Wednesday, August 26

Apostles' Creed Focus

“the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”


Reflection Verse

“God will never forget the needy: the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” - Psalm 9:18


Reflection

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend time with a dear friend and brother in Christ who was battling brain cancer and knew he was in the final weeks of his life. It was my privilege to listen to stories of his family, work, marriage, divorce, parenting, and battle with cancer and write his memoir. His words of faith in all things inspired me to believe and follow God through all the ups and downs of life. My friend wanted the final chapter of the book to contain the gospel truths that had transformed his life in every way.

The gospel gave him hope for the next life and had brought clarity to the meaning of his earthly life. His life wasn’t easy, and I’d imagine you are battling some problems that threaten your hope factor on any given day. Christ brings purpose, peace, and adventure in the midst of our struggles, but sometimes the only thing that helps us hold onto hope is thinking of the next life. We should remind one another that one day we will no longer live in a cursed world where sickness, conflict, and death bring pain and grief.

One day there will be no more death! When people we love suffer and are taken from us, we grieve—but not as those who have no hope. Thinking about the next life brings us hope to endure this life. We realize our trials are temporary. We remember that God will reveal glory that will make every sacrifice and difficulty worth it. Our hope will never perish because it isn’t tied to things of this earth, but to eternal promises made by a loving God.

How does hope in Christ for the next life give you encouragement in your daily struggles in this life?

When I drift away from an eternal perspective, I get caught up thinking about my house, clothes, and outward appearance; and I tend to look for my identity in what I do or who I know rather than in Christ alone. Recently I was cleaning my house and feeling discontent because of the repairs that are needed and the upgrades I would like to make. Sometimes I watch too many home improvement television shows, which breed discontent in my heart. When I get into an earthly mentality, I forget that all these things will burn up on judgment day; only what I’ve done for Christ will last.

Don’t get me wrong. God created beauty and gave us the desire to make things beautiful. Repairing or decorating our homes is not inherently sinful. However, when I become overly fixated on temporal things to the point of discontent and ingratitude, I need to shift my focus to what will matter in eternity.

When have you been so consumed with the things of this life that you forgot about what will matter in the next?

As you approach the ups and downs of this week, I pray that the promise of life everlasting will encourage you to wholeheartedly pursue eternal qualities like love and kindness even in the midst of earthly concerns. Many difficulties may be threatening your hope today, but you can rest in the truth of this Psalm that for a believer in Christ, our hope will never perish! 


Prayer

Lord, stamp eternity in our eyes. Help us to remember that our hope is not just for this life, but also for the next. Give us eyes to see what will matter forever and what we get fixated on that is only temporary. Fill us with your hope today. In Jesus name, Amen. 


Verses for Further Reflection

1 Corinthians 15, Romans 8, 1 Peter 1:3-4


Family Focus

Because of Jesus, we have hope both for this life and for eternity. Help your child learn more about our hope in Christ with the following activity and discussion.

  • Hope is an unshakable confidence in God, despite one’s circumstances.
  • Hope is essential to a believer’s faith.
  • Hope gives strength, teaches patience and brings encouragement.

To teach your family how hope in the Lord gives us strength, try this activity. Gather a paper towel, plastic bag and water gun. Choose one member of the family to hold the paper towel against his chest as a shield. Have another family member shoot the water gun at it. Before starting, ask: “Will the paper towel keep him from getting wet?” Discuss how the paper towel is not made of water-resistant material.

Repeat the activity, this time with a plastic bag as the shield. Ask the same question. Talk about the advantage of using a plastic shield because it is made of a trustworthy, waterproof material.

Talk with your kids about how self-confidence without reliance on God is like trusting the flimsy paper towel to keep you dry. You can hope that you stay safe from harm or hope you’re strong enough to withstand peer pressure, but you may not have what it takes on your own.

Instead, place your hope in God because He is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator who gives you strength and confidence when you rely on Him. You can be confident that He will provide you with what you need to face any challenges that come your way.