PART 8 – LIVING HOPE (15/4/20)
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
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This week, and last, we are focussing our devotions around the Easter theme.
Even though so much has changed around us at present, we can take great comfort in the death and resurrection of Jesus; this is unchanging, He is our living hope. Peter writes,
'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.' (1 Peter 1:3-7)
Though we are facing many trials at the moment, we have reason to rejoice; we have been promised a great inheritance. That future hope will see an end to all suffering. Let's embrace that hope instead of fear and defeat. Let's choose to trust in Him. As we do so, we will flourish.
New life and flourishing is seen all around us. Maybe we've had the experience of seeing children grow up, this is illustrative of God's will for us - His plan is that we grow. Even in this Corona Virus season, God is wanting to grow us through the work of the Spirit.
Are you believing for growth through this current season? Are you trusting that 'these (trials) have come' in order to 'refine' your faith? This growth is ultimately for the praise of Jesus and the good of others, that they may come to know Jesus through you.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – JESUS, STAND AMONG US
What do you love most about Spring-time and why?
Introduction - please read in your group
Everything changes in Spring-time because of the presence of the sun. The blossom and flowers grow profusely. The trees begin to grow their leaves. It's a time of greater light and hope.
This is true, to a greater extent, when Jesus stands among us. Those first followers of Jesus all doubted the resurrection. The women, the disciples and those on the Road to Emmaus, are all grieving and not expecting Jesus to fulfil His promise of rising from death. However, when Jesus stands among them, His presence gives joy, peace and power.
Please read John 20:19-21
Please discuss/share together:
Peace: Jesus makes the promise of peace, twice in John 20. What does this promise mean?
Joy: It says that 'the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord'. What does this promise mean?
Power: Jesus 'breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit". This is an enacted promise that would be fulfilled at Pentecost. Please also read Luke 24:49. How does the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit enable us to have peace, joy and thrive in challenging times?
The risen Jesus gave peace, joy and the empowering of the Holy Spirit to those first grieving, limping disciples. Let's pray for one another to experience these things in our lives.
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