change beyond merely ourselves. Sin is a spiritual cancer that has ravaged everything within God’s created order ever since. Paul tells us in Romans 8:20-24, “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved.” How the angels must have mourned at the loss of the full goodness which God had imbued into His Creation, now thoroughly tainted by sin.
But all was not lost. Can you imagine the look on the angels’ faces when God promised His vengeance on the serpent and unveiled His plan for redemption...utter surprise, replaced with sheer delight. God had a plan! “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Is it any wonder then, on the night of Jesus’ birth, that the angels burst out in unrestrained praise of God–they couldn’t contain themselves and God didn’t expect them too. They lit up the night sky, terrifying some local shepherds, until they were able to explain the reason for their celebration–the Redeemer had come!
On the cross Jesus completed all that was necessary for our full redemption from sin–death no longer has a hold on anyone who chooses to accept the price Christ paid; however, not until Jesus returns will we experience the full redemption of God’s Creation. It is then, that we will rise to be with Him no longer enslaved to the grave (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we will receive new and imperishable bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53), we will no longer know pain–either physical, emotional or spiritual (Revelation 21:4). While we remain here on this planet, we can experience ‘tastes’ of the things to come, but we will never be fully free of physical death, sickness, sorrow and the like until Jesus puts the finishing touches on His work–begun as a baby brought to completion as the KING!
I wonder if the angels celebrate the decision by members of our race, to obediently follow God’s plan, in anticipation of the coming full scale heavenly block party. How do they contain their excitement and impatience as they wait for the ‘ribbon cutting’ on Jesus’ redemptive work which will result in the full realization of the salvation of God’s whole creation? Can you imagine it? God’s human children and God’s heavenly host shaking the foundations of our universe with their joined symphony of praise. That is one party I am not going to miss!
~ 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!