New Hope is as big as Jesus but can be as small as the changes He sends into our routine lives.
I want to open up with a verse that spoke to me over the Easter holiday.
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 hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
This verse really resonated with me. We have “Lively Hope” because of Jesus! Yet, He had to die to accomplish this for us. (I just love the verses about hope. I wrote a couple of months ago about Jesus being our Blessed Hope, Titus 2:13 – one of my favorite verses about Him.) A song we sang this past Sunday in church had the lyrics, “He conquered death with death”. Those words keep playing over and over in my head, for what an Awesome, Giving, Selfless and Sacrificial God we serve. Christ is our Hope, He was sent to die for OUR sins. We can have life everlasting if we accept His gift of Love and Believe in Him. He is New Hope for the sinner. But hope doesn’t stop at His Resurrection . . .
Let us not overlook the small “new hopes” which God sends into our lives. Daily lives, which can become routine, mundane, more of the same, and lacking of excitement and hope. While it is wise to plan ahead and keep a schedule so we can be organized, we can easily fall into a rut of hopelessness, into a rut that we get a bit too comfortable with. I decided to take a look back on this past year with my family and realized how many “new hopes” He sent us in the form of CHANGE (yes, I know how we like to avoid that word). It is so refreshing to look back and see how we have been blessed by the changes God’s Plan brings us. Here are a few of the “new hopes” our family has experienced in the past year:
- A move out of the city and school district where our boys had attended school (Kindergarten through Graduation) to a much smaller city located 25 minutes north. We absolutely love the area and it has been such a blessing in my relationship with my sister and her family since we live in the same neighborhood.
- Our youngest son transferred to the same university his brother attends and has also changed his major. Even though they are a 10 hour drive away from us, they are truly happy, on a wonderful campus where they can continue growing their relationship with Christ as they use their God-given talents in each of their majors.
- We found a new church home where we can flourish and grow in a relationship with Christ and with others. We had attended our former church for 19 years. Five months after our move, we finally relented to the Holy Spirit’s nudgings and began visiting churches in our area because we knew we needed to meet people in our area, get connected to our community, and serve in a local church body. For months we drug our feet avoiding this change, because we weren’t sure we would be able to find another place where we would feel at home. Boy, were we wrong, for we have found a wonderful new church home, where we were welcomed and felt “at home” instantly. We sure wish we would have listened to God sooner.
- I am a teacher by trade and still occasionally substitute teach, but 6 months ago a friend from our former church shared her online teaching experience with me and I decided to apply. I currently teach English to students in China, online. While I thought it would be a good thing for me to do, I have been blown away by the blessings I receive teaching these precious souls on the other side of the world.
- We added another dog to our family. We have a 5 year old chihuahua/terrier mix and last September we brought home a Weimarador (Weimaraner/Labrador mix). What a change of pace she has brought to our “Empty Nester” lifestyle. This is the first time we have been a 2 pet family. I am convinced this change is keeping me young.
Those are just a few changes we have experienced, and we have more on the horizon. Now I challenge you to take a look back over your past year and take inventory on the changes or “new hopes” God has brought into your life. Maybe you fought against a particular change, as we did with finding a new church home. Maybe you can see the JOY it brings you now. God’s Plan is always amazing for us and when we embrace it, that’s where we find our true purpose. Be encouraged even during times of change, because they can be very uncomfortable, but that is how we grow. And as we grow in Christ, we are bringing Him Glory. New Hope. Lively Hope. Big or Small.
Keep looking up and may God Bless you and yours,