“Don’t Panic!”

MILLIONS of people suffer from anxiety and panic disorder in the United States.  It’s our most common mental disorder and there are even several categories.  Furthermore, it is depressing to have anxiety.  Frequently someone who experiences it has to deal with some form of depression as well.

The Dictionary term for PANIC:  “a sudden, unreasonable, overpowering fear.”

2535543334_a554acbbb8Since PANIC then, can be described as “unreasonable fear”–or, fear run a muck–it is groundless; meaning there is no factual evidence to support it.

And yet, when we are afraid of missing an airplane flight–we (“I”) might panic until seated in the assigned seat (that is a personal confession).

Getting BAD NEWS of a personal illness, a family member who has cancer, the FEAR of death–PANIC can set in our spirit.

Are you feeling DEPRESSED over what has been said?

Let’s get to our Scripture Study in The Gospel of Mark.

Mark 5:21-36 – TWO STORIES

A religious leader named JAIRUS has a daughter who is lying on her death-bed.  I know if one of my daughters, and I have two, were on her death-bed, I would certainly have plenty of anxiety.

Things Are Desperate…

Jairus goes to JESUS, begging Him in earnest, telling Him of his desperate situation:

“My little daughter is at the point of death.  Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live”  (5:23).

Notice that as soon a Jairus spoke (words are “things”)his FAITH…JESUS was immediately attracted by that faith and went to heal the little girl.

On their journey, there was a multitude, a crowd gathered on the beachfront to check out what was going on.  They had heard the stories from across the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Gerasenes; the miracle JESUS had performed, commanding the spirits to “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit (demons)” (Mark 5:1-8).

The Scene Is Set…

So here we have the local religious leader, Jesus and His disciples, making their way through a crowd on their way to a dying little girl’s bed.

A Woman’s Touch of FAITH…

And in the pushing and shoving through the gathered masses, a WOMAN came up behind JESUS, secretly touching the hem of His garment.

How often do we REACH OUT and touch Jesus in FAITH?

Reaching for JESUS
Reaching for JESUSJESUS, secretly touching the hem of His garments.

Jesus turns and asks (verse 30),  “Who touched My clothes?”

His disciples, who are following their Teacher through the crowds, with all the distractions, say to Him…“You see the crowd pressing hard around You from all sides, and You ask, Who touched Me?” (v. 31)

But JESUS said, “This touch is different, because I felt virtue–POWER–go out of Me.”

Someone paraphrased it by saying,  “Someone has made a demand upon My ability.”

“JESUS sees the invisible grace in its hidden operations; man only sees its effects, and not always these”  [See footnote [i] ].

Putting Yourself In Jairus’ Shoes…

He has desperately made his way through the crowds to JESUS begging Him to come and heal his daughter who’s at death’s door.  Obviously, he wants JESUS to hurry up and come as quickly as possible because there’s not a moment to lose.  She could die at any given moment.

Then on the way, some woman sneaks up behind JESUS and by an ACT OF FAITH, makes a demand upon His ability.

As JESUS stops to minister to her, Jairus is left standing to watch the unfolding scene, possibly thinking to himself…

“This isn’t fair.  This woman has been sick for twelve years, but MY daughter is dying right now!  I came to JESUS first.  He should come with me and heal  my daughter, and then He can attend to this woman.  Besides, since she is UNCLEAN, she doesn’t have the right to even be here!”

At the time of this story, the Levitical law stated that because this woman had “an issue of blood,” ceremonially, she was unclean.  By law, she could have been stoned for being in public.

Here, in a time of personal need, JESUS was taking up precious time with a social outcast, when it seemed He should have been dealing with the pastor’s daughter (the ruler of the synagogue).

The Evidence Presented…

“JESUS is no respecter of persons”  (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).

He will minister to the highest-ranking official, or… He will minister to the lowest outcasts of society.

JESUS had started going along with Jairus in response to his FAITH, and on the way He stopped and ministered to this poor woman in response to her FAITH.

To me, this fact demonstrates the LORD is not looking for those who have wealth, position or power in my community of needs, but all He is looking for is someone with FAITH!

Some Things to Remember of the Faith of Jairus:

HE DIDN’T PANIC!

As JESUS talks with the woman, messengers come from Jairus’ house to tell him his daughter has died, no reason to “trouble” the Master any further.

