devos from the hill


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Our Blessed Hope

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
(Part 3 of 3-part series)
from Fred Carpenter

“. . . looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” – Titus 2:13

I’ve witnessed this scene several times in my life. I’m in a room of people. It could be a classroom, a dining room or a conference room. An important person enters the room. The mood in the room immediately changes and the people begin to act different than only a moment before.

What if you knew that Jesus was going to walk into your world right now? That before you finish whatever you’re doing, whatever activity you’re engaged in, you would see Him face to face? Would it make a difference?

The apostle John was dealing with a similar thought when he wrote, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” – 1 John 2:28. What a terrible thought, to shrink away from Him in shame!

For those who love Him, His return should be something entirely different than what John is describing. In fact, in Titus 2:3, Paul calls it our “blessed hope.” And why does he use this descriptive?

It is blessed because of all that the Savior’s return will mean to us as believers in Christ. Hampton Keathley reminds us that His coming for us means . . .

  • transformation or glorification (glorified resurrection bodies),
  • reunion (meeting loved one and friends who have died in the Lord),
  • remuneration (evaluation for and the giving of rewards for faithful service), and
  • reigning with Christ in the glorious future that follows

According to Ray Stedman, “One of the great reasons the church is so confused in this day, one of the reasons the church says so little of true significance to the world, is that it has neglected and abandoned, by and large, the hope of the coming of the Lord. There are very few sermons preached on it. There is very little said about it. There is no time given to a consideration of what this hope means and why it is set forth so frequently and so clearly in the Scriptures. Great sections of the Scriptures that deal with the hope of our Lord’s return are simply ignored by Christians.”

The Bible teaches us that the return of Christ is imminent (James 5:8). If we really believe that, it will change the way we live. The great preacher F. B. Meyer once asked D. L. Moody, “What is the secret of your success?” Moody replied, “For many years I have never given an address without the consciousness that the Lord may come before I have finished.”

Speaking of our blessed hope, Spiros Zodhiates said, “Our hearts will be propped up if we live in the constant expectation of His coming.” Did you know that 1 in every 20 NT passages refers to the Second Coming either directly or indirectly! God intends that our blessed hope, the promise of His return would motivate us to Godly living, encourage us to persevere and reorient our priorities.

“You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” – James 5:8 NASB

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Let’s Hasten the Coming of That Day!

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

In 2 Peter 3:9-13 we read, “(v.9) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (v.10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (v.11) Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (v.12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (v.13) But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

The “promise” in verse 9 refers to the promised return of Christ. While the Bible does not reveal the exact time of His return, this portion of scripture does tell us why He has not yet returned.

Have you ever been so repulsed by some story or event in the news that you have thought, “God, how can You allow this?” Though God’s judgment of evil is not always immediate, it is certain. This passage tells us that God is delaying His final judgment of this world because He desires that “none should perish.” He hates evil, but His love for those who have yet to turn to Him is so great that He is willing to wait for them. Many have not yet turned to Him because they have not yet heard of Him. He is waiting, not only on those who will receive the Gospel, but also on those who will share it! Continue reading


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Can God Trust You to Share in the Fellowship of His Sufferings?

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” – Philippians 3:10 NASB

What can we learn from an 87 year old missionary doctor who in 1964, while single and serving God in the Congo, was captured by rebels, beaten and raped? We realize that this is the second consecutive devotional we’ve done on the topic of suffering, but we think you’ll really benefit from getting to know Helen Roseveare. This video (8 min. 21 sec., part 2 of 5) will give a glimpse into how Helen experienced God in the middle of that night;

The Question – Can you thank God for trusting you with suffering, even if He never explains why?

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A Burden for the Lost

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

Romans 9:1-3, ESV – I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

This passage of scripture may well be Paul’s most passionate expression of grief over the condition of his fellow Jews. Knowing of Paul’s position on election and the sovereignty of God, some have argued that Paul’s strong language here is rhetorical, designed to make a point. CH Spurgeon does not agree . . . “A true passion grinds words to dust. When the heart is full of love, even the boldest hyperboles are simple truths! Extravagances are the natural expression of warm hearts even in ordinary things and, when a man’s whole soul gets to seething like a caldron and boiling like a pot with sympathy and pity for men that are being lost, he speaks what, in cold blood, he never would have said.”

Here’s what Pastor Greg Laurie says about this passage. “The apostle Paul had something essential for effective evangelism: a God-given burden for those who did not know Jesus Christ. In his case, the burden was for his own people, the Jews. He cared. It burned inside him.

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once said that his desire, had it been possible, would be to dangle his evangelism trainees over hell for 24 hours. That way, they could see the reality that awaits those who do not know Jesus Christ. Continue reading