Jesus, Our Only Hope

The idea for starting a blog came a few years ago when looking for a way to preserve family history through stories and by wanting to document some of my personal experiences. I knew though that the main message I wanted to convey through those stories was the Hope of Christ. Each of us faces different day-to-day challenges in life, and some of you have encountered more difficult challenges than others. The past year was different from any most of us have ever witnessed while we contended with similar challenges collectively. A virus which led to a pandemic. Social Distancing. Masks. Quarantine. Separation from loved ones. Restaurant and business closures. Unemployment. Virtual school. Virtual worship services. Illnesses and deaths. Politics. Elections. Isolation and loneliness. A distressing year.

In October just before elections were held while on my way to work, I passed by a sign displayed in our neighbor’s lawn. By then I had decided that voting for either Trump or Biden would be more of a compromise than I was willing to make. That is not meant to say that I expected the same decision to be made by others, just that I knew it was the right decision for me. I believed then, and still do, that damage would come to our country either way, through either candidate / political party. Damage would come by means of immoral and unethical policies, by politicians who lie, who cheat, and who are immoral and unethical in their personal lives and as government officials. I could not and would not place my hope in either of the given choices. Our neighbor’s sign was a strong reminder for me of where true hope lies. 

Since that day in October when I drove by the yard sign, upheaval and division in our country have grown. President Trump has refused to concede the election, claiming that he won and that there was widespread election fraud. In spite of those claims by the President, his own Attorney General William Barr stated in an interview with the AP that the Justice Department has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” Days of upheaval and division have turned into weeks, and weeks have turned into months. It is grievous to see the witness of the Christian faith damaged due to defending unrighteousness, immoral and unethical behavior of political leaders. Some have been willing to allow friendships and relationships to be jeopardized or sacrificed because of differences over politics or political leaders.

As Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, he wasn’t my choice and he may not have been your choice either. Christians though must follow God’s mandate to pray for him, to support him when he’s right, and to oppose him when he’s wrong. That’s the way it should have been for President Trump and that’s the way it must be for President-elect Biden. Christians must be about God’s business. We must make sharing the Gospel of Christ our most important calling and highest priority. We must defend truth and righteousness and integrity and honor, and not compromise any of it for the sake of any political leader. Our hope will never be found in any of them.

Though 2020 may not be remembered fondly, it wasn’t without its blessings. It wasn’t without the presence or goodness of God. He is still sovereign over this world. He is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is still faithful to His promises. I believe in the message on my neighbor’s sign, and on the one that we purchased through them which is still displayed in our front yard: Jesus 2020 Our Only Hope. Though now I think of it as … Jesus 2021 Our Only Hope. I profess Hope in Christ and I hold unswervingly to it. Praise be to God.

HOPE NUGGET: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful [Hebrews 10:23].

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Throw Your Cares Upon God!

While many tonight are marking the end of the year and celebrating the start of a new year surrounded by friends (or strangers) in an atmosphere of noisemakers and fireworks and loud music, I’m comfortably relaxing at home in my recliner. The calm and quiet of this evening has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the past year. It’s been a good year. A blessed year. In countless ways. That doesn’t mean though that the year wasn’t without its problems. It had its share of troubles. For me and for you.

Today, on the final day of the year, not all is well and not all is perfect. Some of you are carrying great burdens. Some of you are facing major trials. Some of you are not in a celebratory mood. Your burdens are weighing you down. Though my burdens and concerns may not be as great as some of you, I too carry them into the new year…. The concern of a beloved family member in his illness… Disappointment… Important decisions to be made… Heartache for a close friend and her family… An unspoken situation which is affecting dear friends… Sadness… Anxiety… Weariness… Stress… A host of trials facing family and friends….

Though the year included grief, illness, sadness, and even though some of these troubles are left unresolved, my Hope is in The One who is able to carry my burdens. As a follower of Christ, I can trust the promises given by God to the people of God. If you’re a follower, you can trust those promises of help too. If you’re not a follower, if you haven’t repented of sin and turned to Him as your Savior, I urge you to do it now. Don’t enter another year, don’t go into 2020 without having made the choice to follow Christ. Choosing to follow Him doesn’t mean escaping all trials, but it does mean having the burden of sin removed and it does mean having access to the multitude of promises of God found throughout the Bible.

May 2020 be a year filled with the Love, Forgiveness, Peace, and Hope of Christ for you and yours.

HOPE NUGGET (1 Peter 5:7):
We are told to cast our anxieties (or cares) upon the Lord which literally means that we throw them upon Him. He is able to carry the burden for us AND He cares THAT MUCH for us!