Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) — “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
Hahaha, the good thing about the printed word is you can reread it again. You can reread this passage as many times as you need to until you’re able to grasp what the Word of God has for you. For me personally, these five verses are so powerful and I have read them at least five times before I started writing this article.
Pick anyone of these five verses. They speak of God, faith, peace, grace and that we can rejoice in hope!
I read a lot of what others write. I must admit that I don’t always remember who wrote or said something, I remember “it” — the main thing said or written
For example, I don’t remember Shawn McEvoy’s whole message, but I remember this part: “Hope is not a granted wish or a granted favor performed; no, it’s far more greater than that. It’s a zany unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there to see our reactions.”
Sounds like he’s talking about Christmas morning!
I’m not a parent of children, but I’ve had the privilege to be in that role from time to time. I’ve been fortunate to be and share Christmas morning with many different individuals and families.
To see the children’s faces and expressions when they first leave their bedrooms — some stumble and stagger sleepily to the Christmas tree, others bolt and slide into a position in front of the tree and piles of presents.
I’m not sure what is the greater treat: to watch the expressions and actions of the children, or those of the parents as they watch.
Those children are not getting presents because they earned them, or as a favor. They’re gifts! There’s a Christmas hope, a dependence on the giver of the gift. That child has no idea what the parents sacrificed to make Christmas morning happen. The planning, the purchasing, the choosing between what was asked for and what was actually given.
There’s no childhood concept of balancing the budget versus the beaming of their little faces.
The main thing I get from those first five verses is Hope, but it’s not alone.
First Corinthians 13:13 is a very famous verse of Scripture — “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.”
The moment I reflected upon that verse, another instantly flashes across the screen of my mind — Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Which also reminds me of a conversation between a non-believer living on the streets and a believer sharing the Gospel.
“I don’t want to hear about Christianity,” he said. “That’s pie-in-the-sky, by-and-by religion.”
The believer says, “Then you believe in getting your pie here and now?”
“Hmm, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting much pie here and now.”
How tragic to miss the pie here and now, and then miss the pie in the hereafter!
I might have mentioned this a time or two, but I like to read a verse or a short passage of Scripture from multiple translations to help me get a fuller understanding of what’s being said.
For example: I Corinthians Chapter 13 is known as the “Love Chapter.” It tells us what biblical love is, what it does and doesn’t do. Verse 7 is worded differently in the many translations.
The New International Version says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The New King James Version says, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
The New Living Translation says, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
And the King James Version puts it like, “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Remember, the great thing about the written word is we can reread it as many times as it takes to get the message of understanding.
James 1:17a — “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights.”
We have been given the light of Christmas Hope.
Psalm 118:24 (NKJV) — “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”