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Viewpoint from Mike Wiltshire for 21st January 2011

By Michael Wiltshire
The writer is a journalist who is also director of a business men’s Christian fellowship, FGBMI, in East Anglia.
Re-discovering hope in troubled times
This month has brought many stark contradictions: while our friends and family wish us ‘happy New Year’, there’s seldom been so much gMichael Wiltshireloom and uncertainty facing most of us in 2011.
In fact, a good Christian friend in Norfolk phoned me this week to say he felt ‘utterly hopeless.’ He seemed to have lost heart and lost hope – which in way is a contradiction because those who know the basic message of Bible, know that it is essentially a message of hope for us all.
But, of course, we need to trust this message because, as the Bible itself says, “it’s impossible to please God without faith”.
In my view, God gives us this simple gift of faith if we sincerely want it. A favourite Bible verse, (in a popular and modern translation, called ‘The Message’), says: “Trust God from the bottom of your hearts; don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen to God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the One who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
The great evangelist, Dr Billy Graham, who was 93 last November, has often said that the Bible is more up-to-date than tomorrow’s newspaper.
As a journalist – and a Christian who closely studies world events – I sincerely agree withDove right Dr Graham’s prophetic viewpoint.
Gloomy news may abound, but for the believer there is always hope. As King David wrote, centuries ago in the Book of Psalms, during times of great personal trouble: “In you, O Lord, I put my trust . . . you are my hope, O Lord God.” (Psalm 71).
I certainly sympathise with my troubled friend who seemed so tired and hopeless on the phone. But at such times, it’s wonderfully helpful to rediscover the words of hope in the Scriptures, especially in an easy-to-read version such as ‘The Message’.
Consider these amazing words of Jesus, when he said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.     “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11: 28-30).
Faced with a bold promise like that, you must conclude that Jesus was either : (a) a liar; (b) a self-deceived lunatic; or (c) that he really was the Saviour who could transform hopeless lives, if we would trust Him.   
      Many Christians have proved His words to be true over the centuries. So if you are among those who could do with a faith-booster this New Year, why not rediscover the Bible – and maybe pop along to a good church in our area? You are sure to find encouragement for the journey ahead.