Friday, August 18, 2017

Hope For the Future, Opportunity In the Present

Hope For the Future, Opportunity In the Present       

    We shall not pass this way again.

    "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this, the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ rejoice that our earthly lives, as presently constituted, will only be lived once.  While our Heavenly Father administers many gifts and blessings in this life, challenges also confront us daily that remind us a fallen world can never serve as our truest home.  God made us for perfection, His perfection realized and received, and then our own Christ-formed reflection of His pristine character, nature, and way.  "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  We will not attain to this lofty standard in this life, but we will in the next.  "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:53).  Thus, we rejoice in the Bible's frequent affirmation of our present earthly experience: "It came to pass."

    Such blessed hope beckons us to joyous anticipation of the future, and also to steely determination in the present.  There are great days ahead, or rather a great and glorious eternity lived in the fully realized presence of God.  Moreover, "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).  This provides the purest joy of hope the human heart can imagine.  Again, however, such truth also creates great resolve in our hearts to avail ourselves of opportunities for love, faith, and devotion to God and people that perfection in the next life will not offer.  In that day, we will not be able to honor our Lord by trusting Him in difficulties and sorrows.  Certainly we look forward to such glory when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Revelation 21:4).  However, we must avail ourselves of opportunities to honor the Lord Jesus amid our current challenges.  How He is honored when we do not understand, but we trust His wisdom.  How His glory shines forth when we lose, but believe that through Christ, loss is gain.  How we please His heart when every appearance, inclination, and indication warns of peril, but we see promise.  And how we delight Him when rather than sink into ourselves as pressured by the challenges of life, we instead come forth to pray, and even to offer praise and thanksgiving.  Such opportunities to bear witness to our Father's goodness will not exist in the perfect life to come, but rather now, in the challenging life that is.

    We shall not pass this way again.  Praise God!  But let us also presently honor God, and "glorify ye the Lord in the fires" (Isaiah 24:15).  One day the flames of this life will all be extinguished and such opportunity will fade away.  Let us not waste these times when the Light of Christ "shineth in darkness" and we heed our Lord's command…

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
(Matthew 5:16)

Weekly Memory Verse 
   "The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth."
(Psalm 145:18)

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