Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Faith is the DYNAMITE and Hope is the FUSE (#5)

Good morning! I woke up this morning, walked over to the weight scales, stepped on, and confirmed that I have lost 11 pounds since Kurt Kennedy and I began exercising together just 2 ½ weeks ago. I was EXCITED and ready to run some more! You see that is what HOPE does for you. It motivates you to keep on keeping on. It helps you get out of the rut that you find yourself in. In the Bible, it caused the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, to get up out of her bed, and on the road to her miracle. Without hope, she would have just stayed in bed, and in the house, HOPELESS! Thank God for HOPE. We have been discussing hope the past few days. Faith is like dynamite but HOPE is like the fuse. The dynamite is ineffective without a fuse. Thus, faith is ineffective without HOPE.

Paul writes in Romans 8:24-25: "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, WE WAIT FOR IT PATIENTLY."

Christian friend, who has given you permission to give up hope? Does God no longer hear your prayers? Does He no longer care?

Of course He cares:

  • He hears!
  • He cares!
  • He delivers!

Friends, hope on! Your victorious faith must begin with a patient hope!

 The noted commentator, Charles Barclay, once said: "The Christian hope is not simply a trembling hesitant hope that perhaps the promises of God may be true. It is a confident expectation that they cannot be anything else but true!"

 David therefore wrote in Psalms 42:11: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why (are you) so disturbed within me? PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD...."

I can almost see David shaking himself here. He is talking to his soul and giving it a tongue-lashing. He is rebuking the doubt and the despair that had crept into his heart. He then prescribes for himself the remedy --- hope in THE GOD OF HOPE!

SO MY WORD TO YOU THIS MORNING IS, HAVE HOPE!

In recounting his experiences as a political prisoner in Russia, Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells of a moment when he was on the verge of giving up all hope. He was forced to work 12 hours a day at hard labor while existing on a starvation diet, and he had become gravely ill. The doctors were predicting his death. One afternoon, while shoveling sand under a blazing sun, he simply stopped working. He did so even though he knew the guards would beat him severely -- perhaps to death. But he felt that he just couldn't go on. Then he saw another prisoner, a fellow Christian, moving toward him cautiously. With his cane the man quickly drew a cross in the sand and erased it. In that brief moment, Solzhenitsyn felt all of the hope of the gospel flood through his soul. It gave him courage to endure that difficult day and the months of imprisonment that followed.

 Ours is not a vain hope, a pretentious hope, or a presumptuous hope. No sir, ours is a hope that is grounded in the sure work of God through His Son on the cross two-thousand years ago.

 The song writer wrote, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."  Yes, we have hope because our hope is in Christ!  Whenever you are tempted to give up hope:

  • Look to the Cross.
  • Look to Jesus and to the victory that He won there.
  • Look to His Holy Word and to the wonderful and faithful promises that He has given to you each and everyone of us who serve Him.

 Then too, please remember these words found in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I want to close this morning's blog with a story that I have taken from the devotional magazine, OUR DAILY BREAD:

"While attending college, I visited a psychiatric institution with a group of students to observe various types of mental illness. The experience proved to be very disturbing. I remember one man who was called 'No Hope Carter.' His was a tragic case. A victim of venereal disease, he was going through the final stages when the brain is affected. Before he began to lose his mind, this man was told by the doctors that there was no known cure for him. He begged for one ray of light in his darkness, but had been told that the disease would run its inevitable course and end in death. Gradually his brain deteriorated and he became more and more despondent. When I saw him in his small, barred room about two weeks before he died, he was pacing up and down in mental agony. His eyes stared blankly, and his face was drawn and ashen. Over and over he muttered these two forlorn and fateful words: 'No hope! No hope! No hope!' He said nothing else."

How sad to be like "No Hope Carter", a person totally devoid of hope.  The lost have so little to hope in. What hope and what assurance do they have beyond this very moment? Beyond the grave? Their plight is one that is sad indeed! No hope! No hope! No hope!

Do you have hope? Do you know THE GOD OF HOPE?

The world is asking, "Is there any hope?" Our answer is yes, there is ample hope in the God of Hope!

Read again the words to song, "On Christ the Solid Rock"…

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholy lean on Jesus name

Chorus
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil

His oath, His covenant His blood,
support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne

Chorus
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Thank God that our HOPE is built on Christ the Solid Rock! I love you guys, and look forward to seeing you TONIGHT at 6:30 PM for our Feast of All Nations! Blessings!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day!

Pastor Rusty

2 comments:

tanya said...

I have been unable to read the blog for a few days but today, I was able to and BOY HOWDY did this help me! My hope was almost completely gone....these issues are so much bigger than me and no matter how much I read and pray for some reason I'm not getting anywhere but today, I have renewed hope! Sometimes I just can't figure out why it seems to be that God is quiet & no direction is given but I know His plans are larger than mine & I still have learning to do or else the answer would be there....it hurts though!!!!!
I, too, woke up this morning & got on the scales but instead of being happy, I was greatly disappointed. I've been walking the stairs in my building...well I do NOT like the fact that muscle weighs more than fat....just don't seem right. I did notice Sunday that you had lost some weight but I didn't ever get around to telling you, sorry about that! Anyway, thank you for posting this because I truly have struggled with keeping the hope up lately.....seems like the world is caving in BUT GOD!!!!!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pastor Rusty said...

Thanks for your comments Tanya! I love "but God..." That is so true. I will continue to pray for you! Blessings!