The Only Hope That Cannot Fail

Everyone needs hope.   Studies have shown that optimistic mind-sets lead to better living.   Alex Smith, a former quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs,  had a stretch of a year and a half where doctors were unsure if he would hold up from an on-the-field injury to his leg.   Initially, they had considered amputating his leg to increase his chances for survival.  It had become severely infected in the early stages of his recovery, black puss-like sores appeared and flesh eating disease had invaded his swollen leg, probably on account of the broken leg bone protruding through his skin, giving rise to infection.  He recovered!  Not only is he walking again, but he hopes to return and play again!   

   Hope plays a key role in dealing with life’s adversities. Although  everyone has hope of some kind, it remains to be seen if it is the right kind that is well founded.  The determinant factor behind the substance of lasting hope is what is important.   Let us ask ourselves if our confidence and desire lies in what the world may offer.  If that is sufficiently so, it is limited to what it can do for us.  It cannot satisfy our soul is yearning for something greater, at best giving us some degree of comfort about our physical wellness and financial security, which may in fact find you wanting more over time anyway.  The Bible teaches that the man who lives life without God cannot know real happiness.  Solomon, perhaps the richest and most powerful man of his time had experienced a period in his life where this could be said of him.  His words are reflective:  So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me:  because everything is futility and striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2: 17)  Enduring hope sets its sights on meeting the soul`s need.  Looking to God is essential because peace of soul cannot be found in anything else.  The counterpart to hope is despair which the rich and famous experience though their lives are full of most everything that life can offer, yet anxiety and fears plague their everyday lives.   To get everything you desire does not guarantee true contentment and often enough those that do have their expectations met are still searching for something more.   The promises of Scripture speaks of a hope which gives us confidence in whatever God has promised will ultimately come to pass.   This means then that God’s faithfulness goes even beyond what we may expect from Him, to do exceedingly greater things than what we can ever imagine!   That is why when God made  a covenant or agreement with His people Israel, He held up His end though they did not.  He always fulfills His end of the agreement, though we fail to uphold our part, which is good news for all of us!   So His faithfulness does not depend on what we may do, but on His unchanging character.  In the book of Hebrews, the author speaks often about the faithfulness of God in Christ. The unfailing ground of our hope for a heavenly rest is found in His Son to fulfill His promise of salvation to all those who put their trust in Him and repent of their sins.  So God`s ability and reliability to do what He says is the foundation for the Christian’s hope.  God says it, we believe it.  Hope casts its eyes on futuristic things, while faith acts on it.   Faith and hope are then like travelling companions going in the same direction with the same thing in view.     

Real hope then takes on a God’s perspective on life.     We do not have to fret about what is to come, our current crisis from what the aftermath of this pandemic may look like may be quite disrupting and upsetting for many, yet we need not bow our heads in despair.  For one thing, you can have the comforting assurance that whatever happens is under the control of the ONE who holds our future.   Hear what the apostle Paul says about Christ faithfulness in ever changing situations that he encountered:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

Do you know Christ in that intimate way and can say the same about your current circumstances as did Paul?   Do you rest assured that every outcome is in God’s Hands, no matter how troublesome it may appear to you?  When the end comes, and each has to face God, are you sure you are prepared spiritually to meet God on His terms?  Are you seeing things differently than how God sees them?   Is your hope based in the world and not on God’s Truth.  In a classic children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, Alice looks through a looking glass (mirror) and discovers an alternative universe, where things were contrary to the real world, where things are not as they should be.   A Christian`s hope sees life quite differently than how the world sees it,   Hope that is set on God’s Promises finds fulfillment in the outcome, ultimately.   The Christian’s hope in Christ is sure and tangible, wherein He can be depended on whenever help is needed, especially His forgiveness and His gift of eternal life,  while everything else is uncertain and fleeing at best and only offers a flicker of satisfaction, our unchangeable God always delivers on His promises.  We recognize that cottages, secure employment, good marriages, friendships, the things many aspire for and commonly considered to increase the quality of our existence and for those we love, are good in themselves, yet are temporal and are not a substitute for the eternal realities that are ours in Christ, those things that will remain constant, and to be enjoyed presently with greater prospects awaiting us in heaven.  Therefore, do not stake your life on things that are temporary at best, they have an expiry date, they will cease, and instead focus your attention on the things that are eternal, unfailing, that offer real peace and gratification.   Only in God and His Dear Son can we know real hope for sure.  The Scriptures teach us:

 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1,2)

And again in another place, we are told about God who cannot fail.

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  (Hebrews 10:23)

If you have not placed personal faith in Christ, it is time that you do so, and learn what many transformed souls have already discovered for themselves — to stop wasting time on worrying about things that never really bring true contentment.  As C.S. Lewis once observed:  “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” 

Consider Jesus Christ and His work on the cross to deliver us from His Wrath that will be felt by those who refuse His great salvation that still stands today.  Let us enter into the eternal rest (salvation) that had been offered in the past to Israel in the wilderness, and still available to us today! (see Hebrews 4:1-5).   

May God help you as you consider these matters.  

