The Bible urges us to find our hope in God- not our circumstances, or our natural optimism( or pessimism) , or our family or friends- but from God.
How is this possible? It happens when we realize how much God loves us- a love so deep that His Son was willing to give His life for us. It happens too when we realize that this life is not all, but ahead of us is Heaven if we know Christ. Is your hope in Him- both for this life and the life to come?
" Why are you downcast,O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God"- Psalm 42:5
I started a new series about six weeks ago called" A New Thing." We have looked at A New Nature; A New Power: The Holy Spirit; A New Guide: The Bible; and A New Privilege: Prayer. This week we will be looking at a New Hope. A person who has not been born again lives without hope in this life. He also lives without hope of life in heaven. When we attend a funeral of a person who has not been born again and whose family has not been born again, it is clear that these people have no hope. For the believer it is different. Even when death come, there is hope. The Apostle Paul encourages us when he writes," Our brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will tale back with Jesus those who have died believing in Him." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Yesterday, as I was reading my Bible the building began moving and we realized it was an earthquake. You are totally helpless and powerless when this happens. I was reminded of the incident in the Book of Acts . In Acts 4:31 it says," When they had prayed , the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly." I was reading not praying when the building was shaken. We are now praying.
Earthquakes are serious. They are destructive and disrupted. We need to pray for all those who are helping, those who are hurting, and those who have lost so much.
In these crisis we can be the true church.
" For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:10
I heard Adrian Rogers say this: "Heaven sweet; Hell hot; Judgment sure." Romans 14:10-11 says this," For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.For it is written, As I live ,says the Lord, every knee will bow before me, and every tongue will give praise to God."
For the believer the judgement seat will be the time God will give out rewards according to our righteous acts. I wonder often about those who say they are believers and yet they do little or nothing in the kingdom of God, what type of reward will they receive or will they even be there?
Have you ever been to a doctor who wants to see your reflexes. So he takes this little rubber headed hammer and taps you on the knees- and if your reflexes are good, your lower leg responds with a gentle kick. That reflexive action occurs automatically, and it's the same every time that nerve is hit.
But how do you respond when troubles hit you? What is your automatic reflexive action then? Panic? Anger? Depression? Confusion? All of these?
James in these verses reminds us what our reflexive action should be: turning to God in prayer.
" Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray...The prayer of a righteous man[woman] is powerful and effective". - James 5:13,16