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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cape May Lighthouse
Cape May lighthouse
This lighthouse is on the very southern tip of New Jersey.
We walked over five miles yesterday on sand and boardwalks during the peaks of sunshine and in the downpours of rain!

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"A Pleasant Hope"

"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2,3).

When Brooksyne and I got married in 1976 we lived near Pleasant Hope, a small town in Southwestern Missouri about twenty-five miles north of Springfield. In fact our very first joint checking account was opened at the Bank of Pleasant Hope. I don't know the basis of this name but the names of many geographical locations have a religious significance, as they were settled by devout people of faith.  In Lancaster County we have a village named Mount Hope.  Since devoted religious immigrants settled this area in the 18th century it likely represents an expression of faith.

Hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings.  Our relationship with God always involves faith, and active faith in Him always leads to hope.  When our faith in God is weak, inactive or non-existent we have either no hope or a misplaced hope.

Today we want to share about a pleasant hope that is the heritage of all true followers of Christ. We are included in the "beloved" that John writes to who are "Now (present tense) the children of God."

As children of God there's a lot about our future, both the immediate and distant, which is very unclear to us.  I believe this in part is the sense of the expression from our text, "it has not appeared as yet what we will be."  An old gospel hymn puts it this way, "Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand."

The aged apostle John writes with much certainty about the future, "we know that when He appears." His future appearance, although mocked and scorned by the world, is a fixed reality.

At that time "we will be like Him, and we will see Him just as He is!" Elsewhere the Scriptures refer to the return of Christ as the "Blessed Hope" and it truly is.

Today I am so blessed and challenged by the latter phrase in our daily text, "And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."  This hope is not a mere wish but an absolute certainty and leads to an unshakable confidence concerning the future promise of God.

As a result of this we, as God's children, will purify ourselves because our coming Lord is absolutely pure. A commentary notes, "The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ.  This process will not be complete until we see Christ face to face, but knowing that this is our ultimate destiny should motivate us to purify ourselves.  To purify means to keep morally straight, free from the corruption of sin. God also purifies us, but there is action we must take to remain morally fit."

This action, I believe, is staying true to the pure doctrine of Scripture, not just reading it but living it.  We must be vigilant in keeping God's standards as our rule book, rather than the ever changing standards of this world that reflects people's human nature, not the spiritual nature that has been redeemed and refined by the inerrant Holy Word of God.

Genuine Christ-directed faith leads to a real hope and that leads to an amazing, unexplainable ability to rejoice whatever the circumstances.  Surely some of you are facing very trying circumstances as you read this.  Today I encourage you to focus on the hope we have in Christ and I end with a thought-provoking saying I really like: "Man's way leads to a hopeless end, but God's way leads to an endless hope."  Amen!!!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we share the sentiment Paul expressed when he wrote, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."   Our hope is not limited to this earthly existence, but rather it flourishes and yields growing anticipation as we contemplate the blessed future event of our Lord's soon return.  Being aware of our unworthiness and inclination to sin gives us all the more motivation to fix our hope on You. We want to set our affections on things above, not on things of this earth, for we are dead to the world and our life is hidden with Christ through You, Father. Purify our thoughts, actions, and conversation as we with renewed determination fix our hope on the Everlasting One.

Race car with Acts 20:34
Yesterday's message prompted a Missouri reader who has a race car to share a photo of his car with Acts 20:24 along the side. He does so as a means of witnessing to other drivers and spectators!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"The Lighthouse" (Video)  

"My Hope Is In The Lord"  Video

"The Solid Rock"  Video  "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less" A beautiful acapella arrangement.

Call 2 Fall logoRegardless of what country you may live in we sure need a revival! On Sunday morning July 5 our church will join many others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19).

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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