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Hope for the Downcast

Beloved, these are troubling, difficult days in which we live.  Just consider some of the sobering events in the news this past month:

 

  • a Malaysian passenger jet is shot down by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board…
  • the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, responsible for some 1000 deaths to date…
  • the aggressive, barbaric, genocidal advancement of ISIS in Iraq, resulting in the displacement and/or death of hundreds of thousands of people…
  • the tragic suicide of comedian Robin Williams, following years of substance abuse and battles with severe depression…
  • the decision of the Church of England to ordain women as bishops, representing a further departure from clear biblical faithfulness…
  • citing confirmed accusations dishonoring the name of Christ, the removal of mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll, and Mars Hill Church, from the church-planting network he co-founded…
  • and on, and on, and on.

 

In this technologically-connected world, our rapid awareness of such events, and many others besides, can quickly leave our heads spinning, and our hearts despairing.  But as overwhelming and distressing as life in this sin-cursed world is – which we experience both directly and indirectly – it is vitally important for Christians to remember that the world has been in this condition ever since Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit.  Scripture often warns us of these harsh realities – see Jn. 15:18-16:4; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.

 

We must also remember that genuine Christians are the only people on the planet who have real, living, blessed, and eternal HOPE!!  As such, we are also the only people with the ability and responsibility to show and tell others how they can know this very same hope through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Oh my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you find yourself downcast and discouraged, weary in heart, cry out to the Lord and lay hold of the hope that is yours in Him!  Spend some time meditating and praying through passages like  Psalm 33;  Psalm 42; Jn. 16:33; Rom. 5:1-11; Titus 2:11-14; and 1 Pet. 1:3-25 (just to name a few).  Ask our generous God for help in living by faith in all He is and has given in Christ.  He will not disappoint.

 

And at the same time, purpose to be a faithful “steward of hope” as you rub shoulders with those who are yet hopeless, and helpless in their sins.  The exhortation of 1 Pet. 3:15-16 is always timely and relevant:

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

 

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Greg

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