Monday, June 11, 2007

Keep your fork...the best is yet to come!

One of the many benefits of going to a church the size of mine is the variety of pastors!! Last night at church our Brazilian pastor Rev. Airton Pupo preached and oh how I LOVE his passion!!

This week I had a "conversation" with a woman who is lost (does not know Jesus as her Saviour) and the one thing that kept breaking my heart for her was her sense of hopelessness. No matter how much we told her that God loves her and wants to rescue her she just couldn't get it. Of course, I know that I, nor any other human being, can EVER give her hope but we were certainly trying to share our hope with her. Only Jesus can give you hope.

Then last night at church Rev. Pupo preached from Rom 8:18-25. He talked about sufferings and how none of us, saved or unsaved, are exempt from suffering, exempt from pain, exempt from disappointment but God in His wisdom and mercy sent Jesus to pay the penalty of sin to give us HOPE! To make us hopers!! No matter what we face, no matter how grave our circumstances, we have a HOPE! We have PEACE!! We have JOY!!

He said that these are the reasons we are able to face our difficulties in life. 1. Hopers learn to let anxious feelings prompt them to pray. 2. God never calls anyone to a life of chronic anxiety. 3. Hopers learn to become clear of what they CAN control and what they CAN NOT. 4. Hopers learn to make the choice of where to put our hope.

He told of a woman who found out she had cancer and was only going to survive weeks or months at best. She made all the arrangements for her funeral with her pastor but had one request that intrigued him. She asked to be buried with a fork in her right hand. He thought this was a STRANGE request and she gave him the reason but asked him to wait until her funeral to share it with everyone. At the funeral everyone came and saw her body, her flowers, her family but everyone kept asking "What's with the fork?" but no one knew. Finally the pastor spoke, sharing the gospel of Jesus with all who were there. He ended by asking if everyone was wondering about the fork. It seems that at every church dinner this woman had attended her FAVORITE part of the meal was after the main course was served, plates were collected and they would tell her to keep her fork. The anticipation of what was to come was her FAVORITE thing. Knowing that if they told her to keep her fork it wasn't going to be just any dessert but something AWESOME! She wanted everyone at her funeral to know that she went to heaven with her fork in hand!! She knew the best part of her life was coming!!! She was ready!! How awesome!

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in HOPE that the creation itself WILL BE LIBERATED from its bondage to decay and BROUGHT INTO THE GLORIOUS FREEDOM of the children of God." Rom 8:18-21 (emphasis mine)

That's it in a nutshell! Our hope is know that we are delivered (liberated) from bondage and set FREE!! My prayer is that you know this freedom. That you know this hope. That you know my Jesus!!!