Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tremendous Hope

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”. From John 8:31 John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. It is in the act of believing – of placing complete trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation that we are what the Bible calls, “saved.” We are saved from our sins by receiving the forgiveness that the sinless Christ offered us when He died on the cross, willingly taking on the sins of the world, and dying in our place. Unless we are on earth when Jesus Christ returns, we will all experience physical death. But believers in Jesus Christ have the blessed hope of the resurrection. We do not grieve the death of another believer in the same way the rest of the world grieves death, for we have the sure hope of seeing this loved one again. That hope makes all the difference in the world! Although we in North America tend not to focus on heaven so much, heaven is a very real place. But, what about the here and now? Does this one time act of placing trust in Christ make for an exciting faith-filled existence while we reside on planet earth? Not necessarily. There is a difference in being eternally saved and of being a disciple – a true follower - of Jesus Christ. And although a person in either category will go to heaven one day – the person who is saved, but continues to live like everyone else in their society (the Bible calls this being pushed into the worlds mould), will live a very different and much less satisfying life (to put it very mildly) than the person who day-by-day chooses to run after God and be Christ’s disciple. Does being a disciple mean that there will not be problems in life? No, definetly no. The difference is when we face those problems we not only have the assurance that Christ cares for us in all circumstances and will help us to get through our situation, still firmly rooted in His love and that He does have purpose and meaning in and thorugh our lives. That gives us tremendous hope.

Wait in Faith

“To Thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in Thee I trust. Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. Make me to know Thy ways…teach me…lead me…For Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, Thy compassion and Thy loving kindness,…do not remember the sins of my youth…He leads the humble in justice…He will instruct him in the way he should choose…Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee…Let integrity and uprightness preserves me…For I wait for Thee.” Excerpts from Psalm 25 The Psalmist, David, brings out the character of God and David becomes an ‘open book’ about his own struggle with his personal character traits and shortcomings. David pleads with God, and at the same time expresses trust and confidence in God based on who God is and the relationship God has with “those who fear Him.” What does mean to “fear God?” The top word choice I would make would be “reverence.” Therefore I can have trust and confidence in God because of the character traits this Psalm brings to light. He is: powerful, trustworthy, just, a teacher, a leader, my salvation, compassionate, loving, kind, forgiving, good, righteous, truthful, a guide, the Savior, gracious, a guardian, a deliverer, a protector, and redeemer. Since the Lord is all those things to me, why would I ever stress? Lord forgives the times we focus on little things when you are so big and able to perform all that you have promised! When David pleads his case before God he: lifts up his soul, expresses trusts in God, is teachable, is willing to be led, waits upon the Lord, confesses his sins, asks forgiveness, receives instruction, is humble, never forgets the depths of his own sin, asks for God’s grace, admits his loneliness and affliction, asks for help, talks about the enormity of his troubles, asks for deliverance, asks God to guard him and waits in faith. The Bible is absolutely reliable and trustworthy. This Psalm of David has treasures to help us to navigate successfully in everyday life. These are not little suggestions. They are life-saving and life-changing aspects of faith! In times of doubt, confusion or discouragement, this list of David’s should keep us very busy and in the right frame of mind to face our challenges. Don’t give up! Wait in faith for the Lord.