Tag Archive | hope

Romans 5:1-5

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Find this passage at Bible Gateway (you can choose other versions if you prefer)

As I may have mentioned, we recently moved house and my mother has moved in with us. Since I am not established in a particular church, we are starting to find a new church that would suit mum. So far we have tried Methodist and the Charismatic Pentecostal church I used to go to. These notes are from the passage that was preached on this last Sunday. I won’t try and turn it into any kind of coherent study, I’ll just post the notes I took and leave them for you to make of them what you will.

hope-painting

The topic of the sermon was hope and character.

  • “Jesus intercedes hope into our lives.”
  • Faith needs to be exercised (like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the bigger it grows).
  • Nothing is impossible with God.
  • We need to take our eyes off our reality and our problems (and fix our eyes upon Jesus).
  • If we have the faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.
  • Prayer will turn our problems into miracles, our ‘ashes’ into beauty.
  • Suffering produces perseverance which produces character.
  • Position yourself in a place of hope
  • Pursue character
  • Consider the story of Joseph.  In between his dream and its coming into fruition was suffering which produced character. It was the same with Moses and with David.
  • The enemy won’t attack you at the place of the dream, but at the place of character. That is our foundation.

The foundation of contending for Hope and Character:

  • Live Righteously
  • Know the Word, read, study, obey
  • Pray, spend time, be in the Presence
  • Surrender to His Will
  • Worship, praise

holiness-consecrate

  • Don’t wait for the breakthrough to pray, read, worship and live rightly. The breakthrough depends upon prayer, Word, worship and holiness. This is what ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Don’t turn your back on God, turn your back on the problems.
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Abandoned Hope

Cast off the mooring,

The rope in the boat,

And watched it floating away.

How to pray when life hurts?

This year seems to have been one upset, catastrophe, tragedy after another. I won’t dwell on the particulars.

But this verse came up in my daily readings and I felt an immediate identification with it:

“If the LORD be with us, why hath all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” – 1 Kings 1:13

If you know the passage, this is right at the beginning of the period of the Judges and the cycle of rebellion, punishment and repentance – old Israel was so hard of learning!

So does the cycle of suffering work the same way in the lives of believers under the new covenant? Perhaps, but not always. Illness, injury and disaster sometimes come upon people and there is no rhyme or reason or discernible explanation. (Did you ever read the book of Job?) And sometimes, as in the story of Jesus with the blind man, it isn’t the result of the sin of the man or his parents but so the glory of the Lord may be made manifest.

It is difficult to keep on trusting and obeying and praying when life is at its hardest. It is not easy to hold on to the truth that “All things work together for good to those which love God, to them which are called according to his purpose.” But it is still true even when it feels impossible.

In my daily reading from Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ today, I read these words – painful but with a hint of hope:

Pruning for Fruit-Bearing

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

“This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our Lord’s purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.

Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor.

Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!”

When I do not have the strength to pray my own words, I pray Scripture (and if you dig into the psalms, it isn’t all sweetness and light – some of them are gritty and mournful) and remind myself that, no matter how bleak things look, Good is good, and it will all come right in the end.

No Treasure But Hope

I really know very little about Irish history, it is not something we are taught in British schools (not even the British side of the story – it’s just brushed aside completely, at least it was when I was at school, and I doubt things have changed significantly in that regard) which makes me a little sad as it is part of my heritage.

So I thought I would share this famous poem from the Easter Uprising of 1916 to mark its centenary, and since hope and despair as well as freedom and escape are such common themes on this blog.

The Rebel

I am come of the seed of the people, the people that sorrow,
That have no treasure but hope,
No riches laid up but a memory
Of an Ancient glory.
My mother bore me in bondage, in bondage my mother was born,
I am of the blood of serfs;
The children with whom I have played, the men and women with whom I have eaten,
Have had masters over them, have been under the lash of masters,
And, though gentle, have served churls;
The hands that have touched mine, the dear hands whose touch is familiar to me,
Have worn shameful manacles, have been bitten at the wrist by manacles,
Have grown hard with the manacles and the task-work of strangers,
I am flesh of the flesh of these lowly, I am bone of their bone,
I that have never submitted;
I that have a soul greater than the souls of my people’s masters,

I that have vision and prophecy and the gift of fiery speech,
I that have spoken with God on the top of His holy hill.
And because I am of the people, I understand the people,
I am sorrowful with their sorrow, I am hungry with their desire:
My heart has been heavy with the grief of mothers,
My eyes have been wet with the tears of children,
I have yearned with old wistful men,
And laughed or cursed with young men;
Their shame is my shame, and I have reddened for it,
Reddened for that they have served, they who should be free,
Reddened for that they have gone in want, while others have been full,
Reddened for that they have walked in fear of lawyers and of their jailors
With their writs of summons and their handcuffs,
Men mean and cruel!

