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Previous Message From Virtual Church

The Way To Hope, Peace, And Love

There is no hope, peace, and love in life except through Christ. However, there is in life the opportunity to delude ourselves into thinking there is hope, peace, and love. Our history as humans is littered with attempts at peace. On a personal level, we tell ourselves and others we will do better. As nations, we make proclamations of peace called treaties and we even sign off on some of these pieces of paper. Among nations, peace is fragile and not long lasting for the hatreds that inflame the hearts of men and women remain whether there is a peace treaty or not. We cannot find peace by signing a piece of paper, nor can we find peace by making some kind of personal commitment to do better in our relationships. We can find hope, peace, and love only if we surrender our tragically flawed lives to Christ. No matter where we go or what we do we cannot find the peace that gives a vision of an unlimited and eternal future except through Him. It is only by surrendering up our pain, our suffering and the hopeless darkness of our hearts that we can find an assurance of an unlimited future. We can look forward in our lives for signs of a better day. We can make plans and set goals for ourselves. We can look forward to better days as a result of our planning. However, we cannot look too far ahead because we will all get old and die. Our hope in this life is only a wisp in the wind. In the span of the eons of God's time, we are here on the earth only a short time. Even if we live to be 100, these 100 years are not even a blip upon the scale of ages past. Our only true hope for a place in eternity is with Christ. In Him, we have true hope, true peace, and true love that goes beyond this life.

As much as we plan and want hope, peace, and love, we cannot manufacture them. True hope, peace, and love are found lying in a manger in Bethlehem. Even as wars rage, and bullets and bombs fly around the place where Christ was born, we can find hope, peace, and love only in His shining face.

It is His Light, His star in the heavens that gives us a guiding light for our lives. The Magi followed His star as we are to follow His Light and love. The humble shepherds were stunned and shocked at the appearance of an angel but it was not the angel that gives us peace, hope, and love. It is only through Jesus that we can find peace, hope, and love.

As we search for peace, hope, and love in our lives we must remember that the baby Jesus was in the manger with the dark shadow of the Cross looming over Him. It was the Cross for which this child was born. It was the cruelty and horror of the suffering of this child that would give the world a chance at redemption.

We can hold Christ close to us. We can hold Him within our hearts and we can try to find the peace and love He offers. However, we cannot truly hold Him until we are honest with Him, for Christ knows our hearts. Christ knows we are covered in the darkness of selfishness, ego, pride, vanity, lust, and all the other sins. We can stand at the manger and adore Him. We can honor Him by being giving persons and caring about others. However, we cannot, in our natural state, possess His peace, hope, and love until we surrender up all we have, all we own, and all we are to Him.

Beautiful Thelma…A Surrendered Soul

What a beautiful and wonderful light you are! Thelma is a surrendered soul. Thelma is ninety years old and must use a walker to get around. She lives in a nursing home in Franklin, Pennsylvania. She smiles and greets her fellow residents with cheer. When telling others she is a widow, there is a slight sigh of grief and loss. However, you can then see the divine Light of hope eternal touch her, and she smiles again. Thelma truly grows where she is planted. Thelma has Christ as her hope and her Light. She has no children…only two younger sisters who come and visit. She has outlived most of her relatives and her friends. However, she continues to spread the love and Light of Christ in the middle of the fecal stench and the urine spotted floors of her current home. Thelma is an encouragement and calming influence to the frightened and confused residents around her. Thelma does not do what she does to get a selfish reward. Thelma does what she does because the love of Christ is within her heart. Thelma is a missionary working a mission full of those who never found the hope and Light she has found.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (NIV)

  

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018