Tag Archives: Hope

No Confidence

In Romans 15:13, we read: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NLT). We know that Jesus Christ is our only hope. We know that He alone is our confidence. The Bible says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (NIV).

If you have put your confidence in a human at any point in your life, it is likely that you have been let down or hurt. Humans are constantly changing. The hearts of humans are deceptive. Being confident in Christ Jesus is different. We are to rely on what He has done for us. We are to trust in the promises of God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

It is when we try to place our confidence in something else that we find ourselves in trouble and we are always let down. Today, consider where you have placed your confidence. Are you relying on human effort? Are you relying on friends or family? Or have you put your confidence in God? Are you relying on the One who was and is and is to come?

“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.” – Philippians 3:3 [NLT]

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Undeserved Privilege

What if you did not help work on a project—not even for a second—but you received recognition for the great work you did on the project? During a ceremony, you were called up on stage to accept this great honor when you never even did anything to assist. Wouldn’t that be strange? Would you feel awkward receiving recognition when you did not even help with the project? What if you were given special access or a higher position with greater privilege because of this project? It sounds crazy, right?!?

The Bible speaks about this place of undeserved privilege, a place that we now stand. We are just like this person who never worked on a project but gained honor and privilege from the project. We do not deserve to stand before God. We do not deserve to have this privilege. Nonetheless, Jesus Christ has “brought us into this place.” He has allowed us to enter the inner veil. He has given us this great honor through Him.

Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we can “confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we have been “brought… into this place of undeserved privilege.” Never forget that it is an undeserved privilege. Praise Him for He alone deserves the honor, glory, and praise. Share your hope with others and continue to look forward to what is ahead.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” – Romans 5:2 [NLT]

Great Expectation

As it nears my son’s sixteenth birthday, there is great expectation. This is a big day for any teenager. When I consider the months and weeks prior to his birth, there was great expectation. He was my first child. I didn’t know what to expect, but I spent a lot of time considering who he would be and couldn’t wait to meet him.

In 1 Peter 1, we read about our great hope. In verse 3, Peter talks about how “we live with great expectation.” We live with this great expectation because “we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” We know that because of this, “we have a priceless inheritance” (v. 4). The Bible also tells us that God is protecting us “by His power” until the day comes when we receive the revelation of our salvation.

Some of us have lost the joy of this great expectation. We are so focused on this world that we cannot be “truly glad” that “there is wonderful joy ahead” (v. 6). Perhaps our trials have hardened our hearts. God reminds us that this is on “for a little while.” The trials “show that your faith is genuine” (v. 7). Today, be reminded of our great hope, our great expectation. Remember, “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (v. 8).

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” – 1 Peter 1:3 [NLT]

A Different Attitude

After the twelve spies surveyed the land, only two came back with a good report. Ten men came back to share their fear of the strong people of the land. When the people were speaking negatively about the situation, Caleb boldly stepped forward. The Bible says that he “silenced the people before Moses.” He exclaimed, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).

Caleb trusted the One behind the promise. He trusted God. Ten of the spies couldn’t look past the problems they saw with the land. They couldn’t imagine that God would see them through, that God would deliver on His promise. They were stopped in their tracks, stopped by mere men.

God says that Caleb had “a different attitude than the others have.” He also was called loyal. His loyalty didn’t change with circumstances. He was loyal. Some of us have an attitude problem today. We have the attitude of the ten, instead of the attitude of Caleb; we have an attitude of fear and distrust, rather than an attitude of trust and confidence. The Bible speaks of this hope—this confidence—we should have as believers. We should be confidence for judgment day (1 John 4:17-18). We should have confidence for prayer (1 John 5:14). We should be confident His plan is perfect and He desires what is good for His children (Romans 8:28). We should be confident that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). May the Lord be your confidence (see Proverbs 3:26, Job 4:6).

