Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
    and born of the Virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried.
    He descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again.
    He ascended into heaven
    and sits at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
    Maker of heaven and earth,
    and of all things visible and invisible.

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
    the only begotten Son of God,
    begotten of the Father before all worlds,
    God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God,
    begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father;
    by whom all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
    and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
    He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
    he suffered and was buried,
    and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
    He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead
    and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
    who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
    who has spoken through the Prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
    and we look forward to the resurrection of the dead
    and the life of the world to come.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Born Again to a Living Hope


1 Peter 1:3-9

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded thorough faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with Glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

John Calvin, the theologian and protestant reformer, wrote “We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.”

Does this resonate with you? Do you know this kind of hope? I realize, of course, where we are today. For many of you, it can be very difficult to find hope if you’re lonely, or if your health is failing. It can be very difficult to find hope, when you watch all the things that happen on the news. Hope, in our day, can be very hard to find.

But there is something in this quote that, for me, at least, is comforting and helpful. This is true for two reasons. First, it’s comforting that we have something to hope for at all, and second it’s comforting that when our hope is weak, we can ask God to increase it, to strengthen it, and He is inclined to do it.

Peter has quite a bit to teach us about hope in our passage today. We can see why we have hope, and we can see why He’s inclined to strengthen our hope when we ask Him.

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