SCRIPTURE: (Mat 5:20 NIV)  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


(Rom 4:18-25 NIV)  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."

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone,

but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


            It is when we have hope in the future that we gain power for today. I heard Zig Ziggler on the radio program Focus on the Family this week and Zig told this story that I want to share with you today.

            In a small town in the hills of Tennessee there was a young boy named Ben. The interesting thing about small towns is that every one in the town knows everything about everyone. I know this from growing up in a small town myself. Everyone knows who you are. They know how much money your parent make or don’t make. They know how many brothers and sisters you have and everything every one of them ever did both good and bad. They know how much you drink or not. They know if you go to church or not they know you. Every one in that small Tennessee town knew everything about little Ben too. That is everything except who his father was. You see Ben was born out of wed lock and no one was sure who his father was. Even his mother wasn’t sure. In that day and age being an illegitimate child was about the worse thing that could happen to a person. Ben grew up with this stigma. You know how kids can be cruel? Well they were ten times as cruel to Ben. When he was about six years old he would sit in his classroom at school and while the rest of the children would go out for recess to play Ben would stay at his desk and study. He would rather do that then face the teasing and ridicule from the other kids.

            It was about that time that a new young preacher came to that small Tennessee town. Everyone spoke so highly of that young preacher. They would say how when he talked to you he would give you 100% of his attention. He would really make you feel important. It was that curiosity that caused Ben to go to church one day and see for himself this new young preacher. But Ben did not want to draw any attention to himself so he walked into the church late and sat at back. He liked how the preacher talked and enjoyed what he said but in order to keep from being noticed by anyone he left before the service was over. Benny enjoyed the preacher so much that he would go back week after week. Always coming in late, sitting in the back and leaving early.

            One Sunday Ben was in church when the message that that young preacher was giving seemed to be pointed right at Ben. There was such an anointing on the word that Ben knew that the preacher was talking right to him. He was talking about how much God loved him and had a plan for his life. Ben got so wrapped up with the message that he did not notice that people had come in and sat behind him. He did not notice that the service was even ending and by the time he got up to leave he could not run out, as he was use to. The isles were full of people. So as Benny slowly made his way to the exit he suddenly felt a heavy hand upon his shoulder and he turned around to look right in the eyes of that preacher. Just then the preacher in a loud voice spoke to Ben;

            “Young man, whose boy are you.”

 With that question there came a silence over the church. Everyone wanted to know the answer to that very question. Just as Benny was about to shrug his shoulders the preacher began to smile a big friendly smile and he again spoke in an even louder voice so that every one could hear;

“I know. Of Course, the family resemblance is so clear. Why you are God’s child.” With that the young preacher gave Ben a pat on the backside and told him to go on and make his father proud. It was that moment that Ben Hooper looks back on and says that that was the day he was elected governor of Tennessee. And re elected governor. Ben Hooper was no longer an orphan boy of illegitimate birth. Ben Hooper was the son of the living God.

Zig Ziggler went on to tell how he himself was 45 years old, broke and without any hope when he discovered his heavenly Father. By living the principles that God laid out for him in His word Zig became the most notiable motivational speaker in the country.      

I was 33 living in a tent. I had lost my family. My two sons. My job, my wife I had lost all hope. Then I found Him. My heavenly Father opened his everlasting arms and picked me up. He told me that He loved me and could deliver me out of the bondage of alcohol and drugs. He told me that He would restore what the canker worm had eaten. He told me that He had a perfect plan for my life. He told me that I had purpose and that there was Hope. Eternal abundant hope in the future. With that knowledge I gained power for the day.

You too have a Father that loves you so much that he already laid down his life for you. He has already paid the penalty for your transgressions. He holds the keys to true freedom. To an abundant and bright future. He is our hope. He is our salvation. He is the way the truth and the life.

As we look into God’s word we see time and again how God wants so much to be the Father that we never had. God wants to prove to us that he will never break his promises. He has a future mapped out for us that will far surpass any of our wildest dreams. Eyes have not seen nor have ears heard the wonders that await us. God wants you to know right now that you are not only His son but also a joint heir with Christ Jesus our Lord. It is when we come to the knowledge of God’s love for us through Jesus Christ that He reveals to us through His Holy Spirit the hope that awaits us. We do not blindly hope for something that we might not receive for we have already received the grace of God. We hope knowing that each and every day is going to bring us a greater revelation of His love towards us.

Yes we are all sinners and we do not deserve the love that God has already poured out upon us. That is what grace is all about. Its about God loving us even when we are unlovable. It is about a father that will never give up on us and stands at the door and waits for us to return to him. He will never hold anything back from us. We are His children. It is good news. It is real hope it is power for living. It is yours today. Let God into your heart. Let Him reveal more of His love to you today. Let God be your Father. He will never let you down. He will be your righteousness.