We need hope

But, where can we find that hope? Have you ever wondered about that? We can’t do it alone. Our collective hope should come from Jesus, but will this ever happen? Yes, it will but it will be after a time of great suffering in our world. Why do hope and redemption come to us after hardship or suffering? In many ways, it is because we need to learn a lesson and God knows how stubborn we are. So, our hope and our deliverance come at the cost of hardship and suffering.

We always pray for deliverance and hope, sometimes we don’t use those specific words but it is the presence of hope that most of us are searching for. There are times when hope seems to be very far away or even not attainable, but God is as near as our next prayer and that is what gives us hope. God does care about all of us and He is never any distance from you, yet we think He is at times.

Hope is also the offspring of love and since God is Love personified then just knowing that your prayer is heard and that He listens to it and knows your situation gives you hope. So, why do people generally ignore Him and look in all sorts of places and people for their hope? I believe that it is because of the time in which we live.

What is so different about this “time”? If you can look back about forty or fifty years, with your parents or grandparents, they can tell you about how the world was when they were young. I know, many of you are tired of hearing about “the good old days”, but in many instances compared to today, that was true! Crime statistics from 1960, 1970 and 1980 all show a very different world from what we see and hear today.

For instance, in 1960 there were less than 200 car thefts per 100,000 people in the whole of the United States.a5667a1c-d550-49b9-9c38-daf1c70db46c

This is just one statistic but you get the point. I am sure there are others out there which can be found on the Internet. My point is that even though theft of cars has gone down and is even approaching the numbers from 57 years ago, other metrics like murder, rape, crimes against humanity (religious wars), are rising. All of this is happening because we are nearing the time described in the book of Revelation.

Why am I bringing this up in a post which is about hope? Because our Hope is in Jesus and He is coming back very soon. This is why Satan and his demons and spirits are intensifying their work these days. Their time is growing short and they know it! I am not speaking of people being possessed, just that spirits and demons can influence people, especially those who have ignored giving their lives to Jesus.

I am not speaking of people who just “claim to be Christians” because there are far more of those than there are actual Christians. People claim to be Christians when they have been to a church service once or twice a year. They also claim this distinction when their parents went to church when they were young as if you can inherit it. Christianity is not something like a cold or the flu, you don’t get it by being in contact with a Bible or being present in a church service occasionally!

You are and become a Christian when you have felt the call of the Lord on your heart, which you will be able to detect. It isn’t emotional nor is it just a decision which you make to become a Christian. When the Holy Spirit touches your heart or your soul, that part of you which can’t be found on an MRI, you will know it. Occasionally it comes during a service or by watching a service on TV, God can use any venue to get your attention. But it is NOT just a decision on your part!

Some people will tell you that you can refuse to listen when this happens and you can ignore it for a while. But I don’t recommend it. Read the book of Jonah and you will see that when God wants to use someone for His purposes, you will be brought around in time. My own calling into the ministry was over thirty years ago, but I ignored it until about ten years ago and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. No, God doesn’t make your life hard or unhappy in order to turn your heart back to His call but He will cause you to feel that call in a more urgent way.

Your hope and mine lie in the arms of Jesus and when you feel His call on your life, don’t put it off. My reason for this is that you can’t be sure of the length of your life and if you don’t accept Him as your Savior and Lord when you feel His call, you may not get another chance to accept it. An out of control car or tire on the highway could take your life tonight and you will meet Him but in a very different circumstance than what you should. Meeting Him without knowing Him and being a Christian will be…well let’s just say it isn’t very good at all.

Life, what about it?

baby developmentWhen I was much younger, I wondered about the life that we live. Not so much in philosophic terms exactly, but after watching the coverage of the Vietnam war and Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder, even then it seemed that life was cheap. I knew better, but it still made me think a bit. But, I was young and I didn’t think about it long so I went on to school and played with my friends and did my homework.

Now, I am a father and a pastor and I think about life every day. It still seems that to most of the world around us, not just in America, human life isn’t worth much even today. It seems that life today isn’t regarded as being worth more than a thought, if that much! Why have we come to this point in history? Where the life of a baby in the womb is in just as much danger as one on the street! A baby in the womb is even in more danger today because there usually isn’t anyone to speak up for them and defend them.

