#HOPE for Every Day – February 17, 2017
Today’s message about HOPE is from Got Questions?
Answer: Titus 2:12–13 says that the grace of God teaches us “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed HOPE—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” This passage identifies the “blessed HOPE” as the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior.
The word blessed can mean “happy” or “beneficial”; our HOPE is “blessed” in that Jesus’ return will be an amazing, joyful experience for the believer in Christ. We will be blessed beyond measure when we see Christ. The trials of this life will be over, and we will see that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). The word HOPE does not communicate uncertainty, as in “I HOPE that something might occur”; rather, it is the glad assurance that something will take place. Jesus is our HOPE, and no one can take that HOPE away. “HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
The “blessed HOPE,” then, is the joyful assurance that God will extend His benefits to us and that Jesus Christ will return. We are waiting for this event now.
Read the rest here.
Emphasis on HOPE is mine.
Please visit TRC to read more of the great articles in this issue!
by Anna Popescu
Back in the 1970’s, a novel came out, followed by a movie with the same name. Its catchphrase became very popular: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” 1 Remember that? 1
As I was deciding what love message to write this article about, that phrase immediately came to mind. So I have two questions:
1. How can husbands and wives live peacefully together if they don’t have to apologize for hurting each other?
2. If we do not have to ask forgiveness for wrongs committed, doesn’t that negate the death of Jesus on our behalf?
One of the realities of marriage is that husbands and wives will have stressful times of disagreement. We are human beings with an inherited sin nature, and as such we often have our own personal agendas. We want things our way because we each believe we’re right.
So, how should we react to something our spouse says that is upsetting to us? Bill and Pam Farrell discuss this in their book, Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti 2:
“When your spouse ignites the conversation, you have a choice. You can react and shorten the fuse, or you can diffuse the situation. At times, the best way to diffuse a conflict is to turn the focus of the conversation. When your spouse launches a verbal grenade, it usually has a compliment embedded in it.
One day Pam and I were talking about a project we were trying to get done at home and she said to me, “Bill, you are so picky.” To say that I enjoyed that comment would be a bold-faced lie, but instead of getting angry it occurred to me to say, “I wouldn’t have married you if I wasn’t so picky.”
When your spouse says, “You are impossible,” start humming the theme to Mission Impossible.
Lest you confuse this with sarcasm, remember that the Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
These attempts to cut the hot lead before the conversation explodes won’t work every time, but sometimes it is all the discussion needs to remind you that you are in love.
If diffusing the situation doesn’t work, what else can you do to resolve a dispute? Keep in mind that you and your spouse were brought up differently and therefore may react to certain situations in completely different ways.
One of the hardest things to do in the heat of an argument is to truly listen to the other person without interruption. This is difficult because we immediately start thinking about what to say to support our own view, and often miss the true gist of what our spouse may be saying.
After 18 years of marriage, Rick and I are still learning how to do this. We are both firstborns, meaning we each are the oldest in our families. As such, we both have the inclination to assume we have the right answers to problems, and so we bump heads about certain issues.
Parents typically use their eldest child as an example when trying to settle arguments about or among their children:
“Why can’t you be as ____ (fill in the blank) as _____ (fill in oldest sibling’s name)?”
“We didn’t let _____ (fill in oldest sibling’s name) do that at your age, so why do you think we’ll let you?”
And as we and our parents get older, there is the tendency for our siblings ─ and even our parents at times ─ to turn to us to handle certain aspects of their elderly life/senior care issues. So it’s no wonder we firstborns think we are always right and that is the main reason we have a tendency to interrupt our spouse so that our opinion can be heard first, because of course we’re correct!
This does not just pertain to firstborns. If the first marriage between Adam and Eve had such problems, why do we think we should be exempt? The key is to find ways to diffuse problems before they become huge obstacles.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests,
but also for the interests of others.
I wish I could remember more often to say to Rick, “We each have different ideas on how to get this done, but as my husband, I’ll defer to you to make the right decision because I trust that you want the best for us.” That simple statement truly gets his attention, which also causes him to put a lot of thought into his final decision.
If you use that trust statement, make sure you follow through. Go along with his decision without reservation. Don’t second guess his choice after you have already said you trust his judgment.
I need to remember how important this is because, as Rick’s wife, I am to be subject to him as the head of our marriage ─ just as I am to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church (His bride).
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church,
He Himself being the Savior of the body.
24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Firstborns are not the only ones who have trouble with humility ─ we all do. We have an inherent, prideful tendency to consider only our own opinions so that it is difficult for us to see any other way. We need to pray for the humility to “esteem others better” (Philippians 2:3) than ourselves. That means we should listen to our spouse’s opinion/explanation carefully before thinking that our way is the best.
Forgive as Jesus Does
In 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Paul writes this to the Corinthians:
8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first,
for I know it was painful to you for a little while.
9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you,
but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways.
It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have,
so you were not harmed by us in any way.
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience
leads us away from sin and results in salvation.
There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.
