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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Setting our Hope in God ~Part Two

Here is the second part in a three part series on WHY God is the only One we can place our Hope in.

There are three reasons we know we can place our hope in God:

  1. What God has already done
  2. What God is doing now
  3. What God will do in the future.

Part One can be found here.
Hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

Let’s review our three reasons we set our hope in God because that determines what we will do:
1.              ~ The times He has already delivered us.
2.              ~ The acts of deliverance He presently working in our lives now.
3.              ~  The promises of His deliverance in the future.

I LOVE this.  I have nothing to do in the past, present, or future as to why I can have hope. I don’t hope in myself or anybody else. It is ALL ABOUT GOD.

So let’s set the stage:
1.  We have a special ministry in people’s lives
2.  Every single one of those people is sinners, so it is going to be hard.
3.  Since we are also a sinner, we can’t rely on ourselves.
4.  We can’t look at our circumstances to determine what to do.
5.  But, we have a God Who is at work yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

We have got to have the right attitude to do this job. 
Ministry is draining. 
Sinners will cause you pain. 
You have a fallen body along with your fallen heart and you are going to get tired. 
And your circumstances will often seem to be in direct opposition to what God has purposed in your heart.

Given those facts there is one more thing we need to establish.  And that is the attitude we will need for this daunting task.  And this attitude is vital for us retaining our hope.

You may be thinking, What!  You just told me I am going to be tired, hurt, sad, and going through difficulties.  And now you think I should have joy!!!!!????

Are you crazy?

Well, maybe I am, but not because I think we are supposed to have joy!  Because I didn’t come up with the fact that we are to have joy- God did.

But don’t take my word on it. Let’s look at what God has to say about the matter.  We are going to “build a case”, so to speak.  As we go over the three "times" that is delivering us we will also look at Scripture about Joy- the joy we are supposed to have right in the middle of whatever is going on.  Let’s start with the first one:


When Paul refers here to being delivered, he is talking about perils and (vs 8) burdens beyond his strength.  Can anyone identify?  Ever been burdened beyond your strength? Let me just go out on a limb here and state categorically, if you have been involved with people, you have been burdened and you have been grieved.

But the more important question is, has God ever delivered you? Can you remember those times?

It is vital that we remember every time God has delivered us in the past.  We can never deal with what is happening in our lives in the present with a proper attitude we don’t.

And then the next question, so what is the attitude we need to have as we remember not only the past deliverances but also the past burdens and hurts?  

Remember?  That’s right, joy!  Right in the middle of the yuck!
How do we have this joy in the middle of the grief?

By remembering what God has already done.  How He has worked beforehand.  How He has previously delivered.  How He has already saved.

Neh 8:10b: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Don’t you love how God doesn’t just tell us to “be strong”?  No.       
He gives us a prescription for strength.
His joy.

Not only do we not have to have our own strength.  We don’t even have to have our own joy.  We have access to His joy and His strength.

God wants to give us His joy, and when we accept that joy we will find 
He then also has given us His strength.

Isaiah 49:5 says, "My God IS my strength."

We must remember times of deliverance in the past in order to not be grieved or over whelmed now. 

And every time we praise Him for what He has already done we get His joy and His strength.

Romans 12:12 gives us a three-fold instruction:

Rom 12:12: rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.

The part that allows us to have joy as we remember how God has delivered is the first one.  Rejoicing in hope.” 

Why can we approach every situation rejoicing?  With joy? With hope?
        By remembering.
By remembering how God has already delivered.

Neh 8:10b: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

So the first step in us setting our hope on God is that we remember what He has already done, and we walk in the strength of His joy.

Will Deliver Us
Once we have settled in our heart and in our mind and in our emotions that God has been faithful in the past and we clearly remember when He has delivered us in the past…..

We can face today’s challenges from a different viewpoint.
Every time it gets dark at night I have hope for the light to come in the morning.  Why?  Because I remember this morning and yesterday morning and the morning before that it got light again.  Even in the middle of the darkest, most moonless night I don’t fear that morning will not come.

The same advantage comes from the “knowing” that God has delivered you before.  And when you are in the midst of dark nights with relationship struggles or growing pains or mothering challenges or financial crisis or (and you can fill in the blank here with whatever your present “school” that the Lord has you in) you can “know in your knower” that God delivers and you can confidently rest your hope in that same God Who has delivered you before.

It is not a test or even a question.  You already have proof.   God will deliver, right on time, just like He always has.

So let’s look at our joy verse for our present needs for deliverance:
Psalm 30:5: Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Hallelujah, just as morning came this morning after last night, joy comes after the weeping. Just like this:

Psalm 90:14: O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness,  that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Want some more proof?
John 16:33: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Our Romans 12:12 portion for our present troubles is the point of “persevering in tribulation”. 
        Yes, we will have tribulation.
        But God commands us to persevere.

How do we persevere?
        By gritting out teeth?
        By grinning and bearing it?
        By being tough?  By being strong?
        By pulling up our boot straps and trudging on through?

No.  None of those things can we sustain for very long, because they all rely upon us.

No, we persevere with good cheer by setting our hope in God.  Remembering our past deliverance helps us anticipate our coming joy. 

You know how you would feel happy as a child just anticipating your birthday?  Or Christmas?  Half of the fun of Christmas is the looking forward to it!

Think about it.  We don’t have to be in happy present circumstances to feel joy, at least God’s joy.

That does not mean it will all eventually work out like we think it should.  You don’t know if your wrapped presents hold what you think you want under that Christmas tree.  But, just maybe it is something better.  God wrapped them up just for you after all, and He will give them to you in His good time.

So, we can experience joy as we remember what God has already done and anticipate how He is presently in the process of delivering us.  Whether we can perceive it yet or not.

I want to deal with one more thing here before we move on.

Some of us have been walking in a “present trial” for a long time.  We are still waiting for that deliverance and we are getting tired and weary.
Dear sisters I don’t understand it all, but I believe God is never late.  I want to share a quote with you:   
“If God permits in His wisdom what He could have prevented with His power, it is for this purpose: that we would bow our knees and say, “Yes, Lord, Your will be done.”

God is never late, but we have to trust in His timing.  
Otherwise we become bitter and hard and hopeless. 

The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years, but deliverance did come.  It came with and through wars and battles, but it came.  And God was faithful.  All the time.  In the desert.  On the battle field.  In the Promised Land. We can trust Him too.

Okay, so we have had trials in the past and seen God deliver.

And we have hardships in the present and we anticipate that God is already at work to deliver us now.

What else do we need to know?

Tune in to Part Three and find out!!!!
In the mean time, take the time to remember the times God has already delivered you.  Write them down.  Talk about them.  Make them a part of you.  They are some of the reasons WHY you can set your hope in God!

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