Sermon Reflections based on Dream Higher | Alex Hardt | December 31, 2023
Happy New Year!?!
I'm wondering if you are like me and at some point, you thought why even bother making plans, or doing a new years resolution, or looking to the future? Everything around me looks dismal, broken, and new years resolutions never work anyway. What I am going through won't change and anything I do won't make a difference. It will be the same today, tomorrow, and the next day.
In a world often shadowed by uncertainties and limitations, the scriptures in Isaiah, Revelation, and Philippians shine forth as beacons of hope, inviting us to dream higher and embrace a future anchored in God's promises. These passages, although diverse, weave together a profound narrative that resonates with the core essence of faith—trusting in God's redemptive plan, pursuing spiritual maturity, and adopting a forward-looking perspective. Our past and our present doesn't define our future. In fact, the only thing that holds weight on our future is God.
Isaiah 43:1-13: Isaiah's words echo through the ages, offering assurance in times of tribulation. As the Israelites faced exile and uncertainty, God reassured them of His abiding presence. His promise of redemption isn't just a distant hope but a present reality—a reminder that the Creator of the world is actively working on behalf of His people. If you thought you were alone in this world, then you would be wrong. We have a God who is always with you and always for you, working on your behalf for Good.
Revelation 21:1-8: John's apocalyptic vision paints a picture of a new heaven and earth. It's a breathtaking glimpse of a future where pain, sorrow, and suffering cease to exist. This vision isn't merely an allegory but a tangible promise of God's ultimate restoration. Just because we have failures, brokenness, pain, suffering, death now doesn't mean that's how it will always be. God paints a future where every tear is wiped away and where death no longer exists.
Philippians 3:12-14: Paul's words exhort believers toward spiritual maturity. He encourages a relentless pursuit of Christlikeness, urging us not to dwell on past successes or failures but to press on toward the upward call of God—a call that beckons us toward a higher purpose and a deeper communion with Christ. We can hold on to the past all we want but it won't change the future. If we dwell in the past and the present then we will never move toward the future that God has for us. God has something much greater for us, but we have to let go of our fears and failures. We have to surrender today and yesterday, to discover tomorrow.
How do you navigate between living in the reality of present circumstances and holding onto the hope of God's promises for the future?
In what ways can we encourage one another to pursue Jesus?
What steps can we take to cultivate a forward-looking perspective amidst life's challenges and uncertainties?
Let's engage in a practice of daily reflection and prayer. Allocate time each day to meditate on a specific promise from Scripture. Journal about how that promise speaks to your current situation and future hopes. Share these reflections with a trusted friend or within a faith community to encourage one another in holding onto God's promises amidst life's ebb and flow.
As we journey in faith, may we hold firm to these timeless truths, envisioning and pursuing a future anchored in God's unwavering hope. Embracing a future of hope involves actively participating in God's redemptive narrative, seeking spiritual maturity, and fixing our gaze on the promises that transcend our present circumstances.
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A collection of thoughts from our community