Hope gives us life today because it assures us of God’s goodness for our tomorrows.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, Hebrew 6:19
Our hope is this: Jesus Christ in us the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
Sometimes at church I can’t see the forest (worship of God) for the trees (my mistakes). I feel and act like I am in the old covenant. In the Old Testament, worship had to be done perfect, or the sacrifice was worthless.
Sunday we gathered and the mistakes began to mount. A worship song was sung too high for me and I could not sing without squeaking. I had trouble handling the communion elements (I am clumsy with a little tremor). Someone’s cell phone buzzed. My mind frequently drifted, but Jesus, the New Covenant sacrifice, covered all the short comings, elevating all of us to perfection in worship allowing the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way.
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22
The worship was made perfect and acceptable to God, for in Jesus we are made holy and pleasing.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
This morning I come before God and ask for His help to live this day to the full.
“Lord, don’t let the thief steal it with anger, laziness, or in the pursuit of worthless things. Send Your Holy Spirit to overcome my weakness and transform this day to one that glorifies You––the fullness of life.”
It is God’s grace that turns this day into a special day with eternal purpose. All that is needed is God’s grace upon grace. His grace that forgives and makes me right, followed by grace to give me strength to do His will. At the start of each day I need to let these verse wash over me.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Thick wildfire smoke is not usually conducive to landscape photography. But God is so surprising, He can make an ash filled day into a vision of glory. Like this scene of an orange sun peaking through the aspen. When I took the photo I couldn’t help but give thanks, for I saw God in the dust of that dark dreary day.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25
That same evening on the news, there appeared a clip of people singing gospel music in a Texas evacuation center. Their praise carried a clear vision of God’s glory in the midst of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, even the news announcer smiled and said “Amen.”
Where ever you find yourself don’t forget to look for Immanuel (God is with us), He is wanting to surprise you.
In a National Geographic story it stated that somewhere in the universe a star explodes into a supernova every second. It also mentioned that if a star exploded anywhere near us (<15 light years away) we would be wiped out by the blast. That made me ponder just how big the universe is, and how small our planet is in comparison. Personally I would not be able to locate my own solar system within our galaxy (one star among 100-150 billion), or even pick out the Milky Way from among all the millions of galaxies that are out there (over 125 billion from observation by Hubble space telescope). With this vastness of the universe how is God, who is over all, even concerned about me? I exist for such a short time, one of over 7.5 billion people who populate this insignificant planet coursing around an insignificant star tucked away in one of billions of galaxies. How do I know that the creator of all this even cares? It comes down to one word, Jesus. I do not fathom His love for me, or how He even knows me, but because Jesus the creator of the universe came and died for me, this says God loves me and will not lose me in the vastness of all His stars. Even the hairs on my head are numbered. What an amazing statement of God’s concern (Matthew 10:30). Oh how wide and deep and beyond my imagination is the love of God for me in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:18).
After two weeks of gray thick smoke, this morning held blue skies, clouds, and distant peaks in full splendor. Each breath felt clean and wonderful. It brought to mind the joy we’ll have on that day when we enter our Lord’s kingdom. The smoky haze of this fallen world will be blown away, and for the first time we will see clearly––Jesus in all his glory. I think the beauty of that morning will truly be off the scale, and my photos do not do even come close to capturing the glory to be revealed.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
If you’re lungs are burning from the smoke of this world remember:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
I can approach the throne of God in His grace and be confident I will find mercy and help. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can leave my past behind and know that it does not cling to me.
Life is be pure again.
It is not mine to lose or spoil, I can only receive it, and it is a new gift every morning.
This amazing grace comes with God’s power to live for Him,
And the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not have to worry about tomorrow for the end of my story has been written.
I can breathe in the peace of God.
I can rest in the knowledge that God will cause all things to work out for good when I walk in His love. (Romans 8: 28)
When I get lost, He finds me and restores my soul.
What Jesus has started in me will be carried onto completion by His grace and power not mine. (James 1: 6)
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
What if, as some believe, the resurrection of Jesus never happened?
We would be alone in a universe of laws with no compassion.
Our only hope would be––I hope I don’t die today.
Grief’s only respite is in trying to forget.
Life would be about survival of the fittest, where everyone competes to be on top.
And if for a moment you succeed, you have to fight off those trying to take your place.
Evil triumphs, and lust becomes the force behind every action,
And pain the ultimate fate for everyone.
In the end death is your final companion.
Darkness your only friend.
But Jesus did rise up in triumph as morning declares.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
God’s compassion is new with each morning.
Our hope is raised up to the heavens with Jesus,
And our grief is turned into songs of joy.
We know that there is more to life than death.
God’s love conquers our fears.
We are freely loved,
And told to love freely.
His love reaches to the skies, and to the deepest pit.
Through the resurrection we shed our darkness and partake in God’s goodness.
The risen Lord knows all our sorrows, and ultimately takes our pain.
The beauty of that sunrise on an empty tomb is a never ending moment with God.
Our survival is by our savior, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Jesus lights our way and will take us home someday.
Death has been silenced for Jesus has risen.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
Certain elements of this picture transform it for me from nondescript picture into wonder to behold. The elements are the water cascading down, and the rock balancing the picture in the foreground. Without them I would have tossed it away.
This is the same for my life certain elements make it so worthwhile. The Rock of my salvation, Jesus, who anchors my life in his forgiveness and love.
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 22:47
The second element is the Holy Spirit cascading down, refreshing and anointing my life with God’s goodness.
“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17