SEPARATED NOT ISOLATED…


2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ” I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17 ” Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 ” And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.”  NASB

I hear more preaching on man than God in the church today and that troubles me.  It is not that I don’t want to help man or believe that we can be far more than we are in this life.  It is that I have learned by experience and from the Word of God that man, left to himself is corrupt and will descend deeper into a state of depravity and selfishness that limits our ability to have a relationship with God or to win the lost.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, to ‘shun the very appearance of evil.’   We are to be ‘salt and light’ to this world and if we are just like them, where is our saltiness or the light emanating from our lives?  We are epistles know and read of me and if the letter or story of our life is no different from the person outside the Body of Christ, what message are we sending.

I know believers who refuse to associate or do business with ‘non-Christians’ claiming this text as their foundation.  Paul taught, Jesus demonstrated, and the Bible is filled with references telling us that our conduct is to be different, but if we treat the lost as though they were a plague how do we reach them?  Jesus demonstrated love to the lost and even said to His critics that, “It is not the well that needs a physician but the sick.” 

I am not suggesting that we party with the revelers and engage in their debauchery.  I am not suggesting that we approve of their lifestyles and endorse them by failing to give them the truth.  I am suggesting that if we attempt to isolate ourselves and insulate ourselves we will become uninhabited islands and fruitless trees having no value.  If we are to reap the harvest, we must go into the field where the crop is.  If we are to be fishers of men we must go into the sea of humanity and drop our nets. 

I have found that some of those I have reached would never have been reached if I had not been willing to do business with them and even have a meal with them or some other association.  No, I do not drink with them, curse with them, commit acts of immorality with them. I attempt to live before them rightly.  I have had people who are lost call me to pray for them or their family and as a result, won them to Christ.  I do not want to be isolated from the world but in the world, I want to be salt and light, and I want to be a witness through my example. 

The Pharisees, in the Bible, looked down on anyone not following their particular religious beliefs or tenets.  They viewed them as “SINNERS” and would say it with a condescending tone and used it as a word of utter disgust. It was a slur!  They repeatedly attacked Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners.  After all, those people were of such lesser importance and value, the believed Jesus should not even give them the time of day.  Jesus demonstrated the fallacy of that view and sent His disciples and us into the world.  He even prayed that the Father not take us out of the world but protect us in the world.

You are not more valued by God than the lost, you have simply received His Grace and experienced His mercy in Salvation.  Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  You can’t give from your sanitized ivory tower, so instead of fearing that the world will taint you change it and infect it with your love, His grace, and bring light into their darkness. 

God bless you as you proceed on your pathway of life on this beautiful day He has given us in which to live and enjoy!

WHAT AM I TO PUT AWAY As a Christian?


Ephesians 4:29-32 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” NASB

Ephesians 5:1 – “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  NASB

What do we have to Put Away as Christians?  What are those things that the Holy Spirit identified through the apostle Paul that we, as believers, are responsible for dealing with in our lives?

THE NUMBER ONE THING IS BITTERNESS.

That is numero uno!  It is the big boy of things that we must deal with in our lives if we are to move into the Grace of God and mature as believers.  I would suggest to you that ‘bitterness’ is less about what you Do than what you Do With. Bitterness is a way of being.  It is something that has descended so deeply inside our beings that it is rooted to the core of who we are.  It is a state or a constant that too many either do not know exists or refuse to acknowledge. 

Bitterness can be directly related and connected to an experience. That experience may have happened years earlier and likely did because now the hurt, disappointment, pain has become full blown Bitterness!  Remember that Paul is speaking to believers!  I know that is difficult for some but he is speaking to believers who still have problems. 

He is speaking to people that have brought some ugly baggage with them into the Christian experience.  He could have said, “Hold it!  You brought some things with you that are part of the old life and you are still bitter about them.’  Things that have become such an ingrained part of our being that we often do not even know they are there.  Big or small it was something that you never forgot or let go of and now it has taken root deep inside of who you are and has to be dealt with.   Remember what the Bible says about a ‘root of bitterness’ and it springs up and ‘many are defiled.’

