Against All Hope

If the ups and downs of our lives were pinpoints on a graph, what would yours look like? Would it be one straight line going up? Or would it look like a mountain range with highs and lows? Throughout our lives, we encounter blessings, victories, trials, and hardships. But how are we remaining hopeful even in the lows of life?

Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the World.”

So when you’re against all hope when it feels as if the odds are stacked against you. Ask yourself

  1. Will I still believe it anyways?
  2. Will I let anything stop me from believing?
  3. Will I always expect God to answer?

Abraham was “against all hope,” it says in Romans 4:18 “In Hope, he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told.”

Abraham hoped when there was no hope. The hope he had made no human sense, Abraham hoped when the facts were contrary to logic. They were both well past the age of childbearing but “Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age since she considered him faithful who had promised.” – Hebrews 11:11

They didn’t let what was contrary become the roadblock to their promise, they were against all hope but yet they still believed. What is it in your life that you’ve been believing for? Are you hoping against all hope?

Strength for the Weary

Have you ever been in a place when you needed strength? Who do you look too? How do you receive this strength that you are needing? Do you know that in this life we can’t do it on our own, we need help, we need His strength.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited…”

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me…”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 

“Living this life can only be lived through His strength”

His strength is limitless. When we are at our weakest that is when His strength becomes the greatest! But are we seeking for His strength? Are we asking for His strength when feel as if though you can’t take another step?

Fact: Strength is grown and developed and we can’t grow or develop without seeking Him.

Q: Where can we find this strength? How do we receive strength?

There is strength for those who hope

“ My soul, wait silently for God alone,

For my expectation is from Him.”

Psalm 62:5

The true source for our strength only comes from the hope we have in Him. 

There is strength for those who seek 

  • “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” – Psalm 105:3-4
  • When we begin to praise in our weakness, when we begin to look up, we begin to have hope and joy, joy is the strength of the Lord.
  • “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11

  • There is strength for those who wait

Isaiah 40:31 

“But they who wait (hope) for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Because of the Blood

Part 1 – He made us Righteous

Have you ever stopped and realized what the Blood of Jesus has done for you? Have you ever thought of what He has bought for us? What do we get to experience because of the Blood?

  1. He made us Righteous
  • Question: What is righteousness? Answer – A right standing before God.
  • Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

Christ lived a life that completely fulfilled God’s demand of righteousness and thus offered himself on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Our own doing, and our own achievements could by no means compare to the sacrifice of what Christ gave.

Without Christ paying the penalty for sin, we would have never been justified

Isaiah 64:6 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the ind, take us away.”

Nothing makes us good enough to be accepted in God’s family than only through the Blood of Jesus, that’s when we become justified, that’s when we become righteous before God, He sees the blood when He sees you, He doesn’t see your past, he doesn’t see the mistakes, he sees a blood-bought child of God.

Question: What made Christ become the ultimate sacrifice for us to be made righteous? His Love.

JOHN 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever would believe in Him, would not perish but have eternal life.”

— Christ became the lightning rod, absorbing all of God’s wrath so that you and I could stand justified, righteous in his presence!

– When you question the love that God has for you, look to the Cross!

“God made Him who knew no sin to become sin so that you and I might become the righteousness of God” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

He Was Right Their Waiting

John 4:7-15   A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

This story explains the longing of the human soul, the desire to fill the void that man alone cannot fill but yet so many are visiting these empty wells that can never satisfy. But only He can fill. Here are 3 key areas of how He meets us where we are.

  1. He breaks down barriers

The Woman was a Samaritan and Jesus was a Jew. That’s like having a democrat and republican in the same room, there’s going to be some tension. Not only that, but a man talking to a woman was not of that time. But history tells us that the samaritans and Jews was fierce and long-standing. It dates all the way back to the patriarchs. 

Jesus doesn’t care about your social status or what party you vote for. He rises above all that Because He sees through your walls, He knows the shape you are in and He wants to be right in the middle of it all. But will we let Him?

