Hope and Change You Can Believe In!

          

James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States

From a speech given at the 1880 nominating convention

 

“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption.

 

If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature… If the next centennial does not find us a great nation, it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

 

*   (2 Cor 9:6 NIV)  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

*   (Gal 6:7-8 NIV)  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. {8} The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

 

To a large extent we as individuals and we as a people and we as a nation are reaping what we have sown. We elect men and women that profess hope and change and freedom and a better life. But what they profess is not what is delivered. They lie and we know it. They are corrupt and we know it. They are immoral and we know. And we don’t really seem to care all that much because we just keep on sending the same sort back to rule over us instead of serving us. They are adept at playing the blame game, and so are we. It’s as if actions have no consequences in the minds of the people, or as if “Good intentions” are a substitute for good behavior. President Obama was elected on a platform characterized as, “Hope and Change you can believe in.” But he is no different than many others except perhaps a bit more persuasive in selling the message.

 

President Garfield had it right, we are responsible for our politics and for our individual rights. We are responsible for the corruption we see around us. And the honest truth is this: Things are just going to get worse! Putting your trust in the leaders of this world is a really bad idea. But there is Hope and there is Change you can believe in. You will find it spelled out in the Bible. Let’s look.

 

*   (Mat 12:17-21 NIV)  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: {18} "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. {19} He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. {20} A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. {21} In his name the nations will put their hope."

*   (Acts 2:22-32 NIV)  "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. {23} This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. {24} But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. {25} David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. {26} Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, {27} because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. {28} You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' {29} "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. {30} But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. {31} Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. {32} God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

*   (Rom 4:13-18 NIV)  It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. {14} For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, {15} because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. {16} Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. {17} As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. {18} Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

*   (Rom 4:25-5:6 NIV)  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, {2} through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. {3} Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope. {5} And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. {6} You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

*   (Rom 8:22-25 NIV)  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. {23} Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. {24} For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? {25} But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

*   (Rom 12:9-18 NIV)  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. {10} Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. {11} Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. {12} Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. {13} Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. {14} Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. {15} Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. {16} Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. {17} Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. {18} If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

*   (Rom 15:1-7 NIV)  We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. {2} Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. {3} For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." {4} For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. {5} May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, {6} so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. {7} Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

*   (Rom 15:13 NIV)  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 the Holy Spirit.

*   (1 Cor 13:6-7 NIV)  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

*   (1 Cor 13:13 NIV)  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

*   (Eph 4:1-7 NIV)  As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. {2} Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. {3} Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. {4} There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- {5} one Lord, one faith, one baptism; {6} one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. {7} But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

*   (1 Th 5:8-9 NIV)  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. {9} For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

*   (1 Tim 1:1 NIV)  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

*   (1 Tim 4:9-10 NIV)  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance {10} (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

*   (1 Tim 6:17 NIV)  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

*   (Heb 11:1 NIV)  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

*   (1 Pet 3:15-16 NIV)  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, {16} keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

 

 

There’s your hope now here is the change.

*   (1 Cor 15:51-57 NIV)  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- {52} in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. {53} For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. {54} When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." {55} "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" {56} The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. {57} But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

*   (James 1:17-20 NIV)  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. {18} He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. {19} My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, {20} for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

*   (James 4:7-12 NIV)  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. {8} Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. {9} Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. {10} Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. {11} Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. {12} There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

*   (Heb 8:10-12 NIV)  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. {11} No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. {12} For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

*   (Rev 21:3-7 NIV)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. {4} He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." {5} He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." {6} He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. {7} He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

 

This “Hope” we have been talking about is also understood as expectation, trust, confidence, and desire. God will not let us down and we must not let Him down. The soldier cannot stop fighting until the war is over. So as the song says, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” The King will be here soon. In the mean time let’s fight the good fight! Hope and Change you can believe in is on the way.