Category Archives: hope

Isaiah 61-64

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Today we look at how God is going to fulfill the vision Isaiah has given to his people.

(this weeks’ lecture notes . . . )

The Sovereign Lord has a vision to redeem the whole world and His people.

Our expectations in our culture are ‘instant’ … for everything.  We approach God the same way.

God says He will do what He says He will do, when He’s ready.

Isaiah is teaching God’s people to wait.

-we are not there yet!

-but look at how God helped those in exile and how He will help us today!

The strategy that Isaiah gives God’s people is to wait in Faith and Hope.

Isaiah 61:1

Jesus, appointed by the Holy Spirit, will preach the good news and carry out God’s plan.

The servant of the Lord, Jesus, would redeem God’s people.

Only God could restore what sin had ruined in their lives.

-God’s grace and extravagant love should make you rejoice.

Principle:   those who experience God’s transforming grace, delight in God.

-when we ‘get it’, we are delighted.

-are your days filled with praise?

-are you feeling guilty about the past?

-are you dreading and fearful of what’s ahead?

Grace:  underserving

-God justifies and reconciles us to God

-by faith we believe, we’re saved on the basis of God’s unmerited favor

-when we experience God’s grace, we praise Him.

In your circumstances, have you praised God for His undeserved favor towards you?

-fill your mind with God’s words, the gospel.

Extravagant favor

-focus on the good news of Jesus

-if you do, you will enliven HOPE, no matter what you endure as you wait.

Isaiah 62:  the strategy here is prayer.

PRAYER:  asking  God to accomplish His divine plan.

-HOW we wait, as God’s people for his promises … we should be vigilant, depending on God.

-when we stop praying, we lose that living connection to God.

PRINCIPLE:  Only God offers grace to change you into who He has always wanted you to be.

-surrendering to Christ

-entrusting our character to God to be refined.

-God has plans for us – prayer keeps us connected to these promises.

Intercession glorifies God because it admits dependence on God.

-we are all in hard places

-every believer struggles with sin

-God hears the cries of His people

Only God can change, help and renew His people.

Isaiah says, ‘it’s hard to wait, but you can depend on God and trust Him!’

HOPE . . . always in God!

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talking to your tears

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Some days are just harder than others, aren’t they?  But life doesn’t pause on behalf of our tears or wait for them to go away.  I recently came across an article written by John Piper (20 years ago, actually) that speaks so well to ‘hard days’ and gives us a push to do the next good thing.

 

Talking to Your Tears

July 15, 1991 | by John Piper | Topic: Suffering

Psalm 126:5-6

May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy!
He that goes forth weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

There is nothing sad about sowing seed. It takes no more work than reaping. The days can be beautiful. There can be great hope of harvest. Yet the psalm speaks of “sowing in tears.” It says that someone “goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” So why are they weeping?

I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry. The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not.

This psalm teaches the tough truth that there is work to be done whether I am emotionally up for it or not; and it is good for me to do it. Suppose you are in a blue funk and it is time to sow seed. Do you say, “I can’t sow the field this spring, because I am in a blue funk.” If you do that you will not eat in the winter.

But suppose you say, “I am in a blue funk. I cry if the milk runs out at breakfast. I cry if the phone and doorbell ring at the same time. I cry for no reason at all. But the field needs to be sowed. That is the way life is. I do not feel like it, but I will take my bag of seeds and go out in the fields and do my crying while I do my duty. I will sow in tears.”

If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing.

So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: ‘Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written). I know you will wet my face several times today, but I have work to do and you will just have to go with me. I intend to take the bag of seeds and sow. If you come along then you will just have to wet the rows.”

Then say, on the basis of God’s word, ‘Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully)—I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

Learning to sow steadfastly,

Pastor John

scripture memory #6

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I have had this passage in my que and have just been waiting to officially put it on my scripture memory list for this year!  It will officially be verse (passage) #6

[21] But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  [22] The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  [23] they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  [24] “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

(Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV)

I love including verse 21 in this passage, it is usually left out.  The emphasis on calling to mind is so significant to me as I continue to focus this year on keeping my mind steadfast on the Truth of God’s word … who He is … who I am … His love for me.  A steadfast mind has HOPE .. HOPE in God.

http://blog.lproof.org/2011/03/greetings-and-2011-scripture-memory-team-verse-6.html

blessings

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We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
But long that we’d have the faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

 

Hope for Your Dark Night of the Soul

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a great article from Justin Taylor’s blog today . . .

Hope for Your Dark Night of the Soul.

 

” . . . That was the beginning of the way out. And I remember saying to myself literally hundreds of times—every time these feelings of hopelessness and panic and a desire to ball up in a fetal position would come on me—“I feel completely hopeless because I am hopeless, but Jesus Christ died for hopeless people, and I’m one of them.”

Over time I began to believe that. And today when I tell people that Jesus is a great Savior, I believe it, because I know that he saved me. That’s where my joy comes from. My joy comes from knowing that at the very bottom, at the very pit of who I am, it is blackness and sin, but the love and grace of Jesus goes deeper.”


AMEN.

hope

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A friend shared this passage with me this morning .. I just had to post it!

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:21-25 ESV)

What I have never noticed previously in this passage, verse 21, “I call this to mind,”.  Another great reminder of the benefits of right thinking .. the steadfast mind has HOPE .. “The Lord is my portion … I will HOPE in Him!”