Truth-Tellers Needed

 A recent survey placed a certain percentage of society as being suspicious about  the Canadian media whereabouts slightly less than half of Canadians do not trust the media (TV, radio, and print).  Building news from laptops without personal encounters appear to be the norm these days, add to that the the flag of political correctness can lead to less than honest reporting.  Derek Sloan, an MP hoping to be the leader of the Conservative party questioned who Theresa Tam is working for China or Canada, and many from the news media jumped on him for what they thought were inflammatory remarks against her, calling him both a racist and his words discriminatory.   Lets find out the whole story here before going any further.  Theresa Tam did and still does represent the World Health Organization who did have a seat on their Emergency Committee for the Covid 19 outbreak.   She sited the same Chinese propaganda a number of times that this virus would not spread globally.   Dr. Tam was one of seven members that gave oversight to WHO making sure that they kept China honest about they communicated about the risk this virus posed so that the rest of the world may be kept safe.  It was on Dr. Tams duty to see to it that any outbreak would be averted. Honesty and transparency needs no apology especially when This pandemic could have been contained had the committee which Dr. Tam was part of immediately alerted the rest of the world on the outset of its spread.  Instead, they followed China`s recommendations.   So when the MP, Derek Sloan asked “Who does she work for China or Canada”,  you could not fail to see his use of rhetoric behind his concern for the rest of us.  He was holding Dr Tam accountable.  Yet, in spite of the obvious failure of Dr. Tan and the committee’s to give proper oversight,  the media along with our Prime Minister vilified Mr. Sloan and thus deflected attention away from Dr. Tam`s bad judgment.  Justin Trudeau even went as far as to say “that intolerance and racism have no place in our country,” which only added further frustration of ever holding Dr. Tam`s accountable for her actions.  Is it any wonder, that once held trust in hallowed institutions are gone.

One should not have to apologize for telling the truth.  This is especially true of Christians.   But in a politically charged society telling it like it is can get you in hot water.  Just think of the times that a Christian voices a contrary view about abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, these are red button issues whereas generations ago they were not.  Try to speak about these as  morally wrong, sinful in fact, and expect accusations of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and in some cases even called hate crimes will often be the response you get.  Christians should never promote sin nor apologize for standing against it, and definitely must avoid being intimidated into silence;  we are the voice of reason in a world gone amok.  We must exemplify what it means to live honest and holy lives before a society in crisis.   In the same token, mid-week prayer meetings, gatherings for worship, or telling neighbours about Jesus, should be the norm for us, if not, than remorse for not doing what Jesus commands should follow, especially for missed opportunities to please God which may not always be ours if we continue to neglect His Word.  A wonderful verse from the Bible tells us about our need to be truth-tellers.  

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15

Warrne Wiersbe once said:   “Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”

Many are anxious and concerned not only because of the pandemic but morally speaking about lies, deception, and distrust filling our living spaces — who can you believe these days anyway? — much of it symptomatic of man`s fallenness.   Christians must then consider their place at this moment in history and see truth as a veritable treasure to be distributed liberally.   The Gospel needs to be sent out and examined by its recipients because of its worth, since without it, none can address the offshoot of a larger problem, a secular world view which many believe.  God has entrusted His Word to Christians so lets live by it and speak to others about it.   The world knows little about the true gospel, and now with this pandemic the impact it has had on all our lives, life as we once knew it has been inalternatively changed, yet gospel truth remains and as much needed now as ever before!   We hope and pray for a vaccine soon, but more importantly that Christians everywhere take up their responsibilities and attend to needy souls.  

  “Jesus calls us to root out hypocrisy, lies, false flattery, pride, and manipulative communications with others. Instead, we must speak truth with humility, grace, simplicity and most of all, love. (Pastor Curtis Johnson)

Out from the darkness

Being jobless and self-isolated for the time being may mean more time on your hands and may eventually lead to boredom and spending countless hours in front of your television or at your computer, perhaps surfing the internet gaming, passing the hours linking toasters, cellphones, and coffee makers to your internet connection.  Or you shrugged a bit and tried something altogether different like baking some killer cupcakes, or something like that, anyway.  Going to the neighbourhood grocer, you may have been surprised to find basic baking ingredients such as flour and yeast were mostly gone from shelves, probably gobbled up by customers for some full-flavoured baked goods.    Anyway, you are in the kitchen and about to start but realize that lighting from the ceiling might be ok to crack open tinned goods or peel back frozen dinner wrappings, but not so good to read minusculed print on the pasted recipe on the back of the label,  So what do you do next?  If you have luminous led ceiling bulbs, than you aim them toward the counter space where immediately all your ingredients, actually the entire counter-space is flooded iridescent light, making food preparation and recipe reading that much easier.  Of course this article is not about your hands white with flour, but lets me put all this into perspective regarding something far more pressing like once this interruption to our lives due to the corolla virus ends, hopefully it does, what about the rest of your life?  For a moment, let us see light as a metaphor to address this very question.

