Look in the Scriptures!
In a world torn with war, crime and bloodshed—and now with the coronavirus—we have glorious doors of HOPE, doors through which we can glimpse a new world resplendent in beauty, where peace reigns supreme, joys overflow, and happiness crowns the lives of those blessed sons and daughters of God. Have we cracked open the door to see—by faith—the joy and happiness that lies beyond?
The Bible is aglow with these doors of HOPE, and I’m sure each of us has a special “door”—a verse or verses that lift our spirits when life grows difficult, and inspire us to press on determined to overcome every evil that hinders our progress.
But as we strive to run the Way of His commandments, we stumble and fall again and again and again—in word and deed—because of our weak, sinful and rebellious natures. We deeply regret our transgressions and long to have them erased from our record—and praise be to God, in His great mercy He has provided just such a door of HOPE!
To the truly penitent He says, “If wicked people turn away from all their sins and obey my laws and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten.” (Ezek. 33:14-16 NLT). Again, in Hebrews 8:12 (NLT) that same gracious promise is repeated. “And I will forgive their wrong doings, and I will never again remember their sins.” He even points out the way to gain His forgiveness. “Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good…. No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey me and let me help you…” (Isa. 1:16-19 NLT).
Isaiah gives further instructions about the way to HOPE. “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
It is possible to so change our lives that those knowing what we formerly were, meeting us a few years later would not recognize us as the same person.
How Much CHANGE?
There is an old-time story of two brothers who were both convicted of stealing sheep. Part of the punishment was being branded on the forehead with the letters ST, to indicate “sheep thief.” One brother couldn’t bear the stigma, became bitter, and moved away. Eventually he died and was forgotten. The other brother chose a different course. He said, “I can’t run from what I did, so I’ll stay here and win back the respect of my neighbors and myself.” As the years passed, he built a solid reputation for integrity. One day a stranger saw him, now an old man, with the letters on his forehead. The stranger asked a townsman what the letters meant. “It happened a long time ago,” said the villager, “and I’ve forgotten the particulars, but I think the letters are an abbreviation for ‘saint.’”
Our determination to change plays a very significant role in our progress into holiness. We are not dealing with man but with the mighty God of heaven who offers us eternal life if we meet His standard.
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Our only desire is to discover what God thinks of us, God who searches the heart. As He looks into our heart, what does He find?
What does God think of our work? Does He find us genuine and sincere, free from all deception and a stranger to hypocrisy? The question is, Are we earnest? Are our motives right? Do we work from our heart, or is there some thought of personal gain or prestige in our work?
Do we serve to present a good appearance before others, or to merit a place in Christ’s eternal Kingdom? Can we realistically expect to get eternal value out of our lifework? Can we honestly claim the HOPE that is reserved for the faithful worker?
What about our influence? Is it constantly for good? Are others, seeing us, more convinced than ever that the Christian life is the only life worth living?
Are the things we are doing pleasing God? Is there any pleasure we indulge that is driving us from His presence? Would we be glad for Christ to come and find us anywhere we go?
What does God think of our devotional life? Do we spend enough time in deep meditation upon the promises of God? Do we live close to God? Do we speak often with Him in communion and prayer? Is God and the sublime HOPE He has set before us real in our thoughts and in our lives? Is the prospect of life eternal the impelling power of our lives?
Are our lives saturated with the holiness of God? Do we say prayers, or do we pray? Is our spiritual life vital to us at all times?
What does God think of our progress in living the Christ-life? Is our grasp on things Divine secure? Is our faith settled and our inner peace undisturbable? Are our old weaknesses disappearing, and are we making real progress against our besetting sins? Have we conquered any of those sins which once stood conqueror over us? Are we learning to hate every sin, wherever it be found? God’s door of HOPE depends on our growth into holiness!!
We know we are satisfied with the great things God has offered us—but is God satisfied with us? Is He pleased with you and me? For in the final analysis, all that will matter is His estimate of us. He is the One who opens to us that everlasting door of HOPE—“EVEN LIFE FOR EVERMORE”!!!
Hope is the anchor of the soul, the stimulus to action,
and the incentive to achievement.
God makes a promise. Faith believes and works for it, hope
anticipates it, and patience quietly awaits it.
Most men see only a hopeless end. The Christian rejoices
in a a sure and endless hope.
Although often weak in its beginning stage, a seemingly small faith can become stronger and stronger until it accomplishes
greater and greater things.
I feel like pressing on, pressing on;
God has set before my eyes one supreme eternal prize,‘Tis the land where no one dies, to which I’m pressing on!