Research has proven that ‘bitterness’ can release poisons into the blood stream that can be measure in a test tube and those poisons can actually bring on sickness and disease.  We expect that of sin or what we identify as sin but do we really understand the danger of bitterness?

Bitterness never remains buried it has a way of being released by the tongue!  We see it in ‘wrath’ – flying off the handle and rage and it comes from a fire that burns deep inside.  We see it in ‘anger’ – you can see it in the eyes, by the body language but they are nice people and don’t let it out but it is there.  We see it in ‘clamor’ – uncontrolled shouting, loud arguing and no control over the tongue.  Those in the clutches of bitterness will beat you up verbally.  We see it in ‘evil speaking’ – deliberately spreading gossip and harmful stories about people to hurt them.  In the Greek it is called ‘blasphemy’.   We see it in ‘malice’ – a settle determination to hurt others.  They may have hurt you and you are ‘getting even.’ 

Paul says and God says – – PUT IT AWAY!  You do not have to be bound by bitterness Jesus died for your victory and freedom!

May God bless you as you go through your day!

I REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM – I am a Christian…


Ephesians 4:29-32 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” NSAB

Ephesians 5:1 – “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  NASB

Yesterday we discussed this a little and I want like for us to move further into consideration of the mindset of ‘victim’ vs. ‘Christian.’  I truly believe that one of the reasons that we fall into that trap is that we fail to understand Grace.

Sometimes it seems like we think Grace is simply God being gracious to us.  I think the schoolmaster ‘The Law’ that brought us to ‘Grace’ has become a problem in that in The Law or any Law says if you behave, I am satisfied.  Grace does not issue that edict but demands more.    The Law simply deals with my behavior but Grace deals with my heart.  I can look the part, act the part, and appear to be Christian but inside be full of filth.  Grace deals with my heart and regardless of how I look on the outside it is working on the inside or The Heart!

Grace is not focused on behavior but the Church largely is.  We fulfill the scripture that ‘man looks on the outward’ to a tee!  Grace deals with our want to and begins the process of change there at the seat of the problem and the core of our being.  Then, when the heart is changed the behavior follows naturally.  Sadly, behavior is too often nothing more than a mask that professors of Christianity wear and hide who they really are from the world but you cannot hide from God!

Notice Paul says, “The Grace has come to you….”  In other words, it has invaded who you are.  Now it is up to us to cooperate with the Spirit of God and allow change to be effected in our lives on the inside.  Grace did not just bring us deliverance from the world of sin it brings us Salvation that takes place every day of our lives.  It brings us daily wholeness! 

The Grace of God makes us ‘spiritually healthy’ and ‘whole.’  There is a truth that I won’t get into here but sometimes we are sick in our bodies because we are sick in our heads and hearts.  I have heard medical doctors claim that upwards of 90% of all diseases are psychosomatic.  I don’t know that I would go that far but I do know that our attitudes can affect our health.  Please do not assume that I am saying if you were right spiritually you would not battle any physical ailment.  I did not and do not say that!

Paul tells us that there are some things that we must do as believers.  There are some things that we do not just pray about but take ownership of and act on.  We are to put away – malice, bitterness, and evil speaking.  That is pretty radical but the Holy Spirit emphasized the Put Away which in the Greek means ‘make a decisive choice.’  It is like saying, ‘Do it man!  Make it happen!  Don’t pray about it!  Don’t say I will try!  JUST DO IT!’

I want us to look at what we are to Put Away but time and space won’t permit adequate examination so I will stop here and pick this up in a later devotional.

God bless you as you go through your day!

STOP BEING VICTIMS – – We are Christians…


Ephesians 4:29-32 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” NASB

Ephesians 5:1 – “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  NASB

The more I read and study the writings of the apostle, Paul, the more I am convinced that he saw a life that most professing believers either never see or do not believe is possible.  Paul repeatedly speaks of leaving the “old” – world, way, man and everything that belongs to the realm of sin and the fallen race of Adam and moving into the new creation, self, man, birth and encouraged his followers to  Act Out or Live Out the Christian experience through their new source of Life – Jesus!   His message was one that continually called for those who experienced the ‘new birth’ to Become who they really are in Christ!

