HOPE For These Troubled Times

This year has been a year of great change, confusion, frustration, fear and uncertainty for the future. Every year has its challenges for us… whether personal, familial, financial or a host of other possibilities. However, 2020 has heaped challenge upon challenge on each of us, which at the very least, is exhausting. 

What if I said I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer… but, I didn’t share the answer? I wouldn’t be a good friend, would I? I am sure you are thinking, how can I be so prideful as to say I have the answer?! Well, let me rephrase the first part of that sentence.  – What if I said I thought I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer? The response is still the same, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t share what I thought was the answer.

I know that many, or even most, of you who read my blog are Christians, but the Lord has laid this on my heart and so, in this post I am going to share, as graciously as I can, the reason for the hope I have within me. Do you know what being a Christian really means? I doesn’t mean I am better than you, or that I think I am better than you. It doesn’t mean that I have to follow a list of do’s and don’ts. AND, it definitely doesn’t mean that I live perfectly – not even close! What it does mean is that I have believed what the Bible says about who Christ was and is, and that I have made a decision to live my life as a follower of Christ.

The “plan of salvation” are some scripture verses that explain who God is, who Jesus Christ was/is, who we are to God and how we can be saved unto eternal life by simply believing that Jesus is who the Bible says he was. Here are those verses.

John 3:16 “For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.  So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”

John 14:6 “Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Fatherexcept through union with me.”

Romans 3:23 “…for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.”

Ephesians 2:8,9 “For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!

Romans 10:9,10 “And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanksto salvation.”

John 1:12 “But those who embraced him and took hold of his namewere given authority to become the children of God!”

I too have had many times of feeling hopeless and fearful of what is ahead of us as a nation and world during this time. I am not immune or somehow exempt from these feelings because of my faith. However, what I do have is a hope that I can draw back to each time I feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.

I do not want to alienate you or offend you. My sole purpose is for this post is to share what I feel is the most important thing I have ever shared with you. I will joyously answer questions if you want to ask me more about this “plan of salvation”.

I am praying for each of you who read this because, in this uncertain time, we can all use some prayer.

“In Holy Array Out of the Womb of the Morning”

Sunrise-and-Clouds1I have been reading through the Psalms and admit I am completely captivated by this phrase along with the words that precede it.   The word picture Psalm 110:3 depicts in the Amplified version is so beautiful.  It reads “Your people will offer themselves willingly…in the beauty of holiness and in holy array out of the womb of the morning…”.

I have known for many years that followers of Jesus are to offer themselves to God.  But, this verse describes this offering in such vivid language that it has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  We are to offer ourselves willingly.  Why?  Because it is an offering.  Webster defines offering as “the act of an offer” and “offer” is defined as “to present as an act of worship or devotion”.   If we offer ourselves unwillingly it is not truly an offering because is it not an act of worship or devotion.  It is a contrived act, often with ulterior motives.

For me, the real elegance (if I can call it that) begins to unfold with the rest of the verse.  We offer ourselves willingly…in the beauty of holiness and holy array.  God is HOLY, but we are holy also as His followers – we are sinners, forgiven because of God’s mercy and grace.  We are clean and pure, spotless and holy.  Can you think of anything with more beauty than that?  But wait, it goes on with…and holy array.  What an incredible word to use here because it means “to dress or decorate especially in splendid or impressive attire”.   We offer ourselves willingly in holiness, because God has made us holy – AND that holiness is in the form of holy array.  We are dressed in holiness.  It covers us – decorates us, splendidly.

But there is more because that holy array is out of the womb…..  I have never thought of my offering to God in these terms before.  A womb is “a place where something is generated”.  This entails action.  Think about a babe in the womb.  There is constant activity as cells divide, entire blood systems form along with organs, hands and feet.  The “place where something is generated” in this verse is talking about the action of Jesus Christ being crucified, buried and resurrected from the dead in order to decorate us in  the splendor of holiness.

Finally, it is out of the womb of the morning.  Morning is the “first of beginning period of anything”.  This entire phrase has a circular motion to it!  We offer ourselves willingly, as holy offerings to God, dressed and decorated in splendid and impressive attire.  That impressive attire comes from God himself and it was generated in the womb that represents salvation – the action that was the beginning of our ability to be holy and thus offer ourselves willingly to God.