Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
Lately, I have been thinking about the many clubs of which I have been a member in my lifetime. When I was a kid, I was a member of Gemco—well technically my parents were the members, but I totally loved going to that store! In school, I was a member of the Drama Club–a born drama queen, National Honor Society–just barely, and the Math Club–I know what you’re thinking!
The very first club in which I was a card-carrying member was The Partridge Family Fan Club back in the ’70s. Their fan club kit came with their new record, the book, “Growing Up with the Partridge Family”, a Partridge Poster of the whole family, autographed wallet-sized portraits of every cast member, a membership card signed by David Cassidy that you could proudly carry with you wherever you went, AND (Drum roll) a giant extra bonus HUGE, KISSABLE, ALL COLOR 17″ X 22″ POSTER OF DAVID CASSIDY! All this for just $2.00 and 25¢ for shipping and handling! (Would you think less of me if I told you I had their albums on my iTunes Playlist? –Something I will neither confirm nor deny. )
However, with recent news of shootings, terrorist attacks, political and racial division, I have been thinking the most about another club this Christmas Season, The Hope Club.
The Hope Club is one of the oldest clubs in existence. It started over a piece of fruit. It’s membership is open, it’s free–well, at least free to you (Galatians 3:13-14 GW; Isaiah 53:4-6), and the only requirement for eligibility is to need hope. Because we all have sinned and suffered from it’s effects, EVERYONE is eligible to join. (Romans 5:12, 3:23; Ephesians 2:3)
Almost immediately after Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of a tree from which they were forbidden to eat, the club was founded when God offered hope through the promise of a coming Messiah. (Genesis 3:15)
Many promises followed with specific details about how the Deliverer would come. (Isaiah 59:20) He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and He would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Each one was kept faithfully just as promised.
There were also many hope-inspiring promises about what the Deliver would do when He came. He would deliver us from our sin. (Romans 11:26,27; Isaiah 59:20-21, Isaiah 27:9) He would deliver us from the power and destruction of death. (Hosea13:14) He would bring light to all darkness. (Isaiah 9:1-2; John 1:9) He would bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release prisoners from darkness, proclaim favor, comfort all those who mourn, give beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-21) He would give Eternal Life to those who believe. And that Eternal Life would be free of death, sorrow, crying and pain. (Daniel 12:1-3; John 3:16; John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:4 NLT)
For this Christmas, the most hopeful promise to me is the promise that the Deliver would be called Immanuel, God With Us. (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) Over and over in scripture we are told that God will be with us. In these trying times, this gives me great peace.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)
Like Paul, I believe that the great Deliver, Jesus Christ is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27) and I pray as he did, “that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NLT)
I now hereby induct you into The Hope Club membership with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto until The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. LH
This post is dedicated to the families of my dear friends, Francisco, Jael, Jennifer and Becky. Even in your great loss, you have held fast the confession of your hope without wavering. I am grateful for your powerful example of what it is to grieve as those who have hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
Why not take an few extra minutes to listen to the anthem song of this chapter’s Hope Club, I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North. 🙂