The new birth is about the process that happens after the experience of salvation.  In the new birth, we were translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  We were not and are not the finished product but are in the process of becoming!  So for the rest of our mortal existence on earth, we are moving from one experience to another and being transformed into something!  We are no longer what we were and are not yet what we will be but we are moving toward that goal.  It is time that we allow the newness of the Life in Christ to permeate every crevice of our lives and touch every facet and dimension of our being.  It is a passage from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’. From ‘sin’ to ‘total transformation.’  It Is Salvation!

Tragically, far too many have the cart before the horse and are trying to change, shape up, get better, turn over a new leaf, and try harder or something.  It is the incredible need of humanity to earn something and deserve something.  God repeatedly says, “No thanks!  I accept you just as you are, where you are, and who you are because of Jesus!”  So, it is time that we comprehend and get our heads and hearts around the truth that We Are Accepted! It is in that state of acceptance that God steps in and begins the process of changing us or transforming us into His Image.

When we come to Christ we essentially have to relearn life because we have the mindset of Sin in us.  That is one of the reasons that Jesus spoke of becoming like little children.  We have to develop a new way of thinking and a new way of living.  For that to become reality we have to be schooled or trained and that is the work of the Holy Spirit and those under whose tutelage we are maturing.  

Far too many people simply add Sunday to their schedule when they accept Christ but Christianity is not that.  It truthfully is Relearning how to live every moment of every day of every week of every month of every year!  It is allowing all the distortion that is in us to be purged.  It is to allow the ‘bentness’ that is inherent in our DNA to be transformed by God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace!  It is literally having our Minds Renewed!

That is the only possible way that we can move from the human mindset of ‘victimization’ to God’s mindset of “Christian.”  We have to Relearn Life and Live that life that we have learned in Jesus!  You are a “Child of the King of Kings” not just a man or a woman.  You are God’s children and are heirs to everything that God is and has, so live like it!

May God be with you as you go through your day!  We will consider this more tomorrow!

YOU ARE A VINE BRANCH…


John 15:5-7 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”  NASB

If Christ is ‘inside’ then the life that we live in the flesh is His life.  I’ve heard people sing or preach and someone come up to them and tell them how much they were ministered to as a result only to hear the person say, “Oh it was not me it was the Lord.”  While that is true, wasn’t that you on the platform singing or speaking?  I ask that you consider the reality that while it is truly the Lord, you are the vessel that He is using so do not draw back from celebrating your uniqueness.  He made you like He made you and gifted you like He gifted you so it is “I live, yet not I….”  It is Christ in Me!  You do not trust yourself but you are totally reliant on Him.  He is the Vine and we are the branches or a vine branch!

Have you ever considered the reality that a vine branch is utterly useless in and of itself?  If a vine branch is not producing grapes it has no use whatsoever.  I believe that God chose this deliberately to teach us a vital truth.  What is the Vine?  Think about it for a moment. If you dig deep enough you will realize that the vine is invisible.  It is an invisible life that comes up through the trunk and inevitably produces a leaf that produces a flower that produces a grape!  I have never seen a Vine but I have seen expressions of it.  Therefore, the Branch does nothing but receive the Life that is in the Vine!

Just imagine a Vine in the springtime and the branches saying, “Man I’ve got to get this leaf out so we can produce grapes.”  No it just hangs there effortless waiting on the life that is in the vine to flow through it and do the work.  Jesus is trying to convey to us that it is the same principle in the Christian Life.  We are simply flow through vessels of the Life that is in the Vine!    He is trying to convey to us that if we will just be ‘in’ Him, He will do the work and produce the fruit!

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 when He said “Come unto me all you that labor and are heaven laden and I will give you a rest.”  The word rest could be accurately translated vacation.  What is a vacation?  It is when you stop working and rest!  Jesus was not speaking to sinners, He was speaking to believers.  He was talking to people who were trying to work enough, do enough, and please God.  So, if you ever grow sick and tired of trying to do enough to please God He is calling ‘Come unto Me, and I will…’  

Imagine that!  A Christianity that wants to deserve and earn its salvation has a difficult time with that.  If we have to struggle to please God you have a number of choices.  You can be a Buddhist, Hindu, or any other religion in the word because they are all struggling.  But, if I am a Christian, according to the Bible, I am to Stop Struggling and allow the Life of the Vine to produce its Life and Flow through me.  “I live, but it is not I, it is Christ.”  All the Branch does is remain In the Vine!  The Life that is in the Vine flows into the branch and produces the visible fruit!

