Hope and Joy

Despite all that I go through physically, I am full of hope and joy. The outward and physical circumstances are not all there is to life. I have joy for today, even in living life with a disability. I have joy in the Lord because of all He has done for me and continues to do for me. I have joy because of the hope that I have.

What is this hope that I have? It is the promised hope of Heaven. I can have joy and hope now because I know that this life is not all there is. For me, the best is yet to come! I know that after I die I will be in Heaven in the presence of God. In Heaven there will be no more sickness, no more tears, no more pain, and no more dying. I certainly don’t deserve Heaven. There is nothing I have done, and nothing I ever could do, to get to Heaven on my own. It is a gift that God has given me because of His great mercy, grace, and love.

I would like to share with you some verses from the Bible so that you too can know what God has done for you and so that you might be able to share in this hope with me.


Our Problem
 

None of us can get to heaven on our own. We all have a sin problem. Sin is anything we say, think, or do that does not please God. Sin isn’t just “big” stuff like murder. It is anything that doesn’t please God, such as impure thoughts, a lie, or a selfish attitude. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No matter how good we try to be on our own, we can never be good enough compared to the holiness and perfection of God. Because God is holy, He can’t allow sin into heaven. Sin must be punished. The punishment for sin is death and eternal separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).


God's Solution

The only way for us to be allowed into Heaven was for someone to take our punishment for us. This Someone had to be holy, blameless, and undeserving of death. God promised to send a Savior to the world, One who could take our punishment for us so that we could be forgiven of our sins. In the book of Genesis we read that Abraham was told that it would be through one of his descendants that all the nations would be blessed. Later on, God spoke through prophets about the coming Messiah, the Savior for the world. There are many passages in the Old Testament (the portion of the Bible written before the time of Christ) that predict the coming Messiah. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying, “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). These prophetic words gave details about the sacrificial death of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.


Jesus: His Life

Around the year 2 BC God sent an angel to some shepherds on a hill. The angel proclaimed, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). God had sent His Son, Jesus, to earth as a baby. This is what we celebrate at Christmas – Christ coming to earth, God coming to dwell among men!

Jesus Christ grew up and learned the trade of carpentry. During His life, He never once did anything wrong; He lived a perfect, sinless life. When He was about 30 years old He began His public ministry. He taught others about God and about the kingdom of heaven. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and made the blind to see. He had authority over sickness, demons, and the wind and the waves. He prophesied about His death and resurrection. Jesus was no ordinary man; He truly was the Son of God.

Jesus did not come to earth “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He came because we needed a Savior. In the book of John, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (10:10).


Jesus: His Death

After Jesus had been in public ministry for 3 years, the religious rulers and people of the day rose up against Him. He was mocked, beaten, spit upon, had a crown of thorns thrust upon his head, and was crucified on a cross. He willingly faced this brutal death. Being God, Jesus could have come off of the cross. He could have stopped the men from nailing Him to the tree, but He didn’t. He chose to die, to take the punishment for our sins, to take the punishment that you and I deserve. Though crucified by men, this was all part of God’s sovereign plan for offering salvation to mankind.

While Jesus hung on the cross, God placed upon Him all the sins of the world. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” In all of this God showed us how much He loves us. God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is amazing love, sacrificial love, and love beyond comprehension!


Jesus: His Resurrection

Jesus did die on the cross, but He did not stay dead! He was buried in a tomb, and after 3 days God raised Him to life. This is what we celebrate on Easter – the resurrection of our Lord! Christ “…was raised on the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:4). He conquered death!

The resurrection is not a myth; it is historical fact. There is great Biblical and historical evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There were many, many eyewitness who saw Jesus after He was raised from the dead. Some of these eyewitnesses wrote down what they had seen and heard. One of these eyewitnesses was Jesus’ disciple, John. He wrote, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father [God] and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

After rising from the dead, Jesus spent 40 days on earth appearing to His disciples and others. Then He went back to Heaven. Jesus is still alive and in Heaven today. He is preparing a place in Heaven for all who will believe. Jesus told His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).


Salvation

Jesus is preparing a place in Heaven for all who have believed on Him. Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the only way to get to Heaven. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through Me’” (John 14:6).

One of my favorite Bible verses, and one you may be familiar with, is John 3:16. Have you ever thought carefully about what it means? Read the verse carefully. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

What an awesome gift God offers! We are sinners, deserving of eternal death and separation from God, but because of His great love for us He sent His Son to die in our place! By placing your faith in Christ alone for salvation, God will save you and grant you forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a home in Heaven!


A Home in Heaven

Because I have trusted in Jesus as my Savior, I have the promise of a home in Heaven when I die. This life is not all there is. One day I will be in Heaven standing before my Lord and Savior. I will get to live in Heaven in the presence of God for all eternity! Here is something the book of Revelation (a book of the Bible) says about Heaven: “Then I saw a new Heaven and a New Earth…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’” (21:1, 3-4). One day I will be in Heaven, a place where I will have a body that works, a place where there will be no more tears or pain, and a place that will not need the sun or the moon, because the glory of God will be its light. This is one place I’m glad I’m not going to miss!

Life on this earth, as it is now, is hard, but it is only temporary. I have hope and joy even now because of who God is and what He has done for me. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).


How to become a Christian

If you have never believed on the Lord Jesus, then God is offering the free gift of salvation to you today. The Bible, God’s message to all people, was written for you! “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). If you want to be saved from your sins, all you have to do is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Do you want to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? If so, pray to Him. Tell God that you are a sinner. Ask Him to forgive you for your sins. Thank God for sending His Son to die on the cross for you. Give your life to Him and follow Him as your Lord. If you are unsure about what to say, the words below may be a helpful way to get started.

“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. No matter how good I try to be I can never measure up to Your holiness. Thank you for sending Your Son to die in my place. Please forgive me for my sins, and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the gift of salvation and for your great love for me. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

If you have just trusted in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then you are now a Christian. You have been saved from your sin, given eternal life and the hope of Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! If you are a Christian, God has promised to stay with you forever. You can never lose your salvation. In Hebrews 13:5 God says, “’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

If you just became a Christian, then I would love to hear about it! You can email me at CranberryTeaTime(at)hotmail(dot)com. Let me rejoice with you! I would also like to share with you some Bible verses and resources to help you grow in your faith. This is a decision and a journey that you will never regret!

This has been just a brief account of the life of Christ, the purpose of His death and resurrection, and the salvation that He offers. There is much more about Jesus written in the Bible. If you have further questions, want to know more about Jesus, or want to know about some helpful resources, please let me know. I would be glad to answer questions, share some Bible verses, point you in the direction of a good book, or help in any other way that I can. You may email me at: CranberryTeaTime(at)hotmail(dot)com.

(All verses are taken from the New International Version of the Bible.)

1 comment:

The Heart Of A Woman said...

Congratulations on winning a new blog design. I began reading your blog today. I admire your strength, perseverance, and endurance. Most of all I admire your faith.

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