There is really nothing that is worth saying about this new year that we have just entered. The world is in a sorry state of affairs. Pick a country and its government is out of synch with its people and is failing to secure their futures. There is no peace to be found in the regions of the globe, and the level of terror that is coming from our warlike bent is increasing to levels that have seldom been seen in history. Across the face of the earth there are people who are needlessly starving, being taken down by preventable illness, and are homeless, and this does not even consider the millions of others who have been made into refugees due to the animosity of others and as a result of our humanity’s unchecked violence toward itself. This planet was not born into this harsh and troubled state, but its nurture under the influence of evil has taken it down this degenerative path so that by this point in its story it is very hard to see the light of hope on the horizon of the coming days.

 

Yet, this is not how God sees us or the way that He views the world where we live. He is made very sad by the way that we have taken the beautiful perfection of His creation and twisted and tortured it into the tangled mess that it is today, but that does not change the Lord’s view of what His hands crafted, and it does not cause Him to abandon His unceasing hope for our redemption. In fact, God has taken action to change it all, for He was not surprised or set back by the way that we turned away from Him in order to seek after our own way of travel through life. The need for Jesus’ sacrificial work of redemption was known by God from a point in time that precedes all of the history of our world. God’s plan for effecting our return to Him and into His righteousness was set in motion before our first ancestors were devised and created. Now each of us is called to enter into that hope for ourselves and for our world. We are invited to join with Christ in seeing this new day and the future through God’s eyes, and we are led by Christ into acting upon that hope as He desires for us to do.

 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

As followers of Christ we are led by Him to love people in a manner that sacrifices all for the sake of others. We are implored to set aside violence as our answer to differences and to seek to know and to understand those who we believe are opposed to us and to our beliefs. The Gospel of Jesus Christ directs His people to seek after the restoration to relationship with God and with ourselves of everyone without regard to any internal or external concerns or issues that we may hold or have. This means that we need to be the ones who step across the barriers and boundaries of our world and reach out in peace and reconciliation to these people, cultures, and nations with whom we are at odds. As we hold fast to our confession of Christ, we are trusting in Him for the protection, courage, strength, and wisdom that this course of travel requires. In so doing, we set aside our own natural tendencies and understandings so that the greater truth of God’s way of living can prevail. There is, in fact, hope in the air as this new year begins; however, it does not come from looking to political solutions or leaders, it is not found in the news of the day, and hope is not grounded in the skills and the technology of our culture. Rather, hope is found and is given expression as we look fully and singularly on Christ. Hope is given expression as we follow His way and renounce the ways of this world. Hope is tendered as we join our Lord in sacrificing all for the sake of the redemption of others.

Blessings for this New Year.

 

 

 

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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

A promise is exactly that, when it comes from God. The Lord says what He thinks, and His mind is focused only on that which is holy, just, loving, and righteous. In fact, if there is one thing that I know can be counted on in this world, it is the clarity of God on what sorts of living will lead to a life that is rich and full of the grace of His presence. God’s Word provides us with a highly practical narrative of God’s will and desire for us and a telling of the way that the Lord has continually engaged with His creation in working out that will on the earth. Although there is great mystery surrounding the full nature of God, the Lord, Himself, works to reveal His nature, character, and truth to us.

 

Christ is the answer to this revelation. When we confess our surrender to Him, we enter into the hope of redemption that God has promised to all of His creation in and through Jesus. As Jesus is our Lord, He is our Savior; thus, as He is our Savior, He is also our Redeemer. A significant aspect of this redemption is found in knowledge, understanding, and the wisdom that flows out of this deeply connected relationship with God. In Christ the Spirit indwells us, and the Spirit opens our eyes so that we can see through the fog and the haze of sin into the glory of eternity that is now ours. This grants to us an appreciation for the valid hope that overcomes all of life’s challenges and trials and illuminates the sure path that we can travel in order to stay upright and true to God’s holy calling for our lives.

 

God promised His redemption to His people, and He delivered on that promise in Christ. God committed to open up the mysteries of His will to us; so, He gave His Spirit to His people. The Lord declared that He would never leave us, and He has sealed that covenant with the blood of Jesus. We enter into a relationship with our Lord by walking on the shaky feet of sinful people; then, in Christ’s strength and wisdom, we travel forth in the full confidence of being God’s beloved and chosen people. This world will throw the full weight of its confusion and chaos at us, but we can stay true to Christ and dwell in the hope of our redemption, for He will never depart from our side. This is God’s faithful and true promise to His people.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

This is not exactly the message that we usually hear in a setting where confession is the action under consideration. At least for me, I try to fill in this line with faith or with Christ, but I don’t automatically go to hope as the idea to fill in the blank. Yet it seems that hope does actually supply these others thoughts along with it. Hope is something that comes to us in and through Christ. At least this is true for me, for I find that most of the hope that I possess is directly related to Christ. It comes about because of His presence in me and in my life. This hope overcomes the awful forces that are at work in the world around me and that seem to be conspiring to crush the life out of everything good in our world. Yet, Christ brings a perpetual spring of renewal and life giving love and grace to these same battered and broken lives and situations.