So Stop Struggling and allow Christ in you to produce the Hope of Glory!  Let God live His life through you!   Christianity is a Rest not a Struggle!

May God bless you as you go through your day!

THE BLESSING…


Numbers  6:24-27 – “The LORD  bless you, and keep you; 25 The LORD  make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD  lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 27 “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.” NASB

I cannot do justice to this passage in a short devotional this morning. I will attempt to hit the high points and hope they will bring encouragement and blessing to your hearts as you face another day.  This was something that was said by the priests multiple times each day. They would stand and bless the people this way and the people would receive it and bless the priest back.  It was more than words to them it was a releasing of the power of God, God’s Shalom that had the energy and power to bring it to pass in their lives.

Who is it that is blessing?  Ultimately it is The LORD! It is not just words of a man or men it is The Lord God doing the blessing.  It is an action of God Himself in the lives of the people.  It is a prayer and a promise that God would ‘bless and keep them’.  It is a prayer and a promise that God’s ‘face would shine upon them’. 

When I watch my children or grandchildren as they perform something special or well my ‘face shines toward them’, and I beam with pride and love.  It is a prayer and a promise that God would ‘lift up His countenance toward them.’  He would look upon them favorably and in so doing would ‘give them peace.’  His Shalom would go before them, work in them and lead them in the right paths.  This was something that the Israelites longed to hear and it meant something to them. 

Sadly, we’ve heard it or said it in benedictions in church and people say ‘Ho Hum’ another quotation from the Bible.  It is virtually meaningless to many that hear it and even some that say it.  It sounds good but if we examine it, believe it, and receive it into our lives it releases power from God to go before us and work in us to bring about His Blessing!  It is a release of the Covenant into our lives.  It, as are the words of the Bible, is more than just words.  It is The Word of God and the Word of God is filled with the Love and Power of God.  God’s word does not return to Him void but accomplishes that which He sent it to do.

Instead of just hearing this and allowing it to slide off like water from a ducks back take it to heart, examine it, understand it, believe it, and receive it into your life.  When I say it I expect the Power of God to be released to bring it to pass in the lives of those to whom I speak.  So in closing let me pray this prayer:

“The LORD, bless you, and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.”

God with God and go in peace!  Blessings!

MORE ON THE GLORY OF GOD…


Colossians 1:25-29 – “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

We are continually being transformed into the likeness of Jesus!  As we behold Him we become more and more like Him.  Salvation is not just being ‘saved’ from Hell.  In the Greek [sozo] means ‘to make whole or well.’  The word means save, heal, and/or deliver.  The Gospel is the Power of God for SOZO or Wholeness!  It is putting us back together or total healing of our mind, body, and souls!

That raises another question – “What is sin?”  Oh I know that the standard answer is ‘missing the mark’ but can you receive that it is “Unlove!”  It is failing to love as God loves.  What does sin do to us?  What does unlove and selfishness do to us?  It literally blows or rips us apart.  That is why those living in sin are so tragic; they are blown apart on the inside!  They are not whole! 

The Good News is that with the coming of the Love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit we are made Whole!  Deep on the inside at the core of who we are we are made Well by the Love of God!   Life is filled with pitfalls and difficulties but do not despair because we are moving from Glory to Glory in God.  This is a process and it is not finished!  It is “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory!”

I urge you to call to mind that it is not you trying to ‘get glory’ or trying to ‘love like God’ loves.  It is God coming into you and living His life and loving His love through you!  You are the vessel not the producer of that love or life!  He Is!  Some seem to have the idea that if we try hard enough and work long enough, one day we will arrive and make it.  No, No, a thousand times No!  It is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!  If you can make it by your efforts and struggles then that places Christ outside rather than inside and Christianity is an inside job.

