November 7, 2018
This Christian walk is challenging.
It’s scary and sometimes down right crazy.
I remember when my parents told me we were leaving our home country and moving to the US. I was shocked, terrified and downright upset.
How could my parents take me from the life I knew,
and the family I loved, to go to a strange place?
A place where I had no friends or family?
I remember asking them why and their answer will forever stay in my mind,
“We are Christians and we need to leave the comfortable life
we have been living to study God’s word.”
When we arrived, I remember feeling like an outsider, unable to understand the dialogue.
I remember being picked on and people telling me that I was an alien.
Kids made fun of my Bahamian lunches and my accent.
They also poked fun at the fact that I was a product of a mixed-race couple.
Why would my parents bring me to a place like this?
A place where we were outcasts and denied the “joys of life”?
They had a greater hope.
A hope that what Christ had to offer in the long term,
was greater than the temporal struggles.
This hope was worth their endurance.
The lesson I was learning from my parents, was the same one Peter taught.
He encouraged believers to endure through intense persecution in order that the testing their faith would reap heavenly reward and inexpressible joy.
Peter wrote described our hope in Christ as being greater
because our reward is heavenly not worldly.
During this time in history, there were a lot of people facing legal and social backlash from their communities for following Christ.
The cost to follow was Jesus was extremely high.
Yet, Peter reminded them, though their earthly rewards were slim to none, they could trust in the truth that they had an incorruptible inheritance.
The eternal reward freely given to those who call Jesus Lord surpasses anything Peter’s brothers and sisters or you and I could receive on this earth whether in material possessions or relational gain.
Today, believers are ridiculed and mocked for claiming the name of Christ,
yet we are told to endure.
Because the living hope of Jesus is worth our endurance
God has given us this truth in His Word.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Around 1300 BC, a woman named Ruth steadfastly endured in the face of heartache
because of eternal hope.
Ruth chose to return to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law after losing her husband.
She was a foreigner in a new place, yet she said to her mother-in-law,
“Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
Ruth faced poverty because of her ethnicity,
yet God was faithful to provide.
Through physical eyes she had nothing,
but through spiritual eyes she was blessed beyond measure.
Eventually, she became the great grandmother of King David through whom the Eternal King Jesus would be born.
She clung to a greater hope. She endured. She was blessed.
Christians are spiritual foreigners in this world, just as my family and Ruth were physical foreigners. The United States wasn’t my home, Bethlehem wasn’t Ruth’s,
and this temporal world is not ours.
We are called to be set apart;
to be in the world but not of the world.
Just as my cultural differences where very obvious to the people around me,
the differences in believers’ lives should also be exceedingly obvious.
James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
While I lived in Virginia, I saw God’s miraculous hand of protection and provision.
When we did not know where our next meal was coming from,
boxes of food would show up on our door step.
When we had no money to pay my school fees,
we received notifications that the fees had been paid by anonymous donors.
My faith was tested and it grew.
Being a foreigner was difficult, but the spiritual benefits were so much greater.
Eternal hope was worth the endurance.
In my life now, those gifts that God blessed me with during difficult times
are the gifts I rely on in the good times, how sweet is that?
He takes us through the fire and we come out pure!
Sisters, this is a truth we must embed in our hearts!
We must remember as believers, as Sisters in Jesus,
that we don’t need to move to another country to be considered foreigners.
If we claim the name of Jesus, we are spiritual foreigners.
We will suffer and face trials for naming that Name.
Yet, be reminded: suffering for His name is considered sweet suffering, because the rewards it produces are much greater than gold.
So, Ladies let’s cling to greater hope!
Incorruptible Day 4
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.” (I Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NLT))
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