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OUR BLESSED HOPE

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I was visiting a wonderful,  godly lady yesterday who has faced tremendous, continual suffering in this life. She nearly died recently, unconscious and failing for many days, and then she woke up, right on the brink of death.

She told me that when she awakened, she was disappointed at first that she had not been taken on to heaven. In my head, I completely understood this natural thought, although I cannot imagine the depths of her experience. Heaven would have completely released her from this life of suffering. I have pastored many people who are at the point in their journey where heaven is what they long for.

God reminds us that it is near. James records this from God for us. It is in the context of suffering that we are experiencing at the hands of others, but its truth is applicable to every situation.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. (James 5:7-9)

Whether Christ returns in our lifetime, or we, as believers in Him, are taken to Him in death, He is near. And, when He comes, all things will be made right. All suffering will end for us. All wrongs will be corrected, all sickness healed.

We can trust Him in this and walk in this hope. “Hope” in the Biblical terms is not a wish, but the “confident assurance of sure coming events.” I saw it in my friends face today. She believes that God has more for her to do and in God’s perfect timing she will shed her earthly house and be ushered into a “house, not made by human hands, reserved in heaven for (her).” She is a hero.

It is why Paul calls it our "blessed hope” which nothing in this life can take from us. It is sufficient to strengthen our hearts in this life and it will carry us as needed until that blessed day.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Bill Elliff

DEFLECTING PRAISE

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Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. (Psalm 115:1)

One of the things that determines the trajectory of a man's life is how he handles praise.

If he is a proud man, he will absorb it, vainly thinking that everything everyone says about him is true. Such arrogance will also lead him to muse that he is the source of all the good that has come from his life. 

This man has forgotten that he was woven together in his mother's womb by God (Psalm 139). That every gift he has is from above, from the Father of Lights (James 1). He has also failed to remember that each breath he takes is a gift and that he lives and moves and has his being because of the sustaining hand of God.

Somewhere along the way, he has failed to shift his infantile perspective. It's understandable in our early years. But a mature man, and particularly, a godly man, has been broken from this pride. His life is marked by a visible, humble gratitude for anything that has happened to his life and through his life.

The Psalmist was such a man. And he offers this prayer in Psalm 115, that God alone would receive the glory for everything. Why? From God alone is every loving, kind, and truthful thing that has happened.

This was his prayer. And it must be ours.

Dear Father, forgive me for my incessant pride. For the love to be seen, the immature desire to be known. Turn my heart towards heaven. Help me to see, this day and beyond, that everything I have and do and enjoy comes from You. Help me to deflect praise to the One alone to whom it is due.

Posted by Bill Elliff

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