One of the greatest tragedies and obstacles that the Church has inflicted upon herself is that we have traditionally told new converts, “You go out there and love like Jesus loved.  You work out your salvation!” 

We are told to “be like Jesus,” as if we could in and of ourselves.We are told that we are to love and forgive putting aside all resentment and anger while putting on kindness and tenderness.  But I challenge you with the thought that is Life is not an outside job but an inside job.  It is not you doing it it is Him living His life in you.  It is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!

When the Bible tells us in Philippians 2:12 to “work out our own salvation…”  How does it tell us to do that?  I’m serious!  It says, “with fear and trembling…”   It is a Greek expression that means:  “You work out your own salvation, with no trust whatsoever in your own ability.”  That does not sound like a matter of willpower or an outside job but an inside job to me!  It is simply allowing God to have full control of your life and watching Him live His life through you!  Yes you participate because you could resist and rebel but you willingly choose to flow with what He is doing inside of you and through you.  It is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!  I feel the urge to should this, It is In You!  In You!  In You!

May God help each of us to realize that this is an ‘inside job’ and walk in the fullness of what Jesus offers through the Cross and the Holy Spirit!

Blessings as you go through your day!

THE GLORY…


Colossians 1:25-29 – “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

Over the past couple of days we talked about Hope! Today I want to focus on the second part Glory!  Biblical Hope is essential for a victorious life and if the Bible is correct, and it is, “Christ in us… is the hope of glory.”  But, what is Glory?  

What is Paul talking about?  While we could strain at gnats and swallow camels in our pursuit of a definition let’s simplify it to the following:  “The outshining of God.”   I say that because if you will recall in the Old Testament one could See the presence of God.  It was like a light or brightness the Glory of God reflects the very heart of God.  In simple terms it could be described as, “Who God is, shining forth, reaching out and blessing man!”

Remember Moses?  From early in his development he had a sense of the greatness of God. However, it was not until his experience at the ‘Burning Bush’ that he had such an encounter with the Glory of God that his life was transformed forever.  He was driven from that time forward to Know God not just Know About God! Remember in Exodus 33 he called out for God to ‘show me Your glory.’  God’s response was, “I Myself will make all my goodness pass before you.  I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you.”  That is important!

In the Old Testament a name was an indication of the character and what the person would be or was.  It always indicated character, so God says, “I will reveal My Glory/My Name.”  In the very next chapter we read “The Lord passed in front of Moses and proclaimed….”  In that moment the shimmering, uncreated Light who is God passed before mortal man and out of that Moses heard God say, “This is Who I Am.”  

We hear about God’s Lovingkindness and that is an interesting word which in a great sense means:  “I will love you, love you, love you, and will never let you go.”  When God defined His Glory to Moses He did so in the many facets of love.  Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the GLORY of the Lord.”  That is interesting!

John identified that Jesus was the WORD or the Out-speaking of God that became flesh and dwelt among us.  We beheld his glory!  We saw Love first hand.  We saw love that was not of this earth – – The Glory of God!

Jesus continually demonstrated His Glory and Love.  Remember the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.  The couple remains unidentified. They ran out of wine and that was a disaster in those days.  Jesus quietly did His miracle.  Almost no one knew what had happened.  Why?  So no one would suffer embarrassment.  John declared that when Jesus turned the water into wine it was the ‘first time’ that He showed forth His Glory!

John 17:22 is an incredibly fascinating and powerful passage. Here Jesus is praying.  Listen to what He says:  “And the Glory which you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be One, just as we are One. I in them and you in me, that they may be perfected in unity.”  That is more than incredible.  Jesus is declaring that the Glory that He has He has given to all believers.  Christ the Glory of God, the Love of God has given Himself to each of us that we may be One with Him and thereby One with each other.  He is not giving this to us so that we can get to heaven.  He has given and is giving us His Glory so that we can Live on this Earth!

Christ in us is the Hope of Glory!  We are the expressions of God’s Love to a lost and dying world!    God help us to be become lights in the darkened places showing forth the Glory of God!

Blessings as you go through your day!

LOOK A LITTLE CLOSER AT HOPE…


Colossians 1:25-29 – “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

In considering Hope, we need to be reminded that farmers operate in Hope!  Not the hope of the world but the hope of the Bible.  Every farmer or gardener, around August/September gets a Bible (seed catalog).  It shows some of the most unbelievably beautiful pictures of the finished product but you have a blub or a plant. Then, in the sure and certain hope that the book is truthful you put that blub into the ground.  Why?  Because you believe the book.  You’ve seen the picture!   Then all winter long You Hope!  You know that there is life under the ground where you planted the bulb.  That’s the Hope that we have in Christ!

When I look at my life, when I first came to Christ and realize that I have been purposed to be ‘conformed to the image of God’s dear Son’ I am awed with wonder.  But, I take the Book (the Bible) and look at the picture it paints of the finished product.  I do not regard my present state or condition but I regard Christ who lives in me and in that I Hope! 

That is not wishful thinking but a certain expectation!  The Life!  The Hope of Glory!  I anticipate it becoming reality in me and at that point I discover what Christianity is all about!  Hope!  Therefore, I live constantly in a state of ‘excited anticipation.’  No matter what comes my way I Hope, excitedly and expectantly!  Everything God said is going to burst forth in my life!  I expect it, anticipate it, and Hope in it!

Remember in the Book of Acts when Paul is arrested because he declared that Jesus was the Messiah, and that the Promises of the Old Testament had been fulfilled in Jesus?  He stood before the courts of man three times and each time he made reference to why he was there.

Acts 24:15 – – He referred to The Hope that he had from God.

Acts 26:6 – – – He declared The Hope of the Promised made by God to the fathers and says that it was for The Hope of Israel!

Remember back in Genesis 3:15 God’s promise that one day there would be the seed of a woman.  The seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent!  Remember?  That appeared so remote that many did not truly believe it.  That is all that Adam and Eve had, that promise!  That is all mankind had, that promise!  It was passed on from generation to generation! 

Then, Abraham comes along and makes a further promise that one would come who would bless all the families of the earth.  One who would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  All they had were words and promises.  They kept reading the Seed Catalog and then in Hebrews 11 we find that they all died in the faith but they kept looking ahead in Hope!  They could declare ‘We know He is coming!’  They Hoped!  Then in Jesus, He came!  Paul declared,”That is why I am standing here today.  I am declaring that Jesus is the Hope of Israel.”

Now that Jesus has come, He has taken up residence in us and in us He is the Hope of Glory!  We do not have to wait generations for Him to come – He Has Come!  Yet, multitudes of believers live ‘without hope’.  They live in almost utter despair.  They live in a vacuum! 

Sadly, many view the Christian experience and life as:  We’ve been Pardoned and Forgiven.  Some even press in for a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit and freeze there saying, “I’ve got it!”  We somehow think that we’ve got it and there is nothing more.  As time progresses the ‘it’ that we have drifts further and further back in our experience and we look back on it in fond memory but it is Back There!

There was a man that wrote down his religious experience and called it “My Blessed Experience”.  He kept it in a box in the attic of his home.  Anytime a visitor would come by he would bring it down and read it to them saying, “This is what happened to me.”  Then one day a visitor came and he sent his daughter up to get his blessed experience so he could read it but she came down in a panic with terrible news – The rats had eaten his blessed experience!

A significant portion of the church is almost suicidal.  Consider some of the songs of the church, some I no longer sing.  I really don’t want to fly, fly away because I am enjoying this life in Christ and want to fulfill All that Christ has purposed for me to do In this Generation!  Too many are looking for an ‘escape’ when we should be looking for the fulfillment of God’s purposes in our generation.  Christ in us, the hope of glory!  The Hope of Glory is in this life not the sweet by and by.  The pardon that we received is to enable us to interact with God through the Holy Spirit Now!

When I first came to Jesus I would have been satisfied with just being Pardoned! But, as I have walked with Him and studied the Bible I now realize that everything God has promised is Mine!  Yet, when I first came to Him I did not know what He had promised! God gives, and gives, and gives, and continues to give!  We live in Hope!

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

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!