Moments in the Light
Monday Night Ponderings from Journal Entries

Holy Hope

Holy hope

Refer to I Peter 1:1-16

Visionary people are holy and hopeful people.

It is hard to talk about vision without mentioning hope. And it is difficult to find a great deal of hope without seeing a manifestation of some type of holiness in the lives of those who invest everything they have and are in the source of that hope.

Holiness is about setting aside something for one and only one use. To do that with one’s whole heart, one must be rooted and grounded in trust and faith that the reason for hope is strong and stable.

Our confidence is not contingent upon sight nor is it upon our flesh and blood resolve. Guarantees are not the food of faith and absolute assurance does not produce authentic Christian hope.

Rather, hope produces assurance.

When you have hope, you commit everything and focus upon God’s promises and calling.

That kind of holiness, consecration, and giving values the vision that God has given us above every other desire.

In giving, committing, and entrusting ourselves to God, hope grows in intensity and strength.

See the vision through the eyes of hope, faith, and holiness.

Let the vision fill your heart and head and let it inform all of your decisions.

Never again act or choose without a clear understanding of the hope we have in Jesus Christ for every challenge and situation.  

Care-Free Living in a World of Cares 

“…Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you.” – I Peter 5:7

Imagine yourself adrift upon a sea of trouble, tossed furiously by its waves and sinking under the load of care. Along comes Jesus inviting you to cast every care upon him and guide your ship into the current of his protective care.

What nobility would there be in continuing your present course, in being capsized by the waves, or sunk by the load? It would be presumptuous and foolish to refuse his rescue, but we refuse throughout the course of our lives preferring to carry our concerns alone as if there were some rewards for useless anxiety at the end of the journey.

No one is totally exempt from anxiety. Some people have learned to manage it while others ignore it. Still others labor under its oppressive load and are haunted by its tormenting voice. Anxieties, worry, and care haunt those who lives are dominated by worry and compulsively dwell on “negative faith.” It is negative because it focuses on the worst. It is faith because it believes that no matter what, that which is most dreaded will come to pass.

The answer to anxiety is neither management entirely, willful ignorance nor oppression. The answer is to cast it upon the loving, strong arms of a God, who cares for us and is adequate to meet all of our needs in spite of us,

This great word of comfort is preceded by verse 6 and can be accomplished only by first doing what it commands.  It is a call to humble ourselves under God’s almighty hand so that the lifting up can and will be done by Him. When I walk among the wonders of nature, I become aware of two great theological truths. First, there is a God.  Second, it’s not me. I must come to understand my inadequacy to change the circumstances that are beyond my control and agonize my soul. Once I have come to grips with that reality and humble myself in his presence, He can lift me above the fear to positive faith where I can know the joy of the companion verse to this

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved" -Psalm 55:22 

The psalmist knew that when the humble person casts his or her burdens on God, His sustaining power kicks in and the righteous simply do not fall. We may be shaken, bombarded, assaulted, beaten, bent, swayed, scarred, and wounded, but we remain standing.

Might bad things happen? Of course. You can pretty much count on them. Will they defeat us?


Cast those cares on God. He cares for you.

Turn the pages back to John 14.

Picture the upper room and the somber mood of twelve friends hearing the ominous words from their Master that He will soon die and that they will soon fail Him.

“Not I,” protests Peter.

“You will,” declares Jesus, “But let not your heart be troubled …”

And then He offers hope, that He is going to prepare a place for them, that He will come again to receive them to Himself, that He will ever be with them and they with Him, and that they really do know where He is going.”

At that point, Thomas interrupts, “No we really don’t know where you are going. How can we know? Show us the way.”

Thomas felt that in order to follow Jesus, he must become more of an expert in navigational theology to traverse the diverse paths leading to God. It was a frightening prospect, “How can we know the way?”

Indeed, how can we?

Jesus simplified the answer. He would be their compass. He would be their guide. It was not necessary for them to know anything more that Him. If they would follow Him, He would provide the way, the truth, and the life within His own person.

The message of Jesus to us as we stumble in the darkness of uncertain ambiguity is, “Follow me.”

