About our guest this week:
Since coming to faith in Christ at the tail end of the Jesus Movement, Michelle Van Loon’s Jewish heritage, spiritual hunger, and storyteller’s sensibilities have shaped her faith journey and informed her writing. She is the author of five books and a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s women’s blog, In Touch magazine, and is the co-founder of www.ThePerennialGen.com, a website for midlife women and men. She’s married to Bill, and is mother of three and grandmother of two. Learn about her writing and speaking ministry by visiting her website, www.michellevanloon.com.
Quotes from this episode:
“Holy remembering is not a navel-gazing, retrospective look at our own experiences. It is a kind of sanctified reflection about who we are, where we’ve been, understanding our strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging the gifts God has given us. And even though we can’t understand ourselves fully, according to Jeremiah 17:9 – we’ve got deceitful hearts that will tell us stories that are not entirely true – it is recognizing that God knows every thought.”
“The term “to remember”, the Hebrew word is “zakar”, which is a way in which God remembers us. He’s bound to us. He remembers the fullness of His relationship with us every single second, every nanosecond of our lives. And so, because He remembers us and acts on behalf of His people for their good in everything He does, whether in blessing or discipline, we see His love in this kind of remembering. And when He calls us to remember Him, remember who we are and Whose we are… Memory serves to orient us toward God and away from ourselves… Holy remembering means we’re not the destination.”
“We can find our identity in our ethnicity, in our network of relationships, in our culture. We can probably even more unhealthily say that we can find our identity by what we do, our work, our earning potential, our hobbies, our passions. Our ethics can define our identity as well – what choices we make, choices we don’t make… who we vote for, where we live. All of those things can help tell part of our story but it is not who God says we are.”
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
We are not promised ease as Christians, as sojourners and pilgrims, followers of Jesus. We have an identity as His people who have received His mercy – and this call on our lives to pursue peace with one another, to be holy in our conduct, and to conduct ourselves honorably does not necessarily lead to a life of ease, as most of us could attest.
But as Peter says earlier in this letter to the exiles, we’ve been born again to a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection, and we are awaiting our imperishable inheritance. God’s promises to us are sure and secure in Christ, so no matter where we feel like we are wandering, no matter what our pilgrimage looks like, our destination is Christ Himself and because of His promise to dwell with us, we are not abandoned, or left to ourselves on this journey of sanctification.
This week’s sponsor: