August 9, 2017
It’s August. And that means that there’s one street in Cumberland that I simply avoid driving down for the next couple of weeks. Why do I avoid it? You see, on that street there’s a maple tree and this tree is the very first one to start changing from summer to autumn colors (at the beginning of August…no less). I’m not ready for summer to end. That tree influences my emotional world. I cannot drive past it without turning my head the other way and not wanting to ‘look’.
Do you have any such ‘maple trees’ in your life? You know what I mean. They may not be actual maple trees, but rather things, people or events that make us face needed change or provide opportunity to deal with things that are not in order. These ‘maple trees’ are reality. They make us choose. Either we can deal with the reality or we can avoid it…like me taking another route to the church for the next couple of weeks…but, it’s not going away.
How is it in your heart and soul? Is your relationship with God in order and as you’d like it to be? Or does it need work? If so, are you ready to begin? You know how it is. We want to do something about this, but we avoid it by putting it off until tomorrow or later. God’s Holy Spirit urges us not to put it off…not to wait…for time and life are limited assets for everyone. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says … “for He (God) says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— How is it with your soul? Has ‘today’…the ‘day of salvation’ come in your heart? “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved…” Romans 10:9. Has this happened in your heart? If you’re not certain, remember the coffee is on! Come by and let’s discuss this and pray to God together. See you in church this weekend!
Have you ever noticed the twinkle and spark in the eye of a child? As growing anticipation flashes like lightning across his or her mind, an accompanied quick smile turns the face into a glowing, wordless statement of faith and trust. You see, their minds are filled with hope.
However, just living life seems to reduce those confident expectations of hope. Sometimes we seem to ‘run out of hope’. We sense that our heart and soul are on “empty”. It’s just like the warning light on the dashboard of my car that tells me it is time to stop and ‘fill it up”. But, how then does that happen in our souls? What does one do?
The Bible gives us instructions regarding hope. God has designed life to build hope within us. And, note in the Bible verses below, that it is not nice, easy times of life that develop and grow hope. Rather, hope develops within the process of working through the messy life moments. Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. God loves us. He knows we cannot build hope on our own. He puts His Holy Spirit in us.
It almost seems odd that God should use the struggles of life to build hope. That’s not the way we would expect it to happen. But, God built hope needs ‘proven character’ as a foundation. Such character is formed as we experience the Holy Spirit of God working and leading us through the struggles of real life.
Is your life facing situations for which your hope is low? Hope is a confidence in God to be God in all parts of our lives. To experience this, we must open the door of our heart and ask God to enter, to bring His saving power, and live there. Have you done this? If not, do it now. See you in church…hope starts here!
by Pastor Dennis Wright