Word of Encouragement from Pastor Eugene Thursday, October 8, 2020

While reading 1 Peter this week I was reminded of a Bible verse that became a foundation of my faith many years ago—1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (KJV).  I was introduced to this verse when I became a member of the Gideons nearly 50 years ago.  (I am not a member today since ministers cannot be members).  I was very impressed with the focus that the Gideons had on the Bible being the word of God and the goal of getting it into the hands of as many people as possible.  They also emphasized the importance of each Gideon memorizing scripture and committing it to heart—this scripture was a key part of that process.  Learning this scripture and attempting to fulfill its instruction made me realize that what I believed needed to be built upon more than what I had been calling “blind” faith.  I needed a “real” faith that was based on scripture with evidence and experience that were mine.
When I look at 1 Peter 3:15, I see three specific aspects that are addressed to me as a believer: (1) Decide to set aside (sanctify) a special place in my heart for God (Jesus)—not just a part-time place but a full-time resident.  That is a real thing that I (with the Lord’s help) must do for me.  I can only accomplish this with purpose and intent—it cannot just happen on its own.  (2)  Develop a foundation (reason) through scripture and experience for myself as to why I believe and have hope in Jesus.  This is what convinces me—not necessarily what convinces someone else.  (3)  Have the right attitude—treat the person who asks with kindness and respect.  My purpose is not to convince them to believe but to tell them what and why I believe.  This is my testimony.
Have the challenging events of this year affected your faith?  Hopefully, in a positive way—they have brought about a growth and strengthening of your faith.  If so, this was not done by chance, but you took direct action to exercise your faith, spend time in the word, pray, and trust God.  In so doing you were sanctifying the Lord God in your heart—making the place very special for Him to abide.   Our Christian faith is who we are and how we handle the experiences of our journey in life.  As some have said, “Our faith is not just our destination, but how we handle the journey in getting there.”  Be encouraged and lifted up!    
Pastor Eugene
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