Hope

Jesus in the Hope that changes our worthless into priceless, our guilty to forgiven, our hungry into satisfied, and our empty into full.  His presence is inescapable.  Many dismiss him, but the Bible assures us that we can’t get away from Him.  David said in Psalm 139:8-10: “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in the hell, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the utter most parts of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, Your right hand will hold me.”
The Bible also tells us in the New Testament that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and that He “holds us.”  Think about that thought.  The Hope that holds us is Jesus Christ.
 
You and I are held by Hope!
 
In the Old Testament, God told Joshua that He would “never leave or forsake” him.  Joshua 1:5  God says the same to us.  He will never leave us or forsake us; no matter the circumstances, no matter the diagnoses, no matter the financial struggle.  Our faithful Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8.  We can breathe deep knowing that in everything we are held by Hope.  If our future is not secured and satisfied by God, then we are going to be excessively anxious.  This results either in paralyzing fear or in self-managed, greedy control.  We end up thinking about ourselves, our future, our problems, and our potential, and that keeps us from loving.  When God satisfies us so deeply that we’re free to love other people then he becomes more manifest.  And that’s what we want above all.  So the essence of what we look to in the Bible to build our hope is, “what has Christ done for me in my sinful condition that enables me to know that I will not come in to judgement and condemnation and that all things are working together for my good?”  And the answer is: “Christ died for me, rose again for me, and therefore all the promises of God are yes in Him.”
 
So let’s take our focus off our circumstances and focus on Christ, look to the promises and hold fast to them.  Hope comes from the promises of God rooted in the work of Jesus Christ.


Hope

Numbers 23:19The Bible often speaks about hope.  Our Christian definition of hope is different than the world’s idea of hope, it’s far superior.  To have a biblical hope is to have a “sure anchor of the soul, firm and secure.”  The world’s hope is wishing for the best, waiting to see what happens.  “I sure hope I never have to go through what they went through.” “I reallly hope I win the lottery one of these days.”  “I hope my team wins the Super Bowl.”  That kind of hope is nothing more than wishful thinking, a gamble, an unfounded desire that has no power to bring anything to pass, because it is not founded on Jesus Christ.  Instead of wishing or hoping for something to happen, a believer knows that their hope is solid, because it is grounded in the Word of God and we know that “it is impossible for God to lie.”  Hebrews 6:18 & Numbers 23:19.  Our hope is like faith… a faith that cannot be moved by circumstances or what the eyes see because an unseen God is seen simply by our faith in Him and His faithfulness toward us.
 
Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”  Our hope is grounded in our acceptance of God’s Word that Jesus is God’s Son sent into the world to save us from our sins.  Our hope is based on the promise that all who believe on Him will be saved through Him.  “For God so loved the word that He gave His one and only son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  “…if you confess whith your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9
 
Our hope is based upon the truth of what Scripture says about Christ’s great suffering, His humiliating death and His resurrection on the third day in our place.  Our hope is based on the promise that all who believe in Him will one day be raised form the dead.  Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, whover hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from dealth to life” John 5:24.  Our hope is based upon the promise that one day He is going to come again and we will enjoy heaven with him and a glory such as “no eye has seen and no ear heard and no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”  The bible says: “Our hope is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure, and enters the Presence behind the veil,” Hebrews 6:16.  Our anchor reaches not to the bottom of the sea (like a boat’s anchor) but behind the veil.  That’s the veil which God tore in two when Christ cried out on the cross, “It is finished!”  Our anchor is secured in Jesus Christ.  He is there as the one who has gone on ahead of us.  He is our forerunner.  And our anchor is attached to Him.  Because He has gone before assures us that we will follow.  He is the anchor of our soul.  Our hope is anchored, hooked into the One who has gone ahead and prepared a place for us.  We can be rest assured that as believers, we have stability here and now and eternity guaranteed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  There is no hope in mankind, circumstances, or in any other thing in the universe but “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10 because “Jesus Christ is our hope.” 1 Timothy 1:1


Forgiveness

I was using the computer the other day and I had worked about two or three hours on a project. Somehow, I deleted it. It was gone! It took me another two hours to re-do my entire project. Once you delete something on the computer, it’s gone forever. And that’s exactly what Jesus Christ does to our sins. They’re gone forever! Deleted, and we are Forgiven!

