Save me!

I would also say to any unconverted person who is here, under conviction of sin, — Dear friend, if you are beginning to sink, yet still pray. If your sins stare you in the face, and threaten to drive you to despair, yet still draw near to God in prayer. Though it seems as if hell had opened its mouth to swallow you up, yet still cry unto God. “While there’s life, there is hope.”

“While the lamp holds out to burn
The vilest sinner may return;” —

and the vilest sinner who returns shall find that God is both able and willing to save him. Never believe that lie of Satan that prayer will not prevail with God. Only go as the publican did, smiting upon your breast, and crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and rest assured that God is waiting to be gracious unto you. – Charles Spurgeon

Peter will only come out of the boat in the midst of the storm if Jesus says, “Come.” He is not trying to grandstand and go for the miracle, He is not making a show, but his hope stems from his impulsive love.  And in the same swift motion of love, when he falters and starts to sink, that same hope in Jesus makes him call out, “Save me.” 

It is too hard to explain why we go through the dark, distressing and even mysterious times of our walk with God.  I have seen people at complete wit’s end when plans and hopes are disappointed and the only conclusion is that God must be mad at me – but the call is still the same – “Save me.”

Hard to imagine what our world was like before Jesus invited us to “come.”  Those dark waves with nothing for us to hang on to, no bright hope to sustain us and life seeming to make more downward turns engulfing us in those movements.  How could we be satisfied for so long in living life without God, without Jesus and without hope? So thankful to have been able to cry out, “Save me!”

Thank you Lord for the hand that has reached down into the lives of so many that I read in the Bible, and the countless times You have reached down into mine.  You are my Saviour.  Thank you for making me holy and blameless and above reproach and for securing an everlasting hope for me.

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:28-31

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“Bring them here to me”

The power of hope is rarely found in us.  It is something that comes from our love and faith in someone else.  As with love and faith, it is assured because of experience in the past and a presence that is real right now. 

So I am in a desert with 5,000 men, possibly 2,000 women and possibly 500 children.  I want to see them fed, physically, after spending a day with them.  Those who had brought food had already eaten it.  There is at least one child who was playing so much with the other kids that he had still not eaten his lunch. What is the hope that I experience when Jesus asks my team to feed them?  Unfortunately, Jesus, we are in a hopeless situation – this is not going to happen, unless you can do something with five loaves of bread and two fish?

This is it – this is the phrase that changes our lives – these are the words that matter, that are transformational, and these are the words that infuse hope into our hopeless world — “bring them here to me.”

I am afraid that if I write anymore I might possibly give us an excuse that this does not apply to you or I.  It applies to everyone.

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.  When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”  Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.”  And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:14-21

Greater Miracles

Do you know someone who is hasty in speech?

When a man is self-conceited, rash, and given to wrangling, there is more hope of the ignorant and profligate. – Matthew Henry

I had to look up some of the context for the words used in this commentary.  Wrangling – is have a long and complicated dispute.  Profligate – a licentious, dissolute person. Licentious – promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters. Dissolute – lax in morals.

Imagine having less hope than a fool.  The fool actually has more hope than two types of people – the one who uses hasty words and those who are conceited.

Hasty words are just that – words that come out so quickly that there is no opportunity of salvaging them, taking them back – they do what they were intent on doing and there are no apologies, excuses or explanations that can undo what’s been done.  In a very important manner, hasty words betray a heart that has little self-control.

 When you see hasty speech, you also see pride, envy and greed.  If you think you have love, hope, faith, God, and a prayer life – those are silenced and no one sees them.

 Still cannot imagine how many times Proverbs points out that there is no hope for a fool – hard to believe there is more hope for a fool than a person who is hasty with their words.

Do you see someone who is hasty in speech? There is more hope for a fool than for anyone like that. – Proverbs 29:20

Speaking into lives

I look at events that have attracted large crowds to them and I try to see if the people are there for the speaker, or the singer or for the entertainment or for something to do just to have fun.

