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

Monday, May 9, 2011

Setting Our Hope in God ~Part Three

Here is the third part of a three part series.  

You can read Part One here and Part Two here.

All three posts are taken from a teaching I had the privilege to share that encouraged the women (and quite frankly me!) to not set our hope in ANYTHING except God.  

And the reason we can have confidence to set our hope in Him is how He has delivered us in the past, how He is delivering us now, and how He will......

Yet Deliver Us
Are you in a trial right now?
Well if not,….and not to be negative here…., look out!
They’re a’comin!

How do I know?  Well, 1 Pet 4:12 says:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

Do you ever wonder why we have trials?  Why does life have to be so hard?  There are a lot of theological answers to those questions, and it is not something we can delve deeply into here.  But the reality is that in this fallen world we will have trials.

And that fact and those trials can either work to produce bitterness and grief in our lives or they can work to produce something else: faith, hope and joy.

I want to propose to you that our response to our trials in the past and our response to our trials of the present will determine our response to our trials in the future.

Seeing and remembering God’s deliverance gives us faith to WAIT FOR and HOPE FOR God’s deliverance in the now and not fear for our future.

Our portion of Romans 12:12 is: “devoted to prayer.”  We must be intimately connected to God and resting in His hands through continual crying out to Him.

The best example of being devoted to prayer is George Mueller.  Most of you probably know his story.  His life is an amazing testimony to faith. Listen to this quote of his and listen for the word deliverance:

At first our faith will be tried very little in comparison with what it may be afterwards; for God never lays more up on us than He is willing to enable us to bear. Now when the trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God, and to trust rather in ourselves, or in our friends, or maybe our circumstances.

We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or other, than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God's help, if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith it will be thus again, we shall be again inclined to deliver ourselves...

And thus with every fresh instance of that kind, our faith will decrease.

...On the contrary, were we to stand still, in order to see the salvation of God, to see His hand outstretched on our behalf, trusting in Him alone, then our faith would be increased - and with every trial of our faith, our faith would be increased yet more as we wait on Him to deliver instead of delivering ourselves in our own way...

Would the believer have his faith strengthened, he must give time to God... Who tries our faith in order to prove to us, His children, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver us - THE MOMENT IT IS GOOD FOR US.

("Answers to Prayer" by George Mueller)

As we look to our future with no idea what our lives, our country, or our world are going to do it can be a scary place.  
Unless we remember what God has done, how God has delivered,  and learn faith from every single time God has worked in our life.

Our joy Scripture for our future deliverance is this:

Psalm 16:11: Thou will make known to me the path of life;
In Thy presence is fullness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

The secret to joy in the midst of the uncertainty:
        Staying in His presence.  It is trusting Him to make known to us the path we should take.

Listen again to Paul:

II Cor. 7:4-6
I am filled with encouragement; I am overflowing with joy in the midst of all our suffering. For even when we came into Macedonia, our body had no rest at all, but we were troubled in every way – struggles from the outside, fears from within. But God, who encourages the downhearted, encouraged us. 

Once again, it is all about God.  God and God alone is the reason Paul could be encouraged when he is surrounded by suffering.

It somehow strangely encourages me that Paul was ever afraid.  But it must have been a fear that still had hope- hope in a God who had delivered, and was delivering, and would yet deliver.

Here is some last Scripture that I want to share with you.  Listen to these Psalms:

In this Psalm David states about his past and then a therefore about his future.
Psalm 26:1,11-12:
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity;
And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
Redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on a level place;
In the congregations I shall bless the Lord.

Past: have walked in integrity
Present: my foot stands on a level place
Future: I shall walk in my integrity

Psalm 31:19
How great is Thy goodness,
Which Thou has stored up for those who fear Thee,
Which Thou has wrought for those who take refuge in Thee
Before the sons of men!

Past: goodness that has been wrought
Present: great is His goodness
Future: goodness that is stored up!

Finally, listen to all the future tense of these verbs- the wills and the shalls.
Psalm 92:12-15
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

As we bring this back around and close this up I want to remind you where we started:  with the people God has placed in our lives to minister to- whether our husbands, our children, our parents, our siblings, our church family, or others God has given you to minister to.

The reason that it is so important for us to understand and to walk in the faith and joy and hope of the deliverance of God is because that is the ground from which we will stand to work in their lives. 
  • ·        If we don’t have joy in the midst of what is going on around us, why should our children ever want to follow Him? 
  • ·        If we don’t believe God will deliver us in our present circumstances at the right time and have hope, then why should our children want to trust in Him? 
  • ·        If we don’t recount to our children and remember in front of them the times God has delivered us before then how will they learn to have hope in Him?

In fact we are commanded to not only hope in Him, but to tell others about that:

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:3-4

How will they tell of the mighty acts of God if we don’t remember His works to them?

Psalm 78:5-8
For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Oh, that we would never forget and never stop being faithful and hopeful and joyful.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies whether you are a mother yet or if you have spiritual children.  I exhort you and myself:
        Let us set our Hope on God.

Because:  He has delivered; He will deliver; and He will yet deliver.
Because:  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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