A New Beginning
By Eli Stutzman
January 1, 2009
People of every kindred and nationality need to have hope set before them at all times, or else they can become despondent. A new president takes office and many people hope that will set our nation on a course to better times. We move to a new location and hope to open a new page on the way our neighbors relate to us. New years day comes and many make resolutions only to see them fail by their own weakness. Yet a few do succeed, so there is always hope we too may succeed. A new cure for a dreaded disease is discovered and we rejoice over the prospect of better health and longer life. Hope is one of the most important elements in life.
It soon becomes evident there are two types of hope. If I went hunting and got lost, I would hope someone would find me. Such hope is open-ended; I have no real reason to believe that it will happen. Maybe desperation describes it better. That I will call the lesser hope. But I manage to start a fire, wave a red flag and call out for help. Finally I spot someone off in the distance and do everything I can to be noticed. Finally they respond by approaching me. Now I have what I shall call greater hope, the kind of hope I wish to cover here. There is a reason to believe I will be found. This type of hope is a vital part of life. The bible has a lot to say about hope.
(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance (confidence) of things hoped for, the evidence (assurance) of things not seen.
As believers, we possess a hope of heaven. We have reason to believe we are redeemed because we see that God loved us by offering His son Jesus Christ as a substitute for our punishment. Are we accepted?
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Notice the word "whosoever". If you hand me a check that is credible and made out to whosoever, I will cash it! If I believe you can do it, then I will act on it. So my hope is based on your ability to act on your word. No matter what I say, you know that I believe you when I take it to the bank. Likewise, I believe God can back what he offers. That gives me great hope.
As we begin 2009, the world around us may be in turmoil. People without hope are in need of something to cling to. Having no light at the end of the tunnel, gives us no real hope. Science and government cannot give assurance that we can meet the challenges. But we have to place our trust where it is sure. To do that, we need to be totally convinced of the truth of God's written word, the Bible. Then we can offer hope to others. Giving hope to others is part of what I am called to do. Will you also make someone's life more hopeful in 2009? I wish you a hopeful new year! If you have greater hope in you, please try to share it in 2009.
(Hebrews 6:18-19) That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation (confidence), who have fled for refuge (protection) to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.
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