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.
How can we not feel JOYFUL as we read this glorious psalm? It is full of HOPE and JOY and makes me want to worship our Creator for all He has done and is doing for us. All honor, praise and glory to God!
Praise to God for His Awesome Works
To the Chief Musician. A Song. A Psalm.
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
4 All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
5 Come and see the works of God;
He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
They went through the river on foot.
There we will rejoice in Him.
7 He rules by His power forever;
His eyes observe the nations;
Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8 Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
9 Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
10 For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
12 You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
13 I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
14 Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me!
When I see the wonders of God’s creation all around me, I can’t help but feel the JOY of my HOPE in Jesus Christ as my Redeemer. It’s the kind of JOY that makes me want to dance and sing just like David did when he sang his praises to God.
The dictionary defines HOPE as a person or thing in which expectations are centered. For those of us who believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, we have the HOPE of Jesus as that person.
Christ is the actual object of the believer’s HOPE, because it is in his second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled (1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; Titus 2:13). It is spoken of as “lively”, i.e., a living HOPE, a HOPE not frail and perishable, but having a perennial life (1 Pet. 1:3).¹
Our ultimate HOPE is in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and no one or nothing else. The song “Jesus Reigns” by New Life Worship Desperation Band is a wonderful way to sing our praise and worship to our Savior. As you listen to this song, think about the Truth found in these Bible passages:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again
to a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
—1 Peter 1:3
6 Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd
or the roar of mighty ocean waves
or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
7 Let us be glad and REJOICE, and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
8 She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
All emphasis in the text above is mine.
¹ M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897.
Today is known as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. All human life is precious and has value. As the Creator of all things, God creates life and only He should take it away. We are His creation because “You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb” (verse 13).
Psalm 139 (below) is David’s acknowledgement that God is all-knowing, that He is present everywhere, and that He is all-powerful. David wrote this psalm to praise and worship God for these attributes. Please take the time to carefully read it, especially verses 13-16. And pray for the women who have had abortions and those who may right now be considering an abortion.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Where is your HOPE? Is it in the things of this world or in Jesus Christ? If you’re counting on the stuff of life here on earth to fulfill your HOPES and dreams, you’re in for a big disappointment. Nothing and no one but Jesus can give us the ultimate HOPE of an eternal life of JOY. He died on that cross at Calvary to provide the way for us to live eternally with Him in heaven.
Yes, life is tough, but belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ is your true HOPE! The song “East to West,” sung by Casting Crowns, speaks to the awesome mercy God shows us, and how we can find true comfort in His arms alone.
As you listen to this song, remember to continuously put your trust and HOPE in God:
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors
because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.
Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them!
“Peace be with you,” he said.
20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side.
They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!
21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me,
so I am sending you.”
22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.
If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
—John 20:19-23, NLT
Welcome to the year 2017! My hope and prayer for all of us is that we devote time in our busy lives learning more about our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through His Word. It’s like getting to know someone we enjoy spending time with. The more time we dedicate to discovering what makes them who they are, the closer we get to them.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,
high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings:
with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out,
and the house was filled with smoke.