~ Bite Sized Bible~ Hope

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Hope.

A four  letter word that has a thousand letter impact!

What do you hope for?

I realised when writing cards and text messages recently that I use the word ‘Hope’ a lot. But each ti
me I’ve used it I’ve questioned myself, do I really only ‘hope’ someone has a lovely day? Or do I want them to actually have a lovely day? Do I hope my card finds them well or do I want them to be well, happy and healthy?

I’m discovering that perhaps the way we use hope has different implications and meanings. When messaging the above I realised that I’m wishing them a good day, I don’t have a certainty that the day they have will be perfect but I ‘hope’/really want it to be.
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Our trusty friend dictionary.com came up with the following definitions which supported my text messaging theory in number 1. But check out the 4th definition – ‘A person or thing in which expectations are centered.’ So the hope we have for other people in everyday life is different to the things we put our hope, and essentially trust, in?

In Hebrews the word Hope is described as an ‘anchor for the soul’. I love this so much, but it also makes me think. If what we hope for, or even what we put our hope in anchors our soul, then surely we need to be careful where we place that hope?

Hebrews 6:19 says ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ If we take that verse on it’s own it leaves us with the question –

What hope? where is it anchored, how is it secure?

Context:

The hope talked about in Hebrews 6 is the hope that we have and can have in God. In the chapters before we discover how we can boldly come before God as a child would a father because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Chapter 2 beautifully recounts the gift of salvation and how we are adopted into God’s family as his children.

Let’s look at it like this:

Did you ever put your hope in a situation or relationship and come out crushed and with your heart in tatters? At the beginning you were sure this was a dead cert, a forever thing and that nothing could change that but something came along, a bump in the road, a pothole or an emotional hurricane and suddenly everything crumbled to dust and you were left in the wreckage?

It’s an age old story isn’t it? But also a poignant reminder that while love and relationships are beautiful, we are all human, capable of hurting one another and letting one another down.

When we anchor our faith and hope in other people, inevitably there will come the day when they are no longer strong enough protect our hope. Because none of us are perfect.

When we anchor the things that we hope for in God He is big enough and strong enough to hold on to it and not let us down. He’s the creator after all? He knows us inside out, he doesn’t need a manual because he designed us. He created us to be anchored in Him and Him in us.

There’s no-one bigger that we could put our trust in, no one. There’s no one greater. There’s no one above God, no one more powerful, more present, more knowing, more loving than Him. So if you’re going to put your hope and trust in anyone, why would you anchor it to anyone less?

So yes have dreams, love, laugh and live – but make sure your anchor is secure in Jesus Christ. Ask God to be your anchor, ask him to be the one that holds onto your hope so that when you pursue your dreams you know that whatever the outcome, you are secure.

Who do you have your hope anchored in?

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Easter – Good Friday

Today’s the day my Jesus traveled to the cross. Officials couldn’t find his guilt but the crowd called for his crucifixion, he was mocked and made fun of, stripped, beaten, whipped, disfigured and a crown of thorns was rammed on his head. He was barely recognisable by the time he reached Golgotha (the place of the skull, where criminals were crucified) and then he was nailed to the wood and raised to be displayed to the onlookers. And yet, he still loved them, he still loved me.

On that cross he took the punishment that should have been mine. He took all sin, past, present and future, onto himself. He became a sacrifice for me to restore my relationship with God. So that when I was born years later a gift was already in place that all I needed to do was accept, the gift is life. But he did this not just for me – the gift is yours too, if you accept it.

When God made man in the beginning he never intended us to die, death was a symptom of that first sin in the garden and all of the sin since. The punishment for sin was death, that’s why before Jesus’ death and resurrection when people sinned they would sacrifice an animal to account for the sin.

But Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, for all of us.

…. But the story isn’t over, Jesus didn’t remain dead. Friday night his body was taken and sealed into a borrowed tomb, surrounded by Roman guards.

To be continued…

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

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Easter – Maundy Thursday

Today is the day my Jesus was betrayed. He was sold out for 30 silver pieces. Before he chose to go to the cross he left us with a way of remembering him a way to honour and acknowledge the sacrifice he made for us, all of us.

As he ate with the disciples that night, the night he was betrayed, he knew Judas would betray him, he knew Peter would deny he even knew him, he knew the other disciples would scatter out of fear, yet he still loved them.

After they had eaten Jesus took some bread and thanked God, his father, for it, he then broke it up into pieces and shared it round the disciples saying ‘Take, eat, this is my body.’

He then took a cup of wine thanked his father for it and told them to drink it, ‘this is my blood… poured out for the forgiveness of sins.’

What did he mean? His body? His blood? He meant this, the bread represented what was going to happen to his body, it would be broken, he would die. The wine represented his blood and how it would pour out of his body, taking his life, he became the final sacrifice for our sins.

But the best part of what happened was he didn’t stay dead! (That’s the best bit of Easter!)

Jesus told his disciples to share the bread and wine together as an act of remembrance until he returns, that’s why we take communion together today, to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross, to thank him for it, it’s an act of worship.

After they had shared communion together they sang a hymn of worship then left to go to the garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus prayed, He knew what was ahead of Him, He knew the journey he had to take. The journey to the cross.

Maundy Thursday – The last day Jesus would spend with his disciples before his death.

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#crossequalslove

The meaning of Christmas …

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What’s it all about – the majority of us know the nativity story don’t we? Gorgeous chubby baby born in a stable to a teenage-virgin mother and her fiance to be. The little baby is Jesus, son of God,  who arrives on earth in the most humble but incredible way.

But why? Why did the creator of the universe send his own son into the world to grow up and end up being crucified and after three days resurrected? Continue reading