David said in Psalm 32:1 (NIV), “

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”  Also verse 2: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.”

Aren’t these verses special? God doesn’t count our sins against us: they’re all gone, they’re all forgiven, they’re erased, deleted. Our debt is paid in full. Thank you Jesus!

How do you get forgiveness? Have you accumulated so many mistakes that you wonder if you can ever be forgiven? Can God forgive a sin that you keep doing? Have you ever prayed, “God, please forgive me one last time.” Can He forgive that sin too? While you’re still doing it?  Well, you CAN have your sins forgiven because:

God GAVE His Son Jesus Christ!  John 3:16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”

So the first give was given by God Himself. God always initiates salvation. Salvation was given by Him. Before the foundation of the earth, God formulated a master plan to rescue us and to forgive us of our sins. God did that to redeem the human race from eternal separation from Him. Because he loves us so much he wants us to spend eternity with Him. Now, we have to be forgiven, because we can’t pay our debt. Nobody is so good that they can save themselves and no one is so bad that God cannot save them. And so we totally depend on Him for salvation. Not only did God give His Son, but Jesus gave His life. (Eph. 1:7)

Jesus Christ willingly GAVE His life that we might receive full pardon from our most wicked, most desperate, and the most repeated sins. That they can be forgiven. Jesus’ blood can blot out the reddest, the blackest record of our sins. Isaiah 44:22 “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and as a cloud your sins.” Jesus had to shed his blood and die on the cross so that we may be saved. Hebrews 9:22 says: “…without the shedding of Blood there can be no forgiveness.” Eph. 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace.”  Jesus Christ provided for our full pardon.

So the first thing we must do to receive forgiveness is to Forgive. In Matthew, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. In this prayer there is only one that has any condition attached to it. It is the petition for forgiveness. It says that if we are to be forgiven, we must first forgive others. If someone has wronged you, you must forgive them. Please “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors”. That’s the condition. So you cannot receive forgiveness as long as you have not forgiven. We are all sinners, everyone of us. John 1:8-9 says: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us…”

So to receive forgiveness from God, we must first forgive others. And when we confess our sins to God , He will forgive us!

You can get total forgiveness of your sins today. That’s the good news. And it’s free! You can get free forgiveness for all the sins you’ve ever committed AND the ones you will commit. You can get it today, free, directly from the source. You can get forgiveness straight from God. There’s no hindrance, it’s straight from Him. Will you give your life to Him today? He waits to forgive your darkest sin.  It’s a gift. We don’t earn it. We can only ask God to give it to us. Forgiveness.

 



He Is Love

God shows His love for us by redestining us for adoption into His family.  In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace. (Ephesians 1:5-6)  God loved us in eternity before we were created, and He planned to make us His children by adoption.  And the aim of this love was “the praise of the glory of His grace.”  He loved us this way that we might praise His grace.
 
God shows His loec for us by creating us
“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my bname, whom I created for my glory.” (Isaiah 43:6-7)  If God did not create you, He could not love you.  So creation is part of God’s lvoing you.  He brought you into being that you might enjoy forever all the good He plans for you.  And He did it, he says, for His glory.
 
There are peopel who love and respce you; but if they knew certain things about you, they would change their minds about you.  God knows everything there is to know about you, yet God loves you anyway.  This is the true basis for self-esteem.  God loves you.  Martin Luther said it well; “God does not love us because we are valuable; we are valuable because God loves us.”
 
