Secular Hope

Guidelines for Life

Do not spiritualize secular, worldly, things; conversely, I suggest that you don’t secularize spiritual things!

False Hope / Blind Faith

All things work together for good for those who… try hard enough… ???

God helps those who help themselves… (Is that actually in The Bible?)

True Hope

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28.

Isn’t that simple and straightforward? It’s conditional, though: did you catch it? Moreso, do you really love God? (Only you can answer that question – whoever you are. How would I know?) Beyond whether or not you love God, “all things work together for good” only if  you are of those who are “called according to His purpose.” When would that apply to anybody?

Have you answered God’s “call” on your life? Have you set apart yourself for Him to use at His convenience, however He might choose to, whenever He might choose, regardless of what circumstances that might draw you into?

What meaning do these following verses have in your life? Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:8-10; and Romans 12:1-2.

How has God “purposed” to utilize you, an empty vessel, that the molder might fashion differently, God as the Potter, and you as the clay? I suggest that you don’t make The Bible say more than it says, or less than it says: It speaks for itself! God’s Word has been preserved throughout the course of human history, in spite of efforts to destroy it. “All things work together for good…” – How’s that working out for you, in the life that you have been living? I would love to hear your story!

I have had to ask some tough question of myself, and others, in the course of my life, such as: Are you tolerant of those who might disagree with you? Are you accepting of the fact that you may not know everything as well as you think you do? if not, why are you not willing to engage in argument, rhetoric or debate? That’s what guys like Plato & Aristotle went to school for! I may have to pick up that tangent another time: Where was I? Oh… Truth vs. Error. Why does that happen? Could it be a planned attack on the minds of men by Satan himself? Perhaps that’s a thought within the realm of conspiracies you would like to avoid. So, let’s move on…

I challenged my dad once, saying: “Ben Franklin’s Almanac is where you will find your pet phrase; it’s not in the Bible!” He did not appreciate that, then, but in later years he would say: “I know it’s not in the Bible, but it should be.” Really? “God helps those who help themselves” – that should be in the Bible? Not! Reminds me of Michael Douglass in the movie “Wall Street,” in a scene where he is telling Charlie Sheen that “Greed is good” like I am reminded of when I watch “Alvin & The Chipmunks” with my girls – the scene where they are encouraged to lip sync – even though it’s lying, it’s wrong, and everybody knows it. It reminds me of Jesus, in the desert, without food or water, fasting for forty days, basically, which would kill any ordinary man, yet He was able to resist the temptations of the devil at a very weak moment in His life: I don’t think I could have sustained such an appropriate, God-fearing response! Could you?

What do you accept at face value? Do you consider the things that are thrown at you, continually, subliminally, trying to trip you up, to cause you to be encumbered by the ways of the world to your own harm? Perhaps it’s something as simple as a jingle from your favorite fast food restaurant: What is it that you can’t resist? Why not? Have you thought about it? We will often accept something that sounds good at face-value, forget to check http://www.snopes.com before posting stuff on Facebook (I have been guilty of this myself!), and allow ourselves to be duped into proceeding through life in a casual, happy-go-lucky manner, as we move into greater error that leads to waywardness from the truth of God’s Word… that we then begin stumbling over, in embarrassment, not wanting to read it, believing, knowing, we will be convicted of such poor decisions, with each new step…

What am getting at?

You can’t secularize Scripture (or, at least, you shouldn’t)!  You can’t turn verses into fortune cookie comments!  Words matter.  You can’t pick & choose which Bible verses you like, and dismiss the rest without damaging yourself, distancing yourself from the truth of God’s Word as it was intended.  God has a wonderful plan for your life: don’t miss it!

If you are a Christian, if you are a God-fearing person in search of a right relationship with God, then don’t ever stop your pursuit of a lasting, personal relationship with Him!  Persevere in the journey!

I say it, I write it, all the time: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” – (2 Chronicles 15:2).  Why is that Old Testament verse so important to somebody (me) who is so locked into a New Testament, “new covenant,” faith-relationship with God?  Because the Lord is the same yesterday, today, yes, and forever! – (Hebrews 13:8 ???).  The truth of God is unchanging: He is knowable – it was His plan from the very beginning.  There is faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13) because of Him, and what He has chosen to do throughout human history!

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1); a few verses later it is written: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is (that He exists!), and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” There is hope in the heart of all who choose to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – and it’s a hope that does not disappoint, a true hope! – (Romans 5)

Do you have hope in a better tommorrow?  Is faith and love part of your daily experience?  You can discover faith, hope and love in a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord & Savior of all mankind and the world!  Have you done that?  God does help those who (help themselves, if that means that you will do yourself the favor to) call upon Him, in humility, desiring to be in a right relationship with Him.  If you’re sincere in such a faith, then you would have confidence that God is in control of all matters in life, that His purposes are being met, that His plan for your life is best – better than you could ever dare dream up for yourself!  A blind hope, secular hope – that of a fortune cookie or an astrology forecast – could randomly be right for a day, but it will turn empty and false at the worst possible moment.  A relationship with God is everlasting, as we commit to live for Him day-by-day: Jesus said we are to deny ourselves, take up His cross and follow after Him.  Enjoy the journey!  Consider telling somebody else your life story, of how God has worked in your life, as I have done on many of these pages.

Love: The Golden Rule. 1 John 4. 1 Timothy 2.

— more later —

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