Happy New Year! Yes, we made it through 2017, and before we could even catch our collective breath after those tumultuous 365 days, 2018 is upon us. Last year we heard many so-called prophetic biblical pronouncements as would-be prognosticators regaled us with all kinds of astronomical portents, none of which proved to be relevant to us Christians—or to anyone else. FYI, the next event on the “Christian Calendar” is the Gathering Together of the Ekklesia, with that date TBA—by Jesus and an archangel.

The main problem most all Christians have is that they do not understand what parts of the Bible are written to/about us, and what parts are written to/about Israel. How about you? Can you precisely articulate these indispensable truths so as to help others “come to a knowledge of the truth”? Why not “hit the Refresh Key” and again watch at least the first half of The End Times (which features DA CHART) in order to lock in this understanding for yourself and be sure that you “Got a Chart, got a life.” Doing so will enhance your vision of who you are—and whose you are as a child of God amidst this crooked and perverse world.

2018 lies before us today as an empty canvas, a clean slate on which each of us can write another chapter of our life. As for whether 2018 will be “HAP-py,” that depends upon how many mis-HAPS you have. Per-HAPS, by chance, you can avoid too many bad things HAP-pening. Dictionary.com defines “hap” as “one’s luck or lot; an accident.” I pray that during this coming year God can arrange as many circumstances in my life (and yours) as possible so that my HAP-piness is bolstered, but my more fervent prayer is that “the joy of the Lord” will be my internal strength no matter what is going on around me. Like Hope, Joy has a name: JESUS. The better we know him, the more Joy we manifest despite what the world throws at us. 

So there you were a week ago, about ready to tear into a gaily-wrapped Christmas gift with your name on it. What were you hoping it was—and what did it turn out to be? If you wanted a pony but got a garish necktie instead, your equine hopes were dashed upon the sartorial shoals of disappointment. As per Proverbs 13:12—“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” The opposite of hope is despair, and such hopelessness consumes the lives of countless people on the planet.

Again, Dictionary.com, regarding ‘hope”: As a verb: “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.” As a noun: “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; a person or thing in which expectations are centered. HOPE has a name: JESUS, whom we are looking forward to seeing with great desire and limitless confidence.

Paul’s unwavering focus on the Hope is vividly evident throughout the epistles he wrote to his Christian brethren. As per 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, God made the Hope very real to him so as to sustain him throughout the persecution and hardships he suffered (2 Cor. 11:23-29). God did the same thing on a grander scale for His Son, laying out for him the results of his choosing to go the distance, through the Cross.

Hebrews 12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [the sterling examples of believers as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures and set forth in Chapter 11], let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us2fixing 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. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Do you realize that our Hope is also Jesus’ Hope? Sure it is. How much do you think the Lord is anticipating finally hearing God say the words that will send him forth to reap the first part of the harvest for which he as the Promised Seed was planted in death? “Gentleman, start your engine.” Oops, sorry, I mean, “GO TO CHURCH!” And in the twinkling of an eye our Lord will descend to raise every single dead Christian to everlasting life in the same kind of perfect new body he will simultaneously give to every living believer as he takes all of us up to meet him in the air. What will Satan hear? A giantWHOOSH like the sound your computer makes when you hit SEND on an email.

Think about the fact that this rather monumental event could take place at any second, at which point your earthly life is over and done, and your account of rewards earned is closed until the Lord opens it at the Bema. How do we know it won’t be today? We don’t, and thus we find the recurring scriptural exhortations for us members of the Body of Christ to live each day to the fullest in serving our Lord. So do whatever you know you have been putting off; say to whomever what you know you need to say; and measure all your earthly troubles against the standard of glory that is to come.  

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we knowthat the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 1For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed [if we die], we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

And our Lord Jesus will one day come and clothe us with that “house” (new body) forever, just as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 lays out for us.

In the meantime, it is “normal” for us to feel grieved, out of sync, vexed, and like strangers and pilgrims who are out of place in this wicked world. That’s why we fix our eyes on what is not seen—yet.

Praise God that we have been taught the absolutely profound truth that very few Christians understand: speaking in tongues is the absolute proof of our salvation. What a joy to know that we know that we know that we are permanently saved, sealed, and delivered! And what motivation that is to do as 1 Corinthians 15:58 encourages us: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

I hope I speak for you when I say that I want to see major spiritual BREAKTHROUGHS in 2018! Yes, I want to fearlessly break through in my faith so as to enable God and the Lord to do for me all they have in mind. But I have a greater desire to see God break through and reach the many thousands or earthlings who do hunger for the Truth with which He has graced us in TLTF. I want to reach the countless men and women whom He knows will LOVE the Word we can teach them. I want to see lots of young people in their teens, twenties, and thirties receive the Word with meekness, retain it with conviction, and release it accurately with boldness.

I believe that God is so heavily invested in His written Word that He will do whatever it takes to back up anyone who is invested in sharing it with others. Ditto for Jesus, whose motto was, “IT IS WRITTEN.” Let us keep our eyes peeled for open doors of utterance, and boldly walk through them. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and you also miss out on what God can do when we do our part. Can you even imagine how much He desires to do miracles for us?

No doubt that, like I, you are embarking upon this New Year’s journey with more than a few hopes. You may be entertaining the hope of physical healing (as I am), an improved marriage, a better job, finding a life partner, reconciling with an estranged family member, and/or reaching more people with God’s Truth. Remember that “Face time” with God and Christ is “Faith Time” in the trenches of life. Their gracious provision is always extended to us for the taking, so it is simply a matter of our faith touching that provision.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of holy spirit.

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