Monday Morning Musings ... on Tuesday
Had a great Holiday yesterday. Slept in a little, did a lot of yard work with my beautiful wife. Went to an open house for one of our graduates. Grilled some great hamburgers. Loved the sunshine. Didn't set foot in the church building. The only thing that would have made it better was if the grandkids and kids would have been here.
Sunday was a very good day, until the storms Sunday night. Our cable is still out, and some people's power is still out. Lots of trees down, but as far as I know no one in our community was hurt in the storm.
Sunday we enjoyed a very good time of singing during worship. Had a great time of discussion as we looked in the God's Word in my Sunday School class. Our attendance for worship was outstanding. The message stayed with the theme "It's Not Over", although this was the last sermon with that title. We examined Romans 5:1-8 and the big thought was that no matter what you are facing it's not over because you have hope. Verses 1 and 2, tell us that we can have hope in the glory of God. When was the last time you thought about the glory of God? About just how awesome and majestic God is? Given that God loves you and gave his son for you should give you hope. We are also supposed to rejoice in this hope. What made you rejoice this past week? In Philippians 4:4 we are told to "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" We can have hope in our sufferings, in fact we are to rejoice in them. That seems counterintuitive, to rejoice when we suffer. The hope we can have in suffering is in what that suffering produces. Verses 3-4 tells us that suffering produces perseverance in us, that perseverance produces character in us and the character produces hope. How do you think about your own sufferings? When was the last time you were hopeful in your suffering? I won't even bother to ask you when you last rejoiced in your suffering, because for 98% of us the answer would be not sure that I have done this. I am encouraged to hopeful when I read verse 5 and reminded that hope does not disappoint. Hope in the Lord never disappoints. When we are disappointed in something we hoped for, it was not from the Lord. Therefore, our hope must be in the Lord, not ourselves, others or circumstances. We can be hopeful in God, in his Word and will. We can ultimately be have hope in salvation through Jesus Christ. Verses 6 through 8 remind us that he loves us and gave himself for us. That is worthy of hope!
No matter what you are facing, no matter what you are fearing, no matter what you have endured, there is reason to hope. Jeremiah 29:11 encourages us through the words, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." So this week, if you are in any turmoil and are tempted to give up or think that it cannot, or will not change remember that you have hope!