Daily Verse – Endurance, Encouragement, Hope.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Romans 15:4 NIVUK

There are more opinions and points of view in the world now than there has ever been.

News outlets and social media algorythms may try and manoevure you down a particular path, but search any #hastag on any topic and you will see what I mean.

It was no different in the 1st Century Church.

The main pull, or push, here was the necessity or centrality of the Jewish scriptures to the new followers of the Way.

The Apostles were all Jews, as were many of the first disciples, but this was quickly changing with many examples being given in the first chapters of the Book of Acts.

The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans whilst under ‘house arrest’ to new believers in Rome. These new believers had different backgrounds and religious upbringings. Most were not Jews.

Before this Paul had challenged Peter, Jesus’ brother James, and other leaders of the church, face to face in Jerusalem over new believers being drawn into Jewish customs, which were not strictly of the teachings of Jesus.

In this verse Paul is explaining that the Hebrew scriptures were important for teaching us, not matter what our religious background or ethnicity.

The scriptures teach us endurancehupomoné – patience, steadfastness, or consistency – through many examples of faith and following the Word of the Lord; Abraham, Noah, Daniel, Joseph, spring readily to mind.

The scriptures also give us encouragementparaklésis – comfort, consolation, solace, exhortation – the Psalms are the obvious examples.

Together, Paul tells us that endurance and encouragement are there to provide sustanence for our hopeelpis – an expection or a confidence. It can also be translated as ‘faith’ – the scriptures support our faith through the people who have lived out that faith themselves.

The Book of Hebrews provides a very worthy list of those Old Testament ‘heroes of faith’.

Each, in our own individual way, will have to endure difficulties and hardships, disappointments and disadvantages, but Paul reminds us that with patience and consistency, a steadfast attitude, we will meet the challenge. There will also be encouragement to give us confidence and an expectation of comfort and consolation, through our faith.

Scripture is important because it reminds us that we are amongst many faithful followers of the Lord, who look to and call upon God.

Creative Thoughts – 27th September, 2021.

Photo by Damien DUFOUR Photographie on Unsplash

Today started at 2:30am, taking my youngest son to the airport for his trip to Malta. In return he has promised me a tacky plastic replica of a Knight of St. John. There are many myths, truths, and lies about this order of men who initially dedicated themselves to providing hospitality and protection for pilgrim travellers to many places including the Holy Land.

We are all on our own individual pilgrimages.

The Camino de Santiago de Compostella, the Way of St. James to Santiago in Northern Spain, now famous in travel books, vlogs, and even movies, teaches that we are always on ‘the Way’.

Our lives are an endless pilgrimage.

Every footstep, every place we visit, every person we come into contact with, changes us and has the potential for us to change them.

On the Way there is lots of time to think and reflect.

Our Creativity is the sum of those footsteps and thoughts, the places and the people, and as countless others before us out attempts to understand our place in creation.

The manifestation of this today when I crept through the door at 5:45am, trying to keep the dogs quiet and not wake my wife, was to write a proper ‘welcome’ to this site.

The words quickly unfolded the influences and struggles of my expression of creativity up to now. Conscious that it needed to be longer than ‘Hi!’ and shorter than Anna Karenina, there is a great deal which is left unsaid.

But it is a starting place. It is that first step of a pilgrimage, which traditionally, starts from your front door. It is my Buon Camino! – Good Journery or Good Way! – to you as our paths cross or join even if it is only for a short time

Greet others! Share your creativity!

Buon Camino!

Herbie.

Daily Verse – 1 Peter 3:15

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The word which jumps out in this verse, when you read the Greek Interlinear version, is that ‘answer’ is written as ‘defence’.

We are to always be ready to give a defence of the hope we have in Christ.

The word for ‘defence’ in Greek is apologian and only occurs in the New Testament 3 times: 2 Corinthians 7:11, Philippians 1:16, and here in 1 Peter 3:15.

According to Strong’s definition, the word means to give an answer for oneself, to be a clearing of self, or a defense.

The religious hierarchy was very anti the 1st Century Church – remember its actions had led to the leader of The Way – Jesus – being crucified. Saul of Tarsus had led the Judaic witch-hunt of the post-Resurrection followers.

As the Word of God spread out into the Gentile communities there were many other debates and challenges to this new faith. The Book of Acts provides sufficient examples of Paul having to defend his faith.

We are still being challenged to ‘defend’ our faith.

Sometimes this is in the face of violence and persecution, but for most of us it is in the form of the unbelief of those around us and a society which is increasingly humanistic in tone.

Peter challenges us to have our ‘defence’ for our faith in the hope of Christ.

What is your apologian?

What is it in your life, day in and day out, which convinces you to be a follower of The Way of our Lord Jesus Christ?