Starting with family devotions in 1 Peter this morning, the first paragraph was full of blessing. To paraphrase:
'To God's hand-picked strangers of the world, scattered just the way He planned and obedient to Jesus: Grace and Peace are yours for the taking, as much as you can handle!'
Right after that there was a knock at our gate, and Pastor Pompee arrived. My boy stood to answer, moving slow as molasses, not yet awake for the day.
"Hurry Boy! God's ELECT is standing at the door!" I yelled. It was enough to put a bounce in his step. :)
It breathes hope to me now, even today, to read this Scripture, but imagine how it felt to be those scattered, anxious, persecuted, sojourning "Little Christs", living in hostile lands, never knowing when they might be hunting you down. Then one night by the candlelight, when you gather together against all odds in the name of the Lord, someone stands and whispers, "We have a new letter here from our brother Peter..." Fresh words inspired by the Holy Spirit rain down and seep into the cracks of your parched soul, giving you exactly what your spirit needs to persevere and keep hope alive. Armed with His conquering, you strive out once more into the world to share Jesus, a love and a peace that passes all understanding. You serve it up to those who come after you, and those who come after them. Over 2000 years later, there is still Hope enough for me to read, to pass on to my own children, and a little Haitian girl...
How important it is to take the time to encourage one another each day. It should be marked on our calendars over and above every other to-do today.