Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you
This morning we seek to understand the comfort of hope.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Comfort of Hope
Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." John Chapter 14, Verse 19
Brothers and sisters, as we travel this life, there are many obstacles and barriers that must be confronted and overcome. As we struggle with challenges, it’’s nice to experience the comfort of hope. Having hope to travel with us does not remove the difficulty, but it does take the weight out of the difficulty. As Jesus said, "The gospel yoke is easy and the burden of truth is light." As we travel along the road to spiritual perfection, we need hope.
The Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. This command vibrates in our souls and beckons us on in the face of difficult moral and spiritual struggles. As we journey on the first leg of our eternal career in the mortal state, we are confronted with the challenge of living the mortal life while we also live the spiritual life. This requires quite a bit of skill to master, for not only do we have moral and spiritual difficulties, but we also have material difficulties.
Now the mind that mediates between spirit is also the mind that mediates between the material aspects of life. This mind must learn and accept the two different areas of reality. It must become adept at living the material life, while its supreme loyalty must be only to the heavenly Father.
When we look only at the material aspects of life, we are bound to become discouraged--we are locked into material reality that is subject to its own laws. We must turn to our spiritual natures for relief. We must learn to identify with our spiritual nature, our future vehicle of life expression. When we do so, we enter the realm of faith. This is because our self-consciousness is located in the material mind, and we are only conscious of material reality. Our consciousness of spiritual reality is a faith consciousness.
What do we mean by faith consciousness? Through faith, we become aware of our spiritual nature. We simply accept our spiritual nature and interact with it just like we interact with our material nature, except that we must do so with the laws governing spiritual reality, the realm of divine values and meanings. Our chief means of communicating with the spiritual realm is through our supreme desire to do the Father’’s will.
To do the Father’’s will is the process whereby our souls are created, grow, and develop. The growth of our souls is indicated by our progressive comprehension of divine values and meanings. These are the values and meanings that are a part of our relationship with the Father and with our brothers and sisters. These values and meanings are personal, and they indicate our growing spiritual relationship with the Father and with our brothers and sisters.
The goal of soul maturity is to develop a personality that is motivated by love and dominated by mercy. "The chief inhibitors of soul growth are prejudice and ignorance." Prejudice is caused by ignorance; and there is only one way to banish prejudice and that is through loving service. "By so drawing close to your fellow men in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion, you will lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father's love."
We must conquer ourselves first before we can conquer ignorance and prejudice in another. Now this task of self conquest is no easy matter. As the moral challenges continue to increase, and as we wrestle with the conflicts evoked by them, our emotions play havoc with us as we contemplate our decision with the highest value. When we sometimes realize that there is nothing to be done but to exercise patience, we are sorely tested. The voice of selfishness cries out, "forget the whole moral struggle."
As we wrestle with spiritual tensions between who we are and who we are striving to become, we become discouraged sometimes. There seems to be no way to overcome the moral and spiritual barriers. We pray, seeking the light, and we become skeptical at finding a solution. As we are thrown back into the arms of faith, our faith is tested severely, for we cannot see the end of the storm though we must continue to march through it. We cannot determine how much longer it is going to last. But the Father’’s call for the achievement of spiritual perfection is relentless: our souls are flooded with the ideals of perfection, and the values and meanings associated with it.
We grow weary and sometimes entertain spiritual doubt. As we are pulled from all directions with seemingly unresolvable conflicts, we feel like we are being torn apart. We continue to seek the Father’’s will, day and night, praying without ceasing. We worship and worship, seeking to become like him, seeking to know his divine character. We seek his power to sustain us. We know that he hears us but wonder if we are hearing him. Back and forth we go, like a seesaw, caught between faith and doubt. But even as we continue to struggle, and wonder if we are hearing him, we are being transformed into the image of his Son, Jesus. The fiery trials and tribulations are testing and imparting loyalty. The trials and tribulations continue to grow and test our faith. Always do our spirit helpers ask us, "Do you wish to continue with the divine plan?" And through sometimes tear-stained eyes and bewilderment, we answer, ““Yes!”” Sometimes our souls cry all night long. We are like children who have lost temporary eye contact with their parents, but still we will not turn back; we will continue to go forward. The fruits of the spirit shine brightly in our lives even as our material mechanism continues with its process of slow disintegration, sometimes filling our consciousness with pain and suffering, all the while preparing to release our souls for the next leg of the journey towards spiritual perfection.
Somewhere along the journey of toil and strife, we come to understand and realize the spiritual help that the Father is giving us. We begin to see the light. We come to understand that his grace is sufficient. Although we may feel we don’’t have the power to endure the storm, we do. And then there is faith, our conscious link to the Father through relationship. This faith is the assurance that we are connected to him and are doing his will, becoming like his son, Jesus. This faith anchors our souls to him in an indestructible bond. As long as we maintain this faith, we will not be moved, will not be pushed off of the path of achieving divine perfection. We will continue to pray and receive the divine values and meanings of our experiences. We will fight with our faith and will vanquish all doubt.
Our souls are learning to trust the Father through all of these trials and tribulations, pain, and suffering. We are learning to absolutely depend on him. As we weather each storm of life, each crisis, our trust grows just a little bit more. And as our trust grows, the tears of our souls dry up. Our sleepless nights become fewer and fewer, and our prayers shift from desperate pleas to thanksgiving. We recognize the Father’’s spirit in our souls, basking us with his love and his mercy. We recognize our guardian angels who continue to stimulate our minds and souls to ever greater spiritual achievements. We grow in the knowledge of the truth and begin to feel the freedom of spiritual existence. We feel the exhilaration of loving divinely. We feel the joy of living divinely, knowing that our lives are eternally secure.
But most of all, the Father’’s hope floods our souls and minds, providing proof that he is with us and in us, experiencing life as us. This hope which never fails as long as we exercise the faith and trust keeps encouraging us, projecting our consciousness to the future, where we shall be released from the trials and tribulations of imperfection. This hope carries us from day to day, even from moment to moment, and it will continue to carry us until we achieve the final goal: divine perfection.
Hope--the assurance of the Father’’s goodness--keeps on blessing us, filling our souls with the truth of the Father’’s love for us. This hope dares to proclaim boldly that nothing of spiritual value is ever lost. It says I know whereof I speak since I am the voice of the heavenly Father.
This concludes today's message on understanding the comfort of hope. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.