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

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

 

Faith and hope

‘Faith gives substance to our hopes and convinces us of realities we do not see.’ – Hebrews 11:1

When our faith moves to hope and we are convinced, those convictions become our treasures and where our treasures are, that is where we find our heart.  Think about Abraham leaving his home in Ur with his entire family to seek a land that had been promised.  Then the following generations including Isaac and Jacob still walking that faith, in community that centred on God as their treasure, a place where they truly belonged.  That faith gave them hope to wait for the promise at the end of the journey.  That faith may have started as a grain of mustard seed, but touched by God became a foundation for the journey.

You can see why the love of the world excludes the love of the Father.  Love of the world is egocentric, acquisitive, arrogant, ambitious, and absorbing, and leaves no place for any other kind of affection. It’s a full-time job to love the world.  If our hope is placed there, on a world that will not last, best we book a bereavement moment because that experience will take place – because it boils down to only one question – will these worldly things leave us before our time comes to leave them.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;  be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.  “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” – Luke 12:32-40

Zeke Duhon – Faith and Hope

Difference Between Faith and Hope

Difference Between Hope and Faith

The Interrelation of Faith and Hope

HOW FAITH AND HOPE WORK TOGETHER TO GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE IN GOD

Faith vs. Hope

What is the difference between hope and faith?

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”