Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is There Any Hope?

People from all walks of life are asking that question. Some of us will find hope that
will last a short time, and some of us will find a hope that will not fail us … ever. On the other hand, many will walk right by it and find no hope at all because they have eyes but do not see, and they have ears but do not hear.

Wealthy people have problems just as much as those who are poor. Whether you’re from the mountains or the plains, you will have problems in life. Sea-farers, desert dwellers, city folk, hillbillies, educated, uneducated, adults, children, we all have problems.

Many folks have landed in prison and are certainly asking “Is there any hope?” Far too many of our citizens are held in the firm grip of drug addiction and are asking the same question. Some make it out of that nightmare. Many do not.

It would take a book just to list all the many things the world can throw at us to bring us to our knees in despair. Unfortunately, all too often, we make our own bed of misery without any help from the world.

Politically speaking, many are placing a great deal of hope in our new President, Donald Trump. Let me say, that I am pleased that he won the election, and I believe he honestly wants to reverse the decline of this nation. If Hillary Clinton had won, she would undoubtedly have continued the suicidal actions of Barack Obama. Regrettably, Soros, Obama, the Clintons, the Democratic Party, the news media and others are still working feverishly to hinder any progress of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Let us pray for President Trump and his administration every day, but let us also keep one thing in mind, if our hope is in him, it is in the wrong place. Our hope cannot be in man.

The prisoner cannot put any hope in man. Neither can the housewife, the student, the working person, the drug-addict, the alcoholic, etc.

Folks worry about things such as; marriage, health, children, job, debts, etc. and that’s just a start. How can we dispel the fears of hopelessness and see that, yes there is hope. There is a hope which is real and which will last.

At this point, many will be turned off by what I say next; because you’re getting the feeling that I’m now going to say that only God through His Son Jesus Christ can provide true hope. You don’t want to hear that. You don’t want to hear anything religious. Hear me out just a little longer.

First of all, forget the “religious” part. Knowing Jesus Christ as your very own Savior and Lord has nothing to do with religion. It’s all about a relationship. There are many religions in this fallen world, but there can be only one relationship. Only the one true God, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, can provide us with a relationship with Him.

Is there any hope in whatever situation you are in? You bet there is, but you will never have true, lasting hope apart from Jesus. He is the only way.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

First of all let us understand something. It is impossible for God to lie. Every word He says is absolute truth.  

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV)

“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (1 Samuel 15:29 NIV)

“Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David—“ (Psalm 89:35)

“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” (Hebrews 6:18 NIV)

There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible. Here is just a handful.

“I will never leave thee” (Heb. 13:5)

“I am thy shield” (Gen. 15:1)

“I will strengthen thee” (Isa. 41:10)

“I will help thee” (Isa. 41:10)

“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil” (Jer. 29:11)

“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

“The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake” (1 Sam. 12:22)

“All things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8:28)

Many folks will argue that they have cried out to God for help and He wasn’t there for them. Look, most all of us, if we will be honest with ourselves, will have to admit that we have felt this way at times. I too have had traumatic experiences in my life and have questioned God. He doesn’t mind our questioning Him. At least we’re paying attention. Now that He has our attention, He wants us to see things through His eyes. Even though we may not think so at the time, He does know what is best for us. Back in the 50s there used to be a television show called “Father Knows Best.” If you are His child, He really does know best. If you aren’t His child you can be, but only by coming to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our biggest problem is that we don’t want to suffer, even in the slightest. We want God to take the pain away, whether it’s physical or emotional or both, right away. Nobody in their right mind wants to suffer, but Jesus has told us that we will suffer in this world.

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18 NIV)

We will suffer in this world, whether it’s from something circumstances throw upon us, or our own stupidity. It’s going to happen.

One of the promises God made is, “I will strengthen you.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV) Maybe He is allowing us to experience bankruptcy, or illness, or reactions from our own actions to strengthen us.

Have you ever considered that if the Apostle Paul hadn’t spent so much time in prison, we probably wouldn’t have much of the New Testament? If John Bunyan hadn’t been put in prison we would not have “Pilgrim’s Progress.” If Fanny Crosby had not become blind, maybe we would never have heard any of the 8,000 Christian songs she wrote.

Let us not forget what the Lord did in the 20th century through Corrie Ten Boom, and today, in the 21st century he is working through a man who was raised in a very well-known Christian home. As a young man he rebelled against God and his parent’s teachings, but finally the day came when he gave himself wholeheartedly to the Lord, and today serves Jesus Christ with all his being. His name is Franklin Graham.

I am reminded of, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)

God will use any who are willing to serve him. He has a plan for the life of every Christian. He wants us to glorify His Son. It isn’t about us. It is about Jesus. We are to glorify Him, and when we glorify Him, He will glorify us. Even in the smallest of things we do for Him, it will not go unnoticed. He will use it for His glory. Some, because of their own self-centeredness, may think that is selfish of God, but the Lord says that one day we will understand.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV)

Maybe you are jobless. Trust completely in Him and allow Him to work in your life.

He can take that divorce you’ve been through and give you a new life, but you must trust Him.

Even in prison, He can change your heart and work through you to bring others to Him.

You may have a home life that stinks. He’ll get you through it. There is hope in Him.

We in America don’t have to face losing our family, our possessions, or even our life because of our trust in Jesus, yet even if or when that time comes we can face it with the confidence that He will be with us all the way. Jesus said,

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5 NIV)

Maybe you’re about to lose your business. Perhaps your children are giving you gray hairs. Maybe you’re praying for the right marriage partner (of the opposite sex) who will truly love you. You may be one of many who have made a colossal mess of your life.

God can and will help those who are His, in whatever predicament they’re in, but we must first trust Him completely. That means we are willing to accept the results of His decision, whatever it may be. His plan for us may not be what we wanted, but it will be the right decision.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Joni Eareckson Tada became a quadriplegic as a teenager, paralyzed from the shoulders down. Amidst what seemed to be a hopeless situation, God has brought joy to her and millions of others she has reached out to for Christ. He didn’t change her situation. He changed her, and simply by watching and listening to her we can see the joy of Jesus living in her.

There are times God may remove the problem that afflicts us, and there are times He chooses not to do so, but through our circumstances, He will bring joy if we allow Him to work in us. Hope is in Jesus Christ, regardless of the circumstances. Mrs. Tada found hope in Jesus and was given joy, even though her circumstances remained the same.

Is there any hope? Whether our circumstances are good or bad, removed or still with us, there is hope in Jesus. It is the only hope that provides a guarantee; hope for this life and for eternity that will never fail.

In America we have been mightily blessed with many comforts and luxuries. There is nothing wrong with that, and I enjoy them as much as the next person. Our problem arises when we, as Christians, forget who we serve. The Lord promises He will take care of our needs. Read Luke 12:22-34. Knowing that, we can serve Him without worrying about our needs.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

We can learn with Paul, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)

Every true Christian has the power of God on their side. There is no problem too big or too small for Him, and He will always be there by our side as we face the storm.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)

It there any hope? If our hope is in Jesus and our desire is to glorify Him, there is a hope guaranteed by God Himself. If our hope is in anything apart from Him, there is no real hope.

Grant Phillips