TWO PARTS ONE TRUTH – – Hope and Glory!


Colossians 1:25-28 – “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is,  the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” NASB

Paul is speaking of a ‘mystery’ which sums up his ministry and in that he says it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  What does that mean?  He is saying this is what I do.  This is what I teach.  This is the ministry that God has given me and it is capsulized in this statement, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  

We can readily acknowledge that he is speaking of something that is vital, important, powerful, and significant but do we really understand what he is saying?  I do not mean to appear to elevate my understanding above yours but I struggled with this for a long time before the Holy Spirit opened my understanding in a way I had never before known.  I want to share that with you and you can then add what I am saying to what you know and you will be stronger as a result.  I am just a student of Scripture as you, nothing more and nothing less!

HOPE – – What a maligned word today!  In fact, in some circles, if you say that you “hope” you will be ostracized and declared as to be lacking in “faith.”  Yet, when you examine the Bible you find that Hope is prevalent throughout the New Testament.  What has happened is that we misuse the word and therefore relegate it to the trash heap of our spiritual walk when it should not be treated so.  The world’s use of Hope is completely opposite of the Bible’s usage of the word.  So, ‘What Is Hope?’

I heard an illustration some years ago in which a little boy gave a definition of Hope. He said, “Hope is believing that you are going to get that, which anyone in their right mind knows you are not going to get!”  That to the world is Hope!  People go through life hoping and it usually means that whatever is being hoped for is Highly Improbable! So, in that sense, it borders on the Impossible and to the average person and many in the Church it means clinging to a thread when all rational expectation is gone! 

Another example is in the hospital.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve visited the hospital to hear someone say, “We can only hope.”  That means they have not more rational expectation and are clinging to Hope that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.  In that sense, Hope has inherent disappointment!

How many of us in our youth, teen years or early adulthood had dreams and aspirations that have been shattered and washed away in time?  How many had ‘hopes’ in entering the marriage relationship believing that they would live a life where the little bluebirds of happiness would perpetually fly around their homes and lives only to find that reality was far different than the fantasy. 

Hope, as understood by the world is filled with disappointment, because in hoping you know that what you are hoping for is not going to happen!  Tragic!  That Is Not what the Bible speaks of when it speaks of Hope!  Hope in the Bible means:  “The positive unshakable confidence that a specific blessing from God will without question come to pass.”  That is Biblical Hope!

Biblical Hope has eyes that peer into the future with expectation.  It has a deep conviction that there is unshakable certainty that what you are hoping for will come to pass!  So, biblical hope has inherent in it absolute Certainty!  The hope of the world is filled with anticipated disappointment whereas the hope of the Bible is filled with certainty and expectancy!  Why?  Because Bible Hope has God In It!  It rests upon the character, nature, and word of God Himself.  Bible Hope is not a dream, wish or fantasy it is an assurance that excitedly looks forward with expectation!

Philippians 1:20 – “…according to my earnest expectation and hope…”
[Amplified] – – – – – “…my own eager desire, persistent expectation and hope…”

That’s It – – The eager desire!  Whatever God says your heart says, “I want it!”  It is persistent expectation and anticipation!  No matter what happens, how bleak the picture becomes it is persistent and filled with expectancy because God said it and any promise of God is to be Expected  You can Hope for it!

I Hope in God and therefore I rise from sleep every morning with a tingle of excitement in my spirit.  I can hardly wait for the day to begin because today (whatever day that is) I am going to experience a little bit more of what God has for me, in Christ!  So, as I look at all my tomorrows, all my unlived futures I know that ‘this is the day the Lord has made….’  I know that in His timing He is going to bring to me all His promises!  That’s Hope!

Therefore, if you will, Hope is Faith in a manner of speaking!  It is Faith shielding its eyes against the sunlight of adversity and saying:  “I can see it! I can see it!”  Everyone around you may be a naysayer but Hope says, “I see it!”   In God’s promises, I expectantly wait!

So, whatever you do – – Do Not Lose Hope! It is an anchor spiritually!  So as you go through your day go with Biblical Hope!  

God bless you richly and make you day a day of excited anticipation of Him and His Plan and Purpose in your life!

