The Hope Beyond Ourselves Through God’s Grace

Do you live life knowing that someday you will die? Is death to you and end of life or the beginning of a new life? The reason I ask is because we all know that desperate people do desperate things. Is your life partly desperate or is your life filled with hope that things will only get better? Do you live without sufficient hope? If so, you must learn that there is life after death and it can be more fulfilling than what we will witness on earth. Hope does not always come from ourselves but from beyond.

Life can present all kinds of pressures and we may do things under pressure that we may not do when things are positive. If your hope is living in preparation for eternity with God you probably will live a different life from having no hope after death. Are you living life with a purpose or kind of drifting with whatever happens will happen?

II Corinthians 12:8 – 9 – “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Humans do not live without facing problems and some can be very serious. How we address these situations can definitely affect our lives. The Bible tells us that the apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that was a handicap. He prayed three times that God would heal him and remove the thorn. God answered him by saying: “My grace is sufficient”. Meaning that whatever problem we encounter it may not go away just because we pray. So what do we do when the problem does not go away? We too must realize that God’s grace is all that we need.

Your marriage is not working out and there seems to be no hope for reconciliation. Your hope comes from knowing that God’s grace can get you through it. God’s promise is He will take us through what we don’t think we can get through. God may show us the beginning and He may show us the end. He just fails to show us the in between part that we have to deal with.

Sometimes Christians believe that if they encounter a major problem, that God is not with them or He would not have allowed it to happen. Through 2008 and 2009 many found themselves in financial trouble and some were facing their homes being foreclosed. Some asked for my advice as to what they should do and how could this happen to them. There situation, to them, seemed hopeless. They could not understand how this could have happen. A loving God is not showing His love to us! They could not understand how God was with them. Do you think they would have had to endure the heavy pressure of possible bankruptcy if they understood what God meant when He told Paul: “My grace is sufficient”?   In the Bible, Job said: how could my children die and God still be with me. It is a question many ask.

Let us define grace. It is God’s love and kindness that is given to someone that does not deserve it. It is often interpreted to mean God gives to us love, joy, pleasure, peace and the power to live life by His ways through the Holy Spirit. It is God’s grace that forgives us of our sins and provides salvation to the lost, though we do not deserve it. It is God’s grace that answers our prayers. If the answer is no, the lesson will provide an inner strength and an experience that we need to learn from.

Many believers struggle with grace, which is given through Jesus Christ, believing that they must work and earn their way to heaven. Too often we set ourselves personal standards that we cannot reach or the church or church people do it for us. Frustrated and discouraged by not meeting these “so called” man-made requirements, we feel like failures and unworthy to be children of God.

Do we allow our past sins or baggage to determine who we are today? Do we dwell on our past or live with hope for the future? Over the years I have met with a number of Christians and find that many really struggle with the feeling of being unworthy. To some degree I think most of us have at times felt that way.

Our greatest hope in life is knowing God’s grace can make us into a new person with a new faith and beliefs knowing that a place in heaven has been prepared for each believer in Christ. Therefore, we live life in expectation of eternity and what it offers. Many will prepare most of their lives, financially, for retirement and spend little in preparation for life after death. Which is more important?

Ephesians 1:3 – 6 – “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” NLT

Most are uncomfortable giving the Lord complete control, like our money or other assets. Repentance at salvation is a singular event while true surrender is an ongoing process. Many have never willingly surrendered to the Holy Spirit, and so they find life to be very challenging. As a result, there is little change in their lives and behavior. If there is little change, is it hard to believe God has adopted you and truly loves you? So if you do not see yourself as God says He sees you, whose fault is it?

In order to grasp the idea of a surrendered life, we must first realize as Christians that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Second, we must accept that God has always loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. (Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could love ourselves as God loves us or see ourselves as God sees us?) Third, God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. How does it feel to be one of God’s children? Don’t you believe that God will take care of His children in eternity? THAT IS OUR HOPE! So we should live life on earth with great anticipation for life after death knowing God has a purpose and plan for each of us. May each problem we face be preparation for what we will need in heaven. If this is true, then God’s grace is sufficient!

It is possible that when we live on earth 1000 years with Christ, we will need the experiences we have had while on earth. We are not all going to be farmers during that time. Maybe today’s problems are preparation for those times.

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