  1. He knows our needs

Jesus knows this World cannot satisfy the heart. He knows the possessions, talents, gifts that He has given us will not fill us with contenment but only will make us long for more. The World is an empty well, but The Well only offers the Living Water. He met this woman because He knew she needed to hear Him and to see Him. 

  1. He is always waiting

She came for the water, but she didn’t know of a Living Water who was already their waiting for her. In our darkest moments, in our time of a need. He is always there at the well, no matter how fast we run to that Well, He is always there waiting before we get there. What is it that you need today? Come to Well today.

Do You Have Room For Him?

You’re begging to the attendant at the service counter, “Please make room for me!” But every attempt goes unheard of. You go from hotel to hotel and motel to motel, still no room can be found.

She brought forth her firstborn Son…and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 NKJV

In the gospel of Luke we read that Mary and Joseph having this same ordeal. Their trip was planned though, much anticipated and I’m sure Mary was anxious to get the child labor out of the way. But why couldn’t they find a room? Really? The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah, The Chosen One, Son of God, the Creator, they were told to go away. Jesus, Mary and Joseph got rejected at every Inn (motel) they came across. They came to one Inn and all they had was a stable, a stable for animals. Not the best amenities but it worked.

  • Do we make the same mistake of the innkeeper? Do we tell Jesus that you have no time for Him today, ignore the prompting of the Spirit because its not convenient?
  • This Christmas, give to God your life, your time, and especially your heart. Listen for that urgent knock, and every time you hear it, move aside and make room for Him.

The Prodigal’s Pain

The Prodigal’s Pain

Isaiah 66:9

“Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” Says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” Says your God.

This verse is powerful, God is saying why would I cause pain and not let something good come out of it. Why would I waste a trial in a persons life? why would I let the test not be a testimony? Why would I let the very pain that my child is experiencing not have any good come from it?

I have been brought to this verse many times in the past. With the passing of a loved one, a broken relationship, we’ve all experienced pain. And there was always a purpose behind it.

You see, “…He has put eternity into man’s heart…” – Ecclesiastes 3:11. God put in our heart, eternity. There’s nothing that this World offers that replaces, fills, permeates the desire that our hearts long for — the Creator, God. Your friend or family member who has once tasted and seen and felt the love of God at one time who is now living life to the fullest, so they think. In the World. They feel the pain, and so do we. But we have to remember that there is a purpose with the pain.

Much like the Prodigal in Luke 15 who packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land. He spent all that he had carelessly, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. “When he finally came to his senses” the pain had finally caught up with him and he said to himself “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!” So he returned home to his father.”

But today, as I was praying for a family member who have strayed away, who once knew Him, the Lord showed me an analogy of Isaiah 66:9 of the person who I was praying for.

A pregnancy is nine months, nine long months of having discomfort, sick, carrying extra weight that they have to carry until the time of the birth. Much like the Prodigal, they too are experiencing pain, discomfort, the shame and guilt. But remember that God has to cause the pain, the discomfort to lead them back to Him. His love is relentless, He is always pursuing the hearts of those who have known Him and have not yet known Him. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s all part of His plan.

If you know someone who is a prodigal, don’t stop praying, don’t give up. They are of the Lord’s, He sees them where they are, even if they have forgotten Him, He has not. There is purpose in the pain, your prodigal is coming home!

The Position, Posture & Place of our Worship

Part 3 — The Place of our Worship

In the book of Mark is a story of a woman’s act of love, service and devotion to the Lord. Her story is lost to time, not even her name is given in this passage. We don’t know her life story, we don’t know her past but we do see a glimpse of her heart. It is a story that shows us the position, posture and place of our worship.

Mark 14:3-9 ESV

And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

  1. The Place of our Worship

When I think about the place of our worship, my mind goes back to the verse when Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well. He says in John 4:23 ” But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” Jesus then says this in verse 24 “For God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.

We can go deeper into what Jesus is saying here but put it simply this way; we don’t have to go to a building (church) to worship. Our worship should not only be contained within the four walls of a building, but outside, in your car, in your home, in your workplace. His Spirit is what is living inside of us! Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”

God, His Spirit is what is living inside of us. He is our place of worship!