Call on Me

Psalm 50 is about God holding people in court, on trial for insulting Him, and it is in that context that He is offering them hope.

I am not sure just what a day of trouble looks for you, but for me it cannot get much worse than being in God’s presence and on trial.

Basically, we are talking about prayer and the worship of our heart – something God desires more than anything else.

When we pray, God answers and brings Him glory. It shows that He is a reality to us.  There is in a sense a spiritual connection that is made.

Prayer is filled with a manifest hope in God exhibiting a clinging affection to Him and a sure confidence.

 The law brings us into bondage, but grace proclaims hope.

Even so with this promise – we need to be patient. It might seem that God has ignored us or that we have to take up the case ourselves – but the one who feeds the sparrows will provide everything we need. Hope – and in the arms of faith as we are in our sea of trouble – God will deliver us.

Our emotions can become waves of resentment and fear for the future – in those moments life seems darker as the storm rages on and on.  Even so – we must remember that the only secure place to put our hope is in the character of God. Our breath prayer needs to sound like this – “my hope is in You and I hope in Your unfailing love.

Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He is left in the desert island all alone. His case is a very pitiable one. He goes to his bed, and he is smitten with fever. This fever lasts upon him long, and he has no one to wait upon him—none even to bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin, and had all the vices of a sailor; but his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he finds in his chest, and he lights upon this passage, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” That night he prayed for the first time in his life, and ever after there was in him a hope in God, which marked the birth of the heavenly life. (favorite portion of Charles Spurgeon’s)

 

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.  Psalm 50:15

All My Hope On God Is Founded

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Put your hope in God

Hope and confidence regardless of the present circumstances because of our respect for the future – God is my health and my salvation. 

 Biblical hope doesn’t deny the pain of the present. Nor is it wishful thinking. Rather, true hope is “in God,” in the one god who is fully and finally reliable.

In our blue moments, we wait for God who is working out our purposes.

God is the only one who is perfectly capable and faithful to do the right thing every time. 

Psalm 43 identifies a lists of hope in its first four verses –

  1. God’s power to deliver – He is faithful and will continue to walk with us
  2. God’s presence and protection – His being our fortress of truth
  3. God’s direction – the Word gives us the answers that we need 
  4. God as our joy – Joy in Him and His Word and we will experience hope even in hopeless situations

My hope is in God. Even though I don‘t feel like it. Even though I don‘t feel as if
He were here. He is. My hope is there

Maybe it is time to speak to our soul when we find ourselves down.  Speaking God’s Word in particular fill us with hope and encouragement.

 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 43:5

Find Rest (Audio) – Francesca Battistelli

Prayer

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God. – Psalm 146:5

Since we have hope regarding the future – Christ’s return – we want to be found doing the work He has called us to do.  Since He has called us, we need to choose prayer and faithful proclamation of the gospel as our focus.

Not the prayer that includes gossip,whining or complaining or introduces negativity or criticism but one filled hope, supporting each other.

The Book of Acts starts with such a support.  Through chapter four there are repeated times where the author describes how much Christians shared together – one body, one Spirit, one hope and one profession of faith.

What would God have us do? Offer bold prayers that reflect a strong faith and secure hope. Let’s not just talk about prayer, and have seminars on prayer, and read books about prayer, and listening to sermons on prayer. Let us pray. The souls of men and women hang in the balance.

Our hope is that the message is heard and lives are changed.

After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.  When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them,  it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’  For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.  And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. – Acts 4:23-31

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

 

Resurrection of hope

These two disciples had left their companions after Peter’s return from the sepulchre and before Mary Magdalene hurried in with her tidings that she had seen Jesus. Their coming away at such a crisis, like Thomas’s absence that day, shows that the scattering of the sheep was beginning to follow the smiting of the shepherd. The magnet withdrawn, the attracted particles fall apart. What arrested that process? Why did not the spokes fall asunder when the centre was removed? John’s disciples crumbled away after his death. When Theudas fell, all his followers ‘were dispersed’ and came to nought. The Church was knit more closely together after the death that, according to all analogy, should have scattered it. Only the fact of the Resurrection explains the anomaly. No reasonable men would have held together unless they had known that their Messianic hopes had not been buried in Christ’s grave. We see the beginnings of the Resurrection of these hopes in this sweet story. – MacLaren

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,  but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”  He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,  and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. – Luke 24:13-33

Hope and the Resurrection

Hope and The Resurrection

The Resurrection: Our Hope for the Future

 

 

Future favour

Parable of the Manager…

I have always heard the interpretation of this story as one where the manager does act dishonestly, but is commended for quick thinking and action in the face of a crisis.  There seems to be a call for the commended act – to be imitated.

