Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Living Hope

                (*Note: Today is the 3rd Day Since Passover)
I believe God intends for us to live a life filled with hope. What we do today can make that a reality. Success in life is most often the result of hard work and a sheer refusal to quit on God or to give up on who and what God created you to be. God has given mankind a Living Hope for a better tomorrow. And, God has created us with His purpose in our hearts.

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, failed at every early attempt and went broke five times before he finally succeeded in manufacturing and marketing the early American motor car.

R H Macy, the founder of Macy’s Department Stores, started seven failed businesses before hitting it big on 34th Street in New York.

Harland David Sanders, also known as Colonel Sanders, founder of the famed Kentucky Fried Chicken, faced several critics and plenty of opportunity to quit and try something else. His famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before he finally found a restaurant that would accept it.

Albert Einstein did not even speak until he was 4 years old and did not read until he was 7. His teachers and parents thought he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually he was expelled from school and was later in life refused admittance to college only to go on to win the Nobel Prize and change the face of modern physics.

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Then, as a young man he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Edison went on to make 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before he finally found a design that worked.

Winston Churchill struggled in school and even failed the sixth grade. Nonetheless he was determined to have a career in politics. However, for many years he continued to lose, in fact he lost every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister of England at the ripe old age of 62. He believed he was born for the very thing he finally got to do.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Military of the whole United States of America at one of its most critical moments of existence, was not at first successful in his military career. Early on he went to war as a captain and returned home with the rank of private on top of that he had to walk home because someone stole his horse. He went absolutely as low as you can go, but he didn’t stop there. He continued to fail in business after business and was defeated numerous times while running for office.
        1832 – Ran for State Legislature – lost.
        1832 – Applied for law school – couldn’t get accepted.
        1836 – Had a total nervous breakdown and was bedridden 6 months
        1838 – Ran for speaker of the house in his state – lost.
        1840 – Sought to become elector in his state – lost.
        1843 – Ran for Congress – lost.
        1849 – Sought job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
        1854 – Ran for Senate of the US – lost
        1856 – Sought the VP nomination of his party – less than 100 votes.
        1858 – Ran for US Senate again – again he lost
        1860 – Elected as the 16th President of the United States of America.

All in all, Abraham Lincoln lost 8 elections, failed in business twice and had a complete nervous breakdown before succeeding to become one of the greatest leaders our country, and arguably any other country in the history of the world, has ever known. He was born with a purpose.

I can go on, and on, and on with success story after success story, people from all walks of life, who endured hardship and criticism, difficulties, rejections and defeats, but who never quit, never changed focus, never gave up and eventually went on to build their dream.

People like Michael Jordan who knows the price of success.

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? But he didn’t let that setback or what others thought about him stop him from playing the game he loved and pursing the dream he had. He said, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

Success in this life demands we have endurance when it comes to our dreams. However success in this life, important as it may be, is not all there is. Wouldn’t it be horrible to have success and no hope afterwards!

Happily ever after is a thought we all like. Those are the kinds of movies I remember from my childhood and they are still the movies I like to watch today. Now before you decide that I am “Old Fashioned” – think again … Happily Ever After never goes out of fashion --- morbidity tries to take root in every generation but God is still the purveyor of a “better day” reality.

During the past few years I have been finding it more and more difficult to watch television shows or movies which have no redeeming quality. The movies are bad enough but imagine how terrible it is to find a person in real life that has no hope or optimistic outlook for their future.

The truly blessed are those who are not just optimistic but also realistic, those who see the situation for what it is and still have faith in God’s plan, still trust in His Word and still continue to hope against all odds.

Hope gives us the ability to wait for what we do not now see …
        Hope gives us the power to persevere until we see success …

Romans 8
24  For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
25  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

We must however make sure our hopes for success in this life and to live happily after in the life to come is founded in the One True Living God and His Son Jesus, who is Messiah, The Eternal Word and Everlasting Truth.

God did not send His Son to save the righteous, but rather to call sinners to repentance. Eternal life is not given to perfect people, only those who have been forgive. God has invited every person to live “Happily Ever After” in glory with Him regardless of their past, their sins, their failures, compromises or defeats. Salvation is God’s hope for each one of us.

God is hoping that you will choose to include Him in your life and the situations you face today. He is your hope of a better tomorrow.

The Bible tells only one story but the story has two potential endings:
·        One filled with hope and one filled with hurt
·        One sets you free from your captors and the other leaves you in chains of bondage and slavery
·        One ending when the Good Guy comes riding up on a white horse to rescue and protect you and in the other the bad guy wins and carries you off to live in a deep dark dungeon.
·        In one ending you live happily ever after and in the other you live unhappy, lonely and tormented with no hope of rescue.
·        In one you get to marry the richest and best looking person who will serve you, care for you and make all your dreams come true – in the other you are deceived and then kidnapped and bound and tortured and abused by a depraved maniac who only gets pleasure from your fear and pain.
·        One ending has you living with your family in a mansion with peace and music and joy … while the other ending leaves you alone in the dark surrounded by screams and in never ending pain.

So – The Bible only tells this one story and either ending can be true … Good News … every person gets to choose which end they want to live.

The really Good News … Your Happily Ever After Life can begin anytime you choose. Today there is hope for your marriage, your children, your health, your job, your finances and your future. Do you have hope? God has given us a living hope … put your dream in God’s hands and persevere.

1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.