“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]

“And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:10 [NLT]

Fog Faith

During the walk this morning, it was quite foggy. It was the kind of fog that when you walk forward, you cannot see a thing. Even so, I know what is supposed to be there. I’ve walked the same path every morning and evening for years. So I walked forward in trust.

The Bible speaks of many great people of faith. Hebrews 11 is known as the Hall of Faith as it is filled with many of these faithful followers of God. People like Abraham, who God commanded to leave all he knew and walk into the unknown. He said that He would should Abraham where to go. Now that’s faith. Things are different for us. Even though there is a lot of unknown, we have a lot more to go on than Abraham did. We have the Word of God. We have the Old and the New Testaments. We can read about the faithfulness of God. We can read about how God provided. We can read about how God protected His people.

We don’t always have the faith we should, because we are human. We have doubts. We have worries. It is in these moments we pray for God to help our unbelief. “I believe. Help my unbelief.” As the fog up ahead keeps you from knowing all that will come your way, walk with fog faith, clinging to the promises of God, trusting God at His Word, for He is the best promise keeper.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1 [NIV]

Missing the Blessings

We have all certainly missed some blessings. When we walk in faith, we are met with blessing. It might not happen right away, but eventually it comes. I remember when I took a leap of faith and returned to college. When I graduated with my ministry degree, I thought instantly something would happen. It was a long period later before I saw how God orchestrated everything for a better outcome. Remember, He thinks differently than us. What we think would be great, is nothing compared to the greatness He has in store for us.

I have been at the crossroads where I could walk in faith, or turn in the other direction. There have been times when I didn’t step forward. I stood my ground or turned direction. I then missed the opportunity to see God move. Remember, He calls us to walk in faith. If we don’t walk, we miss what follows. Oftentimes, rather than walk in faith, we take burdens on our own shoulder. We then miss the opportunity to see God move in awesome ways. We miss it!

Lately I have been recognizing the lack of faith in people around me. I’m not saying this to say, “My faith is greater than yours.” I am simply noting that God is revealing this to me. It grieves me. I feel for those who are not walking forward in faith, because I know they are missing out on what God has for them. I share with these people how God has moved in my life. Still, they don’t move. I can only pray. Prayer is always the best thing. Today, I’m praying for you. I am praying that you are not missing the blessings. I am praying for you to have confidence in the Lord, to move forward in faith—to step out to what God has for you. Embrace God and embrace His promises. You will be blessed!

“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” – Jeremiah 17:7 [NLT]

Sanctity of Life

We are Valuable. Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? [NLT]

We are God’s Creation. Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade. (Genesis 1 & 2)

We are His Masterpiece. He continues to mold us. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [ESV]

Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? [ESV]

We each have responsibility to shine the light in this dark world – to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

REMEMBER: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20)

If you have had an abortion and you asked for forgiveness, you have already been forgiven.

So what does the Bible say?

In the Bible, some were known in the womb. Some were sanctified in the womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” [NLT]

Isaiah 49:1 – “Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” [NLT]

Galatians 1:15 – “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased” [NIV]

The word for prenatal and postnatal beings in the Bible – CHILDREN.

We also read about:

  • Jacob & Esau struggling in the womb
  • John the Baptist leaping for joy while in the womb and recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb.

HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE

Psalm 139:13-16 [NIV] – GOD KNITS TOGETHER; IT’S GOD’S WORK – NOT OURS

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE

  • Genesis 1:26-27 – Man is made in God’s image
  • Genesis 5:3 – When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. [NIV]
    • Seth was created in likeness of Adam.
    • Adam was created in likeness of….. GOD

Imago Dei (EE-ma-go Day) – Image of God is stamped on each of us.

HE VALUES LIFE

Genesis 9 – Capital punishment – murder in 1st degree

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God. (v. 5-6 NIV)

Exodus 21:22-25 speaks about punishment when pregnant woman is accidentally injured while people are fighting and a life is lost.

