Years ago my wife and kids and I were all in the van of my friend Joe (the name has been changed to protect the guilty, but you know who you are) along with his family. During the course of the evening Joe described the wonders of an ice cream stand called Jimmy Cone. “Oh, it has the best ice cream in the world. It’s so soft and smooth and creamy, and you can add all kinds of sprinkles and syrups and other toppings.” He described Jimmy Cone as the Mecca of all ice cream stands. “You really haven’t had ice cream until you’ve had a Jimmy Cone,” he went on. You would have thought Jimmy Cone was the foyer to heaven itself. And then Joe promised to take us there. All evening he kept singing, “Jimmy Cone, Jimmy Cone, gotta have a Jimmy Cone!” He worked us into a lather for Jimmy Cone. We fantasized about Jimmy Cone and encouraged one another not to lose hope in Jimmy Cone. We sang along with Joe, “Jimmy Cone, Jimmy Cone, gotta have a Jimmy Cone.”

Joe kept driving around but never going to Jimmy Cone. “When are we going to Jimmy Cone?” we wailed. “Oh we’ll get there soon,” he said, “Don’t worry. Hey let’s sing – Jimmy Cone, Jimmy Cone, gotta have a Jimmy Cone.” We didn’t understand, but we kept holding on to our hope of Jimmy Cone, singing along with Joe. But we never made it to Jimmy Cone. I think Joe was playing a strange joke on us that we didn’t get. Maybe we had entered the Twilight Zone. Is there really a Jimmy Cone? Will I wake up someday to find out I just had a bad dream and we’re actually at Jimmy Cone, waiting in line for the sprinkles?

I’m glad God doesn’t play games with us. Hebrews 6:12 tells us “through faith and patience” we “inherit the promises”. Our faith in Christ and our patient endurance won’t disappoint us – we’ll gain God’s promised blessings.

By his blood, Christ purchased hundreds of benefits now promised to the redeemed. Many of these promises are for this life, but God’s best promises are for the next life. Here are a few: Believers will see Jesus’ glory and be with him forever. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and fill us with fullness of joy in his presence. He will reward us for the good works he gave us to walk in, and crown us with crowns of righteousness. We’ll know as we are known and feast at his table in the wedding feast of the Lamb. He will give us new and glorious immortal bodies. God will free us from sin and temptation, and from age to age will lavish upon us the riches of his grace in Christ. These are just a few of heaven’s promised blessings.

We inherit these promises through faith and patience, by holding fast to Christ, trusting him through the years. We must “hold fast our confession” (Heb 4:14), and “hold fast to the hope set before us” (6:18), and “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (10:23).

The movie Master and Commander is about the captain and crew of a British warship in the 1800’s. In one scene, the ship is about to enter into a bloody battle with another ship. A young midshipman, a boy in his teens, standing on the bulwark, looks down into the leathered face of one of the crew, a salty old sea dog who’d been through many battles. Staring fiercely at the boy, the sailor places his two fists side by side. Tattooed onto each finger is a letter, so together his fists spell out “H-O-L-D F-A-S-T”.

Hold fast when the winds howl, and the waves wash over you. Hold fast when the cannon balls crash all around you. Hold fast when the sun beats down upon you and when the night closes in around you. Hold fast to Jesus and his word. Through faith and patience we inherit the promises. And Jesus won’t disappoint us. Take a few minutes and praise him that he is true and faithful and ask him to help you hold fast to his promises.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.