Do you have verses that are yours? One of my life verses is Jeremiah 29:11. I first connected with this verse when I was asked to choose a verse for my grandson at his baby dedication. God led me to Jeremiah 29:11 and I began to cling to the promises it holds. The connection for today and every day is the hope contained with God’s Words. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse tells me God knows me and my future and He has good planned for me. Those things He has planned are designed to give me hope and a positive future. I am convinced that God loves me and wants the very best for me. I am convinced that God is good, desiring the best for me- for my good and His glory. How can I not have hope?
Does this mean that everything will always be good, happy and fulfilling? No. It means that whatever happens in my life, God can use it for my good. Romans 8:28 confirms this, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Since I know and love Jesus, I am assured that He can and does use all things in my life for good. In the hard times, it is difficult to be assured of this, but looking back or looking at others suffering we can often get a glimpse of this truth. This calls for our faith and trust in Him.
I cling to the truths of Jeremiah 29:11 when hard times come, when I see amazing things happen, when I look and plan for the future and seek to know what He would have me do. I ask for His help and guidance as His will is perfect His direction is true. Let Psalm 25:4-5 be your prayer as it is mine. “Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
The last section of the Sea of Galilee post-resurrection appearance of Jesus involved both Peter and John. Still impetuous Peter inquired of the Lord about the things the Lord knew about, and Jesus refocused him. John 21:17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter was distressed at the Lord’s insistent questioning of his love and Jesus replied with a prophecy about Peter’s life and death to come and how he would bring glory to God. What Jesus required of Peter was obedience- ‘follow me’!
Then Peter asked about John and received this reply from Jesus in verses 21-22. “When Peter saw him (John), he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” Jesus wanted Peter’s focus to be on Him not on the future and what would happen to others. As Jesus said, He would take care of John but Peter needed to focus on following Him.
How can we be encouraged by this scene today? Just like Peter, we need to focus our lives on following Jesus, being obedience to His Word and walking with Him daily. We do not need to ‘worry’ about others or question Jesus about their work and walk. We have enough to do to keep our own focus on Jesus. This does not mean we are not concerned about others, but Peter was just being nosy here and wanted to know what would happen to John in the future- is his better than mine type stuff? Since the Lord’s answer was always “Follow me”, that is what is crucial in our life too. Obedience to Jesus is what He desires. Later Peter so beautifully wrote in 1 Peter 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
Let us take seriously our walk with Jesus and His command ‘Follow me!” May we let the distractions of the world fall away as we walk forward in obedience with our Savior.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope. Lent it a time of reflection and I was thinking what life would be like if Jesus had not come. I would be dead in my sins without hope. I would face eternal punishment because there would be no way to approach holy God. Jesus’ death on the cross changed all that. Praise God! Thank you Jesus! Here are some verses to offer up in praise for the work of our Savior.
Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
1 Peter 1:21 “who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
Because Jesus came, died and rose again, I can have hope for a life lived by faith today and a hope of future glory. That is a blessed hope! Thank you Jesus.
Suggestion: Today as you consider the hope you have in Jesus, express to someone something you are hopeful about and why. It could be as simple as “I hope you have a good day” to “I am hopeful because of Jesus.” Show someone you possess hope. If they ask you why you have hope then you can explain, as today you have the answer! Jesus.
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. The concept of believers being with Christ in heaven and reigning with Him is a privilege of faith and God’s grace to us. Since we are adopted into God’s family and are heirs with Jesus, we will be in seated in heaven with Him. Ephesians 2:4-6 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God did this for us, placed us in a place of privilege and honor because of His grace, mercy and love. He made us alive in Christ when we were dead in our sins. Believing in Christ changed our position from rejected sinner to one of honor. 2 Timothy 2:11-12a give a similar picture, “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;” Faith in Christ is the determining factor in whether we live and reign with Him or face eternal death. God cannot look on sin so we have to find some way to deal with our sin or we are rejected from God’s sight forever. In His infinite mercy and grace, He sent Jesus to provide a way for us to be restored, cleansed and elevated to a position of honor and purity. Praises to Jesus for what He did for us at the cross.
What about you? Are you thanking Jesus for His grace and mercy? As we gaze on the cross in a few days, think about what He has done for you and what you have because of His sacrifice.
Humbled in His sight,