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Jeff Temple now serves at the Pastor of Counseling and Discipleship at Crosspoint Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan. Jeff served on the BCC staff for nearly 20 years prior to moving to Michigan. He thinks deeply about how the gospel impacts all of life and serves as guest blogger for BCC.

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A Future and a Hope

Did you make any Resolutions?

  The New Year is still fresh and so there is time to add to your list of Resolutions. Popular resolutions are about spending time with family, diet and exercise, to stop smoking or drinking, enjoying life more, getting out of debt, to learn something new, helping others and to get organized. If you are like the millions who make a resolution each year, you are hoping to improve your life.

  According to a website 92% of resolutions made are never kept. People tend to make resolutions when they are feeling down or discouraged. It makes sense. If you look back at the top ten, would people make these resolutions if life was already good for them? We want a better life and we think that if we can just lose a few pounds or enjoy life more we’d be happy.  However, as the weight fluctuates or temptations become overwhelming, we quickly lose hope of the rewards we longed for.

One Resolution Every Believer Needs to Make

  Here is one for you to consider adding to your resolutions: to regularly meditate on the living hope (1Pet 1:3-5) that doesn't fade away and that can sustain you for the long haul, no matter what may happen.  

  C. S. Lewis penned, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  

  We look for happiness here on earth, but worldly happiness is not the same as biblical joy. Worldly happiness is getting what I want. It is self-centered, temporal and hard to maintain. Biblical joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope; it is something or someone that provides a lasting source of happiness.

The only Hope that lasts!

All earthly things fade away, but not our future as believers. No one knows what this year will bring, but we are likely to have trials.  I spoke with someone today who is already facing a very difficult year. Her spouse has left for another lover. As we spoke by phone she was angry, sad and despairing. I could not offer her the hope of her husband’s return, because no one knows the future.  But I could offer her the hope of knowing that God has GOOD in store for her now and for eternity.

  As she meditates about her joy in God Himself (Ps 4:7; 16:11; 21:6; 43:3-4) and that He will never reject her, she gains hope in this terrible moment of her life (Isa 49:15-16; Rom 8:35-39). Knowing God and His ways, and how He daily attends to her needs (Php 4:19) she is fortified to face the impending divorce and sustain her children.

  How God is going to sustain her today is still too small a hope. She also needs a future hope, to know what the Bible proclaims for her future - her resurrection from the dead to joy everlasting. The writers of the NT refer to our resurrection around forty times and the general context is how we as Christians are to have hope. The reason for this living hope is that we will finally experience no more pain from sin, no more trials and temptations, but the reality of joy forevermore.  Our future and our hope is being with God and knowing the infinite and incredible joy of His love (1Cor 13:12-13).

  The New Year resolution that will never fail is to let God be our joy even in the midst of trials (Jas 1:2-4), to maintain a hope throughout the trials based on His promises of our future glory with Him (Rom 5:3-5).

  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  - 1Pet 1:8-9

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