No, I am not getting on a platform about abortion, I did that a day or so ago. My point here is that we don’t cherish life today, no matter if it is a pet, a baby, or a person. But…life is supposed to be sacred! Human life certainly, but all life in general because it is God’s Creation! It is true that many people claim to be Christian and yet many of them don’t even have a true relationship with God at all! We don’t look at being a human being and being a Christian as anything special, it seems.

Many believe that by belonging to a church and attending services occasionally that they have a relationship with God. How absurd! That is more akin to visiting McDonald’s once in a while and thinking that you know the owner! God does know you and He loves each one of you. But, being known by God and being His child by adoption through Jesus Christ is something totally different.

Jesus died for you in order for you to be God’s child and when you feel that call by faith in Him you can become a part of His family. It isn’t something that you choose on your own, He chooses you first, then you have to answer. If you don’t, then you have pushed Him away. This part won’t be good for you, now or in eternity, because you are telling Him “Not now, I’m busy” and “You’re not important to me”. Hopefully, He will keep trying to bring you into His family but you can push Him away only so many times. There may come a day when He chooses to let you go your way…not good at all.

Why do I say that? Because if you look at how humanity has fared without Him, it usually isn’t very good and depending on how far they move from God it can be very, very bad for all concerned. Even though God said that He would never again bring a flood on the Earth, that is why it came in the first place. Mankind had pushed Him out of their lives and went after their own ways and their own gods. This is why God chose Noah, because he had not gone the way of everyone else. Sometimes, following the crowd has very serious consequences. Think about it.

Walking like He walked..

Have you ever heard that we are supposed to do this? We are supposed to be representing Him in this world, showing His Light to others. Do you do this? Do you try to do it every day?

As Christians, we are truly supposed to be examples of His Love in this world where people seem to hate more than they love. Oh, there are good people and people who do good things for others once in a while, but Jesus did things for people everywhere He went. Sometimes it was a healing, sometimes it involved making water into wine, sometimes it had to do with giving someone their sight back, even if they had never had it.

Granted, we don’t have the complete faith, the kind which doesn’t doubt, in order to do these wonderful miracles. Some people say that those were done only to fulfill prophecy and to get people’s attention on the Messiah. It is true, those miracles were done by the Savior and our Creator as well as the disciples in the beginning of the church. But…we can do things for people in need, if we have the means to do so. Do you?

The only thing that I can do most days is to pray for their health and for their healing, asking for all of the people on my prayer list and all of those who ask for prayer on my Facebook page. I don’t know many of them personally, but God knows who they are and what is happening in their lives. He knows what is wrong and what can be done for them and what HE can and will do for them.

God doesn’t answer prayers in the ways that we want ALL of the time, but He does answer them. Sometimes it is a “maybe” or “wait”, sometimes it is “no”, but the reason behind these is because God knows what He has for you and what you are asking for is not His best, nor is it what He has in store for you. Of course when we get those kind of answers we think that God doesn’t love me. God loves each of us far more than we can imagine and He is NOT like us! His love is a kind of love that we can’t understand in this life. We won’t get to that point where we can understand it until we are in His Presence!

“Walking the walk” as some put it isn’t hard to do, but it has to be practiced and done on the basis that we intentionally do it every day. It is not natural to wake in the morning and thank God for opening your eyes, but that is what we should do. Getting up and walking to the kitchen should be a thankful process as well, we should take nothing for granted because none of us are guaranteed tonight or tomorrow. Truly, God loves us, all of us because of His Son’s sacrifice for our salvation. It is something that we should be eternally grateful for, not something that is taken for granted.

Please, seek Him out so that your eternity is sealed and in His Presence. If you keep telling yourself that you will get to it later, then one day, later will get to you. Then, you will stand and give an account of every word and deed done which was done in your own strength and without Jesus. Your righteousness, like that of the Pharisees, is worthless in God’s eyes unless your heart belongs to Jesus and He lives in you! If that doesn’t describe your salvation, your righteousness, then your eternity will be in a place that was not made for humanity..but for Satan.