July 20, 2004

Encouragement for Today

 

A Living Hope

Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach and Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

 

I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust (Act 24:15, NKJ).  

 

Devotion:

 

We prepare for everything. We prepare dinner, we prepare for vacation, we prepare to go to the doctor, to teach Sunday school, for work, or to run a race. Did you know that most people spend four to eight years of their lives studying for a vocation? While we spend the majority of our time planning for something, there are those who won’t spend five minutes to prepare themselves to meet God. They decide, whether they are conscience of it or not, to just chance the hereafter without realizing that this life is merely a dressing room for eternity, and yet they do nothing to get ready. I often wonder where their hope is placed.

 

As Christians, we have hope. Faith in Christ is our living hope. God in His boundless mercies allows us to have everlasting life through Christ. Since Christ died and rose again, we, too, have this wonderful expectation.

 

My eldest son says that he is only afraid of two things in this world—his mother and death—in that order. That’s because he knows if I ever catch him doing something that he shouldn’t, I will kill him!  However, one day I asked if he really feared death, and he answered, “Doesn’t everybody?” I reminded my son, as children of God, we don’t have to fear death. Christ conquered death on the cross, and since God raised Jesus from the dead we, too, will be raised.

 

When anyone comes to Christ and puts their faith in Him, he or she is born anew. This is our story, our hope. Peter tells us in the Word of God “we have been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (l Peter 1:23). We have a living hope because this new birth doesn’t come from earthly parents. It comes from an eternal living God. Hope is confidence in God’s gift of grace, and it is secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

This wonderful hope is confirmed again in the book of Revelation, “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One, I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to death and Hades.” (1:17-18). We don’t have to fear death, because when we turn from our sin and turn to Jesus in faith we are turning to the one who holds the keys to life and death. We have a living hope that rests in the fact that Jesus died and is now alive, and if He lives then so will we! Our life in Christ also comes with an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away.

 

When it’s time for school to start and my kids need new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, their Me-maw graciously sends a check in the mail to help defray the cost.  My husband loves this. He calls it living on the generation plan. His grandmother did it for him and his siblings, now his mom is doing it for her grandchildren. Likewise, we too, will one day do it for our grandchildren as well. I greatly admire the way our parents give our inheritance as needed when they can enjoy seeing it used for our good. They could keep it in fear of their own needs. What if they get sick? Perhaps it will be all used up when they need it most. Still, their security is in the love of family to give as they have received.

 

As long as you have trusted Jesus as your Savior then you are in God’s forever family. Your eternal inheritance will never be used up, destroyed, or given away to anyone else. Listen to Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare place for you. And If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that where I am there you may also be” (John 14:1-3).

 

No matter what troubles we face here on earth, looking forward to our eternal inheritance should bring us peace and joy because we know our final destiny. Just think of some of the things that will be there; the presence of God, perfection, family, the companionship of Jesus, complete freedom from the flesh, believer’s rewards, and a new glorified body without defect or blemish.

 

Oh, my sweet friend, when life is hard and drags us down we can look up at the Son and the darkness will fade as our hearts are filled with hope. Hope that one day this world will pass away with all of its sickness, death, wars, and burdens, and we will live in the glorious presence of our Lord and Savior forever.

 

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Dear Lord, Help me to see my life from a heavenly perspective. When life is hard, remind me that my hope is in You. Thank you for sacrificing your Son so that I might have eternal life that far outlasts anything I may face on this earth. In Jesus’ name I pray—A-men.

 

 

Application Steps:

 

Secure your future in Christ by placing your trust in Him as your Savior. Ask Christ to forgive you for the wrong things you’ve done, and then invite Him to be the Lord of your life. No matter what you face on this earth, nothing can separate you from His love or take away your eternal life.

 

 

Reflection Points:

 

How much time and thought do you give to where you will spend eternity?

 

In what do you put your hope? How secure is it?

 

Do you know for sure when you die where you’ll spend eternity? There are only two choices – heaven or hell.

 

What holds you back from securing your destiny in Christ?

 

Will you trust Christ today and receive His gift of eternal life?

 

 

Power Verses:

 

Palms 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.(NKJ)

 

Palms 78:70 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments. (NKJ)

 

Palms 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption. NKJ

 

Mathew 5:3 God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. (NLT)

 

John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (NKJ)

 

 

Additions Resources:

 

A Glimpse of Heaven - a tape set by Mary Southerland

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/heavenset.html

 

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html