This week's Memory verse:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Today's message is all about what you believe. This is the nuts and bolts of our Christian faith. It's NOT religion with strict rituals and procedures you must follow...it is in the heart...what do you BELIEVE?
I have said many times that my faith is the one thing that gets me through the day...it gives me the HOPE to keep going even when I feel like giving up. Where does that hope come from? From what I believe.
You may be reading this and NOT believe the same way I do. I have to respect what you believe because I want you to respect what I believe as well. This blog is my way to share what I believe with others...not pushing it, not arguing my points, just sharing.
In Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus gives us hope for our future. Read it for yourself...I'm going to paraphrase it. If we believe in God and believe that Christ is the son of God and that he came to die for our sins and is God's gift to us, our savior, and we remain faithful to those beliefs...then we will be blessed even when we are insulted, slandered and persecuted for those beliefs. Our reward isn't here on earth. Our reward is in heaven. The gift of eternal life with our creator is our reward. All the pain, suffering, conflict and trials we face on earth will be worth it! The joys we experience on earth are JUST A GLIMPSE of the joys we will experience in heaven!
Jesus again speaks of heaven in John 14:1-4. He says he is preparing a place for us in heaven. In heaven there are many rooms...enough rooms for all of us! When we are troubled, we shouldn't worry, but rely on our faith - we believe in God and in Christ- we need to trust his promises!
Our Bible study book asks the question: if we as believers base our faith and hope on the knowledge of eternal life in heaven through Jesus Christ, why is there so much fear and despair in the world? I think it's because we get so wrapped up in our own problems and issues, we forget God's promises. We lose our connection with our living God because we don't take the time with him we need...we get lost in despair, forget about God and then figure he's not there or not powerful enough to deal with all the problems. In my opinion, that's why we are in the situations we are in in this country and all over the world. We lost sight of our God because WE stopped communicating with him.
The thing that continues to give me hope, even when I contemplate a world that has forgotten God...HE HASN'T GONE ANYWHERE! It is us...the human beings that He created that have run away from Him...HE IS STILL THERE! His promises still hold true...even if we don't believe him!
Earlier I spoke to those who might be reading this who DON'T believe as I do. Now, I want to speak to those who DO believe as I do. Jesus gave us a job to do in The Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all nations. I believe in my heart that is what we are to do: To help others see and find belief, faith and Hope in God. BUT, I also believe that we need to follow Jesus' example in EVERY STEP of that job. We are to treat ALL people with respect, even those who believe differently than we do. Live your life in kindness, make friends of other religions and faiths...show them that you act as you believe. Let God do the work in their hearts...that is HIS job. Our job is to share what we believe...not give others reasons to run the other way! I'll step off my soap box now! ;-)
There is hope for this crazy world! That hope comes from God. Hang on to that to keep the hope alive in YOUR heart...and share it with people around you!