1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message)

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone,

I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people:

religious,

 nonreligious,

 meticulous moralists,

 loose-living immoralists,

the defeated,

 the demoralized—whoever.

 I didn’t take on their way of life.

I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.

I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.

I did all this because of the Message.

 I didn’t just want to talk about it;

I wanted to be in on it!”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23  (The Message Translation)

Through the Eyes of a Child

Do you ever see the world around you through the eyes of a child?

My cousin and her family are moving to Nashville!  For the past week, I’ve been spending most of my time with them unpacking boxes, organizing bookcases, cooking, and playing with two of her three sons (the oldest is at summer camp until Sunday).  It has been so much fun playing with these boys, and yesterday especially was the day of our biggest adventure.  We went to Kroger, the local grocery store…

To make any, old trip to the grocery an adventure, there is one thing that you must absolutely have: a cart with a car attached on the front.  The boys had a blast, and I myself had just as much fun acting like a little kid with them.  We made sound effects while going down the aisles.  When we came into the section of the grocery store with all of the flowers, we pretended that we were in the rainforest searching for certain animals.

When we came within view of the lobster tank, Connor jumped out of the car faster that I thought possible…

I wish I had my camera out when he first saw them because his face was PRICELESS!  He was so excited and could not believe that there were live animals, let alone sea creatures, in the middle of the grocery store.  “Sissy!  Looowwwk!”  Connor exclaimed, “Zat iz juzt so coooo-ewl!”  Even Larson and I ooohed and awwwed with Connor as we marveled at the wonder of lobsters in the grocery store.  It was time to move on though, and get the rest of our groceries.

And we were off…..

Throughout all of our days of fun, I’ve come to ask myself, “At what point did I stop seeing the world around me through the eyes of a child?  What made me come to believe that this world was small and mundane enough to deserve only the occasional notice of a sunset or a pretty flower?  Why don’t I gasp when I see lobsters in a grocery store?  Where has my childlike sense of wonder gone?”

——————————————-

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Mark 10:14-15

——————————————-

Maybe it’s time for us to see through the eyes of a child once more….

“Do I really have hope?”

My first meal in heaven…. : You may be wondering why I wrote that post.  After all, it seems pretty random compared to all of my other posts.  I wrote it, though, because it segues into one of my favorite words of the Bible.  Hope.

Throughout the course of a day, we say hope quite a bit: “I hope we win the game,”  “I hope that I didn’t fail that test,” or “I hope we can hang out this weekend!”

In each of those exclamations, we use the word hope, but what do you notice?  Each time that we use that word, we are in a situation where oppositions–an team with a better record, a hard test, or a conflict of plans for the weekend–make whatever we are hoping for very unlikely to happen.  Doubt is present, so we say, “I hope.”  We know that it is unlikely, so we hope and wish for it to happen anyways.

But, this is not what the Bible means when it says hope

My Bible dictionary says defines hope as,

“Trustful expectation particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s Guidance….

This contrasts to the world’s definition of hope as ‘a feeling that what is wanted will happen.’ “

Holman Bible Dictionary, pg 780

Notice that the Bible uses hope when speaking of a TRUSTFUL EXPECTATION and the ANTICIPATION OF A FAVORABLE OUTCOME.  The word’s definition, though, is used only in regards to a feeling in the presence of doubt.

I say all of this to really say one thing about my last blog post.  We all have different ideas about Heaven and our first meal with God.  No matter what we imagine or wish it would be like, though, we all have one hope, one trustful expectation that compels us each day.  Romans 5:2 says, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”  In other words, we live with joy because we TRUST that He will be glorified there.

We only have one hope in our life.  This hope IS NOT for how much money we’ll make, what car we’ll drive, or what team will win the game.  If we truly have the Holy Spirit and God’s love in our hearts, that one hope–the glorification of our Heavenly Father in every area of our lives–will not disappoint us.  Trusting in that one favorable outcome will even allow us to rejoice in our own suffering (Romans 5:3-5; see also 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Now it’s time to ask yourself one question.  Do I really have hope?