Rejoice in hope

Finally came to the theme verse for this blog.  It’s a pretty big deal as the whole point for this year was to see if there was anyway that hope could pull it off.  Is there someting in hope I have been missing most of my life?  Big on faith, big on love, not sure I had time for hope. I have been finding that hope is what has been keeping me going.  I am a big on hope.

The twelfth chapter of Romans is a great description of the Christian life.  It includes the rejoicing in hope, the paticence in tribulation and the constant need for prayer.  Romans is not shy in describing that this joy is in Jesus, this hope is for Jesus, this patience is from Jesus, this tribulation is with Jesus and this constan prayer is through Jesus to God the Father. An early Christmas present to those who cannot wait to celebrate with community the coming of Jesus so that He could die and set us free.

The Christian life now works like this – affliction is normal, Christ has come and carried our sin and sorrows to the cross and into the grave, and left them there, and He rose so that now we have unshakable hope in (not instead of) suffering, and this hope gives rise to joy.   This joy sustains patient endurance,  endurance sustains us in the sacrifices of love, since the cross was the most loving act that was ever done. 

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

Rejoice, Rejoice – Graham Kendrick

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Resolved in the Spirit

As followers of Christ, we can make the decision to follow the leading of the Spirit and His call or we can still go our own way.  I am not sure if we decide to go our own way as to when we are no longer followers of Jesus.  

Paul expressed many times how the Spirit of God was leading him through the instinct and motion of the Spirit and how his whole life was framed according to God’s will and pleasure.  The outcomes of his journey did not depend on the journey itself but rather that he obeyed and was faithful – for we know some of the outcomes Paul faced, even death.  It was if Paul was addicted to following Jesus – to the profit of the Church – even neglecting his own safety.  At one point, he even deprived himself of his most faithful companion, Timothy, so that the Macedonian church would not have to wait for him.

We see a little bit of Paul at this very moment in his letter to the Romans.  He writes —

Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news,[a] not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
    and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”

 

 This is the reason that I have so often been hindered from coming to you.  But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you  when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while.  At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints – Romans 15:20-25

Paul had an incredible desire to not want to build on the foundation of another – he wanted to work in bringing the gospel to a place that had never heard it before.  

Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.” – Acts 19:21

Something honourable and better

Jesus, being the observer of character happening all around Him, perceived some interesting things happening at the dinner table. Since the society at His time was one of honour, the seat you sat in around the table carried significant meaning.  The best seats were given to those of prestige, those who could repay the honour when they invited you to a dinner party hosted by themselves and for those who hoped they could improve their social status.

What do you think God would say to a person who wants to look good in the eyes of others when he humbles himself with the hope of being exalted?  Normally we would say that person is guilty of false humility. True humility has no plans for being exalted by other people. It only desires the praise of God.

Yet, here we are engaged with some social etiquette from Jesus instructing us to do the very thing we know not to be true.  Unfortunately, most of us read this parable as one of counsel or wisdom rather than one trying to continue to bring us to a place of maturity.  Is it possible that Jesus was giving them seating advice or was it more like ironic advice? Instead of having them secure the best seats, maybe Jesus hoped that if they learned not to pursue what they desired, they might, in time, come to desire something higher and better.

 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.  “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;  and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.  But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.  For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:7-11

Romans 9:21

Prayer’s Practicality

 

Hope in God

When I stand and preach, when I sit in front of someone who has come for a listening ear, when I am discipling a follower of Christ and when I support missions with my financial gifts — the story of the demon possessed man being set free from the legion of demons is on my mind.  This is what God sends me to offer to every person I meet and on my lips with every piece of advice or challenge — rest from distraction, peace and tranquility, quiet of heart, conscience, memory, soul and hope, strength from self-control and freedom from the insanity of sin.

Why? We need to realize that no one is beyond hope – in fact, nothing is impossible with God.  If I can for a moment strip back the boundaries that someone has placed on their vision of human healing, and at times I ask Jesus to perform this miracle because I cannot, then I know healing has begun.  I need you to know that there are no boundaries anymore. My declaration is simply enough – “for the rest of your life you will remember this incident and you will always remember that nothing is impossible with Jesus.”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help – Psalm 42:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God. – Psalm 42:11

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God. – Psalm 43:5

All My Hope on God Is Founded

Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.  As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”—  for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.)  Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.  They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.  Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.  Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.  When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country.  Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.  Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed.  Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.  The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying,  “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. – Luke 8:26-39

Hope Bible Verses

Hope in God in Hopeless Times

Romans 15:13

Hope

Find Hope in Any Situation