But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
In verse 10 above, “…the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience…” shows us that we are to be sorrowful (sad) when we have sinned. And “…worldly sorrow which lacks repentance…” is clearly a warning not to conform to the world’s standard of whitewashing our guilt (or pretending we did nothing to be guilty about) rather than repenting of those sins.
When the Holy Spirit shows us that we have sinned against someone, we are to ask that person to forgive us as soon as we can. When someone asks us to forgive them, we must do so right away, whether we feel like doing so or not.
21 Then Peter came and said to Him,
“Lord,how often shall my brother sin against me
and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you,
up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Relationships need nurturing to grow closer and stronger. Marriage relationships require that even more. When husbands and wives are willing to acknowledge and ask forgiveness for the ways they have hurt each other, they are taking another step in loving each other the way Christ loves His Church.
Jesus loves us so much that He took the punishment for our sins on Himself. This leads me back to that catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” If we do not have to ask forgiveness for wrongs committed, it means that Jesus’ death counts for nothing, and we know that is not correct. If I were to rewrite that catchphrase, it would be “True love means forgiving each other as Jesus Christ forgives us.”
Forgiveness is one of the “key” words of the Christian faith.
If God had not included forgiveness in His plan for humanity,
none of us would enjoy life renewed with Him in heaven.
Without forgiveness there would be no hope at all. 3
2 Farrel, Bill; Farrel, Pam. Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences (p. 112). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Welcome to my annual Valentine’s Day post that I believe is so appropriate
for a day that’s all about love.
The other day I got to thinking about Valentine’s Day and how it’s supposed to be all about love. 1 John 4:19 immediately came to mind, and I knew this was to be my message about love … God’s immense love … for us.
The Dimensions of God’s Love
We love because he first loved us. —1 John 4:19
We have all been told how much God loves us. That fact is unquestionable, especially as we look around and see the evidence of His love in all of His creation. God’s love for us can be described as multi-dimensional, so let’s look at the different ways God loves us—the Breadth, Depth, Height and Length of His love—by examining the universe He created.
When a man and a woman get married, they usually exchange wedding bands. If you look closely at a wedding band, you cannot see where it begins or where it ends. This circle of metal is therefore used as a symbol of unending love between husband and wife. In the same way, a circle represents eternity.
That is how I think of God’s all-encompassing love for us. I visualize the circle that His arms form to surround the earth. This thought both amazes and comforts me. I am amazed because it shows how big God is. I can’t imagine any human who can hug the whole world. I am also comforted because I enjoy being hugged. But the true illustration of the breadth of God’s love is found in Scripture: But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), —Ephesians 2:4-5
God loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses.” What a truly astonishing thing!
Eternity is a difficult concept for us to understand, but God has it all under control. He loves us so much that He can’t stand the thought of being apart from us, so He has provided us with a way to spend eternity with Him:
For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
The breadth of God’s love for us is that huge. He made sure that we have a way to be with Him forever—in other words, for eternity. Trying to figure out what eternity could be like is the same as trying to count all the stars in the sky. It is impossible!
I like to imagine what it will be like to spend the rest of eternity with God, but I’m sure my limited picture of heaven falls far short of the truth. All I know for sure is that: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. —John 1:12-13
The Grand Canyon ranges in height from 9,000 feet at the North Rim all the way down to 2,400 feet at the Colorado River. Those of us here in the Southwest know that there are no easy ways to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In fact, portions of the Colorado River are barely visible from above because of the depth of the canyon. Now that’s what I call deep, but it is still measurable.
We read in Romans 5:8 that …God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The love God has for us is so deep that it is immeasurable. It is impossible for me to imagine something that cannot be measured. Everything that surrounds us can somehow be measured, whether by weight or volume. But not God’s love. It is bottomless and keeps going on and on to infinity. Even though we don’t deserve any of it, He loves us that much anyway.
We hear a lot these days about “unconditional love.” The truth is that the only true, unconditional love we will ever receive is from God, Who loves us with a pure love found nowhere else. How better to explain God’s love for us in spite of all our sins and shortcomings? The fact that God loves me in spite of myself is the ultimate proof of the depth of His love.
Have you read about those who have succeeded in climbing Mount Everest? This 29,035-foot mountain range is the highest in the world and the most difficult to climb. There are many people who attempt this climb more than once in the hopes of finally being able to complete the challenge of making it to the summit.
I cannot imagine being at a point 29,035 feet above sea level. That is so high that one’s breathing becomes quite labored and therefore requires extra oxygen. But that is still not as high as the heavens. In Ephesians, Paul gives us a taste of what it will be like when we’re in heaven: and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,. —Ephesians 2:6
There is no way we cn ever understand the height of such “heavenly realms.”
I love knowing that those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord will be up in heaven with God forever, seated with Him and serving Him in all His honor and glory. Even though we’ll be higher than we’ve ever been, we will not suffer the usual effects of high altitude such as headaches, nosebleeds or labored breathing. God has made sure of that. I believe that heaven will be the most comfortable place ever!
