Published Dec 27, 2022
2022 is nearly over, which means the American New Year is almost here! This can be a time of great hope for a bright and successful new year, but it also can be a time of great pessimism, telling yourself that 2023 is just going to be the same as any other year (cue The Price is Right fail music). Sin is still going to be here. All the problems in the world, like war, famine, pestilence, and death, are still going to be here. The problems in my personal life are still going to be here. These statements all hold some truth, but here is the deal: our hope and our mentality don’t rely on what is happening in this world or anything made in it. Our hope relies on what is happening above. And what is happening above? God rules man!… and WOman!
Christians have a LIVING HOPE in Jesus Christ. Because of this hope, we look forward more than we look backward. We look to the sky more than we look at our feet. We have a living hope in the fact that this could be the year that Jesus returns and takes us all home with Him. We have a living hope that in this new year, we will see God do even more amazing things in our lives, our communities, the lives of our loved ones, and our congregations. We have a living hope that God has a big plan, and He is not finished with any of us yet. I know these things, just like Peter did when he wrote these famous words in 1 Peter, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Because I know these things, I can not only face tomorrow, but I look forward to facing tomorrow.
I have faith in what He is doing, and family, you should too.
I have hope when I look at the older pastors, who, like Caleb, finish strong and continue to battle in the mission fields. I have hope in the younger pastors who are stepping up and planting churches away from their home churches and building a legacy on the hard work that God has put in their hearts. I have hope as God continues to bring our family together when I see people speaking together that have never spoken, forming not just alliances but friendships that will last for eternity. I have hope in the leaders that God is calling to step up. I have hope in the children I still see declaring their belief in Jesus Christ in many different languages and people groups. I have hope in the teachers who disciple these children to follow Christ as teenagers and those who disciple them as they enter adulthood. I have hope in these things because I place my hope in Jesus Christ who I see inspiring and powering all these things.
I pray that you have that same hope because we are connected to a living God who gives us a living hope that comes from Him and through Him. It is living because it is powered by Jesus and, therefore, will not die without being resurrected in a more powerful and often unexpected way.
Many fake it, allowing their hope to wither because it was placed in people who have failed them. Some people place it in material things (like the cryptocurrency that just failed). If you really want to retain that living hope, then you are going to need to rest in on Jesus Christ.
Growing up, I sang these words, written by Edward Mote in 1834: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
May these words remind us all that we have a living hope that comes from Jesus! May God Bless all of you in the New Year, my precious and wonderful family, and may we continue to do the work together that will please our Lord and makes Him glad.