Problem with that is if this manager does act dishonestly, it actually doesn’t make sense that he would have hope for future employment from those who benefitted from his dishonesty since they would have all the reason to suppose that he would cheat them as well.  It would seem unlikely that this story would be told as an example of those who act dishonestly to have anything to do with the Kingdom of God. In fact, the manager does everything contrary to Jesus’ teachings as the manager clearly is thinking only of himself when he should have been setting aside his own self-interest, which is this case was set up as self-preservation (with no repentance).

It is safe to say that there was a relationship problem between the manager and his employer.  There might even be a note of laziness as we see the manager resolving his crisis – possible that the manager has not obtained sufficient return and for that has lost his job.  With that attitude moving forward, why not further the losses and then hope to find favour with the customers so as to win favour for employment once his termination is effective – turning his inefficiency into an imagery of being a Robin Hood.

“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.  So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’  Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’  So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?’  He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’  Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?’ He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.’  And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. – Luke 16:1-8

Present Privilege and Future Favour

Promises of future favour and prosperity

 

Gives you a future

If I emphasize God’s mercy, I can emphasize my own sinfulness and in the same spirit, hoped for cleansing.  It is not healthy to dwell on your own sinfulness, God takes it in His hand and for those of us who have sinned and have been forgiven know how much we appreciate His mercy.

Our times of crisis ultimately become our times of opportunity.  As we commit ourselves to God, we find our faith in ourselves, in others and in God deepening.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us – Ephesians 3:20

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Be strong, be courageous,
    all you that hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,[a] training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[b] Jesus Christ.  He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. – Titus 2:11-14

Why would we reject God’s mercy, our only hope of salvation?

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love – Psalm 33:18

Our hope is in the resurrected Jesus Christ.

But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan. – Psalm 10:14

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

BE STILL MY SOUL by Katharina A. von Schlegel
Music: Jean Sibelius
(Be Still My Soul by Selah)
(Violin version of Be Still My Soul)

Hope-filled future

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:25

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. – Romans 12:12

Patient endurance – the phrase has eluded me all these years as to the key to holding, growing and maturing in our relationship with God – and just saying it, sets me free.  It’s product is hope.
Together with faith and love, hope propels us towards a very sure future.  The horizon is still set with those things opposed, those illusory temptations of the world, and yet we are given daily doses of new momentum and strength.  Our decision each day is to refuse to be robbed of hope, or even to allow our hope to be dimmed by answers and solutions that will block us from moving forward.
For Pope Francis, time is greater than space because the pathway to authentic human progress is “process,” which is itself a function of time. Because time is fluid and in motion, it represents the key to avoiding getting “stuck” in space, so to speak. If we try to fill space with short-term solutions and stark and static answers to problems with no thought of how we can really move forward from that point, we short-circuit time itself and cut off ourselves from a more hope-filled future. – Jim Russell
Jesus Himself demonstrated the impact of patient endurance throughout His ministry but also in His death.  The product of His patience being obedience to His Father and His offering of mercy and forgiveness to those He walked with on earth.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth. – Isaiah 53:7
Let’s face it – Jesus attitude toward suffering was unique.  It was like He encountered it and death with eyes wide open, almost as if He embraced them as if He had a conscious preparation for them. Let’s be sure to note that not once did He mention this route as one to be desired. But He does speak of suffering as a reality that we should not ignore, avoid or cover up.  His example is how we learn to give up our right to success, recognition, wealth, health and maybe even happiness, so what we are and what we hope to be and have, is determined by and found in God.  A crazy thought, but it is spoken of throughout the New Testament, we are extended an opportunity – to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world.

“A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.  Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture.  Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it.  Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”  Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that “looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’  “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.  As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.  But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. – Luke 8:5-15

Compton choir sings of a hope-filled future

“A Hope-filled Future”