He will lead us through the darkness. He will lead us to our eternal home. We can trust Him and follow Him.

Grace Will Lead Me Home

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” – John 14:2 

Home! Home, sweet, home! That’s where we are going. That is where we belong. Anything short of home is still part of the journey. Anything that is part of the journey is subject to dangers, toils, and snares. But after the journey is complete, those things will have no power at all.

Jesus went away to prepare a place for us, a place with plenty of room and place where he himself will be present.

He promised to come to get us when He is ready for us to join Him. We don’t have to keep checking on our reservations and we don’t have to worry that we will miss the summons.

Let not your hearts be troubled,” he said.

There is no room for fretting; just trusting. There is no way to become worthy; it’s all by grace.

I was lost once. I didn’t think I’d ever find my way home. I didn’t. Home found me. So, it is with grace leading us home. So, it is with Him coming for us. Wherever we are at the time, he will find us. We may feel we are buried under a mountain of ambiguity and complexity, but if we are his, he will find us. We may sense that we are not ready; our ducks are not neatly lined up in a row. Yet, if we are in the faith, it is not our preparation that counts, but his.

He prepares the place; we trust Him and follow Him wherever the journey leads, meandering through dangers, toils, and snares. We follow without certainty as to duration or difficulty. We follow and sometimes we get sidetracked, but He puts us back on the path.

Where we are, he is and where he is, we will be.

And grace will lead us home.

The Indwelling Spirit

“… he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” From John 14:17

God is whispering in our ears, “Give me your hands and let me move them in my rhythm.”

God thinks of everything. God's purposes are complex, but not complicated. God's plan is to work in and through believers to accomplish God's work in the world. To do this, the Holy One intends to inhabit us.

The Holy Spirit is the very presence of Jesus among us today. It is by the Holy Spirit that we become the Body of Christ in the world and that the world is convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment and hears the message of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Knowing that they might consider that a once and for all filling and forget the need for constant refreshment and refilling, he told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. As we celebrate Pentecost this year, let us focus on the necessity of the Spirit-filled life if we are to see God accomplish great things in and through us.

When Jesus called Paul, he had a plan for Him. But Paul needed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life to realize his calling and act upon it.

When Jesus restored Peter after breathing the Spirit into him, He questioned him about his love. Three times, he commissioned Peter to feed His sheep knowing that if Peter were to act upon his love and follow the Master, he would need the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.

By faith, allow the Spirit of God who dwells in you to overflow within you and spill out His blessings to the world.

Today, God is calling us to the next level of following, serving, and bearing witness in the world. We need the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have no choice but to rely on the Promise and Presence of the Spirit.

Today's Readings  NRSVU

Psalm 1
Beatus vir qui non abiit

Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.

It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Psalm 2
Quare fremuerunt gentes?

Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?

Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt,
and the princes plot together, *
against the Lord and against his Anointed?

“Let us break their yoke,” they say; *
“let us cast off their bonds from us.”

He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.

Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
and his rage fills them with terror.

“I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion.”

Let me announce the decree of the Lord: *
he said to me, “You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.

You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery.”

And now, you kings, be wise; *
be warned, you rulers of the earth.

Submit to the Lord with fear, *
and with trembling bow before him;

Lest he be angry and you perish; *
for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!

Psalm 3
Domine, quid multiplicati

Lord, how many adversaries I have! *
how many there are who rise up against me!

How many there are who say of me, *
“There is no help for him in his God.”

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me; *
you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.

I call aloud upon the Lord, *
and he answers me from his holy hill;

I lie down and go to sleep; *
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I do not fear the multitudes of people *
who set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord; set me free, O my God; *
surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face,
you will break the teeth of the wicked.

Deliverance belongs to the Lord. *
Your blessing be upon your people!

Exodus 14:21-31
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and chariot drivers.

At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty.

The Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt."

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers."

So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained.

But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

1 Peter 1:1-12
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith-- being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire-- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-- things into which angels long to look!

John 14:[1-7]8-17

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going."

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also."

"From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ’show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you."