Thursday, February 27, 2020

I have this Hope

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 

As a child of God you are never alone! Your Shepherd is with you at all times. You never have to call Him into your situation. You never have to wonder where He is. You never have to fear that if things become too difficult, He will abandon you. He goes before you; He walks beside you; He comes behind you. He protects you securely. Just as He sees every sparrow and knows every hair that is on your head, so His gaze is constantly upon you (Luke 12:6—7). He comforts you with His strong presence in times of sorrow and grief. He leads you through the valley of the shadow of death. He does not necessarily lead you around the valley as you might wish. There are times when your Shepherd knows that the only way to get you where He wants to take you is to lead you down the path that passes through the dark valley. Yet, at those times He walks closely with you, reassuring you throughout the journey that He still loves you and is with you. It is during those times that you experience His love and compassion in a deeper dimension than you ever have before. You never need to fear evil. As intimidating as evil can be, there is nothing you will ever face that intimidates your Shepherd. He has seen it all and soundly defeated every form of wickedness. Evil never catches Him by surprise. Your Shepherd is always prepared and knows exactly when and where you will experience difficulty. Place your absolute trust in your Good Shepherd that He will protect you and demonstrate His love for you through the darkest valley.
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

In January 1943, warm Chinook winds hit Spearfish, South Dakota, quickly raising the temperatures from –4° to 45°F (–20° to 7°C). That drastic weather change—a swing of 49 degrees—took place in just two minutes. The widest temperature change recorded in the USA over a twenty-four-hour period is an incredible 103 degrees! On January 15, 1972, Loma, Montana, saw the temperature jump from −54° to 49°F (–48° to 9°C).

Sudden change, however, is not simply a weather phenomenon. It’s sometimes the very nature of life. James reminds us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (4:13–14). An unexpected loss. A surprise diagnosis. A financial reversal. Sudden changes.

Life is a journey with many unpredictable elements. This is precisely why James warns us to turn from “arrogant schemes” (v. 16) that do not take the Almighty into account. As he advised us, “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’ ” (v. 15). The events of our lives may be uncertain, but one thing is sure: through all of life’s unexpected moments, our God will never leave us. He’s our one constant throughout life. - Our Daily Bread for today

As different as these devotionals are they couldn't be more the same.  Change. Change mixed with hope. 

Hope. Oh if only you could nail every single person down on what is missing from their lives today is that one thing. 

They look for it everywhere or they try their best to hide the need.  To some the gnawing need irritates them so much they are bitter and angry at those around them. 

Still others sink into deep depression over not finding it. Thus suicide is their answer. 

I have been to that precipice. That ledge of the near end of life.  To ask me then if I was a Christian I still would have said yes. However I had been hit for so long and so hard by Spiritual attacks that doubt was more prevalent than anything resembling hope. 

Just as I was about to do something, by way of another, I was prevented from literally pulling the trigger. A simple solution path was brought to my mind. I had 3 things that were choices before me. 

One was to go ahead and do this.

Second was to put it down and go on living that way of despair. 

The third was to finally, wholly, surrender to whatever God wanted of me. No more of me trying to make the Christian life I was living be the standard, but to really live it the way Jesus wanted me to.

I obviously chose the third.  Only by saying "Your will be done." Did I finally begin to see life differently and see God moving in me.  The seed was finally breaking forth from the shell to begin to grow. 

I had finally discovered hope.  

That was what was necessary for me to set me on the path of hope.  For you it likely will be something else.  We may all be human beings but the miracle of Salvation is slightly different in its actions to grow us in Christ.  Countless trillions have come to Christ throughout the centuries.  Each and every one has a unique story to tell of Jesus in their lives. 

Each individual believer is unique in their personal experience with the Lord Jesus. 

Some barely get to say yes to His free gift of Salvation and their next thoughts are them standing in His presence. Their only hope was their choice.  Still others are believers but struggle in life.  We are still subject to most circumstances of our actions, even though forgiveness has occurred. Our hope remains in Christ to work through those circumstances to His purpose.  Still others get it right away and live what seems to be a spirit filled life. 

The thief on the cross always seems to derail a lot of modern thinking on absolutes when it comes to Salvation.  He was indeed saved by Jesus. Was told what was to be.  Then at his death it happened. In an instant he was with Jesus in paradise.  If time and opportunity affords it, yes indeed a baptism in public should happen.  After the Ethiopian eunuch became a Christian all that remained was to be baptized.  Salvation isn't dependent upon baptism.  It's a wonderful testimony but isn't a requirement.  It is finished meant all requirements were met to save you and I, all that remained was for people to choose. 

There is where the hope is found.  On one unchanging event.  Satan tried his best to prevent it but could not.  He could not stop hope from arriving 3 days later.  

Hate to break it to you, Satan is no being that's all red with horns on his head.  He, as Jesus described him, is a deceiver. The father of lies.  To what would he be compared?  He goes around disguised as a being of light.  He tries to impersonate Christ. He tries to sway the thinking of both believers and unbelievers.  To remove hope.  Christ came to provide hope.  

Changes in life can quickly make us have doubts of our hope. It sometimes takes time to truly understand what Scripture means by calling Jesus the Rock of our Salvation.  By rock, it's not talking about some small thing but Rock as in firmly established, solid, unmoving.  It's so formidable that you can and should stake your life on its dependability.   Hope.

You're going to face struggles in this life.  You are going to hear "come this way". 

You are going to hear "stay on this path".

Only by staying near your Rock can you discern truth from error in your thoughts. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand. 

It sometimes takes time to believe again.  To find hope again.  We get so used to the battle we lose sight of the truth that it's already been won. We are holding onto chains that aren't attached to anything.  All chains are broken in Christ.  We cry out because they are so heavy!  Jesus smiles and says "My Child, let go of them.  They don't define you anymore. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I know you are weary.  Find the rest, the hope you crave in Me.".

My dear reader hope is but a prayer away.  In some parts of the world this may mean the same as the thief on the cross.  You choose Christ and then die, only to find yourself in the presence of your Savior.  Still others it means that way out you have been searching for all your life.  For those who have this hope, let your light shine in such a way that others seeking it can find that hope too. Hope in Christ is eternal to those who find it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment