Our Only Hope for Peace and Joy

Hope

Death and destruction seem to be everywhere recently. Chaos, darkness, and despair have brought many to experience hopelessness and fear. For centuries, our world has been shaken by violence, wars, plagues and disasters. This has been the same in every nation past and present and to every people group. It’s nothing new; it’s just new to each generation.

The recent earthquakes in Nepal, the destruction of churches and Christian homes by IS militants, and the violent riots in the U.S. have destroyed not just buildings but lives, thousands of lives. Can things get worse?  Maybe. Is there any hope? Always. In a world that seems hopeless there is an answer. There has always been an answer yet throughout history most have rejected the only true Hope that brings real peace and joy. But others continue to accept and even give up their lives for this Hope; their hope is knowing the Creator God and His eternal love.

Most recently, a group of Islamic State (IS) militants captured and beheaded 21 men in Libya who were Christians. However, one of the men, Matthew, was actually not a Christian. He was asked moments before being beheaded if he would turn to Islam. He turned down the offer. Voice of the Martyrs at persecution.com wrote about Matthew: “After reportedly witnessing the ‘immense faith’ of the Egyptian believers, he decided to become a follower of Christ. On camera, one of the terrorists asked Matthew, ‘Do you reject Christ?’ [his response] ‘Their God is my God,’ he responded, and he became one of the 21 men laying down their lives for their faith in Christ.”

Matthew’s hope, even when faced with death, was the God of the Christian believers. Their hope is eternal not earthly. King David placed his hope alone in God. He wrote:

“…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,” Psalm 65:5

For those who have come to know God’s love through Jesus Christ, they are the ones who hope in Him alone. No bank accounts, houses, possessions, accomplishments, social programs, or positions can bring the real hope for peace and joy in this world. Paul knew this hope and encouraged the believers in Jesus:

“Be joyful in hope…” (Romans 12:12),“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

Do you know this hope? The hope of eternal life with God through His Son, Jesus Christ? If you do, then, you have the answer for the world, to those around you who are hopeless and shaken by these recent events. Peter told the Christians who were living in desperate times of persecution for their faith to be ready at any time to share this Hope with others. Like the Egyptian men in Libya, would someone see my “immense faith” in Jesus and say, “her God is my God”? I hope so. How about you?

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

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Real Everlasting Benefits

Easter Stained glass

Every week, I throw them away or open them out of curiosity. They end up in my outside mailbox or computer mailbox. It’s those annoying ads from businesses, credits cards, and even government organizations promising amazing benefits if you accept their offer. I ponder, “What are the real benefits”? “What impact will this have on my life”? Then I make a choice – throw it away or accept the offer.

Around two thousand years ago, a Jewish carpenter, named Jesus Christ made some amazing claims and about himself and what he offered to those who believed in him:

Jesus is God – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” John 14:9

Jesus lived a sinless life – “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” John 8:28-29

Jesus is the one and only way to God – “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6

Jesus is able to forgive sins – “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves. ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’” Luke 7:48-49

Jesus is able to give eternal life – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…” John 11:25

Jesus would die and come back to life – “and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” Luke 18:31-33

Jesus came to give a meaningful life and peace to those who believe – “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” John 10:10; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14:27

Why would this Jesus, the Son of God, die as an innocent man to forgive the world’s sin and give His believers eternal life? It comes from a heart of love. “God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Because of His love, Jesus offers to those who believe in Him: forgiveness of sins, a way to know God personally, and everlasting life. What amazing benefits of believing in Jesus to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world! And the price? It is free to anyone anywhere although it cost Jesus everything – His life. Who wouldn’t want to take this offer that gives eternal benefits?

During this week of remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection, I am grateful for these everlasting benefits. How could I ever repay Jesus for all the goodness he has given to me and other believers around the world? Could I give him my own life? Today many believers in Jesus are giving up their lives for Him. Just recently, 21 men were beheaded for their faith in Jesus in Libya. One of those men left behind a wife and three sons. His wife’s response, “If they want all three of our kids, it isn’t too much [to give] for Christ.”  She and many others like her around the world are ready to give whatever they have for the benefits of knowing Jesus.

Do you know Jesus and His love and forgiveness?  Have you received the benefits He promises for those who know him? If you do, then it will show to the world in how you live. Nothing is too priceless to give to the One who gave it all for our benefit. Even our very lives.

 For more about Jesus, check this app: app.jesusfilmmedia.org