JESUS hears the message given to Jairus about the little girl’s death and immediately, He turns to Jairus and says to him…

“Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing” (verse 36).

Keep on, keeping on,  BELIEVING!

In other words what JESUS was saying here is:  “DON’T PANIC!”

He was telling this man, to act just as he did before he received the bad news.  As far as JESUS is concerned, DEATH was no greater a challenge than SICKNESS.

He knew that if He had the POWER to restore health, He had the POWER to restore life. That is why He told Jairus not to PANIC.

When JESUS is walking with you, there is no reason to FEAR…no matter what the report may sound like…no matter what it looks like.

We are walking with the One that rose up from the grave after being dead for three days.

Please tell me then, why He cannot handle your specific problem?

If you are in a PANIC, then you are operating in “groundless fear”.  FEAR of any kind negates, wipes out, FAITH!

FAITH and FEAR are mutually exclusive…

They cannot exist at the same time…in the same person.  Either you have GREAT FAITH or you have GREAT FEAR, one or the other.

SATAN knows that he can drive your FAITH out of you to be FEAR, and in doing so, he can bring to pass in your life the very thing that you fear.

But…if you keep FAITH in your mind and heart, God will bring to pass in your life the very thing that you are BELIEVING.

This is why JESUS is telling Jairus in Mark 5, not to be afraid–only BELIEVE!  And keep on, keeping on BELIEVING, no matter what it looks like.  Does all that make sense?

Obviously Jairus’ mental and emotional attitude has a great deal to do with what was going to happen next.

The same is true with us.  When the LORD tells us not to be afraid, not to PANIC, He’s not saying that negative situations we are facing are not real.  THEY ARE REAL!  Just as Jairus’ daughter was real.

JESUS didn’t deny the reality of the situation, but He did indicate by His words and actions that it was not the ultimate final reality.

JESUS didn’t tell Jairus, “It must not have been God’s will for your daughter to be healed.

That’s not what Jesus said, not what He did.  JESUS went right to Jairus’ house just as nothing had happened.

As long as we have the kind of FAITH that doesn’t PANIC and holds on, no matter what…that’s the way JESUS has always operated and always will.

If you hold on to your FAITH, your answer will come, no matter what the situations are telling you; no matter what it looks like.

JAIRUS didn’t Panic when things didn’t go as planned.

ALSO…

DON’T LET GO OF YOUR FAITH!

JAIRUS doesn’t let go (Mark 5:37-42):

[37] And He (Jesus) permitted no one to accompany Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

[38] When they arrived at the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He looked [carefully and with understanding] at [the] tumult and the people weeping and wailing loudly.

[39] And when He had gone in, He said to them,  Why do you make an uproar and weep? The little girl is not dead but is sleeping.

[40] And they laughed and jeered at Him.  But He put them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him, He went in where the little girl was lying.

[41] Gripping her [firmly] by the hand,  He said to her, Little girl, I say to you, arise [from the sleep of death]!

[42] And instantly the girl got up and started walking around–for she was twelve years old.  And they were utterly astonished and overcome with amazement.

The End of the Story, Or is it?

We see the end of the story about Jairus’ daughter.  JESUS walked into his house, took her by the hand and said,

“Little girl, I say to you, ARISE!”  

And she did!!

Refusing to PANIC in the times of adversity and in times of life’s storms… if you REFUSE to let go of your faith, JESUS can not only resurrect your daughter, your son, or your spouse from that old sinful condition,..

–  HE CAN ALSO RESURRECT YOUR PHYSICAL BODY,

–  HE CAN RESURRECT YOUR MARRIAGE,

–  HE CAN RESURRECT YOUR FINANCES,

–  HE CAN RESURRECT ANYTHING THAT THE WORLD SAYS IS DEAD!

It may be DEAD, and that may be a reality, but it is not the final or ultimate reality.

JESUS HAS ANOTHER PLAN FOR US:

Your plans may seem to be DEAD right now, but when JESUS arrives on the scene, so does RESURRECTION POWER!

He will show up on the scene if…

You hold on to your FAITH…

If, you don’t PANIC…don’t give up…

JESUS IS ON HIS WAY!!!

It may seem like He got a little sidetracked because it is taking so long, but we have God’s assurance that JESUS ALWAYS SHOWS UP ON TIME.

