Remain with God

It is a special place to be in when you find yourself content in a marriage that is loveless or a job where you are treated like dirt. It would seem that there is no hope – and yet there is.

I have talked with many who find themselves depressed, taking a blue “happy” pill and others have given up on God because He has not come through for them.  These individuals have gone their own way – divorce, adultery, and loss of opportunity for advancement in the workplace. They have simply decided that there is no hope.

Maybe it is because I grew up as a follower of Christ in a very dysfunctional home that I have found myself centred in Him – and He has become my place of contentment.  I can live in a loveless home because I am with Him.  I can work in a place without respect because I am with Him.  I can be anywhere, anytime, in whatever situation, because I am with Him.

I am reading the biography of Samuel Lamb, a Chinese pastor who went through 25 years of torture for his faith.  He was able to sustain hope in himself and give hope to others that were with him because he found himself in relationship with Jesus through it all.

When I counsel followers of Christ who are so lost, and have no hope, that they want to end their life – this is the portion of scripture I use.  There is only one safe place in this whole world – it is with Jesus – remain in Him.

Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever.[c]  For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.  In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters,[d] there remain with God. – 1 Corinthians 7:21-24

Tim Timmons – You Remain

Answer me

Many times I have been asked to pray for people to be healed.  I can tell you that I suck in my breath, pray and hope – but every single time the person has not had a miraculous recovery. I even wonder why people ask me to pray.

I can imagine Elijah on Mount Carmel asking God to send fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice.  I do not think the challenge was all that big to him. The fact that he doused the sacrifice and the entire altar with water showed that he believed God was God and could definitely light up the sacrifice from heaven.  But somewhere he had to be hoping that him and God were in good standing together and that there was nothing (sin) between them.  Elijah needed God to respond. 

He needed God to respond because if He did not, Elijah would have been dead.  Instead of bringing that up, Elijah decides to go after God’s honour instead. Elijah new that God had to respond because the lives of the people were at stake.  Then he thought – well no – they had all kinds of miracles take place, story after story, and yet they rejected God to follow idols that allowed them to be selfish, perverse, and not be accountable to any god but themselves. 

Desperate hope made Elijah come and kneel before God, call Him by the title used by people of Israel and he asked for two things – for God to be glorified and he would be acknowledged as a servant of God.  Best kind of prayer that one could hope God would respond to. 

I have started to pray that way too – God be glorified by doing the miraculous when it comes to praying for a healing.  Still nothing has happened, but I keep hoping because that is what hope does.

At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” – 1 Kings 18:36-37

What we did not know

Have you ever messed up so bad you just didn’t think there was any hope of getting out of the terrible situation in which you had placed yourself?

In Hosea’s day the people really messed up – idol worship, mistreating one another, lying, stealing and being violent against each other – even so, there is a glimmer of hope in chapter eleven that Jesus was coming to deliver His people.

“Life seems darkest when we see the reality of our sin. How dark it is in the light of God’s holiness!…But we have hope because we have forgiveness. We know that Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, … And we know our consciences are cleansed by this same blood. Rejoice!” – Kay Arthur
Hosea did not make many calls for repentance, instead we find a lot of announcements of judgment.  Even so, He spent time trying to show them the way, teach them the way and there were small steps of joy in all of that for Him.
Here is what I love about God – and Hosea screams this at me – just like the poem Footprints in the Sand – we do not even know how many times God has healed us, carried us, protected us, opened doors and closed doors for us – He is so amazing.  How is it that I cannot trust Him more?

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    I took them up in my[c] arms;
    but they did not know that I healed them.
  I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with bands of love.
I was to them like those
    who lift infants to their cheeks.[d]
    I bent down to them and fed them. – Hosea 11:3-4

Tauren Wells – Hills and Valleys

For those who love God

If you find yourself hoping in the Lord and waiting for Him – you know that you love Him.  Our Old Testament friends could not have known the things you and I know about Jesus. 

My plans and thoughts may not be what God wants for me – that is not discouraging – I have hope that He has plans for me that I could never imagine. An adventure awaits.

Jesus will not leave us, it is because of Him that we anticipate heaven.  Our hope does not come because of our good character or service, and we definitely have not earned the right to enter heaven.  We will be with Jesus only because of our faith in His sacrifice on the cross.

 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him” – 2 Corinthians 2:9


Power of God

My church designed their entire building with the cross being the most predominate centrepiece.  Whenever we need to go back to the basics of our faith, we will find our true love for the One who died for us there.  All what we believe is wrapped up in the cross of Christ – the central truth of our faith.  The cross is our message, our hope, our confidence, our badge of honour and yet, somehow, the emblem of suffering and shame – for the world despises the cross.  We love the cross so we preach it, stand by it and lift it up as the hope of the world.  There is no power greater – the only power that can lift men and women out of their sins, release them from condemnation, give them new life and set their feet in a new direction.

