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



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


Ask the Lord

Do we remember what is was like when we walked this life without Jesus?  Do we remember how we acted like we had it all together – for those who came to Christ at an older age we may have even defined ourselves as successful.  Jesus though saw our hearts. Saw our despair.

Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12

Jesus saw us as part of His family.  Yes, He had eyes of compassion when He saw us missing the meaning and purpose of life.  So Jesus looks at this lost world and says that just as He brought me to Him He wants to bring them all to Him – not only does He want too, He says that they are ready to come.  In order for us to understand, we need to see the world as Jesus does, look through His eyes to see how lost people are and then to experience the compassion of Christ to them.  We need to have the expectancy and hopefulness of Jesus and anticipate this harvest time. I want to look at my neighbours, colleagues, classmates and associates and see them as potential followers of Jesus.  We know the world is missing Him.

If you are like me, what is holding us back, what is paralyzing us to share who we are in Christ?  God, by design, established the universe – whether you enjoy the stars in the sky or the trees of the forest – He knows them all by name, even knows the number of hairs on our head. There is hope, even in the midst of what we think is too big for us.  Since we know the Lord of the harvest, we can ask Him to send out those He has called.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:35-38

Jackie Evancho – To Believe

Filled with awe

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
 But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered. 

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
 It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities. – Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8

Messiah had come. God was among them. There was cause for hope.

And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”  But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, “Stand up and walk’?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—”Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.”  And he stood up and went to his home.  When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. – Matthew 9:2-8

Hillsong United – Oh You Bring

Why are you afraid?

Fear – the one thing that we fear most, the one portal that allows the enemy to come in as an invited guest, the one emotion that none of us really want to experience.  We find that it cripples us from taking the right actions and it robs us of our trust and reliance on God.  So we embrace courage and faith, embracing God’s Word and accepting Him in truth and love finding our confidence to act on it with a firm hope in the promises made by Him.  God’s love gives us the strength to do so and empowers us to act with both justice and kindness towards our neighbour even if doing so means personal opposition or even harm.

The one fear illustration that captures me at my best is when Jesus is asleep in the boat in the midst of a storm.  Most of us want this experience that Max Lucado captures so well —

Wouldn’t you hope for a more chipper second sentence, a happier consequence of obedience? “Jesus got into a boat. His followers went with him and… suddenly…a great rainbow arched in the sky, a flock of doves hovered in happy formation, a sea of glass mirrored their mast…” Don’t Christ-followers enjoy a calendar full of Caribbean cruises? No. This story sends the not-so-subtle and not-too-popular reminder: getting on board with Christ can mean getting soaked with Christ. Disciples can expect rough seas and stout winds. “In this world you will [not ‘might,’ ‘may‘ or ‘could’] have tribulation” (Jn. 16:33 brackets mine).

I love the fact that these disciples were the ones who took the first step in following Jesus.  The boat was filled with men of faith – they left their occupations, families and turned to being followers of Jesus in the most literal sense.  Yet there was one external circumstance that caused them to react in fear – a moment when they placed death as having dominion.  Jesus and they were as good as dead and they were without help or hope in the world.

Storms are the reality and they come when they come.  There will be blue skies but there will also be dark clouds.  They both should be reminders that our trust needs to be on God.  Setting our hopes on an illusion that we can be in control of everything one day, is just that, an illusion.  We will always have enough to keep us on our knees.  There will never be a day when we do not need to trust God who loves us so much.

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.  They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” – Matthew 8:23-27

Why Are You Afraid?

Are You Afraid To Hope?

What are you afraid of?

Series: Holy Curiosity #2 – Why Are You Afraid?



The name of the Lord

When you think you have done everything you can, understand that God loves to rescue those who think they have no hope, you are called to run to Him, His name, for it is a safe place, a place set where no harm can even come near.

This word is to the sinner who has not yet found peace. Do not you see, man, the Christian is not saved by what he is, but by what his God is, and this is the groundwork of our comfort—that God is perfect, not that we are perfect. When I preached last Thursday night about the snuffers of the temple and the golden snuffer trays, and the necessity there was for the lamps in the sanctuary to be trimmed, one foolish woman said, “Ah, you see, according to the minister’s own confession these Christians are as bad as the rest of us, they have many faults; oh!” said she, “I dare say I shall be as well off at the last as they will.” Poor soul! she did not see that the Christian’s hope does not lie in what he is, but in what Christ is; our trust is not in what we suffer, but in what Jesus suffered; not in what we do, but in what He has done. It is not our name I say again that is a strong tower to us, it is not even our prayer, it is not our good works; it is the name, the promise, the truth, the work, the finished righteousness of our God in Christ Jesus. Here the believer finds his defense and nowhere besides. Run sinner, run, for the castle gate is free to all who seek a shelter, be they who they may. – Charles Spurgeon

No doubt – there is an ultimate authority, a true constant, a rock beneath the quicksand, a protector and an absolute truth – His name is Jesus.  In His name there is safety, rest, peace, and any attempt to find hope elsewhere will ultimately bring you back to Him for Jesus name is the surest hope for safety.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10

The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower

Ask, seek, knock

Thinking about Jesus encouraging us to ask, seek and knock towards the end of His Sermon on the Mount – what a great way to end a very strong call defining what it means to follow Him.  In fact when I look how weak I actually am, and so selfish – how could I love like Him?  I am required to be humble, truthful, compassionate, forgiving and living a life of integrity – I lack them all. Unless I have His strength I cannot live this life I am called to.  It is here that Jesus’ encouragement gives me hope and the recommendation of how to get the help I need.

When someone is asked for something, the response depends on the person and their persistence in asking.  Seeking is structure based on criteria – the better understanding of what I am looking for, the more certain I am of finding it.  It’s the knocking that is done in hope – hoping that I find someone on the other side.  When we ask God, He listens.  When we seek God, He allows Himself to be found.  When we knock, He is always home and opens the door for us.

I have established that hope comes in the form of knocking.  It is the one action that entirely depends on God and it is definitive – either the door opens or it does not.  He is either home or is not. Spurgeon, and who am I to dispute him, thought that hoping came in the seeking part.  That hope was the engine that enabled one to keep seeking. I suppose we could find someone who thought that asking might be the ultimate expression of hope.  So let’s agree that the asking, seeking and knocking have elements that without hope as our motivation would not be part of our success in building our relationship with God.

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?  Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:7-11

Ask, Seek, Knock

Sermon: The 3 kinds of prayer: Ask-Seek-Knock

Ask, Seek, Knock: Persistence In Prayer