Thursday, October 11, 2007

HOPE, an Anchor for the Soul

Good morning! What a crowd we had at our Feast of Nations last night and the food was wonderful. Missionary Kerry Mauldin did a great job of ministering the Word with many stories of God's grace interspersed in his message. It was just a great night. Thank you to everyone that worked hard to make it so successful.

Throughout most of the past week we have been discussing the importance of HOPE in our lives. Several people have told me that the Word has been ministering to them. After prayer, I feel impressed of the Lord to spend a little more time discussing HOPE. So let's get into it…

Romans 15:13 (GWT) says, "May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in Him. Then you'll overflow with hope…"
Then, Psalm 52:9 says, "In Your name I will hope, for Your name is good."

What does that mean? How do you put hope in a name? What's the big deal? You need to understand that names meant a lot more back in the past than they do today. Today, we choose names for the way that they sound. Tiffany, Amber – kind of sophisticated sounding names. You just like the way it falls off your tongue. But in ancient cultures, they would choose a name because of what it meant, because of what it described. In fact, your name was usually the definition of your character. You were given a name that matched who you were. When God chose to reveal Himself to the Hebrew nation, He used Hebrew terms to describe Himself. Did you know that God has a lot of different names? In the Bible, God calls Himself by many different Hebrew names. Each one of those names is a description of His character. Each one of those names is a promise to you. Each one of those names is a benefit that God says, I provide to man.

For instance, one time God used the Hebrew name Jehovah Shalom. That means, "I am the God who gives you peace. And if you want real peace of mind you come to Me for it." In another place He uses the Hebrew term, I am Jehovah Jireh. That means, "I am the God who provides for all your needs. You can count on Me. You can come to Me."

At the end of the book of Ezekiel 48:35, God gives one of His names.

Ezekiel 48:35 [It was] round about eighteen thousand [measures]: and the name of the city from [that] day [shall be], The LORD [is] there.

He says "I am Jehovah Shammah." In Hebrew that means, "I am the God who is always there." There is no place that God is not. There is no place you will go that God isn't. God has been in your past. He's in your present. He's going to be in your future. He's in the good times and the bad times. He's in the good places. He's in the evil places. He is everywhere.

This has profound implications on where you find hope. If God is truly with me all the time, whether I feel it or not, if He's truly with me, then that means there are three avenues of hope that I can count on. There are a lot of things in life that I can't count on, a lot of things in life that are uncertain. These are three anchors of the soul as the Bible calls them – hope is the anchor of the soul – things that I can count on so that no matter what happens, I know that life is not hopeless.

Hebrews 6:19 (AMP) [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it--a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, [Lev. 16:2.]

(NLT) This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.

I. The first anchor is…. HIS PRESENCE IS WATCHING OVER ME.

The older I get the more I realize how much of my life is out of my control. The truth is, not only can I not control much of what's in the future, I don't even know much of what's in the future. Isaiah 41:10 "'Don't worry because I am with you,' says God. 'Don't be afraid,
because I am your God. I will make you strong and I will help you. I will support you.'"
The good news is regardless of what happens; you and I don't have to go through it alone. Thank the Lord for our God who will be with us. He will be there with you. That is one of the certainties of life that I can hold on to. When I hold onto that certainty, I have hope.

There are a lot of uncertainties in life. One of the sad uncertainties of life is that people will leave you. Friends and family might move away. There will be people that you love that will die. There will be people that you love that will become ill and won't be themselves any more. There may even be those that you argue with and there's a separation that's painful. The sad truth of life is people leave us.

But the certainty of life is God will never leave you. That helps us to have hope because the fear of being abandoned is one of the greatest causes of hopelessness in all of our lives. This feeling that I'm going to be deserted, I'm going to be forsaken, I'm going to be left alone, I'm going to be overwhelmed and there's going to be no one to help. It's expressed in the two words, "What if…?" What if my husband/wife leave me and I'm left alone? What if my kids aren't there for me at the end of my life? What if these friends aren't there? What if…?

The truth is, God will never leave you.

As a pastor, I've stood at a lot of gravesites with people. After the funeral, many, many times I've seen in their eyes and I've heard the words, "I don't know how I'm going to make it. How am I going to make it to the next step?" I've heard oftentimes this sense of doubt and this, What if? In the voice of a spouse who has just been deserted or someone who has just lost their job or a parent who has just lost a child. This feeling of, "How am I going to go on?" Some of you are feeling that way today.

The answer is this: God will be with you.

Not only is He with us but the Bible says He watches over us. Not just watches us but watches over us and cares for us.

Psalm 32:8"I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and will watch over you."

You and I, we don't know the future. We can't control the future. God does know the future. God can control the future. And that God who knows and can control the future is willing to guide and advise us. He's willing to show us the way. There's great hope in that.

For many of us, when we can't figure out why something's happening, there's real hopelessness in that. If we can figure out why we're having a problem, if we can figure out what the benefit of that problem is going to be, there's a little more hope. But when I can't figure it out, I feel hopeless. One of the great things that brings hope is realizing I don't have to figure it all out. I just have to trust the God who has it all figured out. He knows and He understands and He's willing to guide and advise me through life.

Lamentations 3:21-23 says "I have hope when I think of this: the Lord's love never ends. His mercies never stop. They are new every morning." That one verse has enough hope to get me at least through to the next week. It's all about hope. Nothing can ever make God stop loving me. Meditate for a few moments on this phrase, "God's mercies are new every morning." Many of us look back on our lives and say "I really blew it there. I wish I hadn't done that." We feel hopeless because we feel like we've already messed the thing up anyway. The Bible says that God gives us a new fresh start every morning. I need that. I need the hope of that. That God gives me a new start and a new day to live a new hope that He wants to give me.

That is anchor #1. We will look at #2 tomorrow.

Thank you for reading my blog today. My prayer is that you have a wonderful, HOPE-FILLED day in the Lord! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


Anonymous said...

This devotion is wonderful....I don't know what I would have done without the Lord throughout my life. He is always there...always.
When you wake up in the morning he is there...when you go through out your day and call on him he is there...when you wake up during the night with a burden he is there. He has and always will be my best friend and father. I love him so much.