11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. — 1 Peter 1:11 NLT
Can you imagine the amazement and awe that the Old Testament prophets must have felt when the Spirit inspired them to prophesy about the Messiah. A future hope that their eyes would not see. Can you imagine that they wondered, “why would this Messiah have to suffer so”? Yet they were faithful in telling about a Savior that was coming to redeem a fallen world, even though the message was not for them, but for us. They looked forward and wondered. We look back and know the truth about the Good News. The first century preachers were anointed with the Holy Spirit and were faithful to spread the Good News. Now, it is our turn to be faithful and spread the Gospel as we look forward to our soon-coming King. Like the prophets of old, we may not be alive to see Him return, but it is still the Hope of those who love Him. The Hope and the knowledge that one day, we will all rise to meet Him in the air. Altogether, He will take us home to be with Him in glory! Can you say Hallelujah!! Amen!!?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. — Titus 2:11 NLT
Jesus gave His life so that we might live lives free of sin. He cleansed us and made us His very own. when we need more wisdom to accomplish His purpose, He freely gives it to us. We are covered and bathed in His righteousness. There are certainly days when we almost lose sight of the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. But because of all He has done and is doing for us, we should live lives that are devoted to Him holding on to the hope that we will see Him one day and we will spend an eternity with Him. We must not only hold on to this hope, but we must teach and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to do the same.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
What was/is God’s purpose in choosing us, making us royal priests, holy and special? God doesn’t need our abilities to accomplish His purpose. But He desires our availability to work with Him in bringing His plans to fulfillment. Could He do it without us? Yes, but He wants to fellowship with each of us. So, He paid the full price of our redemption. He sent Light into this world to push back the darkness. That Light was Jesus Christ. When we were in slavery to sin, we were nobodies, we were not a people. But God, in His great mercy chose us, picked us up, cleaned us inside and out and put His marvelous Light inside us. Once we become a child of God, we are no longer citizens of this world, we are aliens and foreigners here. But we still have to live here for a while. As long as we are here, our flesh will be tempted to do wrong. But we are to live a lifestyle that reflects the life of Jesus Christ so that He will receive glory. We are free from the flesh, but bound by God’s Holy Spirit. We will have troubles here but our response should be to rejoice forevermore. This will cause others to ask us what is the hope that lies in us and causes our joy. We should always have a ready answer for that question. That answer should always give glory to God and magnify the name of Jesus.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thess. 5:16-18 NLT
5 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word. — Psalm 130:5
Psalm 130 NLT
Our hope as Christians is that when we leave this world we will be with Jesus for eternity. This hope is not only built on the Word of God, it is guaranteed by the death and resurrection of His gift to us, His Son. We receive assurances that this hope is true in our own life experiences. As a child, my Mom told me “Son, you are going to have problems in life because you don’t take other people’s word for things, you have to experience them all yourself”. That prophecy came true, much to her regret in a lot of cases. And looking back on my life much to my regret in a lot of cases. But looking back also gives me confidence that my hope is built on Jesus and His Word because of the many times He has rescued me and brought me safe this far.
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” — 1 Samuel 7:12
My life is strewn with Ebenezer stones and the remembrance of those times assures me that God’s word is true and that He is faithful all the time. What a great hope we have because our salvation is based on His word and His faithfulness.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12 NLT
God created a perfect earth. When Adam and Eve were tempted by satan and chose to disobey God, the earth was no longer perfect. Then the earth, along with humankind, started to age and decay. God became the perfect man to redeem earth and all mankind from that fallen state. When Jesus ascended, there was no longer anything left on this earth that was perfect. Then God came as the Holy Spirit to abide within us. Since that time, those of us who accept Christ as our Savior and Lord have been given both the command and the desire to strive for perfection. Though we understand that as long as we live in this fleshly tent, it is impossible for us to achieve perfection, nevertheless, as Paul says we “press on to possess that perfection”. Why would we or Paul strive to achieve a seemingly impossible goal? If this temporal dwelling and life were the end, then we would be foolish. But we, who believe in Jesus, have a knowledge and a hope of eternity. That knowledge and hope will not be perfected while we participate in the activities of the Kingdom of God here on earth. We press on because we know that when the Perfect One comes to reign again, we will be like Him. It is then that our hope will be fulfilled and we will reach the goal of perfection. We press on for a few years to win the prize of eternal perfection, fully synced with the One who has always been, now is and will always be Perfection. Impossible in this lifetime? Yes. Impossible in eternity? No!
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. — Psalm 143:11 NKJV
There are times in our lives when everything around us seems to be going in the wrong direction. There are situations that we have prayed about on a daily basis, we have checked the Scriptures to be sure that our request does not violate them in any way and we have agreed with others in our request. Yet, we still don’t see any positive results. It is then that we, as the Psalmist does here, must fall on our faces and ask God to fulfill our request, not for our sake, but for the glory of His name. The end of our rope is the beginning of our hope. The surety that God cannot be defeated and that He will not give His glory to anyone else is our hope and our reason for being confident that He will act. Yes, it will be in His time and in His way, but He will act. So, when satan seems to be winning the battle, we appeal to God to act speedily for His name’s sake. And He will do it.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another. — Isaiah 48:10, 11 NKJV
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. — John 1:16 NLT
16 Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. — 1 John 1:16 NCV
All the blessings and gifts that we receive while we are here on earth are because Jesus was and is full of grace and truth. There is nothing we can do to earn these blessings. If we could earn them, they would not be called gifts. Every blessing and every gift is given for one purpose and one purpose only. They are to be used to further the works of the Kingdom of God. We do not need to be worried or concerned that God will run out of blessings and gifts. No matter how much He gives, there is always more to be given. As we use these blessings and gifts to further God’s work, we lay up our rewards in heaven. God has given us everything we need to live a Godly life here and has given us promises of an eternity with Him. The fulfillment of those promises is the hope that helps us to endure persecutions and to share His Divine nature while we are here on earth.
Let us be thankful for all of the blessings He pours out for us and rejoice that we can share in His goodness every day.