October 24: The Only Place to Find Real Hope

Read Genesis 40:1-23

He’d been in prison for quite a while. Wrongly imprisoned, actually. And God was right there with Joseph in the confines of the prison walls, locked up with people who had committed crimes against the king himself. Treason. Attempted murder. Yes, God stayed with Joseph even then. It was He who gave the prison warden grace-eyes through which to see Joseph. That’s how Joseph came to be in charge behind those prison walls.

“(T)he LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (39:23).

So when the king’s cupbearer and baker found themselves on the wrong side of the king’s favor and consequently thrown into Joseph’s prison, it made sense that he would be the one to attend to them.

I wonder what the days were like for Joseph. Some suggest he was the record-keeper for the prison, the warden’s right-hand man. Whatever the details, we can know for sure that Joseph served with discernment and wisdom. We see it when he notices their dejection and asks the king’s chief cupbearer and his baker what’s wrong (v7).

When each of them answers with the mention of their dreams, I have to wonder if Joseph figured his purpose for being in this Egyptian prison was for that very moment. Surely, it must have made him think about the dreams he’d had back in Canaan. The dreams in which his brothers and his parents all bowed down to him.

Certainly, Joseph’s heart must have skipped a beat as he spoke the truth of the Giver of Dreams and realized that his dreams, too, had been gifts from the very same and very sovereign God.

“Do not interpretations belong to God” (v8)?

So when Joseph, through the wisdom and knowledge of God, interpreted them, I have no doubt that he banked on the cupbearer’s promise, trusting that his hope for true freedom was finally coming to fruition.

But the cupbearer did forget him. He forgot about Joseph for two full years. I imagine Joseph’s renewed hope was crushed with each of those 730 passing days.

Still, his real hope, the only True Hope-Giver, remained true.

How many times have you put your hope in someone or something that lets you down? Maybe it’s someone like the cupbearer, who simply forgets. Or maybe it’s the promise of a new job, a better relationship, a more prominent position. I’ve done it more times than I’d like to admit. Every single time I’ve done it, I’ve been let down. You too?

That’s because the only promise of real hope comes from the only One who will never leave us. He’s the same God who never left Joseph. The One who made a way for us to know Him and find living hope through His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only way to find real hope.


Posted in Real Hope

October 23: This is Real Hope

Read I Peter 1:1-2:12


I’ve heard the word countless times, and said it many more. Maybe you have, too. “I hope my kids aren’t sick on vacation.” “I hope it snows on Christmas Day.” “I hope you get that job you want.”

Until recently, though, I’ve never really understood it. Faith I sort of get. It’s knowing without seeing; believing, trusting. And peace. That’s the calm inside that stays steady through explosions and crashes and worlds falling apart. But real hope is difficult to grasp.

Hope is expectation. It’s new parents waiting for their child to arrive so they can wrap it all up in a little baby bundle of joy. It’s mapping out a route to the ocean for the family trip. Hope is a college freshman choosing his first semester classes, meeting her roommate for the first time. It’s sending a wedding invitation then saying “I do” to the promise for forever.

But the problem with hope is the unknown. Because sometimes babies are born with problems. Or not at all. And sometimes hurricanes cancel vacations. Sometimes the promise gives way to the struggle, and marriages fall apart.

Sometimes what we hope for does not happen at all.

That’s why it’s scary when you find out you’re pregnant and you can’t feel the baby move. It’s why they offer travel insurance. That is why it’s so hard to watch another’s marriage end while hoping yours will stand the test of time.

And it’s why God never told us to just “hope for the best.”

In fact, we have been born into a living hope because of The Living Hope, Jesus Christ.  Our only real hope is that which sets its expectation on what is sure — the truth of new and forever life in Jesus Christ. Our only real hope is to plant our confidence in the promise of God, the One who created life and offers it to all who will believe. The One who makes babies. And oceans. The One who thought up marriage.

God is the only Real Hope that will not fail. And so we cling to Him as such.

We keep our eyes on Him. We seek His way and follow it. We trust Him to keep our marriages alive, to protect our children, to bless our vacations. But we will not hope in these things. We will hope in God alone. Because our only real hope is Him.



Posted in Real Hope

October 22: Will You Be There?

Read Revelation 21:1-27

The story of the human race will end one day. Believers will be raised, judged, and given resurrected bodies. Satan, the great deceiver, will finally be defeated. There will be no more sin. Everything will stand perfect.

