1.29.14 "Rich in Hope"

Today’s Scripture is:   Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Having just gotten back from Kenya last week, I have a beautiful new perspective of what HOPE looks like as a Christian.  For almost 2 weeks, I had the opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with some Christian people of Kisii, Kenya who live in villages outside the city.  These are the poorest of the poor, which is why we were there helping them.  They live in mud homes with tin or grass roofs, no electricity, no running water, no stoves or toilets, and many don’t even have a concrete floor in their home.  In spite of what we consider poor…they are incredibly rich in hope because of Jesus.   I had an opportunity to worship with the Kisii people on two Sundays while I was there, and they were full of the Holy Spirit,  full of life, full of thanksgiving, and full of expectation…they really experience and live out their faith and having possessions has nothing to do with it!  On the last Sunday I was there, the preacher’s message was on the fruit that God gives us…peace, patience, long suffering, etc.  These are the possessions that matter to them.  They know first-hand that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Last Sunday, Pastor Delton spoke of the power of hope and the richness of inheritance which brings that hope!  He said that faith can’t grow without a firm basis of knowledge, but knowledge is sterile without experiencing faith!  I thought of the Kisii people when he said this and I felt humbled that God allowed me to see the power of knowledge coupled with the true experience of hope that these people live out every day and celebrate every Sunday.   They see God’s realness every time they have food on their table.  They see God’s realness every time their cow or goat gives them milk or they find an egg in the coop.  They see God’s realness every time a child heals from a parasite issue.  They see God’s realness every time a group of American’s come to vaccinate their animals and teach them how to grow better crops.   Their day by day survival creates a hunger for the understanding and knowledge of God’s Word and world and the very act of living day by day like that, gives expression to a deep faith that hopes in His provision.  I’m blessed to know these people who have given me more that I could ever give them.  I may have helped train them in animal husbandry or helped vaccinate their livestock, but they gave me a glimpse of how I should be living by faith and with the power of hope.  What they gave me is a fresh kingdom perspective that has an eternal impact.

I thank God for how He unifies His people around the world and how He humbled me through the beautiful, poor people of Kenya.  It reminds me of Matthew 5:3.  The Message version says,  “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”   And when I trust God for the richness of my inheritance, I have tremendous hope while I’m in this world and I can be full of the Holy Spirit, full of life, full of thanksgiving, and full of expectation!

Thanks for letting me share my experience with the Kisii people with you.  I hope this scripture ignites in you something special  as well!  If so, please share it!