  • The Didache (Di-dah-kay) – Jewish instruction manual held that abortion was murder
  • Early church, Calvin, Luther, Edwards held that abortion was murder.

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

Colossians Study: Ministry to Maturity

[Colossians 1:21-29]

1) Must stay DEEPLY ROOTED and FIRM IN FAITH (v. 23a)

2) Must NOT GIVE UP HOPE received (v. 23b)

  • Warn every man
  • Teach every man all wisdom
  • Present every man mature in Christ

3) Must PREACH COMPLETE MESSAGE (v. 25)

plērōsai (play-ro’-o) Fulfill, complete, to make full, full to individual capacity

  • In its fullness [NIV]
  • Entire message [NLT]
  • Fully carry out [NASB]
  • Fully known [HCSB]
  • Fully deliver God’s message [Weymouth]

Our task is to make the Word of God known – to EVERYONE

Verse 28 says EVERYONE 3x’s – “each one”– emphasizing Christian teaching for all

WHY I work so hard?

Christ followers will GROW & MATURE

Goal (v. 28) – Present every man COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

How is it possible?

HIS POWER mightily works within me. (v. 29)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In verse 22, Paul wrote that God lets you stand in His presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

What does it mean to be holy?

What does it mean to be faultless?

What does it mean to be innocent?

2) The passage notes that this “message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God’s people” (v. 26). The word “mystery” is used (v. 27).

What was the word mystery referencing?

Why was the message kept secret? Why was it now explained? (v.27)

3) The goal is “all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature” (v. 28). How is this accomplished?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: The Gospel Truth

[Colossians 1:1-8]

The Gospel is…

  • Good News of God (v. 5)
  • The Word of Truth (v. 6)
  • The Message of God’s Grace (v. 6)
  • Centered in a person – Jesus (v. 4)
  • Universal – It is for the whole world (v. 6)
  • Humanly transmitted (v. 7)
  • Productive – Multiplies (v. 6)

People believed. People were discipled. People were faithful in Christ.

FAITH in Jesus and LOVE for God’s people that spring from HOPE stored up in heaven (v. 4-5)

HOPE…

God’s way = the best way

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1 NASB)

God’s way = the only real peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)

God’s way = the only real joy

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11 NLT)

God’s way = the only true and lasting reward

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35 NIV)

Bible Study Questions:

1) How does Paul introduce himself to the Colossians? How does he address the Colossians?

2) Paul wrote that he was thankful for the Colossians. What specifically made Paul thankful and excited for this church in Colossae? (see v. 3-8)

3) Paul never met the people in Colossae. Who shared the Gospel with these people? How is he described?

4) What is the Gospel? Read Acts 2:22-24, Acts 16:30-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

5) One of the unmistakable characteristics of the Gospel is God’s grace in all its truth. John 1:14, 17 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (ESV).

How do you define grace?

How do you define truth?

How can you share God’s grace?

How can you share God’s truth?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Reserved Hope

Reservations are great. It is awesome when you can make a reservation to be sure you have a spot. I remember reserving particular classes. I enjoy reserving a hotel room so I know when I’m traveling that I have the comfort of a nice room waiting for me. My son loves to reserve new video games so his game is ready right when it comes out in the stores so it is guaranteed to be there.

In Colossians 1, we read about this hope that we have in heaven. It is a reserved hope. It is reserve and waiting. This is the truth. This is what we can expect. We can rejoice in knowing that we have this reserved hope, this guarantee of heaven. We won’t lose our spot.

When the day drains you, when you are exhausted, when you feel like everything is caving in, remember this great hope. Remember that you have a space reserved. Remember that God has so much more for you just waiting for you. There are some things reserved on earth for you, things you need to step forward and claim. There are some things reserved for you in heaven—and one day they shall all come to light. Rejoice in this hope. Rejoice that you my friend have a reservation.

Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel. – Colossians 1:5 [AMP]