Then what?

The last two chapters of Revelation tell us what the eternal state will be like. When the Bible says we will be with God for eternity (1 Thess. 4:17), it means just that; for a time longer than our minds can comprehend. We will be WITH GOD! I can’t even imagine what it will be like!

Revelation 21 talks about the New Jerusalem. After all the events of the End Times have taken place, the entire universe will be wiped away and the eternal state will be ushered in. We know from the first half of Revelation 21 that we will be one with God and He will be living among us!

Verses 10-27 describe the New Jerusalem as it descends from Heaven onto the earth. The city is said to be made of pearls and jasper stones and paved with crystal clear streets, just like pure gold.

Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will be in the New Jerusalem. God Himself will be living among us! Revelation 21 tells us no sun or light will be needed because the glory of the Lord will illuminate the city!

Are you going to be celebrating in the New Jerusalem? Time is running out. Do not allow yourself to be caught off guard. Trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins!

What about your neighbor across the street? The cashier at the grocery store? Your co-worker? Don’t you want her to be there? Don’t you want him to know the hope of eternity that decimates all fear and ends all death?

Over the next several weeks, we will be reading through and discussing real stories of hope. It starts tomorrow in conjunction with Grace Church’s Welcome Weekend. Now is the time for your friend, your co-worker and your neighbor to know the true hope that can only come through Jesus Christ. Why not invite them to join us tomorrow? Why not share the truth of your Savior today?


Posted in Uncategorized

October 21: 1,000 Years and Beyond

Read Revelation 20:1-15

Perhaps you remember New Year’s Eve, 1999. It was the celebration of a significant turn of the calendar into a new millennium. People sure made that New Year seem significant . . . Y2K scare and all. It represented the start of a new thousand year period. One thousand years is a long time . . . but it is not yet eternity!

One thousand years represents the time frame during which Jesus will reign here on earth after His return at the revelation. Though that is a long time, it represents another important part of His story and man’s rescue. Consider what happens during that time.

At the beginning of that time, Satan will be bound and thrown into the Abyss. After years and years of wielding his influence, he will be powerless, unable to deceive the nations!

This will be unlike any other time period since the fall of man with unprecedented peace and visible righteousness on the earth as Christ rules with an iron scepter (Rev. 19:15). But, this is not yet eternity.

At the beginning of that thousand-year period, judgments will take place. Those living at the end of the Tribulation (Matt. 25) and those martyred for Christ during the Tribulation will be judged. The unredeemed will be cast from His presence, while others (especially martyrs) will have opportunity to reign with Jesus.

This millennium experience will also be unparalleled in nature as wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and bear will live together in harmony instead of predator/prey relationships. Even children will be able to play with cobras and vipers. That certainly doesn’t happen today!

At the end of that thousand-year period, Satan will be released. It is amazing to read how his deception will find a quick following of multitudes. But this uprising will be easily squelched by God, and Satan himself will be eternally eliminated from the picture.

If you know Christ, you will have returned with Him and will be part of the glory of those thousand years. That’s something to celebrate! It is a very true and absolutely real hope! But what about your neighbors? Can they celebrate this hope with you? Does your friend on the other side of town know the real hope of Jesus Christ, the One who conquered death on her behalf?

This weekend, Grace Church will celebrate our hope in a special way! Why not invite your friend, your neighbor, your co-worker to join us for this Welcome Weekend so they can be there — for 1,000 years and for eternity?


Posted in Uncategorized

October 20: 1000 Years

Read Zechariah 14:1-21

As Zechariah closes with more “on that day” prophesies, he draws our attention to the centrality of Jerusalem and to the Lord, who will personally come to this city and reign as King. This prophecy was not fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. It is still ahead and will be fully experienced at His second coming at the end of a seven-year period which is often called the “tribulation.”

What do we know about this future reign of Jesus?

It will be global. Verse 9 tells us that “He will be King over the whole earth.” That is difficult to fathom. During our lifetime, we have only been familiar with a world that includes multiple countries, many governments, and countless leaders. We anticipate, however, a day in which Christ will be the one and only ruler over all the earth.

All opposition will be squelched. At the beginning of His millennial reign, Satan will be bound and unable to exert his influence in this world (Rev. 20:1-6). Meanwhile, any who contest the reign of the King will experience the force of His iron scepter (Rev. 19:15).

