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“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” Philippians‬ ‭3:8‬

What is the most important thing in your life? Generally speaking, the thing that is the most important in our life is what we gain our identity from.

For some of us we would say that our most important thing is our children. For others it may be our career. For others it may be our social action activity. Still others may look at the future and may say the most important thing now is to prepare for the future by building a nest egg for our kids for college and for our retirement.

It’s important to realize that none of those things are bad things in anyway. The things that we have in this life are important. But the most important things are we what we are laying up for ourselves in eternity. Each of us will face eternity whether we believe in it or not. The important question is “how are we preparing for eternity?”

The apostle Paul put all of these things, relationships, finances, family, and careers in the same category as garbage! It isn’t that he doesn’t think they are important, he has just come to the realization in his life that the most important thing to him is his faith in Jesus Christ. Everything else may fall away but our faith will remain strong through every circumstance.

The fight for power, rights and control is never more evident than it is today. This fight is driven by emptiness, pain, and hatred. It shows itself in anger. There will be no peace this side of Heaven.

There will be no contentment until we grow deeper in Jesus. The deeper we go the more peace we gain. It’s much like mining for diamonds. We can stop in shallowness and enjoy the a few low quality diamonds or dig deep and get the best ones. The best diamonds are deeper and get better the deeper we go. Grow deep! Reap the best God has for you.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬

Change can be hard. The older I get, the more I realize how much I dislike change. Granted, some changes are good. I enjoy the new technology that comes out for the most part. I enjoy the comfort of a new car. I enjoy the excitement of a new job or new home.

But other changes aren’t so well received. When that restaurant down the street closes and your favorite spot for lunch is gone, that’s not easy. When your baby leaves for college, you feel so proud of her, yet so empty. Excited for her because you know she’ll do great, but empty because there will be one less plate at the table. Then there are the changes in your job ( downsizing, pension changes, restructuring [ie your job is eliminated] and health.

While changes in lifestyle can be difficult, it’s important for our physical, emotional and spiritual health to focus on what we know not on what might be. The easiest way to deal with change is to focus on the things that won’t change. Stability help us deal with instability.

The immovable stability of faith weathers the instability of life. That’s why Jesus gives us the parable of the houses built on sand (change) and rock (faith in Jesus). Faith in Jesus doesn’t make all change easy, it makes it bearable.

So focus on what you know, on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:13‬ ‭

Yesterday we talked about the importance of being ready, being prepared for action. Peter warned his readers that difficult times were ahead. He reminds us to be prepared for action and committed to the ways of God so we will be able to endure everything that lies ahead of us.

There’s one more aspect of this verse that should not be ignored. Peter tells us to put our hope in Jesus and in the salvation he offers. But there’s also a line in this verse that I don’t think we should forget. Peter reminds us that our salvation, the hope that we have, won’t be fully realized until Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

Salvation through Jesus has both a present and a future aspect to it. As we go through life, we know we are forgiven,. As we live for Jesus , we experience the peace and the love of God. But our salvation won’t be complete until Jesus is revealed to the whole world.

This is important because the people that Peter wrote to, and millions after that, never saw that hope revealed. They never saw Jesus revealed to the world because that will not come until his second coming. That time we are still waiting for and I believe is very imminent.

Hebrews chapter 11 tells us of people of faith who put their hope in God but never saw the promise of the Messiah in their lifetime. In spite of that, they are in God’s Hall of Fame of faith because they never let go of the hope he promised them.

We may not see Jesus come in our time. We always need to be ready for his return but patient and realizing his kingdom will never be in this world until he comes in great power and glory.

In the meantime as Peter says in the beginning of this verse, we need to be ready. We need to be prepared. Continue to keep the faith. Remember our citizenship is in heaven. There will come a day when our salvation will be complete and Jesus will be revealed in all his power.

There are two things we can know about God. He never acts the way we expect him to. Secondly he always acts in the way he said he would, according to his character and his love. Be faithful. Be hopeful. Be ready. But be patient. God has always come through on his promises.

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:13‬

This verse is part of a passage in which Peter encourages his readers in a time of extreme struggle.

Believers in Jesus at this time were considered the enemy to all facets of society. The government, religion, and social opinion we’re all against those who followed Christ. There were some that were calling for the complete eradication of these believers in THE WAY!

Peter’s message is as clear to us now as it was to the first readers of his letter. We need to prepare ourselves for the tough times ahead. We need to be disciplined in our faith. We need to put our hope in Jesus and in the glorious salvation he will bring us. Hope will never be found in people, society, culture or government.

There are tough times ahead but we must be a shining light in the darkness. The light of Jesus offers hope to those around us through forgiveness, peace of heart and mind and most of all love for all people.

So prepare yourself for action. Cloth yourself in the hope and love only Jesus can offer those around us. Now more than ever they need to see his light.

We live in a time of unprecedented hate, anger, and violence. Sometimes our smallest comments or actions seem to incite anger in the people around us. During these times we need to be reminded of the great love of God the father has for us.

Society tends place value on us according to a certain political persuasion, our race, or our beliefs and opinions. But in God‘s kingdom, love that is based on the external isn’t love it all.

Love at any level is a decision, a choice. God choice to love us isn’t based on who we are but on who he is. God‘s love for us isn’t based not on what we do, but on what he does through his son Jesus Christ. God‘s love isn’t based on our faithfulness to him, but on his unconditional, unwavering faithfulness .

Human love can change over time. God’s love and never changes for us! His love for us sustains us in the darkest of times.

People may not understand us. Those closest to us can often try to ‘fix us’ when all we want is a listening ear and a hug.

True love guides us, protects us, encourages us and lifts us up. Gods love for you comes with his full awareness and understanding of your pain. He literally feels the pain you feel. No one else can do that no matter how hard they may try.

So today, celebrate you! Celebrate the fact that you ARE loved unconditionally by one who never changes. His love for you is new everyday.

You can come to him with every burden. You can come to him with your shame. You can come to him with your fear. He is always there, willing to listen and able to encourage you.

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January 2021
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