Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Our sons worked for many years on an Indian reservation in the Southwest. And they would be one of the few places on that dark reservation where so few people have been reached for Christ who had any Christmas decorations up. But I was always impressed with that one village church where they had a lot of lights outlining all their church buildings, and there was a cross covered with lights on top of the church's steeple. It was pretty impressive. One Christmas I had a chance to visit there and I got to see the lights of the church and that cross. And, man, the cross really stands out against the darkness. And I met Rose. She's a Native woman who attends that church. Those lights are an important part of her story actually. She said, "I have struggled with alcohol for many years. And one night, during the Christmas season, I hit bottom. I was in the pit. I wandered outside and there it was – the cross all lit up in front of me. I came to where the cross was (she said), and with the help of the pastor's wife, I finally found hope that night."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Light in Your Dark Night."
As that Native woman discovered that night when it was especially dark for her, the shape of hope is the cross of Jesus. For her, and maybe for you right now.
In our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 2:12, the Bible describes in eight little words how so many people feel. It talks about being (Here we go!) "without hope and without God in the world." "Without hope" describes the feeling that things are always going to be like they've always been, I'm never going to change, my life is never going to change, I'll always come up empty, I'll always come up lonely, I'm always going to come up confused, I'm always going to come up feeling worthless. The habits, the failures, the weaknesses that have always brought me down, they're always going to bring me down. Rose, the woman I met at that reservation church, said it was like being "in the pit."
And the Bible suggests that the ultimate reason we are "without hope" is because we are "without God." That doesn't mean you don't believe in God or even know a lot about God. It means you don't have the personal love relationship with God that you were made for. We're without God because we've chosen to turn our backs on Him and run our own lives instead of letting Him run them. So the One who has all the meaning, all the love, and all the answers we've looked for our whole life is on the other side of a wall, and that wall is called sin.
Thankfully, this "without hope" statement in the Bible is followed by that hopeful word "but." "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near." Wow! Now, how does that happen? "Through the blood of Christ" it says. So we find ourselves at the same place Rose found herself that night she found hope-at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. Why is this shedding of His blood on the cross so important? Because, as the Bible says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). Sin has a death penalty, and a death penalty can only be paid by someone dying. And Jesus did so you don't have to.
When you put your total trust in Jesus to be your personal Savior from your personal sin, you're forgiven of every sin. You're guaranteed heaven when you die. You receive His power to change what you've never been able to change. It doesn't have to be the way it's always been. Hope is born when you follow the light of God to the cross of Jesus.
And that's where He's leading you this very day. It's what our website's all about, and that's why I want to ask you to go there. Let this be your hope destination today - ANewStory.com. Many have found hope there. It's waiting for you.
Hope is in the shape of a cross. And hope is born for you when you come to that cross and you say those two words that change everything, "For me. It was for me."