Why does God, who loves us so much?
The answer is this; Love us this way is the greatest love.  The reason this is such a great love is that self, no matter how glorified by God (Romans 8:30), will never satisfry a heart that is made for God.  God lvoes you infitely.  He sent His son to die that He might have you, and that you might have Him (1 Peter 3:18). He will not let you settle for wonderful and happy thoughts of self or others.  Not even a saved, glorified self.  He will not let your glory, which He himself creates and delights in, replace His glory as your ultimate treasure.  God’s attitude toward us is love.  The Word declares God loves us. First John 4:8 says, “God is love.”  God personifies love.


Faithfulness

Faithfulness is steadfastness, dependability, or allegiance; it is carefulness in keeping what we are entrusted with; it is the conviction that the Scriptures accurately reflect reality. Biblical faithfulness requires belief in what the Bible says about God—His existence, His works, and His character.
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit; it is the result of the Spirit working in us. But the Spirit is also our seal of faithfulness. He is our witness to God’s promise that if we accept the truth about God, He will save us.
The Old Testament saints also had faith in the invisible work of God (Hebrews 11:3). Abraham never saw his descendants become “as numerous as the stars in the sky.” Moses never entered the Promised Land. And none of the Old Testament saints lived to see the Messiah. But they were faithful. They believed God would do as He promised. They lived by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
In that list in Hebrews 11 is the example of Enoch, who “obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (vs. 5b-6). Faith, or a faithful commitment to who God says He is, is basic to walking with God. As Jesus traveled, He responded to people’s faith and shortened His involvement where there was no faith (Mark 6:1-6).
Enoch understood that God rewards those who seek Him and trust Him with all their hearts. We trust what God does because we trust Him, not the other way around. In other words, we trust God even when He is silent and we see no miracles. That is part of faithfulness. We know God is reliable, steadfast, and true.
Faithfulness is believing that God is who He says He is and continuing in that belief despite the quirks and impulses of life. Functionally, that means we trust what God says in the Bible, and not necessarily what the world or our own eyes tell us. We trust He will work out everything for our good. We trust He will work His will in us. And we trust that our situation on earth is nothing compared to our future reward in heaven. The only way we can have such faith is by the Holy Spirit’s influence. He testifies to the truth and compels us to seek God. The Spirit makes us faithful.


Grace at the Heart

Grace – at the Heart

Grace is a very precious reality. I hope I can show you from the book of Romans what it is and why it is so precious. The word is used 155 times in the New Testament – over 100 of them in the books written by Paul, and almost a fourth of those in Romans (24 times). You cannot understand this book if you don’t understand grace. We will see it again and again. It is at the heart of the book and the heart of the gospel and the heart of God.

What is Grace?

So grace is a reality that comes from God; and comes through Jesus and his work for us. It is not something we have a right to. Jesus obtained it for us. It is unmerited favor that we get it freely because of the obedience and death of another.

How Do We Get Grace?

Paul said that he was set apart for the gospel before he was born (Galatians 1:15; Romans 1:1). Grace is not God’s response to our deserving or meriting. Grace is God’s free gift before we do anything good, and his enabling of us to do anything good. For example, in Romans 4:4 Paul says, “Now to him who works, his wages are not counted as grace, but as debt.” In other words, grace is not what you get when you work for somebody: that’s what he owes you. Grace is never owed. It is always a free bonus from the overflow of God’s goodness. Therefore grace is always received through faith, not earned by works. You can only receive grace as a gift and acknowledge that it comes to you freely; you can’t work for it or earn it. Romans 11:6 states the principle: “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Grace would not be grace if you earned it by your works. We receive it through faith. By simply welcoming it as a gift and relying on it.

We don’t just call on the name of the Lord to get something. We call on the name of the Lord so that everything that separates us from the Lord will be overcome by the grace of God and we will have access to the Lord himself, through the Jesus Christ. Being a God-fearing mother or being a servant in a ministry is impossible without the power of grace. So when Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, that all his apostolic labor is by grace, you insert your own calling: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” The decisive, enabling power for all ministry and all service is God’s grace. God should be the goal of all our longings.

Is this – is He – the goal of your longings? If so, then the gospel of Grace will make sense and you will embrace it. If not, call upon the name of the Lord so that He would open your eyes to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). The God full of Grace.