Posts tagged ‘Hope’

What Hope is There in This Mess We Live In?

What a mess of a world we live in today!

It seems that there are precious few people we feel confident in trusting to do the right thing.  Do you lock your car and house when you leave them?  Did you when you were a child…did your parents or grandparents?  If something goes wrong in a parking lot or on the side of the road, do you wonder if anyone decent will help you?  Or will you instead face danger beyond your circumstances?

Is there anyone beyond your family and close friends (and even then it may be questionable) that you can trust to do the right thing by you?  What hope is there in a world when the general population holds no values of goodness, selflessness, generosity, and faithfulness?

Recently, I had a brief conversation with a fellow political conservative regarding a radio personality we had once considered a standard of our beliefs.  Early on in this train wreck of a presidential race, we constitutional conservatives were shocked by the abandonment of a number of leaders we believed to be strong and true, full-blooded, unwavering in their support of our country, its founding principles, and its Constitution.

We saw a handful of fairly solid conservative candidates, but those we looked to for leadership jumped ship, one-by-one, some in a seeming group plunge!  Even the a-fore-mentioned “standard of conservatism” has left the bedrock on which he once stood.  I confess, I always believed that if there ever came a time for a political “revolution,” so-to-speak, he would be at the head.

So where are we to look when all those we look to for strength and guidance leave us?  

GOD.

When steadfast politicians give in to pressure, when concrete standard-bearers of what you believe in become turncoats, when you can’t trust your neighbor to do what is right by you and your property, and when everyone you see is viewed through the lens of suspect…there is GOD.

Psalm 102:26-28 (TLV) – Long ago You founded the earth, the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You will remain.  All of them will wear out like a garment.  Like clothing You change them, so they change.  But You are the same, and Your years will never end.

Jacob (James) 1:17 (TLV) – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Hebrews 13:8 (TLV) – Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Malachi 3:6 (TLV) – “For I am ADONAI.  I do not change, so you, children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

This attribute of God, His immutability (He does not change) is the hope we can have in this world that, sadly, continues to change for the worse.  God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him (2 Timothy 2:13).  God’s love is eternal (Psalm 136).  God keeps his promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).  God’s ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says ADONAI Elohim, “Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8, TLV).

God NEVER changes!  And while this gives me hope that He is never going to let me down, as humans do, I would be remiss to not point out something very important in this character of God’s.  His faithfulness, His love, His character…they all stay the same, never changing.  But this also means that His commands NEVER change.  His requirements NEVER change.  His expectations NEVER change.  And His WORD NEVER CHANGES.

God commanded that we are to love Him and love others; not commit adultery, not steal, not lie, honor the Sabbath….  Because God does not change, neither do His commands.  If God said that homosexuality is wrong then, it is wrong now, because God does not change.

If He said that children should honor their father and mother so that they would have long life, then that is still true today.  If He said you cannot serve both God and money, then today, as it was in the Bible, that is what He expects of us.  God commanded us to be righteous…that hasn’t changed.  God said, through Yeshua, that there is only one way to heaven, that is to believe in the Son.  That hasn’t changed.

We cannot accept the immutability of God as comfort in this decaying world without also accepting the charge of His unchanging commands.  I hope that you can say like I can, “I believe God is never-changing.  I accept His Word as His unchanging truth, both His commands and His faithfulness and love for me.  Because of that, I can know that I ALWAYS have hope.  I am NEVER alone, for He is ALWAYS with me.”

If you have been blessed by these words, please pause a moment and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for speaking to you here today.

WHO IS JESUS?

My Pastor raised this question in church today, and it got me thinking.  Who is Jesus?  I can give the encyclopedia answer.  The pat write-up that would go in Who’s Who.   Jesus Christ, Son of God Almighty.  Born to a virgin mother in a stable.  Grew up in Nazareth around the time that the Christian calendar began.  He was arrested, and died via crucifixion.  Three days later, he rose from the dead, and forty days after that he ascended to Heaven.  Statistics.  Just statistics…well, probably the most important statistics in the history of the world, but that is not my point.

What about these statistics would really drive a person to decide to give their life to following this Jesus person?  I can give similar statistics for any other leader in history.  Why is Jesus so special?  What is it about him that inspires such devotion?

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is everything I need.  Let me break it down further.

Jesus is my best friend, the one I turn to when anything worth talking about, and even not worth talking about, is going on.  He is always there for me.  Always.  I never, ever have to wonder if he will pick up the phone, answer my text, or return my email.  I can talk to him any time, anywhere.  In the dead of night.  In the bathroom.  Doesn’t matter.  I know he is there, and he is listening.

