Tag Archive | First Epistle of Peter

The Choice Is Ours

 

The Choice is Ours
Rachel Olsen

“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…” 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

I watch Samantha Brown, Travel Channel host, as she explores Old Town in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. Watching her experience the charming hotels, mouth-watering food, and tropical adventures there, I’m slightly envious. But as she points out the sights of this South American city, my mind wanders back in time.

I’ve been to Quito. Not to enjoy the food or see the architecture, but to visit people there who Jesus loves.

As the camera pans over Samantha’s head, I’m looking for the spot where I visited a single mother, Maria. She and her baby lived in one room smaller than my home office. She had a twin size bed, a chest of drawers, and a small electric stove.

On the stove she fried plantains for me. I had trouble at first with the idea of eating them, knowing they were from her very limited food supply. As Maria happily served me, I wondered if I would choose to share my food so freely if it were as scarce for me as it is for her.

Maria told me she had received Jesus, and was now receiving training in child care, nutrition and child development through Compassion International. She’d received these South American bananas from them too. I noticed Maria had a visible hope that her life and her child’s life were now on a better path.

Around the corner from Maria lived a young boy who has also been touched by Jesus. He is a sponsored child. When we met, Eduardo told me he hopes to be a pastor. He quoted scripture to me from memory—he was eight.

Our meeting wasn’t planned, he just happened to stop by Maria’s door while I was there. After talking with us briefly, Eduardo reached into his back pocket, pulled out a small New Testament and handed it to me. Said he wanted me to have it. And he wanted me to read it.

Said he hoped it would remind me of him, so I would pray that he could become a pastor.

I didn’t tell him I have plenty of full-size Bibles at home. Or I wouldn’t be able to read much of that one in Spanish. Instead I took the small red book, said “gracias,” and prayed over him and his future ministry. He smiled a smile full of possibility and disappeared out the doorway.

I’m certain that around the corner from Maria there are other single moms and young boys who don’t have this hope. They feel trapped, depressed, maybe hungry and short-changed.

It is my prayer they will find “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3).

Samantha Brown discovered Ecuador’s luscious fruits, famous hat-making trade, and its romantic colonial architecture. Here’s what I discovered:

• We always have a choice between hope and despair – no matter what circumstance we are in.

• We always have a choice between fear and faith – no matter how bleak things look.

• And we always have the choice to give and serve – no matter how little we own.

It’s Jesus – and His church at work on the Earth – that affords us these choices.

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my trip to Ecuador for Samantha Brown’s any day. Even if she did get to visit the stunning cloud forest. I’m thinking we’ll have cloud forests in heaven to enjoy. And I’d like to see as much of the Ecuadorian population there as possible.

I think my eight year-old friend would like to see that too. I’m certain he will do his part toward that end – will we also do ours? We have that choice to make.

Dear Lord, thank You for living hope. Thank You for living water that quenches our eternal thirst. Anoint young Eduardo to share this hope with others in Ecuador. Show me how I can share it with others too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Compassion International has helped Maria, Eduardo and thousands of others. Visit here and click on the tab “Rescue Babies & Mothers” – choose a set to pray for or to support today.

Visit Rachel’s blog for a chance to win a copy of her book It’s No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know

Reflect and Respond:
What can you give or share today?

What can you do to tell or show others about Jesus today?

Power Verses:
John 4:13-14, “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” (NIV)

© 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

 

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Creation—an argument for faith

 

‘Ah Lord God, behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.’ Jeremiah 32:17

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 107:23–32

My brother in Christ, you are greatly troubled are you? It is a common lot with us all. And so, you have nothing on earth to trust to now, and are going to be cast on your God alone? Your vessel is on her beam-ends, and now there is nothing for you but just to be rolled on the providence and care of God. What a blessed place to be rolled on! Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! On some few occasions I have had troubles which I could not tell to any but my God, and I thank God that I have, for I learned more of my Lord then than at any other time.

There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends. But when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nothing, he flies into his Father’s arms, and how blessedly he is clasped there! So that, I say again, happy trouble that drives you to your Father! Blessed storm that wrecks you on the rock of ages! Glorious billow that washes you upon this heavenly shore! And now you have nothing but your God to trust to, what are you going to do? To fret? To whine? O, I pray you, do not thus dishonour your Lord and Master! Now, play the man, play the man of God. Show the world that your God is worth ten thousand worlds to you. Show rich men how rich you are in your poverty when the Lord God is your helper. Show the strong man how strong you are in your weakness when underneath you are the everlasting arms. Now man, now is your time to glorify God.

For meditation: Do you take refuge in the Lord (Psalm 73:25–26; Proverbs 18:10)? When God gets his hands upon them, even bad experiences eventually turn out for the believer’s good (Psalm 119:71; Lamentations 3:27; Romans 8:28) and the blessing overflows to others (Genesis 50:20). That is the story of Good Friday (Isaiah 53:10–11; 1 Peter 2:23–24).

Sermon no. 462
27 July (1862)