Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hope That Brings Change...

The resurrection of Jesus can give you hope for a new life--hope of recovery from bad investments you may have made in life. Hope that brings change, healing, and filling.

As St. Augustine (345-430 AD from Hippo, North Africa) said in his work Faith, Hope, and Charity, "The omnipotent God, primal (original) power of the world, being Himself supremely good, could not permit anything evil in His works, were He not so all-powerful and good as to be able to bring good even out of evil." And nothing demonstrates that better than the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ after the tragedy and horror of Good Friday.

What happened just a few days before WAS really horrific. The Crucifixion of Jesus was, as many historians describe, was one of the most painful tortures ever invented by man. The deep personal grief aside, Jesus was nailed to a cross after a most complete beating. His Flesh was removed from His Body. He was beaten with rods and fist. The wipe used was made to create a most lasting imprint on the body. His head was gorged with thorns that tore into His forehead. He was made to carry His own beam over a long distance while crowds and soldiers spit on Him and hit Him.

It is called a tragedy only if there were not a better ending. In truth, THIS was exactly why He came to earth, some 33 years before. He was born in an unusual situation: Born to a virgin. Born as a direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. This Jesus was and is the Only Son of God, who was given to the World as a paid ransom to release Mankind from the penalty of sin. Mankind had chosen to reject and turned away from God. In rebellion, Man chooses to put their trust in anything other than the One who made them. In rebellion, Man forced God out of their lives. Making Self the center of their world, mankind moved from bad to worst. He rebelled against the Laws of God. He broke every one of them…willfully. Defiantly. Rejected his very own creator and put instead in God’s place, something inferior and debased.

But that did not stop Creator God from loving His creation. Time after time, God, the FATHER OF ALL THE WORLD, chose to extend His love to man. He blessed him with health…with wealth…with relationship…with dreams. God extended His loving arms toward His creation time and time again.

Then it was time. In the fullness of time, He sent His only Son to us. The Scriptures said that He would be rejected. Yet, God did it any way. Why? To show His complete love for His creation. To provide for His creation a way out of the hole called sin. To provide a way of Salvation.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

That gift was received and believed by these three young people with us today who entered the Waters of Baptism. For God so loved Joseph, Collin and Angela, that He gave His one and only Son, for that if they believe in Him, they shall not perish but that they—and you may have eternal life.

Do you believe this? Do you want to believe this? It is not out of the question! It is not too simple! It is not just a nice story! It is truth and that offer of forgiveness of ALL your sins is open for us today.

To prove that, Jesus did not stay in the grave. As beat up as He was. As dead as He became on that Cross. As cold and as bloody He was, He did not stay that way!

Up from the Grave He Arose! He is Victor today. His coming to life again has given us REAL HOPE. His being alive today is cause of real JOY.

I attended my Mother’s funeral last week. Seeing her in the casket was a real eye-opener for me. She was dead…no mistake about that! Her body was cold. There was no life in it. How I wanted to see her breathing again, but that was not going to happen! Her body was there, but Anna Eve De La Cour was not there! She is alive. While in life, Mom accepted the Savior’s invitation to put her faith and trust in Him. (My mother did not know how to drive but she got into a car all the time. She really did not know how food was digested but that did not stop her from eating.) Can’t have all the answers… She put her faith in the Lord Jesus, even though she did not understand all that it meant. God’s role in that was to call her to Himself. To fill her with His Spirit and to seal her for all eternity. She is dead now, but she will be alive again, and is alive today—with King Jesus because of that decision she made in January 1968, to ask Jesus for forgiveness and to ask Him to come into her life.

Jesus said at the funeral of His close friend Lazarus in John 11:25-26 Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

The resurrection of Jesus can give you real Hope for a new life--hope of recovery from bad investments you may have made in life. Hope that brings change, healing, and filling.

Do you believe this? Do you want to believe this? For the sake of your soul, what in God’s Name is holding you back? Starts with you saying to yourself, I need to look into this more. Let that be the first honest step to know the King of Creation. Don’t worry where that will lead you. Trust me, it will be the BEST decision you have ever made. There is HOPE to be had and Jesus is the One to give it to you!