The Test of Eternity

Day 327 

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; 1 Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48; Proverbs 28:11

The Test of Eternity

There was a time when my father worked as a mason’s apprentice. He would come home every evening dirty, exhausted, and yet content. As a teenager, I once spent a day with him doing the back-breaking work as a “gopher,” and I came home dirty and exhausted, but I certainly didn’t feel content! So I asked him how was it that he could come home day after day in this line of work with such a sense of satisfaction.

He told me that at the end of every day, as he was leaving the construction site, he could survey what he had accomplished. And he knew that he could come back to this same spot in twenty years, forty years, or more and find that his work still stood.

In St. Peter’s first letter, we find that God wants us to have a similar satisfaction through living a life devoted to holiness. Striving in holiness is hard work, and at times it can seem like we are carrying a ton of bricks. But God doesn’t desire that we pursue holiness because He is a cosmic killjoy. God wants us to pursue a life’s work that will stand the test of eternity. Together, as individual Christians in the Body of Christ, we are being built into a beautiful spiritual house for the sake of the world. The good news is that God does not leave us alone in the difficult work of building a holy life. God is present with us through the Holy Spirit, giving us His strength and helping us in our weaknesses.

Question: What one thing can I do differently today that will stand the test of eternity?

The Rev. Gary Jackson
Bartow, FL

A Praise Test

Day 326 

Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 28:8-10

A Praise Test

Peter’s letter was written to an audience that was confused and discouraged by the persecution they were encountering because of their faith. It was evident that faith was present and that it was being lived out in the lives of these believers because they were paying the price for standing strong in the midst of those who disagreed. Notice in verses 6-7 that Peter actually encourages them to rejoice in the various trials, but the more important thing to see is why they should rejoice. Rejoice because the testing of your faith may prove it (your faith) to be more precious than gold and results in praise and glory and honor in Jesus Christ.

The reality is that we all have trials and hardships and that will never go away in this life, but Peter’s encouragement is to look to future glory. Because of that we can and should rejoice in the here and now. When we do this, Jesus Himself receives the glory and honor due His name.

What are you struggling with at the moment? What trial is trying to push you down and take the joy from you that would result in praise if you did not allow it to defeat you?

Lord, give me the focus today to bring you honor, glory, and praise through any circumstance that may come my way. AMEN.

The Rev. Wes Sharp
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
Trussville, AL

Looking for the Harvest

Day 325 

Ezekiel 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-
16; Proverbs 28:6-7

Looking for the Harvest

In James’ letter, he tells us to be patient and then uses the illustration of a farmer to highlight what that patience looks like. A farmer only sees the little seed that goes into the ground and then doesn’t even see that. He tends the ground, watches the rain feed the soil, and anticipates bringing up the finished fruit that will be harvested. Ezekiel is also seeing a future harvest. The city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and her people have been planted in a foreign land. The Temple where they would connect with God has been destroyed, and the Israelites can only see the brokenness of their current situation. It’s at the point when they are broken that God shows Ezekiel the final harvest, the new Temple that will come with the promise of God dwelling among them once again.

What do we see in the broken ground of our own lives? Do we only see the hopelessness of our current situation? It’s at these points in our lives that we need to look ahead at the coming harvest God is bringing into our lives. It is hard to endure suffering with patience, but God is not calling us to do it alone. He comes pouring life-giving rain onto our lives. As we anticipate God moving in our lives, God Himself is looking forward to the Child of God we are becoming. So let us plant God’s Word in our hearts in anticipation of the life He is growing within us.

The Rev. Paul Head
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Winter Haven, FL