Tag Archive for Hope

“Nature” Is Wonderful!

This is written on perhaps the coldest day of this winter. But doesn’t it thrill us to think of the many moments we have enjoyed viewing or basking in “nature’s” glorious presence! Spring fever will soon overtake many of us for those mountains, canyons, fields, oceans, lakes, streams, plants of beauty and the beasts. They provide delight, challenge and sustains us.

What we call “nature” declares the One even more wonderful – the Father of us all, the Creator of nature and every good thing we enjoy. The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead… (Romans 1:20a). The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1).

God also provides a fulfilling challenge to attain ALL of His blessings and our BEST potential in being like His Son. He sustains us and blesses us with every good thing in life. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17). His spiritual blessings do not go dormant with the seasons nor fade in their beauty. No man can contaminate or deface the greatest of God’s blessings. His Son, Jesus and the life we may know in Christ are the greatest of Our Father’s gifts. Jesus says, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).

By His word, the Bible and living the Christian life, we attain the blessedness our loving Father is waiting to bestow on us. All spiritual blessing under the sun are in the Son (Ephesians 1:3-6; Galatians 3:26-29). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9-13: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him….Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Maybe it is hard to think on parts of “nature” that seem dead for the the cold of Winter. Like in an hour of sorrow, our desires seem difficult to revive. But our Father knows and can provide every need we have and ones of cheer that will endure the ages. After-all it is He who has given us family, friends and the wonder of “nature”. Great comfort and delight can be known even in the darkest of hours to those who trust God. Another and far more glorious spring is yet to come to life for those who trust and obey Him.

And 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: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4). Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality(1Corinthians 15:51-53). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).

It is enjoyable to listen to a fisherman, hunter or outdoorsman tell about his love of nature and exploits in the wild. They speak about the nice crisp air of a Fall or Winter morning, the sights and the calm of being in the Arkansas woods, rivers and lakes. Outdoors men gain a great knowledge, appreciation and excitement for “nature”. For just a few moments, let’s contemplate another beautiful realm – heaven – God’s real country! Can you imagine the experience? Here is a poem about that from an author unknown.

What Must It Be Like?

What must it be to step on shore, and find it – heaven;

To take hold of a hand, and find it – God’s hand;

To breathe a new air, and find it – celestial air;

To be invigorated, and find it – immortality;

To rise from the care, and loneliness, and turmoil of earth into unbroken calm;

To wake up and find it – Glory.

Someone acquainted with the third heaven wrote, For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21). Amen.    HJS


God Says The Death Of A Saint Is Precious!

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints(Psalm 116:15).

Is it precious to you? While some of the most difficult times in our lives is when we part from loved ones, should it not be precious and comforting to know a loved one is “safe in arms of Jesus”? It is surely precious to God when a brother or sister dies, faithful in Christ (Revelation 14:12,13).

A saint is someone sanctified or called out of the dark domain of sin into the marvelous church or kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). A saint, and today a Christian is someone in whom Christ has invested all His love, life and death! (Ephesians 5:25-27; Luke 19:10; Philippians 2:5-8). Every accountable man has separated himself from the love and blessings of God by his own sin (Isaiah 59:1,2; Romans 3:23). When a man sins he becomes dead to the Father (Romans 6:23; Genesis 2:16,17). But the superlative love that God has for man led Him to become high preist, sacrifice and mediator between the Father and man (John 15:13; Hebrews 8:1,2; 1Timothy 1:5). Yes, Jesus even took joy in His own death that it might become the atonement for precious souls who could not other wise help themselves to be reconciled to God. (Ephesians 2:16; Hebrews 12:1,2)

People with no conception or faith in God may look at the death of loved one with a sense of love-lost, finality, helplessness and hopelessness. But our Heavenly Father can rejoice and take comfort in a child once lost but now found and returned home forever (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 15:11-32). John describes the place where God reigns thusly,

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (5) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

How blessed we are that we can say good bye to loved ones and entrust them into the hands of such as our God! In the bosom of Abraham they are safe (Luke 16:22) and blessed until Jesus returns again to take them to the Father’s house (1Corinthians 15:24; John 14:1-3). Then we shall be joined together again with them – not as husbands, wives, but as the angels of God (Matthew 22:30) in heaven. Paul wrote of this reassurance and hope in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-13.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Oh, if we would see everyone as God’s children, needing to go home to the Father, how much better our understanding, living and outlook on life would be! (Philippians 1:21).

Though marred by our own sins, God has abundant forgiveness by the gracious atonement of His Son (1John 2:1,2). He has loving direction, abundant hope and companionship to help us complete our journey in this life, so that we may know the better without end (Matthew 11:28-30; 2Peter 1:2-11; Hebrews 10:24,25). He longs that we not be lost for sin but that we may know pardon and His grand blessings without end (2Peter 3:9; Ephesians 1:3). When one becomes a saint/Christian, he has more than the forgiveness of sins; He has the greatest and surest of hope.

No wonder God says the death of a saint is precious! The faithful child of God need not fear death, but live joyfully in anticipation of the glory to follow! Wherefore comfort one another with these words. HJS


The Brick Wall

A man spoke of the beautiful antique bricks in the walls in his office. Once they were a “scattered, haphazard, useless mass”–an ugly pile of accumulated weakness. They were the remains of an old chimney, long ago crumbled down. The bricks in the walls were the same as those that had been on the ground. The difference was in the singleness and unification. The possibilities were always there – even as they lay in rubble. Ugliness was transformed into beauty and weakness grew into strength.

People are like that. One may be like the helter-skelter pile of bricks, but another, though made of the same materials, is like a straight, strong solid wall!

How can we pull our lives together and be strong? Who can help us attain peace and happiness that won’t crumble with life’s troubles? God made man and says “beauty for ashes”! (Isaiah 61:3). He gives us “all things necessary for life and godliness” in the Bible. (2 Peter 1:3). God has a plan for your present good and eternal welfare.

May we help you study to gain all God wants for you? Please come to the services of the Stuttgart church of Christ, as we “provoke one another unto love and good works”. (Hebrews 10:24,25).

*Story borrowed from Leroy Brownlow.