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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hope Now! (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 2)

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”-John 11:38-40.

When facing impossible situations, I believe that the problem that we must contend with is not an issue of faith, but instead a problem with hope! Hope is the expectation for something to happen. It believes when there is no evidence of a desired outcome!

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hope is what gives substance (stability, foundation) to our faith. Our faith will never rise above our level of hope; and never go beyond what we expect to happen. Hope is believing that God can; faith is believing that God will.  In order to see our faith increase, first our hope must increase!

Hebrews 6:19 tells us that hope is an anchor for the soul. Anchors alone don’t hold a ship steadfast. That anchor must bite into the ocean bed (dig into the ground below) in order to keep the ship from drifting. In order for hope to be an anchor for our soul, it too must dig into something that is immovable and steadfast. Hope finds its rest in the promises of God. God’s promises are the bedrock of our hope. No one understood this better than Abraham:

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “ I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed-God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did, who contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”-Romans 4:16-18.

When everything appeared hopeless, Abraham had hope in God’s immovable promises. He believed three things about God that made things that seemed impossible to suddenly become a reality in his life. He believed that God’s promises were for him; He believed that God gives life to the dead; and He believed that God could call those things that do not exist as though they did.

We have all reached that place in various circumstances where we have felt like there is no hope; it is over and dead. Nevertheless, just because there appears to be no life in it, doesn’t mean it’s dead. A lot of things can kill including animals, diseases, and people. To kill simply means to take life from something. However, taking the life from something doesn’t make it dead. The reality according to Romans 4:16-18 is that there is only One who can call something dead and that is the One with the power to give life. The enemy can whisper in your ear that your marriage is dead, your chances of having kids is dead, your body is dead from cancer but God’s word declares that no sickness, no disease, no person, and no devil in hell can call something dead; only God has the power to do that because only He has the power to give life and God’s Word declares that He came to give us life and life to the full. 

He can breathe life into lifeless situations and He can cause things to come to pass that moments ago did not even exist. So be encouraged! Your situation may seem lifeless, but we serve a God with resurrection power. My prayer for those of you that are in the midst of an impossible situation is found in Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hope Now! (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. “-John 11:1-2

Have you ever been in what seemed like an impossible situation; a situation that quickly went from bad to worse? Mary and Martha faced such a dilemma. Their brother Lazarus was sick. His sickness progressed to the point that the sisters, in desperation, sent word to Jesus for help. However, when Jesus heard about Lazarus’s condition, he did not respond immediately but instead stayed away an additional two days. During this time Lazarus died! What hope they had for his recovery was gone.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Martha ran to meet him and said:

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”-John 11:21

Martha’s statement is telling. It is evident from her words that Martha only had hope for Lazarus’ recovery while he was still alive. Once he died, Martha’s hope was gone. She doesn’t appear to be blaming Jesus for arriving too late to help, but instead was implying that there was still hope for Lazarus’ recovery four days ago, but not any longer.  She still retained hope in a future resurrection, but her hope in this moment had vanished.  Martha maintained hope while the conditions were still favorable, but like many she set an expiration date on how long she would believe for his recovery.

This, however, was not just a Martha problem. When Mary heard that Jesus had arrived, she too went out to meet Him. There she fell at His feet and declared:

Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”-John 11:32

Mary had the same struggles as Martha. She too believed in Jesus, but every ounce of  hope that she had invested in this situation seems to have evaporated. I am sure that she, like Martha, expected Jesus to arrive, pray for Lazarus, and everything be alright.  I wonder how many of us confess to believe in God’s ability and power, but only within the confines of what we believe is possible. How often do we dictate how and in what time frame God should respond to our circumstances?

When facing impossible situations, I believe that the problem we face is not an issue of faith, but instead a problem with hope!

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church