All this, and Heaven, too!

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Reputable studies confirm that people in America, especially those under age 30, are experiencing sharply higher rates of anxiety and/or depression in the last 5 years.  Experts point to multiple theories about why.  Some suggest that social media creates an artificial world that full of false comparisons, leading to the conclusion that ‘my life is so much worse than that of my friends.’  Others point to the fact that finding a good, solid job can be more difficult. Others talk about the fluid relationships, constantly shifting, that do not allow for deep, steadying influences that are so necessary to mental and spiritual health.

I believe that one of the primary reasons for hopelessness is  real hopelessness. It is not just a perception.  Humanity apart from God is without hope, lost. We are made to worship, to be connected to God, our life about more than finding our next meal, having yet another experience of fun/pleasure.  When God is displaced at the center of life, as He largely is in our time, when even those who are supposed to know and love Him are frequently just superficially religious, the foundation is eroded and the meaninglessness of life can become unbearable.

Peter makes this bold declaration. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4, NIV)  Because Jesus died and rose again, by faith we who are creatures of time, under the curse of death, have a lively hope.  Yes, it is not a vague idea. God invites us to start to live right now like the eternal beings He makes us through Christ. By the Spirit, the death sentence that once caused us to seek relief in food, fun, and other diversions, is set aside.  We are made alive, with reason to live.

And …. We have an assured inheritance.  Whatever our temporary setbacks, disappointments, and troubles at the horizon of time we know that HEAVEN waits. How do we know this? Because of the Resurrection of Jesus. He came back!  He died for our forgiveness to make it possible for us to know the love of God, to feel at peace; and He conquered the grave to let us know that life does not end when we take our last breath. There is a home prepared for me, for you, that is “pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” It is not just ‘pie in the sky by and by’ that keeps us!  It is the hope that reaches from Eternity to Time, that takes away that sense of futility that overwhelms so many who are captives of sin and the flesh, who somehow realize that they are dead even while they are alive.

Yes, Christian friend, there is joy in serving Jesus and that joy is deeper than the foolish and empty promises of the ‘prosperity Gospel’ about Jesus blessing you with a bigger house, success, and perpetual health. Such religion promises what it can never deliver.  The truth is that we may experience hard times, we may go through things for which there is no earthly explanation, but if we are loving God, reconciled to our Creator through Jesus,  we are never hopeless because our inheritance is secure, waiting for our perfection.

Are you alive to God?
No matter if you are 4, 14, 34, or 84 there is a constant hope that you can possess, beyond health and wealth. That hope comes from knowing that we are beloved children of God for whom there is love now and life forever.  The result of believing that in faith is explained in the word from the Word.

Meditate on these lines for a few moments. Let them soak into your awareness and you will find hope renewed.  Troubled? Experiencing some hard times?

“These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:7-9, NIV)

___________

Mighty To Save
(Laura Story sings about hope!)

Ev’ryone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Ev’ryone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

 Saviour He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

 So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Ev’rything I believe in
Now I surrender

 Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King

 Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan© 2006 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

 

Pastor Jerry Scott

FAITH DISCOVERY CHURCH

www.FaithDiscovery.com

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