A Hope and a Promise
Hey SPV family, Patricia here,
In the year 597 BC, there was no hope in Israel, the elders, priests, prophets and all the people had been exiled to Babylon. It was a dark time in the history of Israel. In this dark time Jeremiah writes to those in exile, with encouragement, saying build homes, plant gardens, marry and work for peace and prosperity in the city where you live.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you, “says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. NLT
In a place of hopelessness Jeremiah gives instructions to the Israelites to live life to the fullest.
God says, I have plans for you, good plans, I want to give you a future and a hope. To find that future and have hope, pray to me and I will listen to you. The key to that fulfilling future is to look for me with all your heart and you will find me.
It is hopeless! Oftentimes, that is what we think about the state of affairs in the world today.
Where do you put your hope? In political leaders, in our church leaders or do you put your hope in your own ability to make a good life for yourself?
In the darkness that is in the world today, we as children of God have a hope and a promise. We build our homes, we plant our gardens, marry and work toward peace and raise our children; and hope for a good life.
In the book of Jeremiah, the Israelites were in exile, but God told them how to find Him. He said pray and I will listen, look for me with all your heart, and you will find me. This is true for today as it was in 597 BC, God has a plan for good, a future and a hope for all of us.
Are you feeling hopeless?
Does the situation feel out of control?
Do you feel you have no one to turn to?
The promise of the Lord is: When you pray, I will listen. If you look for me with all your heart, you will find me. This is a future full of hope, a future that is full of light and love. When you seek the Lord in your everyday life, you will find Him.
Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. NLT
Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
God almighty, Creator of all things, gives us the key to knowing Him and finding Him.
Out of hopelessness, into hopefulness.
Living in the House of Blues
Hi all, Jules here,
I was honored to be asked to write this week's email. A lot of you know my story, some don't but the House of Blues is where I have been living a lot in the last 3 years. Losing my husband, my home and my business was devastating and I was angry at God for a long time. Then came covid followed by the death of all 3 of our fur babies.
Yes I was depressed, self-medicating and having nothing to do with the Lord.
BUT... HE never turned his back on me. He led me into forgiveness through Garth Brooks' song "The Dance" making me realize how grateful I should be because I did get to experience a wonderful marriage for 2 years, some people never do!!
He blessed me with a new home from Mikes life insurance and gave me an awesome BFF to live with, who makes me laugh everyday.
He gave me amazing friends that didn't judge or push me to go back to church until I was ready.
Even when you shut the doors and pull the curtains determined to stay in "The House Of Blues" God finds a crack and sends in a ray of "Son shine" lol!! He gently pulls you back into the light determined to bring you back into his arms to heal and reconcile you. THEN, He uses what you've been through to give others hope!!!
Romans 8:28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. AMP BIBLE.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Hope this blesses you,
An upside down kingdom
We just celebrated Labor Day, a day set aside to honor working people, how did you celebrate? With a cookout or just a day of rest?
I took off both Sunday and Monday and spent time resting in the Lord.
The Kingdom of Heaven is an upside down kingdom. A good example of this upside down kingdom is in Matthew 20:1-16. The story of the vineyard owner that hires workers.
The Vineyard owner went out early in the morning to hire workers, he agreed to pay them the normal daily wage. At 9:00am he went out again and hired more workers, agreeing to pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. At 12:00pm and again at 3:00pm he went out and did the same thing, promising to pay whatever was right. Then at 5:00pm he was in town and hired those just standing around, promising to pay whatever is right.
Five times the Vineyard owner went out searching for workers to serve in the vineyard, each time he promised to pay whatever was the fair wage.
As the story goes, at the end of the day, the vineyard owner had his foreman call all the workers together, starting with those he hired at 5:00pm.
When each group of workers came forward to be paid they realized that each one was getting paid a full day's wage.
We can look at this story in light of how we feel about serving in the church and how we see others that serve or we can look at this story in a different way, in the light of how the Kingdom of Heaven looks.
The workers were all paid the same no matter the work or hours they put in.
This goes against what we labor for, we want to be acknowledged for the work we do.
Have you heard the quote “Work hard and you will succeed?” Was it unfair that each worker got paid the same amount of money?
This story is not about the workers or the pay or the amount of time that they worked, it is about what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like.
The Vineyard owner went searching for the workers, this is how God seeks us out no matter who we are or what we have done, right or wrong.
God did pay whatever is right, he gave us Jesus his only son. When Jesus willingly gave His life for all mankind, He paid the wages for sin and death, and gave us eternal life and the opportunity to love him.
EVERYONE is equal in the Kingdom of Heaven, everyone receives the same wage, and we all labor together to grow the kingdom. The last is first and the first is last. Upside down thinking compared to the way the world thinks.
Have you ever thought “ I can not serve in the church, for whatever reason? We are all equal and we are all qualified to serve and build the kingdom because we have the Holy Spirit in us.
Come and serve for a day, a few hours or a few minutes. Every act of love large or small builds the kingdom.
Are we building the Kingdom of Heaven patterned after the world's way of thinking? Or are we building the kingdom of Heaven, God’s way? Through prayer and seeking God’s guidance in all we do?
Matthew 23:11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others.
Pastor Kelly has excelled at this, I see him working in every area of the body, building the kingdom and I would like to say thank you Kelly for all you do, you have a true servants heart.
When I look at the kingdom at St. Pete Vineyard, I want to say to all our workers thank you and be blessed, you are loved. Your fair wage is Jesus and the opportunity to build the Kingdom of Heaven, so others can know that same love of God.
Blessings and love,