I could have borne stripes on my body rather than this shame of my people.
And now I speak, being full of vision;
I speak to my people, and I speak in my people’s name to the masters of my people.
I say to my people that they are holy, that they are august, despite their chains,
That they are greater than those that hold them, and stronger and purer,
That they have but need of courage, and to call on the name of their God,
God the unforgetting, the dear God that loves the peoples
For whom He died naked, suffering shame.
And I say to my people’s masters: Beware,
Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people,
Who shall take what ye would not give.
Did ye think to conquer the people,
Or that Law is stronger than life and than men’s desire to be free?
We will try it out with you, ye that have harried and held,
Ye that have bullied and bribed, tyrants, hypocrites, liars

P H Pearse

Hope Deferred

We’ve been in the housing association accommodation now for just over a year, and I think that, on reflection, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that – even allowing for some of the awful things that happened in the past – this past year has been the worst year of my life.

I used to really believe that gratitude and positive thinking could make a difference but now I am pretty sure that nothing can make up for not having your basic needs met.

I am not going to bore you with the details, I have already gone on and on ad nauseum.

Good times always seem to be around the corner, but somehow (it seems to me) hope, if it’s false hope, is the real killer.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12

Purim Sameach or Happy Easter to you, whichever you prefer.

Don’t forget to move the clocks forward tonight if you’re in the UK.

Luke 8: Waiting on the Lord

These are my notes from Sunday’s sermon at the Pentecostal church. It might be a little disjointed because it is just notes, it’s not meant to be a polished article. I hope it’s of benefit to somebody.

This was actually an awesome, honest sermon – the Christian life is hard. We pray & things seem to get harder. Learning lessons is painful.

Don’t listen to the health and wealth prosperity gospel that tells you that you will get it all if you just do A, B and C. It’s not that simple.

“Count it all blessing when trials and temptations come.”

Between the vision and the season of fruition is an ‘out of season’ waiting period. Waiting for the breakthrough is the crucial time.

The day-to-day challenges of life are what move us towards the fruition of the vision.

It took Jesus 30 years before he moved into ministry. Before he came into the fullness of his destiny.

Focus on the small things to change the big things.

Luke 8:40 Jairus’ daughter. Jesus was on his way.

The woman with the issue of blood had waited 12 years. She had tried many things to be healed.

She grabbed hold of Jesus when the opportunity arose and was healed. “Your faith has healed you”.

Jairus was a synagogue leader, he must have been desperate to go to Jesus.

The woman delays Jesus, (and the girl dies). Did Jairus think she had got in the way of his miracle?

Seeing others get their breakthrough, miracle, healing, job, promotion etc. Makes us stop looking at Jesus and look jealously at them.

What about me, God?!

Then things get worse! The girl dies!

The breakthrough is impossible now! God! You missed your chance!

But Jairus doesn’t complain. He doesn’t listen when he is told “Don’t bother the teacher any more”.

Jairus trusts Jesus’ promise that he will go to his house.

“She’s not dead, she’s only sleeping.” The family doubts, but Jesus is confident, He knows the unlimited power of God.

Jesus brings life. But it might take him a while to get there.

God works on Cornish time.

We must live at peace with God’s promises. Even when Jesus’ attention seems to be elsewhere. Wait until he arrives.

Luke 8:22 Jesus calms the storm. The disciples fear they will lose their lives.

Jesus was fast asleep in the boat.

‘Waking Jesus up’ with prayer. He calms the sea but then rebukes them: “O ye of little faith”!

The disciples panicked. But Jairus did not panic.

Jesus is there in the boat, but we should know he has destiny on his life, everything will be alright. We don’t need to panic.

Jesus will bring to completion what he sets out to do. His word will not return to him void. You are in safe hands.

Luke 2: The prophetess Anna: waits in the temple, waited her whole lifetime to hear Jesus. Her faithfulness to the promise was incredible. She was 84 years old when she saw the fulfilment of the promise.

God is no liar. “All the promises of God in Christ are yea and Amen.”

Worry will not add one day to your life.

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness 40 years. Why? Because they did not trust God.

In the reality of God, all things are possible. Even when hope seems dead and buried.

You have a God for whom *all things are possible*.

If the promises are from God, they will come to fruition.

You need to be in a child-like place of trusting. You can trust Him because you are a child of God.

Are you in a place of peace?

We must understand the premise of resting and waiting on the Lord.

Jesus understood rest, taking time out to be with the Father. He was okay with the enormity of his destiny. He was at peace.

Get your eyes off other people’s blessings. Fix your eyes upon Jesus.

Apply yourself to the Word, we can hold the Word accountable. Walk, stand on the promises. Trust that they will come eventually.

Do the simple things well, because that’s what you are given now, on the way to your destiny.