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

Hope in God

The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God’s wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour’s name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God. – Matthew Henry

I think we do not ask ourselves enough times why we are feeling depressed or anxious.  When we rehearse the why we usually do not find sufficient reason for being so.  But in case we find that our fears are as bad as they are and maybe as overwhelming as we seem to feel, then, as always, we have to put and then keep our hope in God.  There are many promises we can remind ourselves of including God being faithful and loving – two good reasons for hope.  Our faith will kick in, victory is anticipated as we put our fear into His hands and we wait for Him to rescue us. 

“For yet I know I shall him praise
Who graciously to me,
The health is of my countenance,
Yea, mine own God is he.” – Presbyterian Church of England Hymnal

So our active praise and worship allows us to declare God as God – we will wait for Him! and we will hope in Him!  This is not mindless and is not passive but rather a spiritual confidence that God will participate because He always has. 

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. – Psalm 42:11

Voices of Hope – In God We Trust with Amy Grant

Words from an angel

My mom wishes she could have an angel come and visit her.  I think that is mostly because she knows it can happen – not just because of the experiences in the Bible, but both her mother and her sister had experiences with angels.

There are certain emotions that come with angel visitations I am sure – surprise, hope, expectation – all causing me to give special attention.

When the angel announced to Samson’s parents that he was coming and that they should make sure to have him follow all the nazirite traditions, they knew God was ready to do something special and that their son was being prepared to be used by God one day.

Another story of hope that God is with us even when it does not look like He is.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son.  Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” – Judges 13:3-5

Jim Reeves – Whispering Hope

Where hope is ultimately placed

Paul’s experience in Ephesus must have been amazing.  To see the fruit of discipleship displayed so demonstratively with the burning of all their magic books would have been moving.

My first experience was with a drug user who had come to Christ.  He took me back to his place where he showed me all of his cocaine and then told me that for Christ he was going to flush them down the sink.  He did so.  Wow!

I also think of Judas – I know, a little weird – he probably would have wanted to sell all the magic books to redeem their value and give more to the poor.  But as usual, he would have missed the point of repentance that was taking place and the turning of ones back to the things that held them prisoner for so long.  But also, why put someone else into bondage?

 Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins.  Acts 19:18-19

Where Hope Is Still Alive.wmv

 

 

 

Deeply distressed

Distress is not a bad thing when it happens because you are confronted by people without hope.  For those of us moving in the area of missions and Christian witness this is a common expression – distressed for those who do not know Jesus for reality is not without hope.

As followers of Christ we are fully aware that life is held by God – it is also a life where we find ourselves finding our life and our being in Him and by Him.  Life is about the fruit of the Spirit in full display as we live out our faith as devoted disciples of Jesus and not in things that do not matter.  Since Jesus is the source of our being that enables to be agents of peace and hope to a hurting world, and since we have experienced the love of God and the good news of eternal life, grace and forgiveness, we have much to offer our world of hurt.

 When Paul was so deeply distressed when he met a people group who had no idea who God was, maybe Paul was giving us an attitude that modelled somewhat how we need to approach our culture today.  Maybe hidden in this is a biblical perspective of culture that we can use to navigate ourselves through it and what our objective should be as we approach our world.  Confronting culture starts by engaging culture.  Their is neither a blending in because with that we cannot challenge it and we cannot run away and hide for with that we lose hope of changing culture.

Paul did not normally use this approach – sharing his hope in Jesus.  Normally he would use an apologetic approach.  I like this approach much better – it is definitely a more engaging approach and as a result there were invitations to speak more and to more people.

When we ask the world about their experience of looking for God’s presence and how others have looked for it, we know that we all are looking for that hope that will enable us to face the realities of this world.  Imagine what that conversation looks and sounds like at a funeral and then a wedding or a birth of a child.  What does God look like – His love, mercy, or truth in the lives of those who sit next to us, talk to us, join us in worship – by listening we find the language to speak of Jesus – crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. 

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols.  – Acts 17:16

Cry out for help

Where does your hope come from?

The beginning of the story of Gideon only happens because the people of Israel knew there was only one place to go, one place to put their hope – God – and they began to call on Him and ask Him for help.  In the midst of our own trying circumstances, may we not wait seven years to do this as Israel did.

 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help. – Judges 6:6

Third Day – Cry Out To Jesus

 

What must I do to be saved?

Are you willing to turn from what you have been trusting and transfer all your hope of heaven upon Christ?

What hope then do we have? God has made it possible for us to be reconciled to Him by providing a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. God sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life so that He could die, not for His own sins, but for ours.  

How can we can receive forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life? The Bible’s answer is that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace which we receive through Jesus by responding to Him in faith.

 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.  He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. – Acts 16:28-34

A vision

When in doubt or when confronted with our own desires as opposed to God’s direction, a vision becomes a clear presentation of what needs to be done.  In this case of the vision of a Macedonian man begging for Paul to come, we know the vision came about because of the hope of the gospel but specifically this is not mentioned.  As the story unravels, this becomes more clear.

