Earth Day: Worship the Creator, not the created

Nathan Jackson

The times we live in are so troubled. In today’s economy and culture there is little to no hope for the future it seems; however, God is never caught off guard or by surprise.  God knows the future! 

You are not the only one who has felt there is no hope. Even Bible heroes had their times when they wanted to give up.  Job, Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, even the powerful prophet in the Old Testament, Elijah, felt hopeless. All of them looked to God and re-found the hope in Him in whom they believed. 

 As humans we have definitions of hope that are different from God’s. We might hope our team wins on Friday night, or we might hope we don’t lose our jobs or our house.  But the Biblical definition of hope is not a hope-so but an I know-so. Our hope in God is surer than the sun rising in the morning.   

 Where is hope found? It is in the Bible, the Word of God. Psalm 119:74 “I have put my hope in your word”, in Psalm 119:81 “… I have put my hope in your word”, therefore in the Bible I place my hope. 

Here is real hope. When a person reads the Word of God (Bible) they can know for certain that they have a secure and certain future in Him. There is nothing on this earth more certain than hope in God. He will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us. He is our anchor in the present and for the future. 

Hope moves us forward: Christian hope is a realistic expectation of and joyful longing for future good and glory based upon the reliable word of God. The more we long for the future, the less we will yearn for the past. Hope deletes regrets and underlines expectations. It diminishes drag and increases momentum. 

 Hope energizes the present: It is worth living today because the eternal tomorrow in heaven with Jesus is so much brighter. What’s doomsday for most, is coronation day for us. What most dread, we desire. 

Hope lightens our darkness: Hope does not deny nor remove the reality of dark and painful providences. However, it does shine a bright light into these valleys and points to the sunrise at the end of them. 

Hope increases faith: Faith fuels hope, but hope also fuels faith. As Hebrews 11 makes very clear, hope and faith are very closely tied together, the one enlivening the other. Without faith we cannot soar in hope, but without hope faith will limp home. The greatest believers are the ones with the greatest hope…and vice versa. 

Hope is infectious: Just as we can drag others down by our recriminations and moping, so we can inspire and motivate through our inspiring hoping. It not only encourages other sagging Christians but it also impacts depressed unbelievers who cannot but ask a reason for the hope they see in us (1 Pet. 3:15). 

Hope is practical: Hope does not mean we just sit and wait for Christ to appear. Not at all! Hope motivates action. When we hope for better days for the church, we serve the church. When we hope for the conversion of our children, we are motivated to share the Gospel with them. When we hope for God’s blessing on His Word, we listen to it much more avidly. Hope produces action. 

Hope purifies: Whatever persecution we experience in this world, the day is coming when we will not be just called sons of God, we will be like the Son of God, residing with the son of God. This is what inspires and motivates the apostle to persevere to the end and to persevere in holiness. “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). 

 Hope stabilizes in the storm: There are 66 drawings of anchors in the catacombs, the caves and tunnels where persecuted Christians hid during the Roman persecutions. Hope was their anchor during those dark and stormy days (Heb. 6:19; 10:34). Like the anchor, hope grabs what is out of sight. As one puritan put it: “The cable of faith casts out the anchor of hope and lays hold of the steadfast rock of God’s promises.” 

Hope defends: Paul depicts hope as a defensive helmet (Eph. 6:17; 1 Thess. 5:8) that must not be taken off and laid aside until the battle is over. The helmet also points us to the area of greatest vulnerability and danger – our mind or thoughts. That’s where Satan usually works to present reasons to doubt and despair. And that’s why we need our minds daily renewed by the power of hope. 

 If you are trusting in your own goodness to get into heaven, you will fall on judgment day. But if your hope and trust are in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who is God’s only Savior, you will be welcomed into God’s holy presence on that day.  

Can you say with certainty, “Jesus Christ is my salvation?” 

If Christ is your salvation, you have hope no matter how difficult your circumstances. 

The Pastor’s Corner is sponsored by the Monroe County Ministerial Association, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 417 N. Frontage Road, Forsyth.