HOPE - AVAILABLE

BY STEVE STONE

                What are you hoping for in life? Most of us are hoping for something, whether its health, happiness, a solid marriage, friends, safety for your kids, financial security, etc. Some are really hoping to win the lottery, but let's be reasonable! More than a few have almost stopped hoping altogether, and almost given up on life ever dealing them a winning hand. I hope you're not there. That's not a good place to be.

                Hope is something we all need. We all need to have something in our hearts that makes us smile once in a while, and keeps us going from day to day. And every so often, something usually comes along that seems to lift our spirits, but it usually doesn't last very long. So we just keep looking.

                I heard a song a while back about hope. You've probably heard it. It talks about "starting all over again." The chorus says, "Maybe, someday we'll figure this all out, Try to put an end to all our doubt, Try to find a way to make things better now-."[1]

                What a great idea! Wouldn't we all like to figure a few things out and maybe find a way to start all over again? Well, if that's sounds interesting to you, hold on, because I believe the answer is  already here - in fact, it "appeared" quite some time ago.

  

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT

THE GRACE OF GOD?

               

                  The Bible says "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men-", its already here! What is the grace of God? Its kind of like something some businesses "used" to do when you couldn't pay your bill on time. They would give you a "grace period," and give you a little more time to pay. Or you could say that its like someone giving you something you don't really deserve, but you "really" need. That's what the grace of God is. It is something we all need, but don't deserve because we have all failed God over, and over, and over again.

               The grace of God is the unimaginable privilege of having every evil thing you have ever done or even thought about completely wiped out and forgiven by God so that now you actually can start your life all over again. Does that sound like a good deal or what? But wait a minute, that's not all. The grace of God is so much more. After you have been set free of your sins through trusting in the blood that Jesus spilt on the cross for all of us, the Spirit of God will fill you and give you the desire to love God and get to know Him more through prayer and reading about all the treasures of wisdom found in His Word. The grace of God also helps you to love others and to treat them the way you would like for them to treat you. Of course there will always be a battle, a real struggle to listen to God and obey Him instead of continuing to live the way you have been living your entire life - fulfilling the desires of your sinful flesh. But by God's grace, and with the Holy Spirit on board, you will become a brand new person, and for the rest of your life, whenever you do happen to slip and fall into sin (which we all do), all you need to do is repent to God and He has promised to forgive you and cleanse your heart from all evil. (I John 1:9)

                Maybe you have never heard about all of this very much. I can believe that because the enemy of our souls, the devil, is working overtime in all kinds of ways to give God a bad rap and make fun of Christians so that many people will not even consider turning to God.[2] But when you do, you will suddenly find out that the very thing you have always needed was right there all along.

                I recently saw some pictures on the internet of the night sky completely full of the stars of heaven. It was taken high atop a mountain in Spain. The photographer had gone there specifically because this location is known to be one of the best places on earth to see the stars (check it out on vimeo.com).[3] No, I don't think I'm going to be bored in heaven, regardless of what some of the anti-God comedians on television say. Because my God is the One who created each and every one of the billions and billions of stars and those who spend eternity with Him will enjoy endless and unfathomable wonders - forever!

                The truth is, the grace of God is not a "maybe, someday" thing. It is a reality, today, and is available to everyone who believes and trusts in Jesus Christ. The very thing that every heart is longing for is simply unconditional love, and that's what Jesus came to give to us.

                As a Christian, I can tell you firsthand that the grace of God is real and is the only thing that I know of that can lift humans out of the doldrums, despair, and monotony of this life. I can't promise you that you will suddenly "figure out," every single question you have about life, but I am totally convinced that everyone who truly gives the grace of God a chance will be forever glad that they did!

                       

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to what is good."

Titus 2:11-14

  

  

  

Notes:



1 - "Someday", by Rob Thomas; Album - Cradlesong, Atlantic Records, 2009

2 -  see "Unmasking the Enemy of Our Souls," www.signpostsontheroadtoreality.com

3 -  see www.vimeo.com, The Mountain, El Teide, Spain, photography by Terje Sorgjerd

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