I grew up in Philadelphia in a very dysfunctional family. My father was a verbally and physically abusive alcoholic. There were many times my mother, my sister and I had to flee for safety to a relative’s house.
My mother put us in Catholic school to get a good education. We also got a good dose of religion. Catholic school taught me that if I was good enough, I would get to heaven. So I tried to please God by doing good. Only problem was I wasn't very good at being good or doing good.
In 1969 we moved to New Jersey and I started attending public school. That was around the time when both my parents became Christians but I became disillusioned with organized religion. So I turned to drugs and alcohol and lived a very wild and self-destructive life for many years.
At 21 years of age, a Christian bookstore owner invited me to church where I first heard the gospel and gave my life over to the control of Christ. Jesus Christ can bring hope to an otherwise hopeless life.
When you become a Christian, something supernatural happens! You receive the Holy Spirit. This physical body becomes the temple of God. The Holy Spirit gives us assurance that we're in God’s family.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:16-17
When you're a member of God’s family, you're an heir to a spiritual inheritance.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
The Holy Spirit is the earnest, the down payment, the guarantee of our inheritance. Now you have the Spirit living within but one day we get to cash in the Holy Spirit for our full inheritance, living eternally with God.
I know what it’s like to be without hope. Maybe you feel hopeless today. You may have a degenerative or terminal disease. Your marriage may be on the rocks. You may be a drug addict or alcoholic. You may be on the brink of financial failure. You may have given up all hope and want to end it all. That’s not the answer. Jesus is the answer. There is no problem so big that God can’t solve it. Your life may be a chaotic mess but there is hope in Jesus Christ. Stop running from God. Turn and run to Him!