Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Stained glass in abandoned church
I took this photo in a Lancaster City church that has been closed.

"Our Living Hope"

Message summary: The living hope for the follower of Christ is a result of God’s great mercy and the new birth He has given us, grounded in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:2-4).

Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia has produced several movies that provide a witness for Christ. Many of our readers have seen at least one of them. We use them in our counseling ministry and find they really connect.

Pastor in "Courageous" movieIn one of them, “Courageous”, the story line includes a family that is devastated at the loss of their young daughter in a car accident. A scene that especially blesses me is that of the faithful pastor who comforts the family at the funeral with these words:

"What can we, as mere men, say to a grieving and shattered heart? We speak today because we have a Living Hope. Death is no respecter of persons. Death is no respecter of youth. Death is a painful intruder and a pernicious reminder of our human condition. But I stand before you today to declare that we have a Living Hope and that causes us to rejoice greatly. You, see, our hope today is found in the fact that Jesus is no longer entombed. He lives. Because He lives, the grieving, broken heart has hope and reason to rejoice”.

What an aspiring perspective hope brings to any earthbound disaster or personal loss and what a tremendous spiritual blessing it is to having a living hope! A simple definition of hope is an emotional state, the opposite of despair, that promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. But Biblical hope is grounded in the absolute certainty of God's care, not just a wishful thought for a positive outcome that may or may not be true.

Sadly there are scores and scores of people who live day after day without hope. These are the kind of people that Paul wrote of in his letter to the Thessalonian believers. Upon the death of a loved one they were not to "grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Because of Christ they had a living hope.

But at times even for the believer hopelessness and despair can take hold of our emotions? It happens when we take our focus off the Lord and His promises. The great hymn writer Isaac Watts provides an interesting description, "Despair tells us that difficulty is insurmountable."

Living hope for the follower of Christ is a result of God’s great mercy and the new birth He has given us, grounded in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The apostle Peter wrote these words to encourage believers undergoing various trials and persecutions. Some thirty years after Christ’s resurrection the church entered a time of horrific persecution during Nero’s reign. It was shortly after this that Peter was martyred for his faith.

Hebrews 6:19All of us who trust in Christ have this living hope. As we live out our lives we have many of the same problems as others. But our perspective differs based on an empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our hope is alive and our eternal future awaits us, no matter the present circumstances. Billy Graham characteristically stated it so simply, "As a Christian I have hope not just for this life but for Heaven and the life to come".

Today we need to hold fast to our living hope. Never lose sight of it. Be assured, God will hold us fast. The writer of Hebrews spoke of this hope as "an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19). As God’s children we have a living hope and an assurance that God will see us through. I encourage you this day to keep the presence of our living hope ever before you! In doing so, I feel certain that you will be encouraged in your circumstance and more importantly strengthened in your faith!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want to fix my thoughts upon the living hope I have in Jesus Christ my Lord. I anchor my soul in the bedrock of Your Holy Word so that when other viewpoints counter the truths presented in Your Word or when it seems my world comes crushing down my anchor remains firm. When difficulties appear insurmountable remind me that I serve an extraordinary God who does not rely on natural solutions but works in the supernatural realm to meet every one of my needs. I am not tossed to and fro by wishful thinking but am firmly grounded in the living hope of our resurrected Savior and it is in His name that I pray. Amen.

All this week our messages will be on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as taught in each of the major sections of the New Testament.
  • Monday's message was from the Gospel accounts.
  • Tuesday's message we examined how the resurrection was a core element in apostolic preaching in Acts.
  • Wednesday's message and today's message consider the resurrection teaching in the epistles.
  • Friday we will look at the resurrection teaching in the Book of Revelation.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Living Hope"  Video  Calvary Church worship team with an introduction from our pastor.

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

"He Will Hold Me Fast"  Video  Shane and Shane

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Finally today: Some humor

For many years I have enjoyed Shane and Shane (which is actually the first names of the two singers). The Babylon Bee managed to get two satire stories from them.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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