Ephesians 1:18, “I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people.”
A story is told of a father on his death bed. He had three children and wanted a final word with each. When the first child came in, the father told him how proud he was of all he had done in life and then the father said, “Good night, I’ll see you in the morning.”
When his second child came in, the father again gave his praise and again said, “Good night, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Finally, the third child came in. The father didn’t say much but looked at him and spoke. “Goodbye son,” he said with a heavy heart.
The son was upset. “Wait,” he said. “You told my siblings goodnight and that you’ll see them in the morning but to me only goodbye, why?”
“I have lived my life for Jesus and I know I will see Him coming and have the promise of salvation,” the father began. “Your brother and sister have also lived their lives serving the Lord and I have the hope of seeing them at salvation, ready to meet Jesus, because of the promise in the Word of God that assures us of a reunion. But for you this is goodbye. You have chosen a life serving yourself in this world. This is goodbye because I have no hope I will see you on resurrection day.”
The story can hit home to all of us at some point in our lives. How easy it becomes to get caught up in this world with work, family, our homes, that even as Christians we tend to let our walk with God find the back burners. We think, oops I missed my time with Him today because I got busy, I suppose I’ll just make time tomorrow but then tomorrow turns into the next day and so forth. Before we realize it, we have slowly pushed the Lord out until we need Him for this crisis or that crisis, but by then we just might have lost something precious. We as Christians have been given hope.
1 Peter 1:13-16, “So prepare your minds for service and have self-control. All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ is shown to you. Now that you are obedient children of God do not live as you did in the past. You did not understand, so you did the evil things you wanted. But be holy in all you do, just as God, the One who called you, is holy. It is written in the Scriptures: “You must be holy, because I am holy.”
In our story the father lived for Jesus, and he was able to see two of his children also live for Jesus and that gave him hope as he was dying, knowing they would be reunited with him in heaven. But for his third child there was no hope. The son had turned from his walk with God and his father knew, unless his son found God again and turned his life around, there would be no second coming for him.
As Christians I am so thankful that we have the promises in the Bible to give us hope. It hurts my heart when I hear someone says, “You’re born, you live, you die, that’s life.” They have missed the hope of life, the hope of an everlasting future. It makes me sad that they have lost the hope in Jesus, not only for a home in heaven but a relationship while here on earth. Usually those who feel this way don’t have that personal walk with Jesus. They don’t know the God of creation or love for mankind.
We do have hope, we do know Jesus and what He has done for us and His promises- Hebrews 9:28. Over the last couple of years we have all gone through the loss of loved ones, seen many fight battles in their health, and felt our own health staggering at times. I know this year won't be any different, and as the Lord prepares to come back at His second coming the numbers of lost friends and family will only increase. We have been given a promise of a happy ending, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and in Revelation 21:4. We have been given hope.
The good news is that no matter what we face, when our hope is weak, when we need strength to face this world we only need to look up. Jesus is right there ready to reach out and hold our hand, give comfort, and renew our strength- Isaiah 40:31.
I hope you will join me and choose to hope this year. Because there will be a day when Jesus returns and will take His children home and I want to be there with my loved ones, be it this year or the next or whenever He comes again.
Sometimes you want to read the Bible but have no idea where to start. With so many Bibles out there and so many chapters and ideas how to read the Bible it can be overwhelming at times. Maybe, even now, you’re shaking your head in agreement, thinking, Yes. That’s me. How in the world do I know where to start reading and making sense of the entire Bible? The flat our truth is that if we don't understand it we won't read it and sometimes that can be true about the Bible. That's why my first suggestion is to try a version that fits you best and go from there. Another truth is getting God’s Word into your life doesn’t have to take long. Start small—five or 10 minutes is better than none. Sometimes less is more, especially when reading less means you’ll actually remember more.
The best way to begin your reading is to open with prayer, Pause before you open your Bible and ask God to speak to you. Remember, the Bible is God’s Word; it is God’s love letter written to His people, which includes you. Ask God to help you understand His Word. Ask God use His Word to teach you, to direct you and even to re-direct you, when necessary. Ask Him to use His Word to help you know Him and love Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find Me, if you seek Me with all your heart.” God loves to reveal himself to those who seek Him.
So let's begin out new study. Like I said, we are going to dive into the Old Testament for a study through Proverbs. I like to call this book God's fortune cookies because as you get into the chapters you will find many ways you will be blessed and what happens to those who turn away from God. For times sake since there are 31 chapters and I don't want to find ourselves in this study for 6 months I have set the studies 5 chapters at a time and if you click on the link you will find the study with questions to go along with your reading. My suggestion to help you not feel overwhelmed is to take a couple chapters a day and let the Lord lead you. Today let's begin with Proverbs chapters 1-5.
Study 1- Proverbs 1-5- https://www.docdroid.net/TcRo4x9/study-1-docx#page=6
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