In fact, maybe the man was not really a man – maybe it was Lydia – as she is their first and powerful encounter, maybe he was the spirit possessed slave girl, or maybe the Roman jailer and his family – you get the point – “come.”  Come to share the gospel – to hear how my life can be transformed by God who raised Jesus from the dead and then raised Him and subsequently us, to new life. With my rental car this week I receive satellite radio and am enjoying The Message. They are advertising a special called – Chains Broken.  The call for help was for people to be set free from being all that God has purposed us to be and to learn how they could be a blessing to others. 

Take the first encounter – Lydia.  She is already a follower of God, practiced going to the synagogue, praying with the women and discussing what they had heard and hoping that the next visiting preacher expound on something more.  She wanted to worship and did not understand how.

This vision was an introduction to two new themes in the book of Acts – needs and openness – two awesome mission initiatives that motive ministries like Partners International.

When people are open and when people are hurting – the gospel moves forward. Are we ourselves not finding ourselves in a spirit of hope when we sit during the presentation of the gospel – are we not asking ourselves – will my suffering be alleviated and what does God want me to do? 

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.  – Acts 16:9-10

I HAVE A HOPE

 

This will be my salvation

(Showing Hypocrites to be the prime objects of God’s wrath—and the grounds of it—with the special lessons that we are to learn from it. Expressed in a sermon preached before the Parliament of England; upon their last thanksgiving day, being the 8th of October 1650, for that recent great victory which the Lord Almighty gave our army over Scotland’s army in a battle at Dunbar on September 3, 1650. By Thomas Brooks, a weak and unworthy teacher of the Gospel.)

The wheel of providence runs swiftly, and one glorious providence does but make way for another; which should heighten our hopes, and strengthen our faith, and raise up our souls to lay out all that we have received from God, for the helping forward the design of God. Worthy Senators, never had any men on earth such glorious advantages and opportunities to act high for God and his saints, as you have. Ah, how many are there now triumphing in heaven, who, when they were on earth, would have thought it a heaven to have enjoyed the least of those advantages and opportunities which you enjoy, so that they might have put out themselves for God and his people to the uttermost! Ah, sirs, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Eccles. 9:10. Your time is short, your task is great, your Master is urgent, and your reward is sure. The devil makes all the haste he can to outwork the children of light—in a speedy dispatch of deeds of darkness, because he knows his time is short. He will not let slip any opportunity whereby he may do mischief. Oh may you not let slip any opportunity wherein you may honor a good God, and be serviceable to your generation.

Job reminds us all that we have the right to cleave to our testimony especially when our conscience backs up who we are.  Job depended completely on God for justification and for salvation – the two most important things we hope for and comes to us through Jesus Christ.  Temporal salvation was not high on his expectations, but eternal salvation was his confidence.  He knew he was not a hypocrite and knew that he should not be rejected as one.  God was his Friend even though at the moment He appeared to be his Enemy.  This is where the words come to us that we must believe that all things work together for our good, even when all seems to be against us.  It is our time to cleave to God even though at the very moment comfort cannot be found in Him.  We need to trust Him.

This is where Job excels above his friends – he does trust God unreservedly, in spite of the circumstances.  God Himself is the sinner’s hope.

This is the hope that those who reject God, in all of their narrowness and parochialism, have lost long ago.

I only shared the verse of hope below but maybe I should share verse fifteen as well —

“Behold, he will slay me; I have no hope; yet I will defend my ways to his face.”

Job is determined to defend himself and that expression of hope is so powerful in verse sixteen.

This will be my salvation, that a godless man shall not come before him. – Job 13:16

Rock of my Salvation (Teknobeat Mix) – Nitro Praise

Dwelling in hope

David, though a person of the Old Testament, was one who had a quiet, firm and full hope of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal life and glory.

Hope and confidence in God delivers a joy to the soul, a gladness that is found in speech and a quietness that comes from a body absorbed in peace.  To be destitute of the help of God can only result in sorrow and torment.  Trusting in God delivers us, and fills our hearts with joy – one that is promised, one that we can be full of, and one that cannot be taken away from us. It means that we fall under the protection of God – it is because of this that we are still anxious and tremble – for we still have sorrows, but in the midst of them we can rejoice for there are no troubles so great that can break the peace that God gives to us.  The promise of the resurrection goes one step further – the hope that is promised to the soul is also made to the body – so God protects them both.

That is what makes a Christian’s definition of hope – it is not a wish – it is a solid, concrete promise that is based on God’s Word.  

So Peter, noticed something in David’s writings too.  As David was expressing his own hope in God, it would seem that he expressed things that only the Holy Spirit could have expressed.  David saw things far into the future regarding the promised Messiah knowing somehow that he would still have the opportunity of experiencing something more in the future.

For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;  therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.  For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption.  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.’ – Acts 2:25-28

Great is Your Faithfulness – Martin Smith