Praise, Mercy, & Hope

Do your feelings follow your actions or do your actions follow your feelings? It is really easy for us to allow our actions to follow our feelings. We think something, it produces a feeling, and then we spring into action. This process can go one of two ways. We have a great thought, it invigorates us, and then we act on it with excitement and happiness. Or, we have a negative thought, a soul-sucking thought, it depresses or angers us, and then we act in that direction.

Or we can decide our actions in advance. We can make a plan for our day, week, etc., go through with our actions, and reap the rewards of faithful completion, or at least progress in our work, think positively on our actions, and feel accordingly. This path requires discipline, planning, and training. It is definitely a more difficult pattern to get into, but one with many rewards.

Do we want to be tossed around like a small sailboat in a fierce storm, or an ocean liner on a well-thought out, ever vigilant voyage? Yes, rogue waves can occur, but they are rare.

Just recently I wrote about taking our thoughts captive unto Christ. This was to be an encouragement to change your thinking, especially when the day begins. Use what you say to yourself first to build yourself up and rely on Christ. Look at it as an experiment, if you will, that you can perform, for free, on yourself. Evidently, continuing this theme shares what thoughts I am having lately. It is a desire to be obedient to God.

I read these words from 1 Peter this morning:

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.

1 Peter 1:3-4

Hope in Christ

In God’s great mercy, He has given us a living hope in the Resurrection of Jesus! Regardless of where we are in our lives right now, that promise is a promise of new life is for us. Perhaps we accepted Christ as our Savior a long time ago, or just last week, and maybe we have lost our focus on the hope and promise of Jesus Christ. Or perhaps, we have not yet, opened our hearts to Him. Wherever, we are on our journey or seeking and accepting Christ, these promises are true for all who say yes!

When we are caught in the cycle of random thoughts thrust upon us by the turmoil in the world, leading to feelings of despair, then to actions reflecting that despair, we miss out on living in the promises of new birth that Peter speaks of.

I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I do not. Some google action leads to blogs where it is used, but no attribution. The quote went something along the lines of, “You are not responsible for your first thought, but you are responsible for your second thought and your first action.”

Kind of sobering words. They are easy to say when things are going well. When all is right with your world, your feelings and actions will likely reflect the good things. But what happens when things are not so rosy.

We are facing very challenging times in our country and around the world right now. In times past, that would imply wars raging in some or many places around the globe. Today (October 31, 2020) much of our unrest is regarding COVID-19 and the response to it. We have been in a protracted time of uncertainty. It is just a few days until the election of the President of the United States. There is political unrest here, the levels of which haven’t been seen in a generation, at least. This can lead to fear, distress, concern, depression, and despair.

Our first thoughts are, no doubt, influenced heavily by what is going on around us. What are our second thoughts based on? Are you basing your second thoughts on the promises of the news, activists, and politicians? OR, have you chosen to base your second thoughts and first actions on the Word of God, the promises of God, what is true? The “new birth of a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead?”

It is a often a daily struggle, maybe moment to moment, to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus. But Jesus leads us in truth. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Yes, this is a blog article for Winter Grace Senior Ministries, Inc. Shouldn’t I be focused on issues related to Older Adults? I contend this article is definitely about the concerns of everyone, regardless of age, and that includes Older Adults. Find your peace, praise, promise, and power in Jesus. May your second thought, and first action be based on His Truth, not what the world may have your believe.

My sincere prayers for you to fill you heart and mind with the Word of God, have hearts filled with hope, and actions that come from the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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