Linggo, Nobyembre 16, 2014

Don’t Lose Hope

Don’t Lose Hope

WHEN TRAGEDIES PILE up one after the other, we often find ourselves buried in deep sorrow.  We struggle to keep our ground and stand firm through tough times, but problems sometimes blow so hard that we cannot help but to stumble and fall.

     There are even times when it seems as though we could no longer bear the pain and the sufferings we experience in this world.  Troubled and confused, we feel like giving up and losing whatever hope is left in us.

     How we wish that someone would prod us to be strong!  How we long to rely on something or someone powerful to give us support!

A ray of hope
     We need not look far to find what we are searching for.  Our Lord Jesus Christ presents to us a message that shines as a ray of hope in the darkest moments of our lives:

     “ … Don’t be worried!  Have faith in God and have faith in me.  There are many rooms in my Father’s house.  I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true.  I am going there to prepare a place for each of you.  After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me.  Then we will be together.”  (Jn. 14:1-3, Contemporary English Version)

     Christ tells us to stop worrying and gives us a good reason to do so.  He promised that if we have faith in God and in Him, He would take us to the place He has prepared for us in His Father’s home in heaven.  Thus, even though the world where we live is full of misery, we still have hope.  We still have Christ’s reliable promise to look forward to.  He assures us:

     “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”  (Mt. 23:35,  New King James Version)

     The Bible goes on to describe what those who have faith in Him can expect in God’s heavenly home where Christ promised to take them.  Apostle John narrates:

     “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  (Rev. 21:1-2, 4, Ibid.)

     In the Holy City, there will be no more pain, sorrow, hardship, and death.  All the things that make life hard for us here on earth will be over.

     Indeed, Christ’s promise brings us great consolation.  So, instead of falling helpless in the face of troubles, let us set our hope on the peaceful life in heaven that awaits those who have faith in God and in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have faith and obey
     For us to have a firm hope in the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must make sure that we truly have faith in Him and in God.  We should not be falling for the mistake of limiting our faith in Him to mere profession of belief.  Jesus declares:

     “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do the things which I say?”  (Lk. 6:46, Ibid.)

     To proclaim that Christ is our Lord and Savior has its virtue, but it does not guarantee one’s supposed faith.  Jesus expects us not only to acknowledge Him but also to do what he says.  By obeying Christ’s teachings, we prove that we truly believe or have faith in Him:

     “So Jesus said to those who believed in Him, ‘If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples’.”  (Todays English Version)

    There is more to being a true believer of Christ than just calling Him “Lord” and claiming to have faith in Him.  Thus, if we want Christ to come back for us and take us to the Holy City, then we should truly believe in Him and prove our faith by means of obeying his teaching.”

     Christ teaches that everyone should enter into the fold through Him:

     “I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe.”  (Jn. 10:9, Revised English Bible)

     The fold or flock is the Church of Christ:

     “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”  (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)

          Therefore, in order for us to prove our faith in Christ and have a firm hope in His promise, we must be members of the Church of Christ.

Christ’s assurance
     Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself guarantees the members of His Church that He will fulfill His promise of salvation to them.  He gives an assurance to those who have heard His voice and followed His command to enter into His fold as His sheep:

     “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
     “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”  (Jn. 10:27-28, NKJV)

     As the good Shepherd, Christ cares for the sheep of His flock or the members of His Church and promises to give them eternal life.  Thus, when He established His Church, he vowed that not even death will overcome it:

     “And so I tell you, Peter, you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it.”  (Mt. 16:18, TEV)

     The apostles and the early Christians held on to Christ’s firm promise.  They laid their hope on and found comfort in the great reward that they expected to receive on the day of the Lord’s return:

     “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.
     “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
     “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”  (I Thess. 4:16-18, NKJV)

     The members of the first-century Church of Christ found comfort in recalling Christ’s promise of everlasting life.  We can also hope for the same if we will become part of the true Church of Christ.

Strive to enter
     As Christ resolute in His promise to His Church, so should we be determined in obeying His commandment to enter in it:

     “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mt. 7:13-14, Ibid.)

     Christ is the gate or door that leads to life and to enter is to come inside the fold or the Church of Christ (Jn. 10:9, REB; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation).  In taking such step, we may encounter a lot of trials and persecution, especially since doing so requires us to relinquish our former ways and embrace the faith of Jesus.  Nevertheless, Christ wants us to go on and do what He says.  The obstacles we will face should not surprise us because Christ Himself forewarned that the path to eternal life is narrow and difficult.  If we truly believe in Christ, our faith in Him will guide us to keep His commandments, through which we will attain our salvation:

     “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
     “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write:  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”.’ ‘Yes’, says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’.”  (Rev. 14:12-13, NKJV)

     Problems and worries will always be around while we are still in this world.  But let us not allow them to hinder us from believing in our Lord Jesus Christ and His promise of eternal life.  Let us prove our faith in Him by following His call for us to be part of His true Church—the Church of Christ.

     Should troubles keep on getting in our way, we should not lose hope.  Christ is our inspiration:

     “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (Jn. 16:33, New International Version)

Pamphlets/Pasugo God’s Message/November 2002/Pages 21-22

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