Thursday, June 30, 2016

Do Not Lose Hope

The past few months felt like the world has stepped into an alternate reality. Every time the news comes on, it seems chaos is all around us. This is should not surprise us, but it seems more rapid than ever before.

This past week, the U.S. Supreme Court took down the Texas law restricting abortions and refused to hear the case of a pharmacist in Washington state that will not have abortion drugs in their pharmacy after the state mandates pharmacies need to. Violence all over the world, religious liberty is being taken away in some places, and a crazy presidential election might cause some Christians to lose hope.

While it is tempting to think that, the Bible assures us we have hope. One thing we can know for sure is the Lord in our side. We always pray for people to be on the Lord's side, but we tend to forget He is on our side. Psalm 124 says:

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the LORD who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

If the Lord was not on Israel's side, they would have been wasted. The Lord kept them safe and rescued them. In the Old Testament, we see God doing miraculous work to protect His people. In the New Testament, we have been given assurance that God is for us:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:31-34).

In our world, we may be called bigoted, narrow-minded, and old fashion. People might accuse us of hating others because we tell them Biblical truth in grace and love. Yet, God is the one who has justified us and Christ saved us. Who cares what the world thinks of us when we have the approval of the Heavenly Father. Jesus even said as we go out in to the world, He will be with always (Matthew 28:18-20). That should give us all the confidence we need to live a godly life and to boldly proclaim the gospel.

The Apostle Paul proclaimed in the midst of his suffering in preaching the gospel:

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God...We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 8-10, 16-18)

The troubles of this world fail in comparison to what eternity has in store for us. The church will continue to thrive because Jesus is the One who builds His church "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

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