The Journey of Transformation

The Book of Genesis introduces us to a fascinating person named Jacob. As you may recall, Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah and the twin brother of Esau (the older one). As a young adult, Jacob (with the help of his mother) tricked his brother Esau out of the family inheritance. An enraged Esau determined to kill Jacob. So, Jacob hit the highway and ran to his mother’s relatives in the land of Haran. God’s plan, however, was not just a change of Jacob’s location, but a change of Jacob’s heart. After enduring 20 difficult years, Jacob heard God speak to him saying, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you” (Genesis 31:3). I can imagine Jacob thinking, “Now, I can leave all my troubles behind and move back home, where things will be much easier.”  But little did he realize the surprise that awaited! His brother Esau found out that Jacob was on his way back home, and came to meet him with 400 men…not exactly a “welcome wagon”! Jacob was confused. He knew God called him to go back home, but it seemed like he was about to lose everything, maybe even his life. But Jacob had one thing going for him—he knew how to pray! So, he humbled himself before God and said, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper. I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant…’” (Gen. 32:9-10). Through a night of restless prayer, Jacob yielded his heart completely to God. And, the Lord gave Jacob amazing grace. He and his brother Esau reconciled and Jacob lived and prospered in Israel. What blessed me from this story is this thought: Just because God leads you to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. However, God provides His grace, which is more than enough to change our heart and our circumstances!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Filled with Hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Wow, what an amazing request by the Apostle Paul! This prayer, written for the Christians in Rome in the first century, echoes down the canyons of “then and there” into our “here and now.”  As we turn the page to start a new chapter of life entitled “2018,” we are not blind to the seemingly hopeless wounds of our nation. Problems like racism, violence, poverty, political disunity, moral confusion, and the emptiness of life without God threaten to erode our hope and steal our joy. Even as believers in an Almighty God, we can fall into the trap of fixating on our personal negative circumstances and trials that don’t seem to change. But, don’t lose hope! The God we serve is called “the God of hope”! In Paul’s prayer, we notice “as you trust in him,” sandwiched between the phrases “God of hope” and “overflowing with hope.” The Lord reminds us that we must exercise faith in Him if we are to experience hope. Also, choosing hope doesn’t mean we ignore the plight of people without God. Hope is not turning away from need and pretending that “all is well in the world.” Hope flourishes in Jesus, in spite of the tremendous need all around us every day.  Jesus teaches us that we can cry tears for the lost, but need not feel depressed or hopeless. Hope believes in a God who keeps on loving and keeps on offering grace. Hope believes that God is bigger than anything we will ever face in life. Hope believes in a God who answers prayer and changes hopeless circumstances. Hope holds fast to the promise that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). As we look ahead in this new year, may we “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In God we trust!

Pastor Mark Boucher