THE GOSPEL AND GRACE…


1 John 4:7-11 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” NASB

As with Love, the word Gospel is also almost a useless word in our modern vocabulary.  The reason I say that is because most do not understand what it really means.  Many think that it means the first four books of the New Testament.  However, if you examine the whole of the Bible you find that Gospel means “the good glad, merry news that makes a man’s heart leap for joy.”  If God is the kind of God that loves messed up people and will come to us who do not deserve and cannot earn His love that coming is characterized by another word that we often misunderstand – GRACE!

Grace in its most simplistic form means that God gives to me that which I do not deserve and cannot earn.  Because God IS love, He must and does deal in Grace!  Everything that God gives is Free and cannot be earned!  That simply means something has happened to us and done in us.  We did not earn it, do not deserve it and cannot become good enough to receive it.  If someone gives you something that you did not earn and do not deserve what is your response?  It should be ‘Thank You!’  The New Testament calls that Faith which in simplicity is ‘to rest in.’ Our response to the Gift of God is Faith!

God gives, through nothing that I have done and nothing in me but just because He is who He is.  The only possible response I can have is to say, “Thank You!”  When we do that we find that He means it so we can rest in that truth and declare – I’ve Got It!  That, my friend, will cause the heart to literally leap for joy!   God is love, He acts in grace, and we respond in faith saying Thank You!   It is not you trying to be better or trying to do good.  It is Faith or simply saying, Thank You!  When you do that a miracle takes place and you are ‘reborn.’

Someone may ask, “Okay, then what happens in the ‘rebirth?”  We are birthed into the family of God!  What is the character of the family of God – Love!  So when God’s love comes into me I am a new person – – That, my friend, is the Gospel!

Just before Jesus went to the Cross to take away our sin, He said, “Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abides alone.  But if it drops into the ground and dies, it brings forth much fruit.”  A very simple illustration that is incredibly easy to understand.  If you have ‘one grain of wheat’ and plant it, the Law of Harvest kicks in and you receive many more than the single grain that was planted and the fruit is an exact replication and representation of the original.   

Therefore, Jesus said, “There is only one of Me.  No one has ever lived God’s love before.  I’m going to fall into the ground and die, and if I do not there will never be but one of Me.  But, if I do then I will bring forth much fruit.”  He was telling us that there would be millions like Him.  That has been the desire of God over the centuries.  You see, Jesus did not come just to forgive our sins.  That is only the handle on the door of the Kingdom.  He came to produce persons who Love like He Loves!  The Law of Harvest is that through His sacrificial death and resurrection there will be Millions Like Him. Millions who love like He loves!

If you can receive this, if we love like Jesus loves, then we won’t have to worry about keeping the Law.  You do not need a Law that says, ‘you shall not kill’ if you have Love inside of you!  You will not need a Law that says, “You shall not steal”’ if you have Love inside of you!  If this love comes into our hearts then we do not need the Ten Commandments!  That’s what Hebrews 8:13 is talking about.  As long as the Love of God is alive in your heart then you will not only do everything that The Law was mandating you will Do More!

When we truly Manifest Jesus through Love, the world will respond in a mighty fashion.  I’m not talking about a formula, fad, or gimmick I’m talking about the Gospel!  I am not trying to condemn or criticize but simply say He Who Is Love lives in our hearts and Lives His Love through us!  When that happens ‘people are drawn to God like moths to a flame!’

God be with you as you go through your day!

MORE ON THE BIG PICTURE – SPIRITUALLY…


1 John 4:7-12 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  NASB

A few years ago I heard an illustration that speaks volumes regarding the attitudes and understanding of many regarding God and Love.  A missionary went to a tribal witch doctor and said, “You preach to me if you will.  If I come to you with a problem and ask you how I can reach the most high God what do you tell me?  I know you have many gods but I want to find the Big One, the Most High God.”  The witch doctor replied, “First of all you have a problem.  Because the Most High God is not interested in you, because you are not good enough for him.”  Sadly, that is where the religion of many begins. 

Truthfully, you have heard the same thing in America in more sophisticated language but the same message.  Many people simply believe that God is not interested and it is incumbent upon us to just deal with life trying to make ourselves ‘good enough’ for God to care about us.  I had a family member tell me once, that God should not be bothered by some things, that we should just deal with them and only the really big things should be a matter of prayer.  That is not my concept of God!