It will be a time of economic, social, and physical blessing. Unlike our present time, justice will be the rule. By God’s grace, inadequacies of food and income will not be widespread like they are today (Joel 2:21-27).

Creation will experience transformation. Geographical locations like the Mount of Olives will be different, as indicated in verses 4 and 5. Even animals will relate to one another differently as predator and prey will no longer have their current instincts (Is. 11:6; 65:25).

While all of this may sound like eternity, in reality, it will last 1,000 years. Revelation 20 gives us this time frame. While this period does represent a long time, there is a terminus.

Don’t worry. Even though that thousand year period will come to an end, the following era of human experience will be an unending period of sinless, painless life in the presence of God, with a new heaven and a new earth. It will be a time where things are better even than what will be experienced in the Millennium.


Posted in Zechariah

October 19: Soul Cleansing

Read Zechariah 13:1-9

There is something so refreshing about a shower after a few hours of yard or garden work on a hot, humid summer day. Letting the soap and water cleanse your body of the sweat, dirt, and grass that clings to your body is a good feeling.

But while physical cleansing can be a pleasant experience, soul cleansing is often painful. It is that experience that Zechariah describes as he prophesies of future days for Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (v. 1,). Although the thoughts shared here are specific for that nation, there are some parallels for those of us in the church.

What does that cleansing look like? In the process of soul cleansing, what can we anticipate?

1. The removal of idols (v. 2). I’m guessing that most people you know do not have stone or wooden images in their homes . . . images that represent unseen deities. Meanwhile, it is a very possible that there are those objects or priorities that we allow to compete for the position that God alone wants to fill. Remove those from your life.

2. The elimination of false prophets (vv. 3-6). The prophets indicated here were not speaking words that God revealed. Instead, whether out of ignorance or out of an attempt at personal gain, they presented teaching inconsistent with God’s. With all of the technological advancements, many voices and messages have access to your ear. Are their some you need to eliminate?

3. A reduction in number (vv. 7-9a). Zechariah describes only one-third who survive the cleansing process. Although it is unclear whether this third represents the only true people of faith or not, the New Testament tells us that there are people who claim a commitment to Christ but don’t really have one (Matt. 7:22, 23). Would you make the cut as a genuine follower of Christ? First John 5:11-13 can help you know.

4. Faithfulness through testing (v. 9b). Refining and testing require challenges and adversity. According to Romans 5 and James 1, those experiences will characterize the lives of believers. Are you allowing those kinds of experiences to enable you to come to reflect the person of Jesus in your life?

Embrace the process of soul cleansing today!


Posted in Zechariah

October 18: Someday

Read Zechariah 12:1-14

A few years ago over Memorial Day weekend, our family got away for a few days with family in Kentucky. In the midst of an upscale housing development spread across rolling hills, we noticed a beautiful home surrounded by acres of green grass and a white wooden fence. Inside the fence were horses. There was a sign at the edge of the road identifying the owners, the Huffman’s. But, in larger letters yet, was the name they had ascribed to their horse farm. The sign read:


My guess is the owners had always dreamed of the day when they would have a property like that. For years, they had spoken of “Someday when . . .”And now, they are living their “Someday.”

The last three chapters of Zechariah depict a “Someday” for Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. Actually, the repeated phrase in these chapters is “on that day.” Sixteen times over these three chapters, the Lord draws our attention to “that day.”

The description is not one of a large house, green grass, grazing horses, and a white fence. Instead, it is of a day when God’s chosen people would no longer be the underdog. They would be able to withstand and even be victorious over her enemy nations. It was a day when Jerusalem would be an “immovable rock.” How these words must have caused the readers in Zechariah’s day to dream of “that day” . . . to speak of “someday.”

The average “Every Day With God” reader is not a blood descendant of the nation of Israel that has experienced immeasurable adversity over the centuries. Meanwhile, most every one of us has experienced opposition and challenges. Just when you thought you were on the upswing, something new came along and beat you back down. Be encouraged. You can dream of a “someday.” But only if you, like the nation of Israel, look on the Lord with faith-filled, repentant contrition (vv. 10-13). You see, “He was pierced [crucified] for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed”(Is. 53:5). Recognizing what Christ did for you causes you to repent . . . but it also enables you to dream.



Posted in Zechariah