Monday, October 8, 2007

Faith is the DYNAMITE and Hope is the FUSE (#3)

Good afternoon! We had a great start to our mission's convention yesterday. We were honored to have both the Barbers and Burnett's as our guest, as well as Sandra Rodas. They all spoke into our lives and challenged us to become more aware of those around us that desperately need Jesus. A great big "thank you" goes out to each of these fine people.

I would like to continue talking with you today about HOPE. We have discussed how faith is the DYNAMITE and HOPE is the fuse. I had someone this weekend make a comment to me about how that means LOVE would be the spark that lights the fuse. I like that, and believe it is true. Our love for God must be the driving force in our life, regardless what we find ourselves face to face with. The fuse, nor the dynamite does us any good without the spark of love! Now, let's continue our look at HOPE:

In 1 Samuel 14, we find the Israelite army in a desperate situation. The Philistines had five times as many chariots as the Israelites had men. In addition, the enemy had captured all the Hebrew blacksmiths, which meant no new weapons could be made. The cold fact was that the Israelites were all waiting to die. King Saul was confused and had lost the faith and confidence of his men. Things could have been worse, but I don't know how.

It is at this time that Jonathan, the king's son, steps to the forefront. Did he stand and rally the army with an impassioned speech full of faith? No. He could muster only a scrap of hope. He turned to one other person, his young armor bearer, and suggested that they go and check out the Philistine outpost. Why? The Bible in I Samuel 14:6 quotes him as saying (The Living Bible): "Yes, let's go across to those heathen, Perhaps the Lord will do a miracle for us. For it makes no difference to him how many enemy troops there are!'"

Notice, he made no promises. No predictions. He just stated a fact: Victory was possible. In response to such hope, God gave the enemy over to Jonathan and the armor bearer. Before the day was over, Israel had won a stunning victory. 

People in trouble often say, "I don't want to get my hopes up." Well, friends, I want to challenge you to get your "hopes up" in the Lord! Hope is not silliness. Hope is the quiet whisper inside the Christian's heart that says as did Jonathan, "Perhaps the Lord...."

I want to now make this message up close and personal. Some people reading this blog today have lost hope. They have given in to despair. I can see it in the face, I can hear it in the talk, I can recognize it in the spirit.  

These folks love God; love the church. They have simply given up hope in some area or areas of their lives. It is as if they have a secret little closet somewhere hidden in their hearts. That room is now reserved for matters of discarded faith.

 I have known people who have given up on divine healing. Oh they have seen others healed, it just has not worked for them. They have read all of the books on healing, have listened to all of the tapes on the subject as well as attended every healing service within five-hundred miles. Nonetheless, they are still sick. After some period of time, they simply opened up the door to their little closet and they tossed in any hope for healing.  

Others have given up on an unbelieving spouse or child coming to the Lord. Others have thrown in any hope of their marriage getting any better, any hope that they are going to bear a child, or that they are going to see some long-held dreams realized. On the outside of the door hangs a sign that declares, "IN THIS ROOM ARE STORED ALL OF THE THINGS THAT ARE JUST TOO HARD FOR GOD." Sad! Tragic!

 Dr. Charles L. Allen pastored the largest United Methodist Church in the world, the First United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas for many years. He once wrote: "When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God."

 What, if anything, have you tossed into your private little closet? What, if anything, have you given up on? Well, today, I believe that I have a Word from the Lord for each and every one of you:

·        God wants us to open that room up to His inspection.

·        He wants to go in there and clean out that smelly place of doubt and fear.

·        He yet wants to prove to you that He is God and as such, He is able to do "Exceeding and abundantly above all we are even able to ask for or to think of."

·        He wants to restore your hope.

·        He wants you to believe.

·        He wants you to be confidently expectant once more.

1 Thessalonians 2:16-17 declares: "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and GOOD HOPE, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."

 The God of Hope is asking you to GET YOUR HOPES UP!

I love you guys, and believe with you for a HOPE FILLED day in the Lord!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day,

Pastor Rusty


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this word today. I have given up hope on a few things.First of all my son. He just gets farther away by the day. Second Krystle she is going wild and out of control. And of all things I want a baby. We cant have one but we are trying to adopt and thats not going very well just yet. So I have given up hope on a lot of stuff right now.

Angel Perry

Pastor Rusty said...

Angel, thank you so much for posting and being very honest about your battles. I will continue to pray with you as do like Abraham did, "Against all hope, HOPE" Dorinda and I love you and pray for you daily!

Pastor Rusty