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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hope


a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
"he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information"
Hope. We can easily lose it for a myriad of reasons. A failed marriage/relationship. A job loss in this economy. A life we expected or hoped for, that never came to fruition. I had a time in my life, where the only thing I hoped for, was EVERYTHING. I was young and proud, some may say ‘haughty’, and never thought that my life would ever be anything less than what I wanted it to be.
Hope. Who needed THAT! Just live and let live.
As a budding writer, I am always looking for other more pertinent words when describing things I am writing about. So, I fiddled with “HOPE”.
  • security
  • desire
  • confidence
  • awaiting
  • contemplating
  • expectation and finally
  • TRUST
Then, it hit me... Hope? I had a failed marriage. I lost my job ( my job, at one time, was my identity!! I was THE baker at Tippecanoe Country Club. How’s that? Everyone knew me for that. People really looked up to me in that position ( ok... not REAL PEOPLE, they thought I was just an old fart that they had to deal with every day) and my FATHER, of all people, had a sense of JOY on his face when he said “THIS is my daughter. She is THE BAKER at Tippecanoe. ) of 30 years. I ran away when life got rough... to California no less. I married someone that I just KNEW was going to make my life better. Someone that lived a life that I was unfamiliar with, but seemed exciting... WRONG. I never met anyone like him, that is FOR SURE, and as we moved back home to Youngstown, for reasons I was really unaware. Looking back now, I am really aware that HE was running away, but I was still not aware of the details. I get home, and that marriage fizzled FAST. Within 3 months we were separated and although a few months later I foolishly decided to give it a go again, it spun so far out of control that I couldn’t IMAGINE, that my life turned out like this. Family disowning me, MySpace and Facebook becoming ... well, it wasn’t ‘hopeful’... we’ll just go with that.
Then he walked out on me. From there I can tell you that I lost my dad, my chump job at the club, my mom moved in with me (blessing in disguise) and then she passed away. During the period of my ex leaving and my dad passing away, and losing my job, I lost all desire to live. I lived for Spikey and Phoebe and Grace. I would spend days in bed. Weeks! Just leaving the house for dog food ... and dairy queen cake ( that is what I lived on). As long as the animals were fed, I had no reason to communicate with people. I remember one day saying “Lord, I know you are here with me. I have what I need to feed the dogs and cat, and not starve, and the electric and gas and house were paid, but... never mind. I k now You are with me.” One day He moved me via a former girlfriend. She invited me to her church. It took me weeks to say alright, but I finally went. I found “Divorce Care” at her church. And, a family therapist ON STAFF for the congregation. I started seeing their therapist. His first sentence to me was “you ALWAYS have ‘hope’”. Hope. That is what I had. Day in and day out, week in and week out, I knew that God was not leaving me hanging. Hope. For what , I had no idea. But ‘we’ talked all the time. I joined Divorce Care, only to realize that it was a farce there. The leaders were... well, nothing ever went as I was sure it probably should have. I ended up leaving there, but not until I was sure that this therapist didn’t think I was off the deep end, and I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was confident in God’s Plan.
I don’t want to bore you with my ongoing details. Most everyone who knows me, knows my story. Timmy, Gary, The Gate, finances, dating, not dating, living for the Lord, school, love, my silly unkempt life, and then Paul, again.
But today, “HOPE”... was our topic in church.
* “things in the world are going to be bad and will only continue to get worse. But, you can’t lose ‘hope’ in the future.
Genesis 3:15-17 NLT
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.[c]”
17 And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
Two things that you should remember, always.
  1. Our hope is in a PROMISE, not a PREDICTION.
  2. Our hope is in a PERSON... the person Jesus Christ.
“If we have no hope, then we do not have enough faith in God”

What do YOU put your hope in?
  • a raise in pay?
  • your relationship with others always being there
  • your job?
  • your parents/spouse/siblings/children?
  • Our Father...
As a Believer, you can depend on the spiritual blessing of Hope. Old Testament believers waited for the promised Messiah, whose first coming was greatly anticipated. They held fast to prophecies like the one in Micah 5:2: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting." Christians can look back at the finished accomplishments of Jesus Christ, the One Israel hoped for.
Today, there is another hope, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's letter to Titus has heartfelt advice that applies to all believers. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ..."(Titus 2:11-13)
Those living in obedience to God eagerly await the return of Jesus, with perseverance, which means: steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness. (American Heritage Dictionary) The believer with genuine hope is not passive, sitting around wishing and wanting, whining and wallowing. The believer with hope is expecting and active, living life "soberly, righteously and godly in the present age."

Those living in obedience to God eagerly await the return of Jesus, with perseverance, which means: steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness. The believer with genuine hope is not passive, sitting around wishing and wanting, whining and wallowing. The believer with hope is expecting and active, living life "soberly, righteously and godly in the present age."
The promises in God's Word concerning the believer's hope offer comfort and encouragement. Regarding what is is referred to as 'the gathering together' or 'the rapture,' Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16: "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."
Romans 8:25 "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
I am always talking about The Gate, and inviting people and praying for souls, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe I should be talking about HOPE , SALVATION, CHRIST. But ( here I go ), at The Gate, Pastor Gary will tell you in the words that I sometimes stumble over. You shouldn’t feel bullied, or overwhelmed or afraid of The Gospel of Christ, and at The Gate, you won’t be. He doesn’t shake a bible at you, or belittle you into anything. He doesn’t holler or yell. He simply takes the Word of The Lord, and presents it to you. So that you, can know HOPE. So that you, can be confident, that you are a Child of Christ.
Hope- Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
Great Examples of Faith

11 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

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