1 Peter 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

You remember what Peter told us yesterday? He said we are CHOSEN by God. I am praying that this word gets imprinted deep within your heart. I’m praying for you, church, that you carry this word at the front of your mind through our journey together.

Yesterday we experienced a measure of HOPE because of what Jesus has done for us in the past. Today we are going to get a better understanding of His love for us and what it means to be CHOSEN by God.

Stacie and I have three children. We say that two grew in Stacie’s stomach, and the other one grew in our hearts. We adopted our middle child, Sammy, when he was just shy of two years old. He is the only one we actually got to choose. The other two just came out. Of course we love Caedmon and Karis, even though we didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Now, I love these few rich verses from the Bible because Peter talks about this idea of being reborn into God’s family. Just like there was a day where everything changed for Sammy, there is a day when everything changes for those who put their trust in Jesus. Sammy got new clothes, new food, a bigger home, new siblings, and new parents.

Those of us who follow Jesus got a massive upgrade the day we were born into His family! On that day, everything changed. I actually remember it changing! I remember HOPE, JOY, PEACE, and PURPOSE filling my heart and mind for the first time.

Like many of you, I came to believe in Jesus during hard times in my life. My parents were going through a divorce; I was a chunky, pimply-faced 12-year-old. Then I began to feel Him changing me. I was gaining confidence and a passion I could not shake. It was almost like my FUTURE HOPE of eternal friendship with Jesus began to change my present struggles.

If I told you that a good friend of yours decided they were going to give you 1,000 shares of Google or Apple stock, how would you respond? You’d be ecstatic. What if I told you that you had to wait until COVID was over to cash in the shares, how would you feel?

Undoubtedly, you would wake up everyday thinking and feeling differently because of what lay ahead for you. You would almost be changed today by what you expect tomorrow!

That’s the power of HOPE!! Hope is the confident expectation that God will come through.

Eternal life is not something you have to die to receive. Jesus said after raising His friend Lazarus from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25).

You are invited to do life with Jesus. That life becomes a source of HOPE and strength in the midst of uncertainty and isolation.

Unfortunately, you can’t have complete confidence in the stock market. But you can have confidence in your future with Jesus.

He gives us LIVING HOPE. Having a HOPE-filled future changes how we view today. HOPE is a light that shines in the darkness and reminds our soul that when we follow Jesus the best is always ahead. HOPE will never perish, spoil, or fade.

So, how do you keep walking with HOPE when you don’t feel it?

Peter tells us…by FAITH!

Faith is the voice inside of my head that reminds me that my present struggle is worth it. Faith tells me you can keep going another day. Faith tells me wake up, read your Bible, pray, Jesus will speak to you.

Faith reminds me of my decision almost three decades ago to follow Jesus, almost as if it were last week. Faith reminds me of all that I’ve read and studied about the historical events of Jesus’s life. Faith reminds me of the powerful transformation of Jesus’s friends who were eyewitnesses to His death, burial, and resurrection.

Faith shields me as deception, fear, and uncertainty try to overwhelm me with despair.

So today, I will walk by faith and not by sight. I will walk by faith and not feelings based on the news, the stock market, or my bank account balance. I will walk believing my God will reward those who seek Him with their whole heart!

Let’s join with our persecuted brothers and sisters scattered across the world and remind our souls that for those of us who are among the tribe of Jesus our best days lie ahead. Our hope is strengthened as we look back over our shoulders at the empty tomb and then look ahead to the day He will descend from the sky and take us home for all eternity.

Keep stepping, soldier! You are a man of faith. You are a woman of strength. You are empowered by the Holy Spirit. You have an inheritance that can’t be touched based upon the great mercy of God and your faith in His deliverance.

Today, I want you to try and imagine the day when you will see Jesus face to face. What will you say to Him? What would you say to Him if He walked into the room right now and sat down next to you?

Good news. He’s right there. He’s waiting for you. He’s available whenever you need him. So go ahead and talk to Him. Welcome Him into your fears, your doubts, your anxieties and struggles. Ask Him for fresh FAITH and HOPE for today. He is willing and able!!

Come Holy Spirit. Fill our hearts with hope. Give us excitement for our eternal life with you. We give all of our anxieties to you. Please strengthen us today.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.