...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Monday, May 2, 2011

Setting Our Hope in God ~Part One

I had the joy and privilege of sharing this message with the ladies from my church this past week in honor of Mother's Day.  Since this is a long message I will break it up into several parts.  While this is a message to Mothers, it is not only about mothering, but rather about our hearts as we go about doing whatever God has called us to do.

The Lord gave us a very special job as Mothers.  We have a unique road into our child’s heart.  When a child is sick, who does she want?  When a football player waves to the camera, who does he say hi to?  It is universal and it doesn’t go away with age.  Almost everyone can identify with the occasional feeling “I want my Mommy.”

As Moms we have a special privilege and role to fulfill in our lives. There is a great deal of ministry and discipling and teaching and dispensing of justice that are required in mothering.

But I want to encourage you all, even if you are not a Mother yet.  As women, we often have the opportunity to minister to the people around us, whether in our own family or in the people God brings into our lives, in a caring, responsive, and spiritually encouraging capacity.  What is true in the ministry of Motherhood is true in all ministries.  God’s truth will apply outside of just the role of “Mother”

Today we will not talk so much about Motherhood as we will talk about how we approach and walk in the ministry He has given us.

There is one problem with being a minister in people’s lives though. You have to minister to sinners.

Shocking, I know.

But the reality is that the only people we can turn to are sinners. And the only people who turn to us are sinners.  And the only people we can pour our lives into, whether in or out of the church, or in or out of our families, are sinners.

And sinners are messy.  And sinners’ messes can get very messy.

I know, I know, we all think our children are wonderful and amazing and talented and special.  And they are.

But they are wonderful, amazing, talented, special sinners who desperately need a Saviour.       

One danger we can fall into as Moms, in our special heart relationship with our children, is we can take on too much responsibility and emotion in their lives.  We hurt when they hurt.  We worry when we don’t know where they are.  We advise, even when they haven’t asked for it, when we see bad choices.  And then when something bad happens……..well, then.  Look out.

I want to talk with you today about a lesson that God is teaching me.  I have been learning to not take on too much. And I have been learning how to remember, learning how to trust, and how to hope.

We are going to be looking at parts of a letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians, who were people he looked on as his own children.  So, even if you do not have children, like Paul, these words can still be used in your life in how you maintain a ministry with the “children” and the ministry He has given you.  This is not a “how to” minister talk but a “how to maintain” our own heart talk.

Here is our foundation verse from which we will build today:

(God) who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And he will yet deliver us.  II Cor 1:10

So let me ask you something:  What have you set your hope on?

Let’s look at a definition of hope:
According to the Holman Bible Dictionary:
Trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God's promises...hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future....The Bible bases its hope in God and His saving acts.

Or in other words:  He On Whom We set our Hope. This is not a feeling. This is not what we want to happen.  We can have hope because of what and Whom it is founded upon. 

What we really need to have hope is have a new set of glasses.  Now these days I need glasses in different levels for different things.  I need one strength for close up and one for far away.  And then there is that sort of inbetween spot that is just sort of fuzzy.

These new glasses are not for our eyes though.  They are for our heart to look at the sinners and their messes and our trials and our difficulties and they help us see and therefore have hope in three things:
1.                             What God has already done
2.                             What God is doing now
3.                             What God will do in the future.
Listen to our verse again:
(God) who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And he will yet deliver us.                                                               ~II Cor 1:10

We are going to build on these three layers:  what God has done; what God is doing; what God will do in the future.

This pattern is repeated over and over again in the Scripture:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
Heb 13:8

So we will use these to build our faith and thereby increase our Hope.  Our Hope in Him.  And our hope must only be in Him.  Because....

Our circumstance will often not support our hope. 
Our “sinners” may not deserve our hope. 

That is why we don’t hope in them.

We HOPE in the only One Who can act.

In the book Faith Like Potatoes, Angus Buchan tells about a time when he was looking at the dry land of his farm with his farm manager, Simeon, a native Zulu:
Buchan, “Everything is so dry.  The other farmers aren’t doing any planting.  There’s no sign of movement on any of the other farms.  What are we going to do?  We’re losing time.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter:  Simeon, this is serious!”

“Look,” he said, ”let’s go and plant the crop.  We’re late already.”

“Simeon, you don’t have to be an agricultural graduate to know you don’t plant seed into dry ground!  You wait for the rain to fall first.”

The big Zulu looked me straight in the eye.  His voice was filled with authority and complete conviction. “Brother, you have just come back from a mighty revival, and you have seen God move with signs and miracles every day.  Can you trust Him to bring rain on our maize crops?  Why are you not prepared to plant in the dust and believe Jesus to bring the rain?”

And so with us, if our circumstances determine our actions, we might never plant.

What is our response to droughts, “trials,” that come to our families or our lives?  Should we be surprised that there are difficulties when we go where God tells us to go or when we do what God tells us to do with the sinners He places in our life and the sin in our own heart?

Eccl. 11:4- “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

~Okay, there is the end of part one.  There is more coming in a few days.  In the meantime-  Put your hope in God!

No comments:

Post a Comment