    Light is often used as a metaphor in the Bible meaning truth.  Truth may not be appreciated by those who harbour lies and deceit, but it is what Jesus teaches us to embrace.    Throughout the Bible we are given grounds to live  differently than what we had been doing before our lives were changed by the gospel.  This spiritual transformation is that which Christ meant when He said “the truth will set you free.”  The message of the cross tells us that a man must be saved before he will be accepted into heaven, where both forgiveness and repentance are essential truths if we are to be prepared for what is still ahead.  In the book of Hebrews, it speaks of a heavenly call,  referring to a Christians final resting place in heaven.   For  now we experience the peace and assurance of God`s Presence, but we will know it completely once we enter heaven and enjoy His Glorious Being .  Our hope is not buried in some faint unreadable print on the back of religious literature, too hard to figure out, but given in clear unmistakable language from sacred texts for all of us to see and understand.   Again, in Hebrews, where we learn about Israel`s rebellious acts against the Lord and by His Sworn Oath were denied entry into Canaan where after thirty-eight years of wandering in the desert died.  God says to us today, that the rest once promised to Israel is still available to us today.   

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Heb.4:1)

“Therefore” is a conjunctive adverb that connects to what previously went on in chapter 3.  In  that the Hebrews failed to trust God, which resulted in an entire generation being denied entry into the Promised Land, than Israel of the Old Testament becomes a lesson for us of what happens when  God`s offer of salvation is rejected.  

  If you wish to avoid a future without Christ in the here beyond, in which,  if we continue in our sins and fail to trust Him for salvation, eternity will be spent in hell, you should consider your current situation.  You should take stock of the influences that currently affect your view of life.  You have have time so why not pick up your Bible and begin reading.   Let the light of Scripture clarify your current understanding about life and what is important.   Can there be any more pressing issue in your life than not knowing where you will spend eternity?   Read the Bible and you may be surprised by what you will find out.   May God enable you to see His truth for yourself, and lead you to His Dear Son, Jesus Christ that you may be converted.   

For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.  Psalm18:28 

The Great Need of the Hour

Hard to see how an epidemic can be understood as a positive step for mankind.  None that is who wishes to leave God out of it. From the past God has and continues to work His Will in our lives even through hard times.  History has demonstrated that plagues and pestilences were part of God’s plan to reach mankind by making ourselves predisposed to what He has to tell us.  Our response to pandemics can be a learning curve if we accept our own frailty and God’s Majestic Power and Wisdom. In light of recent happenings, let no one accuse God of being unloving, which most often is the case when our knowledge of our God and ourselves are not taken into account.  Looking back in history, when God first created His earth and the human race, Adam, the first man and his wife were to obey God and live in fellowship with Him. Yet, Eve chose not to and Adam joined her in her disobedience; the consequences of which has infected all of creation and still today, is felt.  Men everywhere have been implicated in this rebellion. Everything in our universe has been tainted and corrupted by sin, especially true of what is happening today. The Corona Virus is well documented, and so was Ebola, SARS. HIV a slower moving pandemic, and HiINi which killed 100 million of the world’s population in less than two years and reappeared later in 2009, then it was identified as the Swine Flu,  but this time with less devastating effects. Epidemics, sickness and disease, plagues and pestilences (referred to in Biblical terms) is the outcome of sin. In many instances, man had limited power to control the spread and consequences of these pandemics. It can and has brought normal life to a stand still. Although governments are trying to limit the health and economic consequences of this current epidemic by spending billions of dollars, we read in Psalms 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”

While many scoff God out of ignorance and His power and right to rule our lives, this epidemic is an incredible Act of God, whereas man`s attempts to control it, cannot succeed without God`s intervention.   Make no mistake about it, though disease and death are the consequences of our sinful past, ultimately it is God’s infinite power that holds this infinite epidemic in check. The blame for corruption in the world does not rest with God since He is not the author of sin, but ours alone.  We should be on our knees praying for restoration of both our own fallen spiritual state as well as stability for our land. A call for National Repentance is certainly needed at this moment in our history. God has moved His Hand and the world has been rendered almost helpless, what will we do if He brings greater judgment on our world?  Yet, God has shown great restraint by showing us what it can be like for us, if He did fully make known His Wrath against our sins, Yet, there is hope, if we turn from our rebellious ways and return to Him.  

   In our hope and prayers that our leaders acknowledge God and seek divine intercession on our behalf, we are also reminded about our own corruption and need for salvation.  As individuals the gospel message is to teach each of us to trust in God’s Son for forgiveness of our sin and turn from them that we may be delivered from an even greater judgment then what we are experiencing now.  To reverse the curse of the fall in your life and its consequences, eternal hell fire, you must seek God’s grace which is aptly demonstrated in His Son when He died for His Elect on the Cross of Calvary. The great need of the hour is for you to sincerely seek Him yourself for He is the only One who can save you and give you the peace to make it through to the the other side either here on earth and to heaven!

 

A Word of Warning!

Hebrews 2:2,3

For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward (punishment, mine), how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

An Invitation to Safety

Psalm 61:2-4

From the ends of the earth I call out to You whenever my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. 

Joel 3:16
The LORD will roar from Zion and raise His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe