Is There Any Good News?

After hearing about disastrous world events or learning of heartbreaks your friends are experiencing, you may wonder, “Is there ever any good news?”

ABSOLUTELY! What is it? I want to draw your attention to the ultimate good news. In Greek, the word used is euangelion, a proclamation of glad tidings, the gospel.

The word gospel is no longer familiar to many, and for those of us who understand its significance, this amazing, good news has lost its glimmer. I first read the phrase “preach the gospel to yourself everyday” in a book by Jerry Bridges. He asserted that the gospel isn’t merely something we believed at some past point in time, but the gospel bestows continual, ongoing effects of which we should remind ourselves each day.  

What is this good news of salvation?

It is inclusive – The gospel is the power of salvation for all who believe. Romans 1:16

It is exclusive – There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Jesus who lived, died, was buried, and was raised from death to appear to many is the only way. Acts 4:12, 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

It is complete – When Jesus died on the cross his final word tetelestai means, “It is finished!”  The debt of sin has been paid in full. For all those things we have done wrong and could never do enough good to make right, Jesus paid the price God required, a perfect sacrifice, Himself. John 19:28

It is ongoing. I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection which Christ Jesus first possessed for me. Philippians 3:12

It is now. We are given His Spirit and His power to live in this world as overcomers not making a name or fortune for ourselves but to make His name known. Nothing can separate us from His love. He is always with us.  His grace is always sufficient, and God’s strength is best showcased through our weakness. Romans 8:35-39, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9

It is still future.  The empty tomb proclaims that we have hope, not only for this life but for the eternal life to come. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to you. Matthew 28:6, Romans 8:18

Whoever will call upon the Lord will be saved.  The invitation is for you! Romans 10:9-10

O Come, O Come Immanuel

O Come, O come Immanuel and ransom captive Israel.

That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears…

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight…

Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Each year when I hear this song my spirit is drawn into the minor key of longing for the fulfillment of promise, waiting in darkness for the long expected Messiah. The good news of Christmas is that God has brought the light of His Son, Jesus, to people trapped in darkness.

Yet even as we sing, “Joy to the World the Lord has come,” there is still an intense longing for what is yet to come. Feeling joy and excited anticipation is not the story for everyone this season, and to suggest that it should be only magnifies the isolation and depression some people are experiencing during this season.

Even as believers, sometimes the light is merely a dim flicker nearly overcome by the brokenness around us or within us, living each day in incredible physical pain or the anguish of separation from someone dear to us.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish the light of Christ. John 1:5 Sometimes instead of a bright light appearing, we are given strength from God to endure the darkness a little bit longer, to wait with the tiniest glimmer of hope knowing the light will one day come.

While we rejoice that the birth and death of Jesus is God’s provision for our salvation, our spirits still cry out, “O Come, O come Immanuel” as we await the glorious return of Immanuel.

Hope

“HOPE is the best stimulant.” This phrase, taken from a fortune cookie, was the writing prompt for my son’s creative writing class. Since I am having trouble coming up with ideas to blog about, I decided to begin there.

First, in order to pursue this idea, I want to describe stimulant. I think a good synonym would be motivator. Hope is what motivates us to engage in living. I include engage because I know there are times when I have been alive but not engaged in living. Some days it is unbelievably difficult to show up for life, but today is not one of those days so I am contemplating hope.

What is hope? In a general sense, hope is an expectation of something better, that something broken can be fixed or that something empty will be filled and that loss is not the end but believing redemption follows.

The longer the delay, the harder it is to hope.  When my husband’s military duties permitted him to return at the end of the week, I could anticipate his return. However, when he was deployed for a year, it was much harder to hope for that day. It is easier to hope for something certain than something that might happen. Nothing is guaranteed unless you know Jesus, but if you have trusted him there is always hope. In Him we have a sure hope

  • That He is with us always even to the end of the age
  • That God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • That He is able to keep each one of us from stumbling and make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.

This hope motivates us to persevere even when our earthly hopes shatter. While earthly hopes may disappoint, the hope of the glory of heaven can only exceed our wildest imaginings.

Knots & Tangles

I enjoy discovering tangible visible pictures which are able to point us to spiritual truth, so sometimes I worry I fill my blog with these too familiar analogies that have been heard over and over. The image to which I am referring, I first encountered in a book by Corrie ten Boom. She was sewing an intricate needlepoint design. When she worked, if she looked at the back, it was a bunch of knots and tangles that made no sense. When she turned it over, varied colored threads and stitching were interwoven to create a beautiful picture.

In this present life, we may only see the tangles and knots, but God knows how everything will appear once the tapestry of our life is turned over. The black grief and trials that crisscross and obscure our understanding of the here and now are merely the background of our eternal future where the gold thread of grace and the red thread of redemption triumph.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him. – Author Unknown

GODISNOWHERE

Many of us are muddling through these days feeling helpless, hopeless or as if life is out of control.  As we view our current circumstances, do we believe “God is nowhere” or are we able to perceive “God is now here”? What we feel depends on perspective. When I think God is distant, I lose hope. When I forget God is sovereign, things seem out of control.

Where is your hope? If I could sit with you, I would want you remind you that God is now here in this very moment. Sometimes our vision becomes cloudy, as if we have spiritual cataracts, and we require surgery from our Great Physician.  Unfortunately, this process of gaining spiritual sight is not as quick and uncomplicated as having a cataract removed from our physical eyes. The process may take an entire lifetime… until we see Jesus fact to face. If 20/20 spiritual vision is seeing people and circumstances with God’s perspective, we have a long way to go; however, as our vision becomes unclouded, our hope grows.

It may be hard to hold onto hope, but you can always hold on to Jesus. Even better, He is holding fast to you and nothing can snatch you from His hand.

May the God of HOPE fill you with all HOPE as you trust in Him Romans 15:13