Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Day 11: Power and Suffering (shhhh!)

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 11, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Philippians 3:10 – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection” [STOP!]… Don’t read any further.

That’s far enough! Whatever you do in your Christian walk, all you need to know is Christ in the “power of His resurrection”. All you have to do is walk in the love, walk in the effortless joy of the Lord.

We all want that resurrection experience with Christ.  All too often, we read our Bibles only looking for those “resurrection moment” verses and cling to them like they are magic; however, you will never see Paul doing that.

Remember Paul, the one called by God where God said of him to Ananias?

“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” – Acts 9:16

How many American’s, if presented with that calling from God, would actually give their lives to Christ?  Similarly, how many American Christians would gladly take on that calling?

We can’t stop a thought of Paul mid-sentence…

“… and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10, continued)

Paul knows that you can’t just know Jesus the way you “want” to know him.  You must know him the way God wants you to know him.

Why?

“…to become LIKE HIM in his DEATH.” (Philippians 3:10, continued)

The expressed work of the Holy Spirit is to make you into the image of Christ.  If we think that is a “living” image, we’d be gravely mistaken.  We die with Christ; we die to self; we carry our cross (our instrument of death); we are baptized into Christ’s death; we must humble ourselves and become living sacrifices (though you are alive, you are dead because you don’t get a sacrifice back).

In short, we need to die daily and let the power of God live through us. 1 Corinthians 15:31

Only then will we find real JOY!

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Day 2: Hope in a New Light

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 2, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:5

What do you think of when you see the word “hope”?

Do you hearken back to the time when you were a child on Christmas morning?  You dart down the stairs as quick as a Jack Russell Terrier on Red Bull. You shake each gift carefully wrapped under the ornate tannenbaum.  With x-ray vision and a keen sense of hearing you attempt to peer into the package hoping beyond hope that what awaits you in the disguise matches the description you gave to Santa (or your parents). Your assurance may not be 100%, but you sure hope your parents or Santa got it right.

This type of hope carries in it an inherent flaw – You might be wrong.  Oh, you bet your emotions that the contents match your wish, but reality could dash your dreams.

Real Hope

Fortunately, the hope in Scripture reflects a 100% assurance that what you hope for will, in fact, come to pass.

Paul stated in one of his testimonies before the Sanhedrin, “I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 23:6) Paul walked in complete knowledge and trust of the resurrection of Jesus and one day of his own body.

Hope fueled the early church and enabled them to endure persecution, the likes of which, we do not see yet in America.  Hope empowered them to sing hymns while chained to prison walls. Hope helped them forgive those that killed them while being crucified, burned or thrown to wild beasts.  Christian hope only comes in one type – complete assurance.

“We hope” means, “We know.”  We know Christ is coming. We know that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). We know that when trials come, God in us will help us overcome, and that kind of assurance gives us power to press on toward the high calling, which is in Christ Jesus.

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Day 1: Peace Unlike the World Cannot Understand

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 1, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Corey Russel, in a recent message titled Declaration of Dependence mp3 / PDF, posed a provocative point based on Matthew 7:13-14, 24:

Stop trying to make the narrow gate wider.  God designed the gate to be narrow, small and difficult. Following Jesus closely brings difficultly not ease.

God did not call believers to a life of ease but a life of fighting battles against the tide of popular opinion. The world hates the believer because of Jesus (Matthew 24:29); not only that, but “everyone” will hate wholly devoted followers because of their passion for Jesus as they draw nearer to him (Mark 13:12-13). This might even include other believers that just don’t get why those followers must be so passionate for Christ.

The question you need to ask yourself, “Whose peace am I seeking?”

If you seek peace with the world, you must compromise your relationship with Jesus.

If you seek peace with yourself, then you must try to soften the effects of the struggle you face in trying to run the race set before you. As you do this, you miss blessings poured out from God (Matthew 5:3-12):

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, or theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Jesus says that our peace should come through him because of our hope in the His victory.  The condition of our environment must not be the source of our peace. True peace only comes when we realize that all we go through pales in comparison to the spoils awaiting for those that make it to the end and join the King of kings in the victory celebration in eternity.

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Hope isn’t What You Think

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 2, 2010


Day 2 – Scriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Scriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:5

What do you think of when you see the word “hope”?

Do you hearken back to the time when you were a child on Christmas morning?  You dart down the stairs as quick as a Jack Russell Terrier on Red Bull. You shake each gift carefully wrapped under the ornate tannenbaum.  With x-ray vision and a keen sense of hearing you attempt to peer into the package hoping beyond hope that what awaits you in the disguise matches the description you gave to Santa (or your parents). Your assurance may not be 100%, but you sure hope your parents or Santa got it right.

This type of hope carries in it an inherent flaw – You might be wrong.  Oh, you bet your emotions that the contents match your wish, but reality could dash your dreams.

Real Hope

Fortunately, the hope in Scripture reflects a 100% assurance that what you hope for will, in fact, come to pass.

Paul stated in one of his testimonies before the Sanhedrin, “I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 23:6) Paul walked in complete knowledge and trust of the resurrection of Jesus and one day of his own body.

Hope fueled the early church and enabled them to endure persecution, the likes of which, we do not see yet in America.  Hope empowered them to sing hymns while chained to prison walls. Hope helped them forgive those that killed them while being crucified, burned or thrown to wild beasts.  Christian hope only comes in one type – complete assurance.

“We hope” means, “We know.”  We know Christ is coming. We know that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). We know that when trials come, God in us will help us overcome, and that kind of assurance gives us power to press on toward the high calling, which is in Christ Jesus.

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The True Message of Hope

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 18, 2009


If I asked you what you think “hope” means, I’d probably get the dictionary definition:

Hope – the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

To look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

It would be used in a sentence like, “I hope for an early spring.”

The problem with this definition is that while it may work for general issues, it is not a biblical definition of hope.

Our definition of hope is circumstantially influenced.  We actually look at hope with a sense of doubt.  For example, in the sentence above, “I hope  for an early spring”, you see that in the mind of the person, they know the reality is that they have no control over it and that they may not see an early spring. 

This kind of hope is not very secure.  Would the person hoping for the early spring plan for it? Would they set dates for cookouts in March? Would they plant their garden in February in Indiana? Or would they wait until it happened to plan their cookouts?

Biblical hope functions differently.  When you see Paul say, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1), you see that Jesus is the hope.  It is a type of faith that has assurance. 

Later Paul tells Titus,

“We wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)

We see that Jesus is the hope, and his return is the manifestation of that hope.  There are no doubts that he might not return.  Hope is the embodiment of assurance.

Peter breaks this down even more:

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, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. – 1 Peter 1:3-12

This hope Peter calls “Living” actually kept people going through tough times.  The hope they had that they knew their eternity was secure. 

  • It was the hope of an eternity with Jesus that kept them in peace when thrown to lions.
  • It was the hope of an eternity with Jesus that inspired them to ask God to forgive their killers
  • It was the hope of an eternity with Jesus that strengthened their resolve to meet together even when they knew doing so might mean their death.
  • It was the hope of an eternity with Jesus that gave them all the strength they needed.
  • And it was this hope that Paul says, “and now these three remain- faith, hope and love” .  (1 Corinthians 13)

We know how faith and love are eternal factors in our relationship with Christ they are the elements that get us there, but now you know that it is the hope of glory that will sustain you through the journey. It is hope that will keep you going when all seems lost. It is hope that will give you comfort and strength.

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