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FIRST-PERSON: A sign of hope

EULESS, Texas (BP)–In 1997 an article appeared in the journal published by the American Heart Association. It pointed to the negative physical consequences of hopelessness. The article essentially said that those who had experienced extreme feelings of despair had a 20-percent greater increase in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) over a four-year period. Other studies also have connected hopelessness with heart disease, heart attacks and death.

What happens when hope is gone? Despair sets in! Depression takes hold. Productivity in life declines or ceases altogether.

One of our staff members attended a conference at Christ Church College in Oxford, England, in September. At the conference, analysts and businessmen, economists and professors from major corporations and universities in a number of countries converged in Oxford to forecast the state of world affairs over the next few years. Listen to some of the hottest topics they discussed: United States corporate scandals, the impact of a war with Iraq for both the U.S. and the global community, the economy of the European Union, the AIDS epidemics in Africa and Southeast Asia, and Russia’s role in the world stage. When our staff member returned from the conference, he stated a biblical truth that we all need to hear: In the face of these challenging days, the world desperately searches for some kind of hope.

We don’t need to look far to realize this truth. Think about it. Perhaps you are suffering some physical consequences of hopelessness. Perhaps corporate scandals have affected your life. Perhaps the thought of war with Iraq brings you great anxiety and the thought of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction brings even greater anxiety. We all know the impact the AIDS epidemic has on the world community and the anxiety AIDS brings. And when we think about all of the world events that are happening right now, we see that we indeed need a sign of hope for our world.

But I have great news. Despite the studies and the articles, hopelessness is defeated. We have a sign of hope that we all can embrace. WE HAVE HOPE IN LIFE. What is our sign of hope? As we enter into the Christmas season, the world is reminded once again that hope has come, and we read about the sign of hope in the Scriptures. Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” The Son of God is the sign of hope for the entire world.

You see, Jesus’ name really means, “The Lord saves.” In Isaiah 7:14, the name Immanuel means, “God with us.” Jesus is our sign of hope because he saves us and is with us in our hopeless situation. In fact, Jesus saves us from every kind of hopelessness. He saves us from sin. He saves us from death. He gives us wings to rise above the storm or gives us strength to stand in the storm. Through Jesus, we have hope in life because he is with us in the midst of our hopelessness and delivers us from hopeless situations.

Are you hopeless today? Do you feel as though you or your family is on the brink of despair? I want to encourage us in the Christmas season. We have the bright star of hope shining with us. His name is Jesus. He is our sign of hope. Trust him. Depend on him. Look to him for strength, peace, love, deliverance and for hope.
For more of Dr. Thomas’ resources, visit LifePoints at www.firstonthe.net.

    About the Author

  • Claude Thomas