When Jesus set out for the house of Jairus, why did He take with Him only Peter, James and John?

Once there, why did He put out everyone from the room but three disciples and the parents of the little girl?

It was because He wanted around Him only those who had genuine FAITH.

Genuine Prayers of FAITH (James 5:16):

“…pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored.  The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

I personally do not seek out people to pray for me and my family who at the time are going through adversity…UNLESS they are earnest, fervent, and righteous people of PRAYER.

Believers who pray fervently don’t PANIC–they keep on, keeping on, praying through the storm.

JESUS is looking for FAITH.

The question is:  Will He find it in you?

 


 

FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [i] – Bible Hub Pulpit commentary – Mark 5:30.

Enochlophobia: Fear of Crowds: enochlophobia…fear-of-crowds

Bible Translations – Amplified Bible, unless noted differently.

Photo Credit:  Google Search Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You SEARCHIN’ FOR DIRECTION IN YOUR LIFE?

2173653553_20a8c4041a
SEARCHING FOR DIRECTION IN LIFE?

One of my favorite singers of the past, was the late Dusty Springfield along with Dionne Warwick: Wishin’ and Hopin’ and Thinkin’ and Prayin‘. What was the lyricist “prayin'” for?  To find, search for LOVE, perhaps in all the wrong places?  Perhaps, but in doing so, frustration must have set in to the “thinkin”.

My search for some answers, begins with finding and knowing God’s will in my life; the search for direction–thus, the question presented in the title for this weeks BLOG.  Not in your life necessarily, but in mine.  Hopefully. in reading this post, you will find and know God’s will more clearly in your life too!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but how much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”  (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV Bible).

DOING GOD’S WILL WITH A SMILE –

Before doing God’s will…we need to know before the “doing”, “HOW DO I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS in any given situation of my life?”

The answer I found, isn’t really complicated.  There are steps in the process like everything else in life.

We live in a “I want it now society”, and patience in knowing, is not a virtue of ours.  Yeah, we might know the words found in Galatians 5:22-23 (“THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”)…love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…but living with them, applying Holy Spirit’s gifts…that’s not something most of us seek on a daily basis.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t…just, most of us don’t!

FINDING THE ANSWERS IN THE RIGHT PLACES:

How can we find the WILL OF GOD for our lives?  If we don’t follow God’s will for us, we will pay a heavy price in facing the negative consequences.

GOD wants to know His will for your life–

If you’re NOT a believer in Jesus Christ, NOT placed in a saving faith in Him, you’re out of the will of God!  He desires that ALL come to repentance, faith, and to be born-again.

GOD’S WORD:

Psalm 40:8:  “To do your will, O my God, is my desire; your law is within my heart.”

“LAW” (or His Word) = WILL OF GOD.

Example:  We know through reading the Word of God that marrying an unbeliever is NOT God’s will for our lives (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).  God tells us in His Word, ‘Don’t get the cart before the horse’ in new relationships in dating.  Your desires may just precede God’s desire in your life.  And that’s not His will.

THE FIRST and PRIMARY WAY of knowing God’s will for your life…

You are unsure in making an important decision in your family; changing jobs, changing locations because of your job, financial commitments, and you don’t know where to find the answers in your Bible.

If you don’t know where to find your particular circumstance in God’s Word, and don’t have a BIBLE CONCORDANCE, invest in one.  SEARCH for it in God’s Word.  IMPATIENCE might just lead you in the wrong direction.

 1.  God wants us to be WHOLE and NOT SICK…

[2] And behold, a leper came up to Him (JESUS) and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to cleanse me by curing me.    [3] And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying,  “I am willing; be cleansed by being cured.  And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed  (Matthew 8:2-3 AMP).

2.  Knowing God’s Will for us is Not to be Poor and in Debt…

More than Enough!
More than Enough!

God wants us to have enough so our needs are met and we give to others in return.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the servant to the lender”  (Proverbs 22:7).

God’s Word also tells us, to those who might be struggling making ends meet in this economy, one reason why He sent His Son into this world:

[JESUS speaking] …I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

The “overflow” is much more than “just enough”!

3.   GOD doesn’t want us to be DEPRESSED:

HIS WILL for us is to be happy (to “enjoy life”), full of joy!  (Philippians 4:4)

“REJOICE in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!”

