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Tag Archive | "hope"

Is there hope?


Pastor Dallas Burgeson

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

 

When you pick up the newspaper, are you often struck by the weight of what’s in it? Violence, political unrest, an unending clash of values…the temptation is to believe that these issues have never been seen before in all of history, but this just isn’t true. To read history from all over the world is to realize how commonplace so much of this has been since the earliest times.

Take a look at the biblical book of Judges as an example, written over 3,000 years ago on the other side of the world. You would be hard-pressed to find stories with more bizarre plotlines than these. It starts out describing pretty normal events, but as it progresses, things take a downward spiral as it races to some of the very lowest places humanity has ever been. I challenge you to do a read-through sometime soon, and see if you don’t agree.

So why I am I telling you all this? Well, for one, if Christianity ever seems to you to be hopelessly out of touch with today’s realities, I want to give you at least one good reason to question that common assumption. But beyond that, if you’re already reading today’s headlines, I want to challenge you to look at them from a perspective with the wisdom of hindsight—of “been there, done that.” If life is sometimes just going to be hard, wouldn’t it pay for us to know how to walk through it with insight, direction, and—hopefully—grace? I think so.

If you take the time to read Judges, you will probably notice how things from the story of Abimelech (chapter nine) onward start to snowball with the complexities of the evil that is happening. The questions that become important for us, then, are:

How does a society pull out of a nosedive when this “chain-reaction” of evil starts to take place in our own time?

What values and character traits have to rise up when chaos begins to reign?

These questions are addressed seriously and in deeper detail throughout Scripture. They aren’t questions that should make us wring our hands and worry; there are already plenty of people doing that. No, this is an opportunity to steep ourselves in the words of Jesus, and then… put them into practice: 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” –Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).

God’s People were built for this. Through Jesus, light and hope for the world can begin in us.

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Living with hope and joy


Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine St. • Cedar Springs

“And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;  there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4) (NKJV)

These words of promise are especially poignant to me as I write this article. Just last week, a former college classmate and friend of mine, found his world suddenly ripped in two. His wife was leaving a store near their hometown when their two-year-old son broke loose from her grasp, dashed into the parking lot and was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle. Obviously the family is devastated over this tragedy.

However, in the midst of overwhelming sorrow, what gripped my attention was how the family has responded during this difficult time. Although their hearts are broken, they have reached out to the driver of the vehicle with love and compassion. They have met with her, prayed with her, and assured her that there is no bitterness in their hearts toward her. Their words and conduct have resonated with quiet hope and certain joy, and their testimony in the midst of personal tragedy is impacting their community in a powerful way.

My friends long ago placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and now through tear-stained eyes of faith they rest confidently in the promise of our text. They realize that tomb that holds their son’s body is only temporary, that his spirit is with the Heavenly Father, and that this separation will come to an end! There is coming (as the old songs says) “A great, getting up morning.” Eternal reunion is assured through the victory which Christ won over death on Easter morning.

Perhaps someone reading these words is also grieving. Perhaps your world is upside down. Tragic events have shattered a tranquil existence. Let me remind you that as a Christian, through God’s grace, you can live with hope and joy.

When we say we have the hope of Heaven, we do not mean that in the way we usually use the word “hope.” Some of you right now are hoping that warm weather will arrive in a few weeks. In our beloved state of Michigan, you can hope that, but there is no certainty or guarantee it will happen that quickly.

However, when we talk of the “hope” of Heaven, we are talking from a standpoint of confidence. The Bible tells us that it is impossible for God to lie. That same Bible holds multiple promises from God that Heaven is a reality and that the separation of death for God’s children will end in an eternal reunion of joy.

Paul Helm wrote: “Though the life of Heaven is for our future, its certain occurrence imparts a confidence and joy during the present.”

C.S. Lewis said: “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”

And maybe T.W. Hunt summed it up best when he wrote:

“In this life, pleasure ends itself. When the meal is past,  the enjoyment of taste and smell ceases. When the symphony ends, no audible harmonic vibrations remain. When the ride finishes, we ‘want to do it again.’

In eternity future, joy will be a continuum that never ceases. That joy will include within itself peace, expectation, beauty, sublimity. Our present understanding of pleasure only hints at the dimensions of enjoyment in the sheer outer joys of Heaven.” 

If you are hurting, allow me to encourage you. Joy is coming in the morning. Weeping only last for the night. And for the children of God, the best is yet to come!

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Where’s Your Hope – 1 Peter 1:13-16


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”(NIV).

I have to admit something. I am not much of an optimist. I wouldn’t classify myself as a pessimist, but probably more of a realist. Whenever I hear a story on the news, I usually tend to think that it’s probably not going to turn out good. I don’t expect the best, or even plan for the best. When it comes to people, I usually expect the worst and therefore I am rarely disappointed. I guess you could say I have lost my hope in the human race. It seems like we just keep getting worse and worse and it seems like I just start to place less and less hope in humanity. If we place our hope in people or even in this world, we will find ourselves constantly disappointed and eventually we will end up extremely frustrated and we may even get disillusioned. That’s why this issue of where we place our hope is extremely crucial for the Christian.

The reason many of us get discouraged and disillusioned is because we have placed our hope in the wrong place, or the wrong person. We have hoped in someone or something that let us down. We believed that a situation would turn out for good and it didn’t, or that a person we loved would eventually figure things out and turn their life around for good, but they don’t! We want to have a positive outlook and hope that things will turn out for the best, but it becomes harder and harder the more we are let down by the people and things that we put our hope in.

That must be why Peter told the believers who were scattered throughout the world at that time not to place their hope in people, or the government, or even each other, but instead he told them to “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” In other words, there is only one certainty in this life, there is only one guarantee, and that is that Jesus is coming back one day and that he is coming back to take us to be with Him forever (John 14:1-3).

This is something worthy of placing your hope in! Jesus is one person you can place your hope in that will never let you down! This is one event that will turn out for good! This is one story that does have a happy ending! So, the next time you find yourself down and discouraged because someone let you down, or something didn’t turn out the way you hoped it would, remember to set your hope on the one person that won’t ever let you down. His name is Jesus, and one day, He’s coming back and he’s bringing grace with him in the form of an eternal dwelling place for all of his people!

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