Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hope Is Not Lost, There Is Good Worth Fighting For!

There is a lot of turmoil in our world today and in the past several...well...past several days, months, years. This morning we are saddened to learn of the deaths of the four Americans held captive on their yacht by pirates. They were on a mission to distribute Bibles to remote villages and had been doing so on and off since 2004. Our hearts and prayers go out to their families and friends. Likewise, our hearts and prayers go out to those in Christchurch, New Zealand who have suffered severe and horrific damages from a recent Earthquake.

I don't know about you, but with this sadness along with the unrest in the Arab world, disease and famine spreading through regions far and wide, there is much that comes to my mind. Great sadness accompanied by a great desire to get out and do something, a sense of urgency that we are truly living in the final days (or decades, who's to say?). A wavering hope and questioning of whether or not it's too late, is all lost and doomed to destruction? As believers we have to be strong against these fears and emotions of despair, but at the same time we shouldn't ignore them, but instead let them fuel the urgency to be on the move and about the work of the Lord.

There are several Truths that come to mind in the midst of these world events. One being the most important that God is and always will be on the throne. He is the ruler over all and in that promise we have great hope and comfort that nothing is out of His hand or beyond His control. "Have not I commanded you, Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

The second truth is the reality of the words of Jesus Christ in John 4:35, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" The harvest is still great. There are still many people who need to hear of the Lord's mercy, grace, love, and hope. We experience these times of despair and are quickly pulled from them by the blood of Jesus Christ, but what of those who have no hope? How do they handle such news and devastation?

I am reminded of the passage from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. There was much war, death, and destruction all around. The chance for peace relied on the journey of two little hobbits, Frodo and Sam. They were so small and felt so powerless and hopeless. At the end of the second movie, Frodo and Sam find themselves in the midst of a fierce battle. So much suffering and death causes the two to question whether they should even continue their journey. All seems lost. Yet, Sam stands up and looks out over the field of sad faces and replies, "There’s some good in this world, Mr.
Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for." (LOTR: Two Towers Script)

There is good in this world and it IS worth fighting for! One day, whether near or far, our Lord will return and redeem us from this world and welcome us into an eternal life of peace. I am so ready for that! But the time has not come and until He commands time to stop, we have to be on the move. There is good in this world, there are souls worth fighting for! 

Just when all hope seems lost, take a look at this picture to the left and what do you see? A smile formed by the Father's creation itself. Three birds that just happen to be flying in this formation, with their wings just by coincidence forming in such a way to display a comforting smile from the Father. He wants us to know that He is here and He is with us. We are not alone and we are not left to fight alone. He is our comfort, our portion, our strength. "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God" (Isaiah 45:5a).

Here is a song of comfort from Hillsong United. When we call on the Lord, He will answer us and come to our rescue!  Can't view here? Click on the Link to go to the page.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Hope of Things to Come

On February 2, many people watched eagerly as Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) crept out of his den and into the fresh air above. The question on everyone's mind, would he see his shadow or not? On that day, Phil did not see his shadow indicating a quick arrival of Spring. It was great news for Groundhog's Day, but after the following week of howling winds, heavy rain/ice, and litterally tons of snow, it wasn't something much of the Nation was too sure of.

What we do know for sure, however, is that whether it's six weeks until Spring or six more weeks of winter, Spring will eventually come. Some of us here in the South are already experiencing the promise of Spring. Just last week I could feel a warmth in the wind replacing last month's cold bite. Orange blossoms are beginning to spread a sweet frgrance through the air and yellow flowers are blooming along the roadways. It's a reminder of the promise of new life to be fulfilled. It's hope and assurance for those in the snow that slowly but surely the warmth and life of Spring will return.

There is another promise of hope and life that is before us; the promise of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Like winter, our lives are dark, cold, and filled with the death of sin. We feel empty, sad, alone, and hopeless. No matter how hard we try to overcome, our sins engulf us. But there is Hope and there is redemption and life in Christ. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we are all sinners and that we all fall short of the perfection and glory of God. We all, whether we admit it or not, experience the winter of sin in our life daily. What can we do about it? Accept the Hope that is before us. Romans 6:23 tells us that the price for our sin is death, but God has given us His Son Jesus Christ to pay that price for us. John 3:16 describes how Jesus gave his life on the cross as payment for our sin. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might have life (2 Corinthians 5:21). For by His grace we are saved and given the gift of forgiveness and eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Our life is made new when we confess our sins and our need for the Savior's redeeming blood to wash us clean. Spring comes forth within us and we experience a new transformation in Christ, but it doesn't end there. Jesus has promised us that He will not leave us in this World where we will continue to face tempations, trials and tribulations. He will one day return and take all of us who believe in Him home to live with Him in the forever beauty and peace of Heaven. We cannot see it, but we know it's there. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We watch with faith for the return of our Lord and Savior and for that blessed day when we will be forever set free in Him (Matthew 24, John 14:1-4, Revelation 19).

Do you have that glorious Hope and assurance? Is there someone you know who does not have this promise of new lfie? This morning, my pastor had prepared (for the second week in a row) a message on the future and growth of the church. But, for the second time He was woken up from a sound sleep by the Lord Jesus urging Him to remind the church that Christ will return and they must be ready.

Spring is an exciting time and as we make this transition together in the coming weeks, remember that there will one day be a final transition into a forever Spring with the Savior. But it is a Hope that is only given to those who believe. Don't let you or a loved one get taken away by an eternity of sin and separation from the Father. Come to Him and feel the Hope and Peace of the Savior.

We closed out our service this past Sunday with this amazing song. Click the link below to hear Revelation Song and watch a video someone has put together. Can't play it? Go directly to the source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbx8ua1B1p4