PANDEMIC: HOPE OR FEAR

We all are aware that a deadly virus is spreading fear across our planet. What can we do? How shall we cope? Where can we find hope?

Many people offer ways to cope with fear, and some try to offer hope even in the midst of a pandemic. (I do not have all the answers, but I know Who does.)

That which we face right now is beyond our control, but we can choose how we react to our new world condition. So then… how do we react to the overwhelming uncertainty that is our current reality?

First each one of us needs to know without a doubt that we are God’s child. We can choose to exercise His gift of faith, and if we have prayed sincerely to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we can know.

When we know Him, then we can experience hope in whatever we face in life. We turn from going our own way to going His way. We learn His way by reading His Word and spending time with Him in prayer.

We need to refuse to dwell on fear and negativity. We can choose to focus on God’s Word instead. When we feel fear creeping into our minds, we can feed on Scriptures that share His hope and His promises.

We can pray for His peace and comfort in our current circumstance — whatever it is. We can choose to intentionally experience His presence knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us according to His Word. In fact, God’s Holy Spirit is here to comfort us.  Knowing this brings hope to any circumstance.

We can acknowledge that God is in control of our lives, and nothing takes Him by surprise. We can remember that He cares for us. He loves us so much that He provided our salvation — a sacrifice not given lightly to then leave us abandoned to the ways of a world spinning out of control or to an evil randomly having its own way. We can trust God to finish what He started in the world and in our individual lives. Again, knowing this brings hope to our lives.

May we acknowledge and accept God’s providential will when we recognize it. May we pray for discernment, so we will be aware of His purposes. When we understand His will we can experience His hope.

May we study His Book — the Holy Bible — so we can trust the ending of His story. If we do this then we can look forward without fear. May we believe that His way is best and that our future includes a glorious eternity in His presence with a home Jesus Christ has prepared just for us. When we trust Him for the world to come, we can trust Him in this one. That is real hope.

Also we can care for those around us. We can share the hope that we have in Christ with others, who may be struggling with fear. If we personally know His love, then we will have enough hope to share.

We will contemplate God’s love and care whenever we feel fear overpower our faith. We will practice prayer, choose faith, meditate on the Scriptures, and intentionally respond in hope not in fear.

I do not pretend to know the details of our future lives, but I believe the Bible that says all things will be for our good and His glory. Beyond this I will leave the details to Him. Although that is sometimes easier said than done, I believe He is worthy of our faith and trust.

He alone is God. In Him alone our hope is found. Since He is still on His throne, I can sleep at night knowing that He has got this pandemic.

 

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  (1 John 5:13)

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”  (Psalm 27:1)

“But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”  (Matthew 4:4)

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper that He may be with you forever.”  (John 14:16)

“For I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”  (Psalm 121:1-8)

JOHN TRANTHAM: HOPE IN SOLID FOUNDATION

During the last century sounds so long ago, but today’s blog post comes from a time more than three decades ago. However it is said it still seems a long time ago, but the message is timeless.

My family knew an old retired pastor, B. John Trantham, who loved God and sharing the gospel of hope in Christ. He did those things well with the helper God had given him when he was a young man, the sweet and (in my memories) always smiling Mrs. Trantham.

Even at an advanced age this Christian brother still had powerful thoughts and messages to share. I remember one in particular that he called Fourfold Foundation of Faith. It neatly presents John 3:16, a summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If any one verse could be the foundation of Christian faith, then surely it could be this one.

John 3:16 offers four important aspects: God’s Love, God’s Gift, God’s Gracious Condition, and God’s Great Salvation. This Bible verse says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“For God so loved the world” presents the first foundation part of GOD’S LOVE. “That He gave His only begotten Son” shows the second foundation part of GOD’S GIFT. “That whoever believes in Him” is the third foundation part of GOD’S GRACIOUS CONDITION. “Shall not perish but have eternal life” offers the fourth foundation part of GOD’S GREAT SALVATION.

Together these four aspects of faith are one firm foundation upon which the Christian faith can be built. Together they explain enough of the gospel for one who believes to know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

One doesn’t have to know it as Fourfold Foundation of Faith. Know that trusting John 3:16 as the foundation of faith makes an eternal difference. Ponder that verse, and trust God’s Love, Gift, Gracious Condition, and Great Salvation. Do it today!

MEANING OF CHRISTMAS: GOD WITH US BRINGS HOPE

  1. As the Christian holy day nears, will you spend time pondering the true meaning of CHRISTmas?

In the book of Matthew in the New Testament we are told that the name of God’s gift to the world in the form of a baby was to be called Immanuel.

Immanuel means “God with us.” This name brings hope to our lost world. Surely there is no more hopeful reality than God Who loves the world enough to come be with us. He came to redeem us despite our falling short of His glory. He came to provide God’s salvation so we can be with Him throughout Eternity!

What could bring more hope than God with us? Yet too many people choose to ignore the awesome reality of the first CHRISTmas. Does it make sense to celebrate a birthday without inviting the Guest of Honor?

A “Scrooge” closes his (or her) eyes to the meaning of CHRISTmas. This results in being stressed and depressed and having too little peace in one’s own heart and no good will toward the rest of humanity.

In the busyness of life you may not give a thought to the One Who is CHRISTmas personified… God with us. Jesus Christ should be included in CHRISTmas of course. Even more than a passing thought, He should be our primary focus!

If you don’t know Jesus and want to… He is found in God’s Holy Bible, in God’s natural creation, in loving hearts of true believers. He can be found in your own personal life when you seek Him with your whole heart.

He came… He brings hope that makes our lives worth living… He is God with us!

 

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’”  (Matthew 1:23 nasb)

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29:13 nasb)

“Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
His name is called Emmanuel.
God with us, revealed in us,
His name is called Emmanuel.
We love Him so, we love Him so,
His name is called Emmanuel.” (Bob McGee)

POEM: HOPE IN HIS GRACE FOREVER

Hope may bring joyful attitudes and life-changing direction. Hopelessness may lead to wrong choices and destructive actions. Sometimes the difference is a matter of choice.

I think the following poem offers hope, because it shows the huge transformation possible when a life is redeemed by Jesus Christ.

IN HIS GRACE FOREVER

“Hope sometimes is lacking

In those without backing

Of someone to give them a hand.

And then one with no hope

May turn on to dope

And blinded, hear demons demand:

‘Just destroy your life;

Sow discord and strife.

Who cares if the gutter you’ll land?

Go to kill… go to steal;

Reap trouble that’s real;

Let hatred sift through you like sand.’

But no pit is so deep

That God’s love can’t keep

A life in His mighty strong hand.

When I came to rope’s end,

I found such a Friend,

Who holds me in His nail-scarred hand.

Now I trust and obey

Christ Jesus, the Way;

In His Grace forever I’ll stand.

In His Grace forever I’ll stand!”

(Judy Gillum Foy)

God bless you… and may your heart be open to the life-changing power and hope to be found in Jesus Christ. Salvation is freely offered to all, and the price has already been paid. The best deal in the universe!

“He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed Someone to wash my sins away, And now I sing a brand new song, ‘Amazing Grace‘ all day long. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.” ( anonymous)

“Saved by His grace divine! Saved to new life sublime! Life now is sweet, and my joy is complete for I’m saved, saved, saved!” (Jack Scholfield )

“For by Grace you have been saved through faith. It is the gift of God not as a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)