Happy To Welcome You To The Hallelujah Chorus

I will exalt you my God, the King, I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and exalt your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2

Friday, May 14, 2010

I HOPE SO

If today turns out to be THE day and your life ends in some way, can you say with absolute assurance that God will reach out and gather you to himself like any loving Father? I've asked that question in various ways to thousands of people over my years in ministry and have found that many have just never seriously considered it.
Some have briefly entertained the thought of the end of their life but it was more than they had the stomach for, so they pretty quickly dismissed it and immersed themselves in what they know deep down is a pointless existence. After awhile it's just easier to ignore it than deal with it. There certainly are plenty of distractions to keep the mind occupied.
Many Christians, mostly older saints, answer the question with a quick, "I HOPE SO", an answer that falls somewhere between bragging pride and "it's a possibility". Not wanting to offend God with a statement that might go too far, they have been taught that no one knows if they are saved or lost until the JUDGMENT DAY. Well there will be a judgment day and it obviously wont turn out well for some folks, but to live every day on that sort of edge isn't really what Jesus came to achieve for us.
I like to be around people who can say without a blink of hesitation when asked that question, "ABSOLUTELY YES!"
David wrote: "Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:23-24 NIV
I think "the proud" are those who choose to live pretty much oblivious to there even being a life after this life. To them, life is all about their sports, their family, their career, their possessions, their friends etc., with virtually no real regard for what God has had to say on the subject. They may "go to church" on Easter and Christmas and are somewhat charitable and think that buys them credibility with God.
For many years we lived across the street from an older couple who seemed to have no spiritual orientation at all. She spent most of her time going back and forth to the gambling casinos and he spent virtually every day sitting in his driveway watching every movement on the street. After about three years of working slowly to build a relationship with them, I decided it was time to broach the subject with him. He had recently been hospitalized with a mild heart attack and it seemed like the right time to approach him with the question. His reply was simply, "Oh, me and God have an understanding." When I pressed him to expand on that a little, he became agitated by my nosiness, so I left it alone. As his condition deteriorated over the next two years I tried again with a little different approach. Same result. Of course, he eventually died and I was sad that since this couple had no church affiliation, they just had a simple graveside service. To this day I'm not sure either of them had any belief in God at all.
Hope is the purest expression of faith. Neither can exist without the other because hope is an extension of faith, real, genuine, soul deep faith. Without hope, faith has nowhere to go, so it goes nowhere. It gets stalled in a sort of 'no man's land' and eventually shrivels up like old fruit left to rot on the ground.
Hope in the Lord. Today. Don't be afraid or hesitant. Be strong and of great courage to say "YES" when someone asks about your hope. Let it flow around you, in you and through you. It's a good thing. HALLELUJAH

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