Once we realize the biblical definition of the Love of God we immediately realize that our human love is totally useless in describing or defining God’s Love!  God’s love is utterly different from ours.  His love is not even in the same hemisphere as ours!  When the Bible declares that GOD IS LOVE it does not mean that God reaches out to those who are ‘in his class’ – NO! NO! NO! 

It means that God reaches out to all persons and more importantly He reaches down to us!  Human love reaches up to those we consider the most beautiful or the best.  It is toward those we almost half bend the knee and develop somewhat of an attitude of worship toward.  But, God reaches down to us.  He reaches down to people that are clearly and utterly unworthy of ever being loved by Him.  That, to the human mind, makes no sense. 

If I were to say to you, “God loves good people and makes them His friends” that would be no revelation for every religion in the world does that. But If I tell you that Christianity stands on the truth and revelation that “God loves bad, messed up people and makes them His friends,” that is utterly amazing!   Imagine that truth that the Holy God of Heaven who is love makes His best friends out of unholy, bad, messed up, rotten, selfish people!  That is Good News!  That is the Gospel!

So instead of trying to become ‘good enough’ for God to love you realize that God Loves You Now!  His coming into your life is what transforms you not something you do to earn His love!

It is my prayer that as you go through this day you will fully realize that God loves you!  You don’t deserve it, can’t earn it and will never be good enough to receive it.  He Loves You In Spite of You!

Blessings as you go through your day!

THE BIG PICTURE – SPIRITUALLY…


1 John 4:7-11 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  NASB

The “Big Picture” that is true for every person, even though the details might be vastly different as to how that is walked out in life is – “That we become and be the manifestation and demonstration of Who He Is.”  None of us are perfect and there is only one who is perfect and that is God! Therefore, the highest possible call would be for us to demonstrate Him before the world.  Therefore, the Big Picture which is His Will and Design for our lives is – That we Manifest Who He Is.  That we become the Demonstrations of Him to the Whole World!

Who is God?  John informed us that “God is Love!”  That is the ultimate. Everything that we Know about God or will Know about God is controlled and directed by this truth.  We think about God Almighty who is and has All Power! Remember God said, “Let there be light and there was light.”  That is Power!  Can you imagine a God of such Power who isn’t Love?  He would be an unbelievable monster of epic proportions.  Love controls everything else that we know about God.

We think of God as Omniscient. He knows everything past, present, and future!  Can you imagine a God who Knows us to that degree and doesn’t even like us?  We are afraid to tell some of our closest friends some of the thoughts that make their way through our minds.  Can you imagine a God who Knows those thoughts even before you think them and does not love us?  That would cause terror to the point of suicide!  To have the God, we know from Scripture who isn’t love – – He would be an infinite monster!

I find it interesting in studying Scripture and when it comes to definitions in the Bible we do not find the clear definition that “God is Power” but we see it in studying.  However when it comes to Love the Bible clearly says – “God is Love!”  Sadly, in our human experience the word “love” is almost a useless word because we have to define the word by how we understand it. 

What do we mean when we say love?  I have found that, for many, it means we reach out to somebody that we consider ‘in our class.’  If you will be completely honest you will realize that it is incredibly rare for somebody to express real love for someone that they do not consider to be ‘in their class’.

In Europe history has demonstrated that if Royalty falls in love with a Commoner they are fired!  So, when we fall in love as humans, we tend to keep within our status.  We fall in love in our ‘tribes’.  We keep within certain boundaries.  Oh, we don’t talk about it or admit it but we tend to do it.

But Love – – If I ‘love’ a person, it’s that individual that calls forth my highest admiration.  When I look at that person all I can see – I Admire!  There is a Wow factor!  When I talk about that person, they really are something and in truth there is an element of worship involved.  Therefore, when I Love someone it means – They answer to what I feel is beauty which is truly in the eye of the beholder.  Beauty is something that happens inside the head and heart!  That’s what we understand love to be.

Now, when it comes to God and the Bible declares – “God is Love!”  Then, we assume that God is love the same way as we are love.  Every religion in the world has a concept of God that is based on human love.  Include in that grouping, the unconverted apostate of America. 

They have equated what we say love is with God who is love!  So if God loves like we love then He comes to us and what does He find?  He finds someone who in no measure is in His class.  Immediately that eliminates us!  On that basis if God got friendly with us He would be fired! 