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above,
not on things on the earth.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
It is estimated that right now the universe is at least 46 billion light years in radius. My puny human mind cannot comprehend such a measurement. Look up at the billions of stars in the night sky and then try to understand the lengths to which God will go for us. He could have designed just an adequate place for us to live, but did He? No. He chose to give us a wonderful universe filled with beautiful planets and stars. It stretches on and on, just like His immense love for us.
The daytime sky and the night sky are the same, yet very different. During the day we cannot see the stars because of the light of the sun. At night, the stars and moon illuminate the dark sky. When we are in heaven, things will be greatly changed.
There shall be no night there:
They need no lamp nor light of the sun
for the Lord God gives them light.
And they shall reign forever and ever.
No more night? Really? What will that be like? And imagine not needing a lamp to read a book.
Being part of such an exciting eternity with God requires only this:
- recognize that we are sinners and be truly sorry for our sins
- believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior
- acknowledge that He died on the cross at Calvary and that His death paid the penalty for our sins
- and trust that He rose from the dead on our behalf so that we might live forever with Him—and all because of the length of God’s love for us.
Paul related this aspect to Timothy:
However, for this reason I obtained mercy,
that in me first Jesus Christ might show
all longsuffering, as a pattern to those
who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
—1 Timothy 1:16
The definition of longsuffering is: suffering for a long time without complaining ; very patient during difficult times. I need this reminder because even though I so often lose patience with the things and people in my life—and with myself—God never loses patience with me. His longsuffering patience is eternal!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only God,
be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
—1 Timothy 1:17
Beloved, on yet another Valentine’s Day I am so glad we have a God Who shows His awesome and immense love for us in so many ways, in spite of our sinful selves!
Lately there have been things happening in my life that have threatened to destroy my JOY and HOPE. I say threatened because although I have been tempted to be discouraged, I am thankful that I know that my real JOY and HOPE are found in Jesus Christ, who comforts me and always holds me close. I have that assurance because Scripture tells me so. And since I know that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), I believe it is true.
Beloved, how are things going for you these days?
Are you struggling with the frustrations and problems of this world? Do you feel there is no hope for you in this life? Do you wonder where you’ll end up after you die? If so, you’re not alone. We all have questions such as these, but there is a way to be filled with a true HOPE that never ends.
How well do you know Jesus Christ? If you long for the assurance and HOPE that you’ll spend eternity in heaven with Jesus but have never asked Him to be the Savior and Lord of your life, you need to make that important commitment to Him. It is very easy to do:
ADMIT that you are a sinner and repent of (to feel regret or remorse for) your sins:
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. —2 Corinthians 7:10
BELIEVE: that Jesus Christ took the punishment and died for you and your sins:
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.—Romans 3:22-25
CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” —Romans 10:8-11
I call these the A-B-C’s of salvation. When you admit that you are a sinner and repent of your sins; believe that Jesus took the punishment for them in your place; and confess that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life, “the God of HOPE [will] fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, that you may abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
The song “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship reminds us that no matter what we’ve done or where we are in our life’s journey, we can rely on the fact that the arms of God our Father are always open wide. He longs for us to put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. As you listen to this song, consider the Bible verses below that tell us how much God loves and cherishes us.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.
Once you were far away from God,
but now you have been brought near to him
through the blood of Christ.
HOPE for Every Day – February 9, 2017
Today’s message about HOPE is from Unlocking the Bible.
“No one turns from their sins unless they have HOPE of something better. So Jesus begins by laying out the better that lies ahead. The prodigal son said, “I will return to my father; perhaps he will make me one of his hired servants” (Luke 15:18, 19, author’s paraphrase).”
Read the rest here.
Emphasis on HOPE is mine.
Shared from GraceThruFaith.
Of all the so-called holy books, only the Bible authenticates itself. It does so through a method we call predictive prophecy and it works like this. Only God knows the end from the beginning. To help us learn to believe Him, He told His ancient people things that hadn’t happened yet. Then when they came to pass just like He said they would, He had them document everything and preserve it for future generations. We call this documentation the Bible, which by many accounts consists of nearly 40% predictive prophecy, some fulfilled and some still to come.
When asked what work God requires of us, Jesus replied, “The work of God is this. Believe in the One He has sent.” (John 6:28-29) Because He’s told us so many things in advance and has always been right, He expects us to believe in Him. His view is that He’s proven Himself so far beyond any reasonable doubt that people who say they don’t believe in Him are really being disobedient by refusing to believe. And belief is a requirement. That’s why in the New Testament the Greek word translated unbelief also means disobedient.
The Old Testament is so chock full of the proof of God’s existence that there’s simply no justification for unbelief. (In my article Proving The existence Of God I used the examples of Cyrus the Persian and Alexander the Great to show that anyone with a Study Bible and a competent history book can verify the existence of God simply by comparing fulfilled prophecy with world history.)
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”(Psalm 14:1). Only a fool can say that. But even a fool can’t say it logically, with his mind, because there’s too much evidence to the contrary. He has to say it emotionally, in his heart. Foolish opinions based on emotion don’t need to be true.
Read the rest here.