 

The hope that comes about because of Christ’s redemptive love that is at work in my life and in the lives of many others seems to be made even more tangible and real as I express it openly. It is something much greater than just a good attitude or an optimistic outlook. The hopefulness that God has granted to His people is deep enough to hold on when hardship hits with the force of a flood-driven river, and it is strong enough to outlast season upon season of drought-like sorrow and grief. Christ gives us the ability to understand the hope that comes through our faith in Him as we grow in our knowledge and appreciation of God’s character and nature. For me, this growth happens as I seek out God’s presence and dwell meditatively upon it in on-going and regular times of prayer that are based in and upon God’s Word. As I listen to the Spirit speak to my heart from within His own words of Scripture, I grasp the fact that my Lord has been and continues to be with me in all that comes along in life.

 

In seeking out the presence of the Lord in my life and in the world around me, I am continually reminded and made ever more aware of God’s eternal faithfulness. He is true to His promise to provide the way and the means for people to come into relationship with Him and to be redeemed from the brokenness that sin has surrounded all of creation with. In Christ we are set free to live fully in the open as people who have a future that is filled with purpose and that is bathed in the grace of Christ so that we are able to face into the challenges of life with a confidence that overcomes all doubt and fear. As God is unrelentingly faithful to His word and Christ has come into the world to bring fulfillment to those promises, I am filled with the hope of my salvation, redemption, and purpose as a follower of that same Christ. So, in light of this hope, I can do little else except to live it out steadfastly through the days that God has granted to me in this life.

 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

Our world is filled with greased ropes. Some are vertical and others are horizontal, but the effect upon life is much the same. We are in a position where we need be able to trust in something to help us get out of the hole or away from the beast. As we search about for that means of escape, our eyes come upon a climbing rope, a stout dangling vine, or that convenient swinging bridge that always seemed to be there for Indiana Jones at the appropriate time of need. But in my view of this scene, the rope is always coated with slippery grease, the vine is thorny, or the bridge is weak and failing. The sure escape suddenly becomes a fatal trap. The object of my faith proves to be untrustworthy; so, my escape is now an illusion.

 

Of course, this is fantasy, the stuff of dreams and of children’s play. Still, there is much of life that operates in the general arena of the action-adventure film. This place where we live is a harsh landscape with many wild and dangerous creatures roaming about in it. In order to live confidently and with the sort of boldness that Christ calls us to possess, we must have faith in something that is greater than ourselves or than those opposing forces that we do encounter. I believe that this someone is Christ, and the something is God’s Word. From a point in existence that is before there was time, God has provided the promise of His unshakable love for His Creation. He has been present for all of our times of struggle, through the danger, and in our periods of doubt and rebellion. Our thoughts and actions can be painful to God, but they do not ever cause Him to abandon us.

 

In light of God’s faithfulness, why should I look anywhere else for answers to life’s challenges? He provides me with truth that is unshakable when my ears are being filled with the polished language of deception. Christ lights my path and leads me out of the twilight of doubt and ambiguity that is at the center of the modern world’s moral dilemma. My Lord calls me to engage with a community of faith where I will find people who are listening to the same voice of truth and who desire to follow the same Master above all others. God, Himself, is defined by faithfulness. He will take us as far and as high in our pursuit of His righteousness as we are willing to go. Christ gave all for me, for you, for all of humanity, and for all of Creation. We can trust Him absolutely. Our confession of faith in Jesus, the Christ, will never be in vain.

 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

Our world is filled with greased ropes. Some are vertical and others are horizontal, but the effect upon life is much the same. We are in a position where we need be able to trust in something to help us get out of the hole or away from the beast. As we search about for that means of escape, our eyes come upon a climbing rope, a stout dangling vine, or that convenient swinging bridge that always seemed to be there for Indiana Jones at the appropriate time of need. But in my view of this scene, the rope is always coated with slippery grease, the vine is thorny, or the bridge is weak and failing. The sure escape suddenly becomes a fatal trap. The object of my faith proves to be untrustworthy; so, my escape is now an illusion.

 

Of course, this is fantasy, the stuff of dreams and of children’s play. Still, there is much of life that operates in the general arena of the action-adventure film. This place where we live is a harsh landscape with many wild and dangerous creatures roaming about in it. In order to live confidently and with the sort of boldness that Christ calls us to possess, we must have faith in something that is greater than ourselves or than those opposing forces that we do encounter. I believe that the someone is Christ, and the something is God’s Word. From a point in existence that is before there was time, God has provided the promise of His unshakable love for His Creation. He has been present for all of our times of struggle, through the danger, and in our periods of doubt and rebellion. Our thoughts and actions can be painful to God, but they do not ever cause Him to abandon us.

 

In light of God’s faithfulness, why should I look anywhere else for answers to life’s challenges? He provides me with truth that is unshakable when my ears are being filled with the polished language of deception. Christ lights my path and leads me out of the twilight of doubt and ambiguity that is at the center of the modern world’s moral dilemma. My Lord calls me to engage with a community of faith where I will find people who are listening to the same voice of truth and who desire to follow the same Master above all others. God, Himself, is defined by faithfulness. He will take us as far and as high in our pursuit of His righteousness as we are willing to go. Christ gave all for me, for you, for all of humanity, and for all of Creation. We can trust Him absolutely. Our confession of faith in Jesus, the Christ, will never be in vain.