Monday, August 23, 2010

Got Hope?

Got questions and zero hope?

Is there nothing steady or sure in our world anymore? Most of my friends here in Dallas refuse to watch the news anymore. That hope-y n change-y thing sure just ain't workin' for em at this point. 

Man, what’s up with the economy and all the incessant blaming going on? There are reasons for it, but I heard one expert say we are on the verge of going into a full on depression if real changes are made soon. 

What's up with the current real estate market, the food costs, the retirement options ..or lack thereof.. with the stock market weirding out often, and with the other huge financial messes in our country? Doesn’t it seem like we can’t count on anything anymore? Ok, with all these failures facing us each day, what or who can we trust in? Where is there even room for hope in our day..or in our kid's lives as they start to pay off the huge debt we left em?

Are your circumstance or relationships somewhat polarized or half-crumbling right now?

Perhaps they are totally crumbling. Need some beauty for ashes 'bout now? 

Are you stuck, blocked, hindered, under some kind of attack, or just needing a new outlet for love and practical ministry? Whatcha facing?

Has religion, your lover, your career, your 401K, your parents, or some close friendship really let you down ..hard? You are not alone in this, so please don't wilt, throw in the towel or give up! Others are watching you.. how you'll respond and they also have decisions to make. 

This generation is so thirsty for hope!!! Something ought to be said and done.

Both saints and sinners alike want this badly.. this thing called hope!

You know, I think that it’s hard for anyone to live long or short without air, without water, without food or without hope. And some people would prefer to go without the first three than the later for even a minute.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is a God of hope. Are you in Him yet (I'll explain in a bit)? If not.. why not? Got your reasons? Been in a strange creepy-icky church before? Met a weird pushy, non-gracious, or controlling Christian before? I might understand a bit, but there are some healthy ones to come into fellowship with out there still.. please believe me!

Listen, more importantly that that stuff ..if you get right with Christ (if you’re not yet born again I mean..) and spend some time with the Lord today listening to His holy Word ..what He’s all about will indeed rub off on you, believer!

Try going despair-less, gloom-less, sin-less, and gripe-less with Him today!

In faith get out of yourself and reach out to help the more hopeless, the hurting, and the helpless. What a blessing and you’ll never lack for an audience. We are surrounded by those in worse shape.
      
I think we can all relate to these people if we try.

Can you think of instances in your life when hope was all gone? What did you do, who did you turn to, what did you listen to?

Can you think of instances in your life when hope was resurrected and fully alive in you even though everything else on the outside seemed whacked-to-the-max? 

Hey, it can happen for any of us.. if we gain some biblical faith.

The Bible and the God of the Bible is where we should turn to daily. Sure, the Bible is filled with countless paradoxes and challenging statements. Did you know that all true science agrees with the Bible? They really aren't at odds with each other as many suspect. 

"Paradoxes.. huh, Kurt?" Well, to live we must die, to receive we must obey and give, to be strong we must yield and be weak. Those are a few of em for ya.

The Bible also teaches us that we can for sure experience real hope during very trying and difficult times. It’s when we least expect hope that it will most likely pop up before us. I find when I spend some time in prayer seeking the Lord, hope and excitement just grows in me. Circumstances can change so quickly.  

Even if we’ve never personally experienced hope in the face of failure, in the face of sickness, or disease, or rejection.. we each can indeed find many biblical accounts of people who discovered hope when they really needed it most. The Word of God is your hope! You don't need astrology or any voodoo or a relationship with buried people!  

I personally think of Elijah by the stream not too long after his great victory on Mount Carmel. I think of his friends.. that poor widow and her son in who needed that pinch of meal just to survive. I also think of how God encouraged and comforted Paul when he got down.

 “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus..” (2 Cor. 7:5-6).

“For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God” (Ps. 43:2 and 5).

 “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father..” (1 Thess. 1:3).

When the Psalmist David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Ps. 23:4), he was going through a place where evil at least seemed like an ever-present reality (I’m sure evil surrounded him often and was in this place too). Yet David encouraged himself in the God when nobody else would. He refused to give way to fear or a life of despair. He praised the Lord and he knew where to turn for hope. 

He wasn’t expressing his hope that God would abolish evil in that Psalm.. for the purpose of him passing through safely in great comfort or luxury. He was saying that the very presence of His Shepherd-God gave him the confidence to pass through difficult places without fear of being deserted by Him. The Lord never forsook him. And later in another psalm, David expressed that the Lord Himself was his hope (71:5). Do you encourage yourself in Christ? What are you passing through?

“You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth” (Psalm 71:5).

“Our strength and hope is in the Lord—we rest secure in His sure Word; and though we’re tempted to despair we know we’re kept within His care.” ~David De Haan

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear, Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

Please discover Hope in the real Jesus Christ (the Bible Christ, for the first time or for the 100th time today). He is the sure and steady Anchor for your soul, for your family and for your whole life!

Ever sail big boats or had any experience with anchors before? Ever been down to the largest harbors or been aboard an aircraft carrier or ship? I used to live near these boats and the Queen Mary. 

Man, one anchor for such a carrier will weigh more than sixty-thousand pounds ..and that’s more than a lot! That’s not even including the nearly 400 pounds for each iron link in the chain. When you consider the number one purpose of any anchor, you wouldn’t expect anything less for such a big boat like this huh. 

Stability is the ability to stay when other stuff around us isn't. The Lord can give you stability in any storm.  

And it takes an even stronger anchor than what you find on a large carrier to keep the human soul in place through the wild hurricanes of life! Today’s unique challenges seem bigger than ever before and with people growing more desperate for hope, you and I can be there for them (ready for them.. post-finding-hope for ourselves), pointing them in the right direction—to Jesus who really cares. What greater life-purpose will you find anywhere?
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