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TONY ELDER: Our hope for a good future is based on the promises of God

Following a recent Sunday worship service, our family headed to a local Chinese restaurant to enjoy the lunch buffet. After filling ourselves with the tasty cuisine, our server left us the check along with the traditional treat of a fortune cookie for each patron.

On such occasions, we usually take turns reading out loud the slip of paper we pull from the clutches of our little packaged dessert -- not because we give any credence to those sayings, but simply because we get a laugh from the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the revealed proverb or prediction.

The fortune I received was more specific than most, giving rise to a comment from my grandson, "Now that's a good one!"

It instructed: "Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you."

Needless to say, I'm not marking my calendar and waiting with great anticipation to see what wonderful experiences will unfold for me on Dec. 2.

It will likely come and go with no recollection of this prediction. It's probable that I will be enjoying some "good things" that day, but I will give the credit for any such blessings to God, not to a random reading at a restaurant.

Anyway, my son-in-law received the exact same fortune, along with no telling how many other patrons in that establishment.

Whether we're looking ahead three months or three years, we like to think that the sentiment expressed on that paper will be true -- "Good things are in store for you."

When the future appears very uncertain or rather bleak, we hold onto the hope that we will be able to enjoy positive experiences and some degree of blessing in those days to come.

Those who put their faith in Christ can have such hope. It's not based on wishful thinking or on the unreliable words found in a fortune cookie. Our hope for a good future is based on the promises of God.

He assures us of His constant presence, that He will never leave us or forsake us. If we've got God with us, that's a good thing no matter what else may be going on in our lives.

The Lord further promises to provide for the needs of those who put Him first. He pledges to watch over us and take care of us as we travel through all the valleys and over the mountains on the pathway of life. He blesses us with the peace of knowing that our sins are forgiven, along with the joy of serving as one of His ambassadors in this world.

This doesn't mean that we won't face our share of hard times. The Bible promises us tribulation and persecution too.

But even during the tough times, there will always be good things and blessings for which we can be thankful.

Although we experience the fulfillment of that promise in this life, the concept that "good things are in store for you" is even truer for us when we reach the end of our earthly journey.

The Bible only gives us a glimpse into what is awaiting us, but we know that it will be an existence better than we can imagine. Among other things it will include being with Jesus, worshiping Him, fellowshipping with Him and other believers, and reigning with Him forever and ever.

So I'm not sure what might be happening to me on Dec. 2. However, I and all God's children can be confident that good things truly are in store for us in this life. And even better things are in store for us in heaven.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.