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Steadfast Hope

October 22nd, 2016

I am resending this devotional, “A steadfast Hope,” because I have added the last paragraph, as well as a personal note from Gayle and I, and our family. I hope you will take the time to read the devotional again and note our family news at its end. Your prayer is especially appreciated in these next days.

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With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “steadfast hope.”

The concept of hope is much misused and misunderstood. People use the word inaccurately, when referring to something they wish to happen but are not very sure it will. Many people live life wistfully, hoping what they wish could be true. Wishes don’t come true; faith does. Biblically, the word conveys a radical certainty which is the foundation for all you believe to be true now and in your future. Most people assume that, “seeing is believing.” Incorrectly, we require incontrovertible evidence before we venture into faith.  Contrary to every assumption, the Bible teaches that “believing is seeing.”

Paul reasoned, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:24-25 NKJV. True hope begins, rests, and thrives in this truth, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NKJV. Contrast that with life before your heart was at rest in Christ. “At that time you were separate from Christ . . without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:13 NIV. With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain. “[We who] take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18-19 NIV. Biblical hope rests, “firm and secure,” upon the clarity of God’s Word to you and the surety of Jesus Christ’s work in you.

Hope is akin to love and faith, not a weaker version of either. Paul affirmed the Thessalonian Christians, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV. He similarly encouraged the Christians in Corinth, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV. Biblical hope deserves more priority than is usually given.

“Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promise.” Hebrews 10:23 TEV. Paul prayed for the Roman church, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. You experience overflowing hope as you fill your thoughts and heart with God’s Word. “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV.

When things aren’t working out as expected, choose hope anyway. Losing hope for your marriage or family? Place your home in God’s hands. God can mend hearts, restore love, and heal a marriage. Giving up on yourself or someone else? God can change a life. Struggling with finances? God is the Lord Who provides. As long as there is life there is hope. “Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3 NKJV. The Resurrection is God’s way to show that nothing is impossible.

Considering that day of Christ’s return and our glorification, Paul wrote of the Blessed Hope that awaits us, “Live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  See Titus 2:11-14 NIV. We look with even more anticipation for that glorious day.

A PERSONAL NOTE. After I had written and sent this devotional, we received a call that our grandson – just twenty-one years old two weeks earlier – had died in an automobile accident that morning. The news was devastating. Yet these words about steadfast hope were tried and proven true. God has been faithful and His Word is ever sure. The Blessed Hope of which Paul wrote is nearer and dearer than ever before. Our family is grateful for the loving words of encouragement and faithful prayers of so many friends. Allen and Gayle Randolph

Today, I pray for you to experience hope that is undiscourageable and steadfast.

Christian Communications 2016

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Simple Faith

November 28th, 2012

Simple Faith

Faith is not an option but it is a daily choice.

“Now faith . . is the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV.

Life cannot be successfully navigated without simple faith, but that is not as simple as you might first expect. Life can become complicated. Faith is not an option but it is a daily choice. Everyday you are faced with diverse matters in which faith is required. Life would be very lonely without choosing to have faith in people. Yet you will struggle because faith in people can be sadly disappointed on occasion.

There is a common level of faith that is natural. You were created to have faith; God made you that way. A child trusts their parent; a spouse trusts their mate; people believe what they’re told, until there are enough times when faith seems disappointed. The desire to believe and dream is innate until life is allowed to strip it away a little at a time. God alone is capable of never disappointing, and circumstances will test even that bedrock truth at times. That’s when you choose faith.

The Bible says, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen . . by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. But without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1-2/6 NKJV. Read those truths again, slowly. Faith is that simple, until you cloud it with needless doubt or complicate it by dubious reasoning. Faith rests upon proven confidence that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Read Romans 3:3-4 NIV. Such confidence is experienced only by the one who chooses “faith . . believes that God is and is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Faith in God, His Word and character, does not fail; people fail to have faith. Faith is always from your heart, only rarely from the mind. See Romans 10:8-11 NKJV.

When told by other disciples that they had seen Jesus after His Resurrection, Thomas, a disciple of Jesus,  espoused the tired, old idea that “seeing is believing.” His conclusion? “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails were . . I will not believe it.” John 20:25 NIV. That is not a satisfying way to live. Imagine how much of life you miss. Thomas was wrong; “Believing is seeing.” See 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV. You have two clear choices. Choose faith, believing and expecting God to be God. Or choose faith of a different persuasion which believes only what you can see for yourself. The latter will not work out well for you.

Let me remind you again, faith is not an option but it is a daily choice. “Therefore we do not lose heart . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but [we look] at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV. There is more for your life than first appears. “Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7-9 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that your faith releases glorious and inexpressible joy.

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