When the gospel, or the preaching of the cross, is spoken of as effectual or powerful, it must be understood that it is not connected to simple, abstract propositions, but to truth as it comes attended with the influences which God sends down to accompany it.

 God provides to searching, proud, stubborn people who demand miracles and signs with a simple story of a crucified Christ.  The story is the only hope offered for deliverance. Anyone can preach the story. That story, believed in, effectively accomplishes what our natural wisdom and our own power cannot do – salvation.

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”


 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,  but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. – 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Kevin Prosch – Show Your Power

Curtain is torn

When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies from the common area the priests served in, was torn in two.

While we have no context of what that means here in the Gospel of Mark, the book of Hebrews gives us a little bit more insight. 

 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain,  where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:19-20

The tearing of the curtain gave us direct access to God, through Christ. By His death, Jesus now serves as our High Priest. There are no barriers to having a relationship with God.

 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land[e] until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[f]  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. – Mark 15:33-38

Return by your God

Waiting on God is a powerful thing to do.  It looks like private prayer, worship, following God’s plan for our life and keeping a hope in us that you will be meeting with Him, and enjoying His presence.  It is in everything we do – waiting for the Messiah, our salvation by Him – waiting for Him – before He comes until He comes.

How do we do this?

The Hebrew translation helps us out a bit here.  Hosea 12:6 is actually Hosea 12:7 in the Jewish Bible and the literal translation goes like this —

And you shall return by your God: keep loving-kindness and justice, and hope to your God always.

So what are we really waiting for?

If we reflect on our lives and on God – maybe its a good time to start thinking how we can commit ourselves to Him even more so.  While our answers could be the traditional – redemption of our bodies or waiting for His return or the driving away of our enemies – maybe we are waiting for the hope of righteousness to consume us and make us new.  Let’s expect God to bring us back into that amazing relationship that He has always wanted to have with us.

But as for you, return to your God,
    hold fast to love and justice,
    and wait continually for your God. – Hosea 12:6

Through God’s word

Keeping promises and committed to love

When God promises to do something for ever, all of eternity is being shaped.  That is why our covenant with Him is so central.

Our hope is not in our ability – our hope is in His ability to hold us.  Our trust is not in ourselves – it is in what Jesus Christ has done.  Our faith is not in our good works – it is in His good work for us – that is why we say…”Lord, there is no God like you!”

This is the story with Solomon dedicating the temple – it is also a story of God’s unrelenting commitment to God’s people through divine words of hope, judgment, summons and warning – all because God is seeking to maintain this covenantal relationship with His people. A patient and merciful God awaits our response and listens to our prayers.

The promises of God – what we hope for tomorrow – changes who we are today.  These promises are foundational doctrines that colour all of lives as believers, both in times of temptation and in our trials.  These promises of God motivate holiness and awaken expectation and confidence in our pursuit of the Lord.

O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart – 1 Kings 8:23

It is not you who speak

O Almighty God, please give me the courage to speak up for Jesus with grace and boldness trusting that your Spirit will give me the right words and attitude to share my hope with those who do not yet know your grace given in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Do you really believe that you are speaking the truth? Do you really believe that this is the word of God? Do you really have the hope of life in Christ?

As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them.  And the good news[b] must first be proclaimed to all nations.  When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.– Mark 13:9-11

Able to deliver

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, a favourite for so many reasons. Three men who had well grounded hope and persuasion of deliverance because of the former testimonies of God’s power and goodness in their lives and in the lives of the other captives in Babylon.  There was more though – they considered the glory of God and they put that up against the king’s defiance of God and his blasphemy against Him.  Hard to believe that God would not take notice.

This story found in Daniel 3 gives us warnings, but most of all it gives us hope in the One who will ultimately save us from the presence and power of sin.

Main principle – God’s power is released through faith. There is little hope of enjoying God’s power in full display if we do not expect Him to release it.

Shame that we look at our trials of life as something we dream or wish God will deliver us from – because it is something we can definitely hope on.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord rescues them from them all. – Psalm 34:19

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a big God – a God who could do anything – they offer us strong optimism at a time when hope might seem gone.

The clash between the power of God and the forces of the world; deliverance from an unjust death at the hands of the empire; a miraculous “son of god” not bound even by death; hope for physical restoration and resurrection — these are some of the thematic links connecting Daniel 3 and Easter.

God is in control even when His people are suffering and in their faithfulness God’s power moves.  It gives us the ability to thrive now, and a bright hope for the future.  It gives us meaning today and a role of promise tomorrow. 

Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter.  If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”– Daniel 3:15-18