God Begins to Restore Elijah’s Soul

Read: 1 Kings 19:1-8
Text: 1 Kings 19:5-8

So while the journey itself was not authorized by God, God was guiding it because he was going to use it to teach Elijah and renew him to his calling. This teaches us that even when we sin God can be directing events so as to teach us things that we need to know from our sins. It is not that God is ever responsible for our sin. But God is able to orchestrate things in such a way that we learn lessons from our sins.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Discouragement and Endurance

On the one hand, we have the revelation of God’s greatness and his power and his glorious promises to defeat evil and bring renewal, but on the other hand it often seems that evil has the upper hand. It often seems that any progress is tiny, and the advance of evil is massive. And that can be true in our individual lives and battles as well. The language of the Bible about the transforming power of salvation for believers is often so dramatic, while the experience of the transforming power of the gospel is often less than dramatic – it can be slow with many setbacks and discouragements.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The End of the Matter

There is a profound trust and submission behind recognizing that since God is who he is, it is impossible that in the end it will not all be beautiful and God’s way with the world, what he did and what he allowed, will demonstrate “the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33) And so our job is to leave governing the universe to God and just focus on the only wise way of life in the light of who God is, “Fear God and keep his commandments.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

God Has Not Rejected Israel

Read: Romans 11

So if we take the long view of the history of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, we have a long period of time when the Jews are set apart in order to be a blessing to the rest of the world and we have a long period of time in which many of the Gentiles are saved to make the Jews jealous and this this will one day result in the Jews coming to salvation in Christ in a big way so that Paul can say, “And in this way all Israel will be saved….”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Joy in Everyday Life

Read: Ecclesiastes 9:1-12
Text: verses 7-10

There is a big difference between having questions and doubts and outright unbelief. Unbelief is a settled rejection of God – either a denial that God even exists or a settled pattern of living as if he does not exist. Doubt is not a rejection of God. It is struggling with questions about God and his way with us or with the world. God is still very much in the picture and with God still very much in the picture there is still hope – even if it is not unambiguous hope.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Wisdom Is Not Provoking the King

The great thing that Ecclesiastes is showing us that if you only look at life from the perspective of under the sun, life can be very dark and hopeless. There is a lot of pain. There is a lot of suffering. There is a lot of frustration. And there is always death on the horizon, our own death and the death of our loved ones. If that is all there is, life can have its short-term pleasures, but there is a lot of suffering and then there is death.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Advice from a Disillusioned Teacher

But the author of Ecclesiastes does not take that route. He knows that God is sovereign. He knows that God is somehow involved in everything that happens. And this is a huge part of his problem. The great problem that he is struggling with is exactly the fact that he knows that God is somehow involved in every bad thing that happens. This is why he is so disillusioned with life in God’s world.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Comfort for the New Year (1)

There is something very precious about belonging to Jesus Christ and belonging to God the Father. When we belong to God, we matter to God. Jesus bought us with a price. God the Father chose us to be his treasured possession. He has adopted us into his own family. We are important to God. We are significant to God. We are loved by God. Because we belong to him in these different ways we know that we have value in his sight. And this is something that matters a great deal.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra