HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH:  FAITH, HOPE, & LOVE

Today is our wedding anniversary. I cannot help thinking how quickly the years (decades) have passed! I remain thankful for my spouse and for God’s blessings.

Together we have tried to build a home filled with faith, hope, and love. Some days we succeed but only with help from the God of faith, hope, and love  and only by His grace.

I wish to dedicate a song to my spouse of 34 years. Since early in our marriage we have been blessed by Steve Green’s music in concert and by recordings. The following song is especially meaningful to us.

HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

“Here we are at the start committing to each other
By His word and from our hearts.
We will be a family in a house that will be a home,
And with faith we’ll build it strong.

We’ll build a household of faith

That together we can make,
And when the strong winds blow, it won’t fall down.
As one in Him we’ll grow and the whole world will know,
We are a household of faith.

Now to be a family we’ve got to love each other
At any cost unselfishly,
And our home must be a place that fully abounds with grace
A reflection of His face.

We’ll build a household of faith
That together we can make,
And when the strong winds blow it won’t fall down.
As one in Him we’ll grow and the whole world will know
We are a household of faith.”  (Marijean Green & Steve Green)

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  (1 Corinthians 16: 14)

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  (1 John 4:16)

(You may listen online to “Household of Faith” sung by Steve Green to be blessed.)

TERMINAL:  HOPE AND HEAVEN

Terminal! Typically this is not good news when included in a medical diagnosis. However here is an important revelation that I think needs to be understood. We are all terminal! Each of us enters life with a terminal condition. A long and healthy life is generally desired and planned, but there is no guarantee of either.

Today I will share a few of the many Bible verses regarding life. I believe God’s Word is the best Source of wisdom and knowledge. When understood and obeyed, Scriptures will lead me to the best life possible no matter its length or health.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven — A time to give birth and a time to die….”  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2)

So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  (Psalm 90: 12)

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” 
(1 John 5:  9 – 12)

The best news is that there is hope! There is another life after this one — a much better one that is filled with glory, grace, and the presence of the Savior of the world, Who is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3 : 16)

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.'” (John 11: 25)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

To enter the next life in heaven, I must have received the free gift of the Savior Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Him alone determines our eternal home in heaven.

Trusting Him with the next life makes getting through this life more bearable. The better that I know Him, the better I trust Him and rest in Him. Death is not so fearful when I trust that a heavenly escort will carry me home.

Death can be a welcome transition when I understand the joy, perfection, and glory to come. I have a sure hope that heaven will be even better than I imagine!

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
(John 14: 1 – 6)

“For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3: 20)

“…I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk by Your side.
I can only imagine
What my eyes would see
When Your face is before me.
I can only imagine.

Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus,
Or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence,
Or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine.
I can only imagine….”
(Bart Millard)

2020 OLYMPICS: HOPE AND PEACE

Earlier this month the 2020 Olympic games were held in Tokyo, Japan. Many of us viewed the televised competitions of the strongest, fastest, highest, and best. We cheered for those who are now Olympians for life whether medal winners or not.

We were amazed by athletes who broke world records and were inspired by results of years of training, discipline, and dedication. We were proud of those who represented their home countries well and were touched by true examples of sportsmanship. We were awed by those whose triumphant accomplishments overcame seemingly impossible challenges. We witnessed the best of the best regarding athletic competitors and sport successes.

Many viewers came to know and love favored athletes, such as American swimmers, “queen” Katy Ledecky and “king” Caeleb Dressel. I think their humility formed the invisible crowns on their physically fit and gold medal-draped bodies. It pleased me to learn that these two as well as others use their positions and influences to make our world a better place. 

This gives me hope, and this is needed throughout our planet today. Most of us will never occupy such renowned platforms as Olympians, but we can still impact others. May we each do that which we can to share hope and spread peace.


International Olympic Committee mission: to build a better world through sport  (www.olympics.com)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also shall rest in hope.”  (Psalm 16: 9)

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31: 24)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…. A time for war and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 8)

With love in mind you can’t go wrong
For love it is that fosters peace,
So sing it loud and sing it strong.
With love in mind you can’t go wrong….”
(Richard Doiron, poet)

REJOICE ALWAYS: JOY AND HOPE

I am reminded of a verse that brings hope to God’s children when we do what it says. Rejoicing and hope go together well. In fact we can expect blessings when we obey God’s Word.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!”  (Philippians 4:4)

It is clear that Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice always. This does not mean only when life is easy… when circumstances are pleasant… or when things are going as we planned. We are to rejoice always, and it is even repeated for emphasis.

If we memorize this verse and ponder it often, then it will add joy and hope to our hearts. God’s children can experience hope always when we rejoice always. According to Romans 12:12 we are to live “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”

God wants us to have joy, and that gives me hope. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes far from it, but we can always rejoice in the Lord when we trust Him, obey Him, and focus on Him. He is enough when there is nothing else that seems joyful or hopeful in our lives.

A couple that leads worship known as Brad and Rebekah have experienced God through their darkest days and in their struggles. They have learned to rejoice and share joy through their music. They recorded a worship song, “Rejoice,” and the lyrics are below. Find it online and listen to be blessed.

REJOICE

Lift your eyes, don’t worry about tomorrow.
Peace will come and still every anxious thought,
‘Cause He’s not done, forever and always faithful.

Rejoice, rejoice, oh, my soul.
He is good, He is always good.
Rejoice, rejoice, oh my soul.
He is good, He is always good to us.

Place your trust in what you can’t see with your eyes.
He’s enough to shoulder the weight you carry.
Victory is found in the name of Jesus.

Rejoice, rejoice, oh, my soul.
He is good, He is always good.
Rejoice, rejoice, oh, my soul.
He is good, He is always good to us, oh.
He is good, He’s so good.

This is where my peace comes from:
Immovable One, unshakeable God.
There’s freedom where I place my trust:
Immovable One, unshakeable God.
I know where my peace comes from:
Immovable One, unshakeable God.
There’s freedom where I place my trust:
Immovable One, unshakeable God.

Rejoice, rejoice, oh, my soul.
He is good, He is always good.
Rejoice, rejoice, oh, my soul.
He is good, He is always good.
He is good, oh, He is always good.
He is good, He is always good to us.”  (Bichsel, Bichsel, DiMarco, and Silverberg)

(“Rejoice” was written by Brad Bichsel, Rebekah Bichsel, Kristene DiMarco, and Joshua Silverberg.)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

GOD OF BIRDS AND LILIES: HOPE NOT WORRY

God’s Word in the New Testament book of Matthew promises God’s children that He cares not only for the birds but also for us. We can choose hope not worry, because He cares for us, and we are more precious to Him than the birds.

He cares for us more than the beautiful lilies, and He will take care of us. He is God of birds and lilies — of all Creation in fact.  We can trust Him to keep His promises.

We do have instructions though. We are told to first seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness to receive His promises. We receive His righteousness when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior. God’s blessings benefit us in this life and eliminate the need to worry. God’s kingdom in the next life benefits us forever thanks to salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

There is hope in His promises. Surely we can agree that hope is a better choice than worry. The following promises should be memorized and pondered often!

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing?

Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

Do not worry then saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6: 25-34)