Jesus is Our Living Hope

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Hallelujah, Jesus Christ is our Living Hope.

The Lion of Judah roared mightily that Resurrection Day so long ago, and his victorious voice continues to speak to all with ears to hear.

He set us free. He broke every chain that bound us to the evil one.

Jesus is the Victor. The Mighty Warrior. The Conqueror. He defeated Satan, hell, sin, and death.

Jesus Christ is the One in whom our hope is found.

He sits at the right hand of his Father in heaven, waiting for the day he returns for his Bride, the Church. On that day, Christ will take those who confess their hope, trust, and allegiance to the King of kings and LORD of Lords with him to their eternal home in heaven.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

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Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” Matthew 28:5-7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Remember Me

We remember on the day the crucified Christ died alongside two criminals, one of the men mocked Jesus. The man told Jesus, if indeed he was the Messiah sent to save the world, Jesus should save himself and the man who hung beside him as well.

The other criminal recognized Jesus as the sinless Christ. God’s Only Son. Savior. Redeemer. Messiah.

This man admitted he deserved to die for his sins, but Jesus didn’t.

Acknowledging who Jesus was, this second man asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.

Upon hearing the man’s confession of faith, Jesus assured the man he would be remembered. Jesus said he would be with Christ in Paradise that very day.

Although Jesus accepted the sins of both men upon his perfect sinless self; the one who believed and the one who mocked, only one of the men would be with Jesus in Heaven.

One of the criminals on the cross recognized the truth of who Jesus is. He admitted his sinfulness deserved punishment. He confessed his belief in Jesus as Lord. Because of that, Jesus gave his solemn promise the man would be in Paradise.

The other man’s lack of faith and sin separated him from Christ.

Jesus died for all so we could have life eternal with him in Heaven. It’s up to each individual to decide whether to accept Christ’s invitation or not.

Jesus paid the debt we could never pay with his life.

The decision we must make is what will we do with that sacrificial gift.

Accept it? Or reject it?

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One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

But the other criminal protested. “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.” Luke 23:39-43 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Bring Them Both

Have you ever read a passage of scripture in the Bible and found something you hadn’t noticed before?

For me it was the words bring them from Matthew’s account of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the week before he died for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary.

That was an A-ha moment.

There’s no telling how often I’ve either heard or read that passage. And never before did I noticed the word them.

Until now.

I remember Jesus sent the disciples to bring the colt he rode into Jerusalem, but this was the first time I noticed Jesus said bring them. Not one, but both. Mother and child.

Have you missed that too?

Jesus rode the colt. He had no need of the mother. Yet, he said to bring them both.

Now, to my maternal instinct I can understand why Jesus didn’t want to separate the two. What mother wants to be separated from her young child, no matter how noble the reason? I believe Jesus sympathized with the mother. He would not cause her or her child distress for his sake.

Bring them both.

Maybe she walked beside her young colt, kept an eye on him, and held her breath he wouldn’t stumble. Maybe she was led by one of the disciples, so she wouldn’t interfere. Maybe the mother told her colt to pay attention. This is Jesus, God’s son. Show him respect. Don’t go stepping in the mud puddles. Look sharp!

This whole idea of Jesus requesting both donkeys got me to thinking.

Jesus wants parents to bring their children to him. He wants children to bring their parents. He wants us to bring our co-workers. Our friends. Even our enemies.

Jesus told the disciples to bring them to him. Not just one donkey, but both. Not just the colt, but the parent also.

Just as he requested both animals, Jesus asks us to come to him and bring those we love along.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Nevertheless, it is what Jesus requests.

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As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” Matthew 21:1-3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We See What We Want to See

We often ignore facts and choose to see what we want to see.

Blues and greens are my favorite colors. To steal a line from James Taylor, deep greens and blues are the colors I choose. Always have. Believe I always will.

My preference for blues leads me to ignore other colors, even when they are obviously more prominent.

Case in point.

I call one of our couches the blue couch. This couch also has some tan, orange, and brown in it. To be truthful, it has a LOT of tan, orange, and brown with very little blue.

No matter.

This couch is the blue couch.

At various times friends have visited and I’ve shown them the couch, asking what color they think it is. I do this to prove the point I’m right in how I describe said couch.

None say blue.

I point out the blue and they say something like, yeah, okay, and give me a strange look.

No. I’m not color blind. I just happen to see what I want to see.

But don’t we do the same when we look at people?

We see what we want to see.

If we want to see their failings, that’s what we’ll focus on. That’s what we’ll choose to see, and that’s how we will define them.

It won’t matter a whit if that one negative thing is the only failure in a life of accomplishments. The failure is what stands out to us. That’s the lens we see them through. It’s how we view them. That’s our blue couch.

We don’t view them as a composite of multiple colors which combine to create a beautiful masterpiece. We choose to see them only as the one color with which we choose to paint them.

I have a theory on why we tend to do this based on nothing but observation and personal experience. It makes us feel better about our self to point out others’ failings, even when their failings are often our own. By some perverse reasoning, we believe making others look bad makes us look good.

If we go around looking for the bad in people, we’ll surely find it.

And you know what?

If we go around looking for the good, we’re gonna find that too.

It’s all a matter of perspective, don’t you think?

We can concentrate on a person’s failure, but that doesn’t make the good go away any more than me focusing on the blue in my couch makes the tan, orange, and brown go away.

It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see. Henry David Thoreau

It’s okay if you think my blue couch is tan. Really. It is.

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Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Luke 6:37 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One Piece at a Time

This is the most detailed view of the distant object Ultima Thule taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft Jan. 1, 2019. (Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

Ultima Thule may not be your first thought for a devotion on becoming who God created us to be, but it sure was one of the first things I thought of when Pilot and I watched a special on NASA’s New Horizons. A spacecraft zoomed past Ultima Thule January 1, 2019, setting a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history. (Ultima lies about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.)

Scientist believe this bowling pin or snowman shaped 21-mile-long planetary object was created not as a complete object at its beginning, but one piece at a time as different pebbles and marbles joined together. It’s a process.

In the same way Ultima Thule did not appear complete at the beginning of its existence, we don’t arrive complete the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We’re a process affected by the pebbles and marbles of life that impact us. Our growth  continues until the day Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. It’s a daily process called sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit living in those called according to God’s purpose.

We can count among the pebbles and marbles that join together to make us who we are sins as well as victories over sin. Neither of those things by themselves define us. They are a composite of who we are.

An area of psychology called Gestalt, would say the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Only our relationship with Jesus and what he does with those pebbles and marbles defines us.

Some may want to point to the times we’ve failed God and define us by those failures. We may even allow Satan’s lies, deceptions, and deceits to do the same.

Thankfully, that’s not how God sees us.

Through Christ Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, we are reconciled with God. Our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Who knows? The next pictures seen of Ultima Thule may show the planetary object has grown, continuing to add more pebbles and marbles in the process.

Hopefully, those who look at us see the pebbles and marbles of our life have day by day grown us closer to becoming the person God created us to become.

So what do you think? Does Ultima Thule look like a bowling pin, or snowman?

I opt for snowman. After all, it was found in the Kuiper Belt which is not known for its tropical heat waves. Pilot, however, thinks it looks like BB8 from Star Wars. 🙂

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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