Secondly, He finds someone who in no measure is in harmony with Him.  We are in disharmony with Him in our unconverted state.  We do not jell with His holiness and love.  We are selfish, like it that way, and plan to remain in that condition. 

Thirdly, there is nothing in us that would cause Him to say – “That is the best person I know.”  So, if God were to love like we love we, as human beings, would be finished.  Thank God He does not!

I pray that you will go through this day with the knowledge that God is Love and He has chosen to Love Us!

WHAT DOES GOD WANT FOR MY LIFE?


1 John 4:7-11 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” NASB

Let me begin by addressing two things:   Love is ‘from’ God and GOD ‘is’ Love!  That is important and possibly more important than one would comprehend at first glance.  God doesn’t have love He is love.  I may have water but I am not water.  I may have money but I am not money.  God, on the other hand, IS Love!  If God IS love, and love IS from God, and I say I Know God….  (Know) – Not know about but the word means to know intimately and personally.  It is to penetrate!  So, if I say I Know God then I am saying I have penetrated God or entered into an intimate personal relationship with Him.  It is then and only then that I truly LOVE!  The mark of a Christian is LOVE! 

I find it most interesting and often frustrating that many Christians are overly obsessed with discovering the will of God for their lives.  While that is good and something that every believer should desire to know the approach and mindset can be incredibly frustrating.  So many have adopted the mindset that the Will of God could never be obvious!  Heaven forbid! God would never tell you to do the obvious, right?  Oh no, He surely will always tell you to do something that is out of the ordinary and even unexpected because that way you will know it is God.

For example, God would never tell you to minister to your neighbor that would be too obvious and logical.  He will send you to the bush of Africa (nothing wrong with that) but why do we feel that He would not desire, as His will, for us to do something obvious?  Some seem to have the idea that if it is something they do not want to do then that is what God wants.  Really? 

Where did we get the idea that God is always determined to make us do something we do not want to do?  Is that God?  Some have a picture or image of God that He is always weird and never on our side.  We have the idea that if we say, “I don’t want to go there or do that,” then you can bet your booties that is exactly what God will want you to do.  We become so concerned with the minute and frivolous details that we miss the Big Picture and the purposes of God for our lives.  Some spend so much time seeking to know the will of God that they never get around to doing it.

Let me clear something up – – Before God reveals His will on you He prepares your heart!  He instills in you a ‘want to’ and then asks, “Would you like to?”  That’s how God operates. He is not trying to inflict pain and force you to do things you do not want to do.  God is not weird.  So often the will of God for my life is simply what my heart has been crying out to do.  It is not a struggle to know the will of God unless we try to complicate it with our insistence on knowing every detail of what we are to do before we do anything.  So much of the time is it simply Follow Your Heart! God has already conditioned your heart for what He desires!

Please know that if you are ‘in’ Him and He is ‘in’ you then you do not have to struggle with knowing His will it is in your heart!  Do not let the devil weigh you down with the minute details and miss the opportunity and blessing of doing what God has and is preparing you to do!  Simply ask, ‘What is in my heart?’

May God be with you as you go through your day!

POSSIBILITY OR PROCRASTINATION?


Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  NASB

As the song of years gone by, ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die,’ we often live our lives with a sense of permanence that is deceptive.  Most people I have dealt with or worked with in my years of ministry seem to believe that they will have ‘more than enough tomorrows’ to do the things they either did not do or did not want to do today.  Too often people neglect the vital, focus on the important or trivial, and demonstrate little concern because they believe that they will have time to do it later. We call that Procrastination!

Any student of the Bible knows that there are a number of promises from God in His word that are seldom claimed, appropriated, and stood on in individual lives.  It has been my observation that too many live ‘beneath their privilege’ in God.  I’ve had people tell me that I focus too much on God’s Promises but I fully believe that God gave them because He wanted us to enjoy, appropriate them, stand on them, and live them in this present world.  I believe that each step closer to becoming ‘like Jesus’ we find more Spiritual Power in our lives, touch more Souls of men, and experience more Victory in our daily lives!

This Psalm is attributed to Moses.  He is interceding for God to remove the curse that every Israelite over the age of twenty would die before the nation could enter the Land of Canaan.  He even identifies that most are dying at seventy though some are reaching eighty years of age.  If verse 10 could somehow be attributed to us as a gauge of longevity it would produce an interesting possibility.  [80 years or 16 – 5 year segments].  I wonder how we would live if we evaluated our lives in 5 year increments?  How many have you lived?  How many do you have left?  (Please understand I do not believe that this means we only can live 70-80 years but I use it as an illustration).