Jesus loves me absolutely unconditionally without the slightest reservation, and he will always do what is best for me.  I never need to feel unloved, or unaccepted.  He loves me always, and even though I will never be good enough for him, he accepts me for who I am.  No make-up, messy hair, pimple on my nose, bad tempered, impatient, selfish, etc., etc.  Doesn’t matter.  Jesus loves me.

Jesus comforts me.  He wraps his arms around me and just holds me.  He listens as I pour out my soul to him.  He fills my heart with a joy that lifts me up and out of the darkest times.  I am never alone.  He shares my sorrow, but he also heals me of it.  When I lost someone dear to me, and I was tormented by that loss, he held me closer than anyone else could, because he understood my pain and heartache.

Jesus is my strength.  I am never unable to do what he asks of me, because he gives me the strength and the courage to boldly do whatever I need to do.

Jesus is my guide.  Yes, I do listen for his voice, and do as he commands.  He has yet to steer me wrong.  And actually, I have no fear that he ever will, because he is honest and true, and, going back to my first point, he loves me.

Jesus is my light in the darkness.  When I don’t understand, he helps me to get it.  He clears up the mud in the mess that is my heart and mind.

Jesus is my Redeemer and my Savior.  I am sinful.  I do bad things, think bad things, say bad things.  It’s a fact of my life.  Jesus is my hero.  He was able to live in this world, in a human body, all the way through childhood, adolescence and well into adulthood without ever doing a single bad thing, thinking a single bad thought, or saying a single bad word.  He never sinned.  Not once.  Not half a sin.  Never had even a whoops-that-was-close-almost-lost-it-there close call.  He was perfect.  So without any sins of his own, he took the punishment I deserve.  He covered himself with the guilt and shame of my sin, and allowed himself to be crucified, tortured, brutally murdered.  Why?  So that when my body dies, my soul will still be able to live in Heaven with him.  Without his sacrifice, there is no way I could be perfect like him and make my way into Heaven.  I’m just not good enough.  No matter how hard I try.  And if I’m not good enough to get to Heaven, the other option is Hell.  Jesus saved me from Hell.  I am grateful beyond words!

Jesus is my hope.  Without Jesus, this life, in this world, would be worthless.  Absolutely, unequivocally worthless.  Because I have Jesus in my life, I know that my life has meaning.  It has purpose.  It is worth the life and death of the Son of God (Jesus), and it has a future, even after I am dead and gone…because only my body will die.  My soul will go to live forever, face-to-face, in the presence of this same Jesus who’s Spirit is with me every moment of every day right now.

Jesus is my Lord, my King, my God.  I bow to him.  I worship him.  I praise him.  I honor him.  I serve him.  And I love him as much as I am able.

As I have been writing this, I have occasionally looked back over the words.  I have realized that there is no way I can truly describe for you who Jesus is to me in a way that you can comprehend if you don’t have Jesus for yourself.  I know who he is, not just the statistics, but the meat of who he is, because his Holy Spirit has reached down into my soul and filled me to overflowing with his love.  I am complete because I have Jesus.  There is no emptiness to fill.  I don’t wonder who I am, or why I am here on this earth.  I never wave my hand at the sky and say, “I know there is a god out there somewhere, but I don’t know where he is or what he’s about.”  Because I know THE GOD.  I know JESUS, personally.  We are tight, he and I, like those proverbial intertwined fingers.  Where he leads, I follow, and where I am, he is.  He really, truly is everything to me, and I couldn’t live this life without him.  I need him.  He is my addiction, except I will never need to go through Jesus-withdrawal, because he will never leave me, ever.  In the words of an old hymn:  “My Jesus I love thee!  I know thou are mine.  For thee all the follies of sin I resign.  My gracious redeemer.  My Savior art thou.  If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now!”

If you don’t know Jesus, you can’t understand this.  I’m sorry, but you can’t.  But.  If you don’t know Jesus, this you do understand…you have a whole, an emptiness inside of you that you can’t fill no matter what you have tried.  You do wonder why you are here, and what the purpose is for your life.  You carry pain and sadness with no real way to be rid of it.  You may experience occasional happiness, but you do not have joy that fills your life.  You may have periods of calm and quiet, but you do not have the peace that passes all understanding.  You may know love, but you do not know absolute, unconditional love that lasts for eternity.  If you don’t know Jesus now, you can.  All it takes is a leap of faith.  One moment when you tell Jesus that you believe he is the Son of God, born to a virgin, and that he died so that the penalty for your sins could be paid, and you could be with him in Heaven one day.  One simple leap of faith that will fill your emptiness and make you the person you were designed to be.

Another great hymn:  “Jesus, name above all names.  Blessed redeemer, glorious Lord.  Emmanuel, God is with us.  Beautiful Savior.  Living Word.”

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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