Monday, May 21, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, May 21, 2018


Young people today suffer from unprecedented levels of anxiety.  The College Health Association reports that 62 percent of undergraduates in 2016 reported they had overwhelming anxiety. In high school students, anxiety has surpassed depression as the number one reason to seek mental health services. Young people are not the only ones suffering from anxiety.  Psychology Today reports that one-third of adults will suffer from some form of anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

When we are anxious we do not have the expectation of something good.   This is the opposite of hope.  Hope is powerful.  It causes action.  In the original Star Wars movie subtitled “A New Hope”, there is a princess named Leia who records a message to R2D2, a robot.  “Help me, Obi wan Kenobi.  You’re my only hope.”  Princess Leia is in a desperate situation where her enemy soon captures her when she makes this cry for help.  

We too can find ourselves in situations or even seasons where things are very difficult or impossible causing us to worry or bring us to despair. But unlike Princess Leia, as believers, we cry out to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Jesus is our hope and hope does not disappoint. 

So what actions does hope cause?  Hope caused the friends of a paralytic to tear through a roof and lower him down to Jesus. (Mark 2:3-4).   Hope caused the disciples and Jesus’ family and other followers to wait and pray in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 12-14; Acts 2:1-5).  We are told in Revelation 20:4 that there will be those who refuse the mark of the beast and are martyred because of their hope in the salvation of God.  

So as time continues to get closer to the Great Tribulation and all the evil and judgment of that time, we must continue to put our hope in Jesus.  We act according to the hope that we are saved and will be delivered.  So, as we face our own personal difficulties let us not lose hope. Let us instead act. What action will you take?

Hebrews 12:2
New International Version (NIV)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 107:28
New International Version (NIV)
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He brought them out of their distress.

Romans 5:3-5New International Version (NIV)
Not only so for we glory in our sufferings for, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 12:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

1 Peter 1:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

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