11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hope and hopelessness impact our sense of well-being, even when we encounter them in tiny portions. Encouragement and discouragement, a sense of success or failure, our drive to get out of bed in the morning--all are guided by hope or hopelessness.
Hope is the primary force that drives human beings from hour to hour. Hope for a simple pleasure, a hug, a kiss, a juicy rib eye cooked to perfection. A new red Corvette, a beautiful home, a long vacation in Europe. The renewed health of an ill child or aging mother. These are among the many hopes that motivate our daily lives. Everything we do is driven by hope or hopelessness in one form or another.
The Gospels and the Epistles say next to nothing about emotional stability or midlife crises or a bad day at work.
But they are practically overflowing with this one word: hope.
The blessings and gifts of this life aren't the good news of the gospel. Our hope for life everlasting, swamped by a never-ending bliss is the good news.
My search for happiness has led me to the secret I now share with you. Life is about heaven. It is about ecstasy and great pleasure, for God in both of these. They can't truly be found here, on earth. Knowing this, Jesus sent his Comforter to ease the bath between this life and the next. Among the greatest gifts offered by the Holy Spirit is hope, because without hope for the time when ecstasy and pleasure can be found completely in God, there can be no happiness.
Ironically, once our eyes are opened to the riches of our inheritance, the blessings of this life become far richer. The colors brighter, the odors more pungent, the fabrics more textured, the fruits sweeter, the music more wondrous. It is by fixing our eyes on the light of eternity that we see clearly the pleasures of this life.
Hope is our widow into heaven, and we must throw back the curtains to awaken out hearts to that most spectacular view.
The bliss we seek awaits in the next life. Our faith is being sure of this hope. The pleasures God has given us to serve as a reminder of far greater pleasures to come.
In living we die; in dying we live. Speak this from a pulpit and the congregation will absently stare up at you. But when pressed, everyone seems to agree. Yes, of course, by living we eventually die, and when we die we eventually will get around to living some kind of glorious life.
Do you want to die or do you want to live?
I want to live! you say.
And how do you live--really, really live?
A long pause.
Isn't it true that only after we die will we truly live, with Christ?
What are you saying, that I should think of suicide so that I can really, really live instead of just plain old living?
No. But perspective is critical if we are to awaken from our current slumber.
Again I will ask, are you desperate for heaven? No? may I suggest it's because you have no living hope for the bliss of heaven? And you have no living hope because you imagine heaven to be far less interesting that the early vacation you have your eyes or, or the man you would like to marry. your imagination in regard to the vacation or the man is fully fleshed out. You have already picked out the destination for the vacation and the tuxedo for the man.
But your imaginations of heaven might be flat. Lifeless. Boring.
"We should obsess after Christ and the power of his resurrection. We should preoccupy our minds with our inheritance. Otherwise our pain will rage unchecked and will bear a fruit of bitterness and hopelessness."
=) I love Ted Dekker
"My weaknesses + God's power equals my power. Right? No, wrong. My weaknesses + God's power = God's power = my weaknesses. Somehow friends we grow in our weaknesses as we approach God."
"The extreme contrast between the message of the Gospel and the messenger of the Gospel; the message is precious, it has alot of value; the messenger is broken...a jar of clay."