A Sure Thing!

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One thing that 6 decades of living has taught me is that there are no ‘sure things’ this side of Heaven. In 2006, I bought a house in a time when real estate was increasing in value. When I sold it in 2011, the value had fallen by 20%!  I thought real estate was an investment that would always return some profit. I learned a lesson about investments.  People surprise us, too, don’t they? We build a friendship or even a marriage, expecting a life-long relationship of mutual benefit. It is a shock when our ‘friend’ abandons us for another or we discover that we are with someone we really did not know at all.  The vagaries of life can cause us to become fearful, can’t they?  But …

If we are God’s children by faith, there is security for us that allows us to live with confidence.

In my ongoing exploration of Peter’s letters, this morning I came to this passage.  “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” (2 Peter 2:4-10, NIV)

Peter points to two Old Testament stories as examples of God’s sure promises. The flood of judgment came, but Noah obeyed the Lord’s directions to build an ark and he was saved from loss! In the middle of the conflagration that destroyed Sodom, the Lord sent angels to bring Lot out to safety, answering the prayers of his uncle, Abraham. We can trust our God to do what He says He will do.

The apparent randomness of life tries to convince us that we must scramble to protect our own interests, best that we are able. The temptation is to take whatever pleasure we can find today, to do whatever brings us the most happiness now, reasoning – who knows if tomorrow will even come?  But, because of the Word and Jesus – we know that eternity is assured and that our life is held in His hands!

Paul, at the end of his life, penned his second letter to Timothy from death row. He had given himself to the service of the Lord, traveling thousands of miles to preach in hundreds of cities. His life had not brought riches or comfort. Many of the churches he planted turned against him.  Yet, he knew a ‘sure thing.’  “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:11-12, NIV) A few passages later, he sums it all up – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV)

What confidence! Where did he find it? In knowing God, by faith. People failed him. Situations turned out differently than he thought they should. His life was not ending with a parade down Jerusalem’s Main Street in his honor.  And yet, he is not ‘ashamed,’ nor is he full of regret.  He knows God and knows that His promises are sure.  Do you?

This Monday morning, take hope in the Lord. Anchor yourself in Him, the only real ‘sure thing.’  Meditate prayerfully in this passage of faith, then go live today confidently, held in God’s hands in a chaotic world. “Since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:21-25, NLT)

_________

Fear Is A Liar

(Zach Williams sings of our assurance, enjoy.)

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

  (Oh) Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

 When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change

 Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel

 ‘Cause fear he is a liar

Jason Ingram | Jonathan Smith | Zach Williams

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