Time is either the greatest asset or enemy that we have.  Paul urged his listeners to redeem the time.  Time is one thing we must learn to use effectively if we are to become the most effective in our lifespan.  We are notorious time wasters, at least most of us are.  In order to tap the resources available to us and utilize the ability and power God has given us there are three things that must take place.

  1. PERCEPTION – – – We must Perceive.

We must perceive ‘who we are.’  Initially we were sinners in need of God.  We are created in the image of God and as John 1:12 tells us we are sons/daughters of God.  Romans 8:17 identifies that we are ‘heirs of God’ and Galatians 3:29 that we are ‘heirs according to the Promise.’  We read of the Promises of God in Deuteronomy 28 and find in Hebrews 8:6 that we have a ‘better covenant established on better promises.’

We must perceive where we are.  Or the condition or level of maturity we find ourselves.  Some of us are like the little boy that fell out of the bed and when asked why he replied, ‘Because I stayed to close to the edge.’  Some of us have stayed to close to the condition we were in when we first came to Christ.

We must perceive where we are going.  That applies both spiritually and in this natural life.

  • PREPARATION – – We must Prepared to get where we are going.

It is vital that we Know the promises of the Book (Bible).  It is imperative that we understand that the Bible is a tool, a weapon, a light, and a resource.

It is vital that we Know our inheritance as children of the Most High God.  We must prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually.

  • PROCEED – – We must Proceed on the Planned and Purposed way.

It is important that we see our potential in God, understand and believe the possibilities, and trust God!  If God says we are to be a Moses, Elijah, Paul, John, Peter, or Daniel why can’t we?  The thing that made them unique was that they were fully surrendered and teachable.

It is important that we believe we can be overcomers because God says we already are in Jesus.  It is important that we believe that God can work miracles through us.  Remember who God says you are – – ‘A Child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’  Remember that His charted destiny for you is to ‘do His will in this generation.’  Therefore, it is important that we allow God to guide and guard our hearts, thoughts, and lives.  Remember, ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’

So as you go through the rest of your life will you go as a Possibility or a Procrastinator? The choice is yours.  

May God be with you as you go through your day!

ONE MORE LOOK AT VISION AND ITS IMPORTANCE…


Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” NASB

All of us have the capacity for vision!  All of us have a vision!  God made each of us to be ‘vision containers’ or ‘vision holders.’  His Vision! He created us to be men and women of purpose – His Purpose! God wants us to love Him enough to trust His leadership and to be willing to give ourselves totally to Him, His Vision, and His Purpose.

Being Visionless a problem spiritually.  In Matthew 11:29 we read – “Take My yoke upon you….”  That signifies a commonality of vision and purpose where two or more are pulling in tandem toward the same objective!  Vision is like a yoke!  Without that yoke, there is no restraint in the individual life or the local fellowship.  It becomes more of a stampede than a concerted orchestrated effort that is effective and productive. It becomes confusion and chaos rather than order and productivity.

Vision from God is priceless!  Vision from God keeps us on the God-ordained course and builds a fire in our hearts spiritually.  The degree to which we acknowledge and align ourselves with the Vision of God determines what we will be and do for the Kingdom of God.  If the local fellowship is going to accomplish the purposes of God for its community and generation it must rise above the level of personal and survival visions and ascribe to the ‘Vision of God’.

When a church or individual has a God-given vision they do not get shook up by the shaking!  WHY?  Because they know what God has said and are yoked in tandem together and with the Holy Spirit pulling toward the God-ordained and God-inspired goal and objective.  Obstacles are only temporary problems and opportunities for God to demonstrate His might.

A God-given vision will cause an individual and a local fellowship to examine and reexamine what their purpose is and why they hold it.  It will cause us to examine and reexamine what we believe and why we believe it.  It will cause us to look at God’s government and its role, function, and authority in our lives.  It will cause us to become Kingdom conscious.

A God-given vision will cause an individual and a local fellowship to desire the will of God more than life and create a willingness in the heart to do whatever is required to fulfill the purposes of God in this generation.

My prayer and desire are that God will give us vision and ground us with purpose!  May God be with you as you go through your day!