It would not surprise me if all of these were reasons at some point or another.  But to consistently be at a seminar where the Kingdom of God was the only discussion, it would seem that you would need quite the motivational speaker.

Our world has seen its share of them, whether we have seen them on TV or in our mega church scenario or even our evangelists who have engaged with audiences all over the world.

The one thing that draws all of us to them – whether they are good or bad – is that they have the ability to tap into our mainstream need to hope.  That need to hope for another day, to get through the day, to make the day seem not so dark is a need that many keep looking for without be satisfied that they have received it.

What seems worse is that even our best evangelist – and let’s say that is Billy Graham – only 3% of those who make a commitment to follow Jesus actually remain faithful to that commitment. 

It seems that hope is fleeting, does not have anchors, the lottery ticket concept of hope causes us to keep trying other things.

So when the crowds gather around Jesus, He tells them straight out, as much as His message is designed to bring them to God, He knows that many of them will not be able to come as they will fall away. But for those who are ready to follow, their lives will exponentially explode as God works in their life.  Their hopes of a life changed will be realized.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.  Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach – Matthew 13:1-2

TobyMac – Speak Life

Neighbour or friend is better

The Christian will form his closest friendships with men who share his faith in Christ and his hope of immortality. Such friends will continue to be our friends in the realms that lie beyond death. (R. W. Dale, LL.D.)

 

It can be used to motivate people to become involved in the physical and emotional assistance of members of the community who, for example, have lost a loved one. In the Zulu culture in South Africa friends and family are encouraged to visit those who have lost a loved one. Those who sympathize can assist in cooking, give advice on what to do next, maintain a state of calm and hope for the bereaved family and even spend the night with the family until the night vigil that is on the eve of the day of the burial. Professor Willie van Heerden, University of South Africa

 

and yes it still sucks, but don’t make that about you. Yes it hurts for a bit, but let that hurt heal…don’t linger in it, don’t pine after what isn’t. Celebrate what is. That is you. All of you. Every ounce, every tear, every anxiety and every glimmer of hope. Be the full you that you are meant to be. If your friends want the absolute best for you, why shouldn’t you? Be the amazing you and don’t let that crappy relationship be even a distant memory for you to dwell on. Sara Stacy

 

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again. – Sara Groves

 Do not forsake your friend or the friend of your parent; do not go to the house of your kindred in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is nearby than kindred who are far away. – Proverbs 27:10

The name that instills hope

“The root of Jesse shall come,
    the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.” – Romans 15:12

The name of Jesus is our sole hope for salvation and for all our needs.  To hope in Jesus means to despise all earthly ties and to desire to walk as one would walk in eternity.  It also means because we live in the promise of being with Him forever, we can bear with patience and peace the losses we experience in this life, even the evil, because He has a place prepared for us.

It is crazy that the people of Israel were taught that the Messiah would be earthly, defeating and humiliating those nations that opposed them from the beginning of time.  I wonder how they took to Isaiah’s words that the Messiah would come and the world would love Him and put their hope in Him.  I am not even sure they were aware of the intimacy that was involved in that hope – God’s love, forgiveness, salvation, heaven, answered prayers and leading us in our journey through life.

The hope has to be in Jesus and yet how tempting it is and how many of us fall into the temptation of putting our hope in our spouse, friends, children, bank accounts, success, government, our own intelligence, strength, academic standings and for some, even our looks. Jesus is both personal and universal, intimate and yet accessible to all.  He is God, He is Emmanuel – God with us, our living hope.

Hope is a person, and His name is Jesus – Darlene Zschech

 Without His name, there is no hope.  As the days seem to be getting darker, this truth becomes even more important.  We need an anchor – it is hope – it is the name of Jesus.

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.  He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.  In his name the nations will put their hope.” – Matthew 12:17-21

Take the Name Of Jesus With You – Lydia Baxter

Come

We have a lot of fun when describing the different hand signals from different cultures that call us to ‘come’.

Jesus has one too, and into our own weariness He steps in with His powerful expression to come speaking instantly into our lives the promise of simplicity, hope and refreshment.

