Steadfastness and Encouragement

Met with my leadership coach today and we both reminded ourselves that we are attracted to God, as sinners, because He gives us a living hope.

That hope is not found in our day-to-day experiences when we read our news, or a piece of modern literature etc. The world is a dark and dismal place.

Because of what scripture has declared in the past, we can anticipate hope, with confidence, in the future. For what the scriptures have declared in the past has already come true.

The Old Testament relates the story of God’s history – power, faithfulness and love – providing a foundation for understanding the New Testament.  We can learn from the faith, and faithfulness of those who have gone before us – inspired, comforted and judged – all of this producing hope from promises fulfilled.

I found myself short on hope and it is only in dusting off the old stories of faith – reading them again – that I regained my instruction and my encouragement.
Loving God,
The written scriptures bring us your stories, and we have gladly heard them, some of us again and again and again. We thank you that your story brings new fresh hope and steadfast sure encouragement to those who hear. We pray that your story would be heard in our community with crisp fresh life, new power, green shoots of hope, sprouting potential and a tender invitation to respond.
Romans 15 keeps it pretty clean – scriptures have been written down, read aloud, studied silently, preached, taught and discussed. They are instructional, steadfast, patient, encouraging and comforting.  Live in harmony, follow instructions, take on the mindset of Christ and live with hope in the Spirit.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

 

Advertisements

Who is like you

One has to love the blessings that Moses gives to each tribe found in Deuteronomy 33.  If you have not compared them to the blessing that Jacob gave in Genesis 49, take a look.

We can look at these promises in light of spiritual values and understand the directions given to love God with all our hearts, to serve Him with the righteousness and holiness that He imparts to us and to not be afraid for the rest of our lives.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

In his blessings, Moses offers us hope in that we can have power over false gods and Satan’s stronghold – those things that have a hold on us.  Faith and God’s Word – our shield and our sword.

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. – John 14:23

The blessings given to Zebulon intrigue me the most as their blessings came down to their dwellings.  Trying to look at the spiritual significance of this blessing I am reminded that our own bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are encouraged to invite Him into our lives with His presence.  Buildings are only shells or if you will, tools.  We worship the Builder and not the building so our love is God and we keep His commandments.  I think about Jesus standing at the door of my heart too, knocking, and if I open it, He will come in.  It is this hope that invites me to practice the presence of God and to walk my life with Christ. 

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you; and you shall tread upon their high places. – Deuteronomy 33:29

Laura Story – Who is like our God

Endurance

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

Every Bible character is a testimony and witness to us as we walk on our faith journey.  They each hold our their wounds, their joys, their experiences and their own relationships with God.  Each of them giving these to us so that our faith may be strong enough to finish well.  Each of them laying down their own sins, showing us a better way, showing us the power of hoping in not what is but will be. The message is a simple one, ‘I did it, it can be done, now run!’

How powerful our Old Testament was to our New Testament believers.  That’s all they had for their encouragement.  If they found encouragement there for their faith journey, imagine what those men and women of God could bless us with —

 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4

Our encouragement is to run the race and do it well.

I think we are no different from any other person in a race – there are so many temptations to quit the race before we even finish.  Endurance is what is needed to finish well. The Greek word for endurance is hupomone which means: “to remain under pressure or trials”, it means continuing even when everything inside you wants to quit. From our cloud of witness, endurance comes from hope of the future.

Ultimately, Jesus is our greatest hope. Our struggles in no way compares with His. And the hope He gives us is not only for this life but also for the life to come.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

The Fruit of Hope: Endurance

ENDURANCE OF HOPE

Hope for Depression

Endurance and hope

Suffering, Endurance, Character, Hope

 

Resurrect hope

The blessings others have from common providence, believers have from the Divine promise, which makes them very sweet, and very sure. The spiritual seed of Abraham owe their life, and joy, and hope, and all, to the promise. – Matthew Henry

When you think about the three visitors to Abraham, who were on their way to Sodom, and the fact they we all men, isn’t it amazing that they so freely brought up the intimate topic of child-bearing opportunity. Especially knowing that Sarah was listening – what about her own pain (not having the hope of the promise God had given Abraham) of childlessness.

Who were they to tamper with such tender feeling and to then resurrect her hope just so she could feel pain again?  Maybe that is why there was a laugh as her response.

A laugh of disbelief for sure – and maybe it did cover the fact that she wanted to believe but hopelessness consumed her to the point she could no longer believe.  A cynical laugh from someone who had been hurt and was not willing to be hurt again.

And that is why these three men needed to come for a visit – not for Abraham sake, but for Sarah’s.  God gave Sarah the blessing only after there was no longer any hope of blessing.

 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”  Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”  The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’  Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.”  But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” – Genesis 18:9-15