A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” On what is your hope fully set? For some, hope is just an optimistic sentiment, such as hoping for good weather tomorrow. For those who know Christ, hope is an assurance of the grace that will be revealed when Christ returns. It is on this hope that our lives are to be fully set. Peter calls on his readers to live lives that pursue holiness, fearfully conducting lives under the Father’s watchful view. What would motivate you to live such a life? Peter reminds us of the precious gift of Christ’s sacrifice that ransomed us. Grounded in this truth, we must live lives that clearly demonstrate our need for the hope promised to us by faith in Christ.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” Joy can be elusive. So often it can escape as we face many hardships and difficulties. How can we keep from letting our joy evaporate, especially in light of what God has accomplished for us through Jesus Christ and his powerful resurrection? As Peter dives into the body of his letter to the exiles, he calls on us to praise God, recognizing the living hope to which we’ve been called that secures an eternal inheritance that will be revealed in the last time. This inheritance has been promised to us and even foretold by the prophets of old, though they themselves didn’t fully see or know Christ. Despite the challenges we face in our present day, we have an even greater perspective on this hope since Christ has been made known to us.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” So often our mailboxes get clogged and bogged with more junk mail than meaningful messages from those closest to us. In those rare moments, when an actual letter personally addressed to us arrives, it stands out and immediately gets our attention. The recipients of Peter’s letter surely felt the same way. In both the opening and closing verses of the letter, Peter communicates an important message that—because of all his successes and failures— carries even more weight and significance. His message comes from one who knows what he is talking about. We would certainly be wise to listen and to take heed of his exhortations.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” Do you know what the longest chapter in the Bible is? Psalm 119. Located at nearly the dead-center of your Bible is the song that sings the greatness of God’s word as a means of grace to us as his people. Just as Psalm 119 is at the center of your Bible, God’s word needs to be at the center of our lives. When our attention is rightly focused on God and his word, our lives will experience God’s greatest blessing. Surprisingly, it comes from obedience.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” What motivates you to worship God? There are many great reasons we might give—such as, “The Bible tells me that I should,” or “Because of all the blessings in my life.” Both of these are certainly valid reasons for our worship. But what motivates David? What are the reasons he gives for why he will extol (or praise) his “God and King”? Just as those who came before him recognized, it is the character of the LORD that prompts us to praise. When we witness his character on display through his wondrous works, we can’t help but to see why he is worthy of praise. May this testimony continue forward through us.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” Where do you turn when you are in need of refuge? David makes clear where he turns: “In the LORD I take refuge.” While we all want this to be our answer, when the hard times come, we are easily distracted—whether by friends or those closest to us. Instead of finding safety in God, we opt instead to preserve our lives by our own means. This psalm gives us a clear view of where the LORD sits and how he will deal with both the righteous and the wicked. The question we must all answer: Is the LORD squarely seated on the throne in our lives?
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” “God bless you!” We often say this to someone going through a difficult time or after a sneeze, but what do we mean by it? What does God’s blessing look like? And what happens when his blessing goes out? Here we read that the LORD’s blessing is given to Israel to bring this same blessing to all the nations on the earth. In other words, God blessed Israel with the expressed purpose of displaying his good ways and his powerful salvation to the ends of the earth—through the ones he has blessed. In Christ, we have graciously received this same blessing. And just as God desired to see his blessing to go forth through Israel, we are called to extend his blessing by making Christ known to all the nations on earth.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” As we conclude Daniel, we must consider where we have traveled. After God’s judgment upon Jerusalem, many were dragged to Babylon and forced into a new culture and lifestyle. Despite everything thrown at Daniel and his Hebrew friends, the LORD remained faithful, strengthening their resolve to honor him no matter who was in power. Though Daniel faced many trials, God communicated through him that such hardship would continue until the end, when the LORD will complete his redeeming work on the earth. As readers, we are left with the question, “How long shall it be?” Regardless of how much longer, we are called to live lives of steadfast faith, trusting in Christ’s finished work on our behalf, until he returns.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” “How relevant is the Bible to me?” Reading Daniel 11, one might be tempted to think that the Bible is NOT AT ALL relevant! How can we possibly find something applicable to our lives as we read about the rise and fall of kingdoms the “North” and the”South”? Despite their efforts to thwart God’s redemptive purposes for his people, these kingdoms are long gone. Yet God’s kingdom remains. No matter the opposition that is posed against the kingdom of God, the people that know their God will stand firm. Despite countless temptations to just be like everyone else, God’s true people have remained steadfast.
Let us strive to be likewise, recognizing the pitfalls that still exist for us today.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” The opening verses of Daniel paint a grim picture for the people of God. Having their country besieged by the world’s ruling superpower and vessels taken from the temple, many Israelites found themselves living in a foreign land with foreign people worshiping foreign gods in a foreign culture. Their situation certainly seemed bleak. Where is God in all this, and what in the world is he doing? Ultimately, it is God who is the giver of all things in Daniel 1 as he builds his kingdom that is and will forever be unshakeable. Through Daniel we will hopefully see how we can remain faithful despite living our lives as exiles.