Jesus gets it – knows the need and importance of coming away and being replenished.  People want and need what He offered and what we offer through Him – healing, forgiveness, courage, hope, life.

However, the invitation to come is really the opportunity to invite us into a relationship with God.  There is an expression at the first glance of Matthew 11 that maybe predestination plays a part in our ability to come.  At first glance it seems that some will have the gospel revealed to them and to others it would be hidden.  I made the same conclusion as I was reading the passage. So I love the word, “all” because that gets rid of that doubt pretty quickly and my hope is restored.

If we are to “come”, then by default we are being asked to “leave” something else.  We are being invited to come and receive rest, hope or a new identity in Jesus.  The bottom line is that whatever you were looking for in something else, you will only find it in Jesus – He is the true giver of rest, the only One who can save and the satisfaction your soul has yearned for.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Wisdom is the security of hope

The most interesting point of reference to hope I found in Proverbs today.  Wisdom is what will keep our hope on what has been promised to us.

I think there might be many different kinds of jewels of wisdom that God provides us with, but this one is special. Without the security of our hope, what does our future look like?

What if we can’t find that wisdom?  Is it possible that there are those of us who will never find it?  I mean wisdom like this is like eating honey that drips straight from a honeycomb – who would not ask, seek, knock just to have something like this for our soul?

Wisdom is that assurance that placing our confidence in the promises of God is the basis for hope.

 C. S. Lewis wrote a whole chapter on hope in his book, Mere Christianity, this is his opening paragraph —

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more – food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilisation as long as civilisation is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.

 So when we look at prayer, we change the way we pray for others.  We no longer pray for what they are experiencing here on earth, we begin to pray for them in light of eternity and so our prayer is that they will find Jesus.  That He will be with them – and through Him they will experience the comfort, peace, healing and hope that only He can give.

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.– Proverbs 24:13-14

With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman

There is a future

The hereafter to which the end of life is the narrow portal shall more than fulfil all thy expectations. Take Christ for your Saviour, and Master, and then swift-footed time may work His will; when this wide earth and all its fleeting scenes will change, you will be brought to the fulfilment of all your hopes, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

You can be confident in the authority of God’s Word that there is an end to every problem and every challenge that confronts you.  You can also be confident that your hope will not be in vain.  There will be an end to affliction, failure, worry, anxiety, disappointment, poverty, debt, and insufficiency and their will be a fulfillment of your hope in God.

When we are concerned about tomorrow, we lose our hope in life and are terrified.  Hope begins when we answer the question – where are we going?

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the Lord.  Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.– Proverbs 23:17-18

TIM TIMMONS – Everywhere I Go: Song Session

 

Kingdom of heaven has come near

When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to do ministry, they had to proclaim only one message – the kingdom of heaven has come near. They preached so that people could have faith, that many would choose to become followers of Jesus, and that hope would come alive in their souls so that there would be inspiration to love the things of God more than the things of earth. The message was only as strong as the authority Jesus gave them to back it up with power – miracles.

When you think about it, these disciples had little to go on.  They really did not know who Jesus was – especially the fact that He had not yet died and was resurrected – which is the core of our message today.  It was the miracles that confirmed their authority and enabled the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts and minds of people with the gospel message.  Hope had been presented, and obedience to follow Christ came with that hope.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the kingdom coming near.  He gave us access to God, all of His grace and forgiveness of sin. Therein lies our spiritual healing and no matter how sinful we are, how separated from God we have journeyed, we can draw near to Him and experience His grace.  Grace is our hope.  Grace lets us view our world and those surrounding us with that same hope.  So we live differently, transformed, gracious, full of who God is.  Thank you Jesus that your death and then resurrection gives us this hope of spending eternity with You.

Therein lies the truth of the Kingdom of God.  Everything changes including our dreams and our hopes.  The gospel that the disciples were given authority to proclaim was one of power – demonstrated and preached – touching everything.  Unshakable and irresistible – it is our ultimate purpose.  

Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,  but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.– Matthew 10:5-8

Rend Collective – Build Your Kingdom Here