Fresh Hope – 21st September 2017

As I’ve got older, I’ve noticed that I pay far more attention to what ingredients, additives, carbs and saturated fats are present in a food product. Why I didn’t do this years ago when I could actually read the label without my glasses on I’ll never know.

I’m sure you’ll agree, that it has become far more of a trend to know what’s in something than ever before. You only have to spend a little time around the supermarket to see people trying to decipher what’s actually in their favourite ‘healthy’ snack bar.

Amongst some of the most amusing small print found on food packaging, has got to be that found on a packet of salted peanuts…’warning – contains nuts.’

What about the sleeping aid capsules – ‘may cause drowsiness.’

Reading labels has led to a far more positive move towards food manufacturers being vigilant with their products, knowing that the public are now casting a health conscious watchful eye over everything they now consume.

Growing up, I never ever remember one time my parents reading the back of the box of ‘Cadbury’s Smash’ (dehydrated potato flakes) that we would be served for tea, after adding boiling water.

In much the same way, people have failed to read the ‘small print’ of the Bible and have assumed that to be a Christian meant to have a problem free and cosy life, not realising that was far from the truth if you’d only take time to read what’s on the packet.

Many people have backed away from following Christ when hard times have hit, or when God hasn’t seemingly got them out of a tough spot, often because they never bothered to read the contents of what it meant to be a true Christian.

The verses below have long since been buried under our convenient Christianity, but now there is a new move in the Church where people actually want to know the truth..

1 Peter 4:12-16 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Reading that makes you realise that trouble is part and parcel, and not foreign to, following Jesus.

God never promised us a pain free, problem free easy ride, in fact He promised us trouble…

John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’

…this reassures us that He is bigger than any temporary trouble you may be facing. What better way to start your day with these words which literally mean…CHEER UP!

Often I’ve found that God doesn’t take away my problems, but He takes me through them. That way I learn to battle through, learn from it, and then see victory.

Are you going through a dark time right now and didn’t think you would have to when you signed up to follow Jesus? Then here’s His promise to you today…

Psalm 112:4-8 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered for ever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

Yes…’even in dark times’.

Remember: you are meant to shine. The darker it is, the more you’ll stand out.

Philippians 2:14-16 ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life’.
Pastor Mark

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