THE NEW ROGET’S THESAURUS, definesDEPRESSION” – dishearten, dejection, lowness, worthlessness.  

If you are feeling in a state of constant depression right now…it’s NOT God’s will for your life!

The general will of God is clearly specified in the Word of God for us.  But just knowing where to find thee TRUTH and not claiming and receiving God’s will for our life is another.

So, how can we know the specifics, the details of GOD’S WILL?  Our Bible doesn’t tell us which job to take, doesn’t tell us who to marry, even if we are following God’s will.  E.g., disciples in the boat–“Let us go over to the other side.”

4.  Through the PEACE OF GOD:

“Let the PEACE OF CHRIST rule in your hearts, since members of one body, you were called to peace.  And be thankful”  (Colossians 3:15 NIV).

“RULE” =  “BRABEUO” (Greek word)  [Footnote [i] ].

This verb is found only in this verse and expresses the underlying sense of “having the role of greatest influence.”  The Amplified Bible says PEACE, [“acts as umpire continually”.]

Just as every sport that has disputes, they must be settled by the officials, the PEACE OF GOD as the umpire, settling all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives.

THE PEACE OF GOD is always “umpiring” in our hearts, but we don’t always pay attention to it.  Sometimes, we even go against the PEACE of God in our hearts.

As you sit in the presence of God, be still, take a “time out”, consider all the options, discerning the will of God by the PEACE given to your heart (Psalm 46:10).

5.  DISCERNING correctly what the Lord is trying to tell us–

Lining the Lights Up…

Aligning Things Up!
Aligning Things Up!

There was a certain harbor that was treacherous and dangerous to enter.  In order for the captain to guide his ship safely into the harbor, he had to be attentive to three lights used to guide him.  When all three lights lined up as one, he knew it was safe to proceed.  Then, and only then, would he bring his ship safely to port.

As we seek GUIDANCE, we too have to be attentive to “THREE LIGHTS”…to guide us into the harbor of His will:

~ The WORD of God,

~  Our outward circumstances,

~  Our inner conviction.

When all three of these Lights line up, we can then proceed with assurance, of being led safely into the harbor.

6.  God’s Will Revealed Through the Word of Knowledge and Prophecy:

“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit”  (1 Corinthians 12:8 AMP).

“…to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones]”  (1 Corinthians 12:10).

WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL with this!  Whatever is being revealed should be tested and consistent with the Word of God.  We shouldn’t take others words blindly, but we ourselves should test what the other person has said in respect to what God says (His will) from His Word (Scripture).

God does speak through audible voices sometimes (friends and family).  We have to DISCERN whether we’re listening to God’s voice, or someone elses.

Good intentions…

If we are receiving a word of knowledge or prophecy from a person, we should know and make sure that particular person that’s speaking to our issue is living a godly life too.

But it is possible for some true servants of God to NOT LISTEN to the Lord correctly.  In that case, they should tell you clearly they are not sure.

PROPHECY is not fortune-telling.  We’ve got to be careful of this.

“What should we DO to know God’s will for our life?”

Romans 12:1-2 KJV:

[Verse 1]  “I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your responsible service.

[Verse 2]  “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This “renewing” is not a  one time experience, but a daily reminder in every decision and circumstance we face in our lives.  In order TO KNOW GOD’S WILL, we need to…

OFFER OUR BODY (who your are in your spirit–our whole being) as a LIVING SACRIFICE, living holy lives.

KING DAVID came upon the scene of a threshing floor of a Jebusite by the name of Araunah as commanded by the Lord.  When Araunah saw the king coming, he went out and bowed himself down before the king.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”  And David said, “To purchase the threshing floor from you; to build there an altar to the Lord.”

What Araunah did next seemed to me a honoring gesture as he offered the king everything he had for the altar of sacrifice–of worship and praise.

But David refused the offer in saying to Araunah,  “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my GOD of that which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24).

“What’s that particular story have to do with knowing God’s Will for my life?  There is never an offering, a sacrifice of worship, praise or anything else that doesn’t cost you something.  After paying the price, according to God’s Will in the circumstances, David made the offering.  He knew God’s will in this matter because of the Word of his LORD GOD.

The RESULTS OF KNOWING and APPLYING THE STEPS:  

So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and Israel’s plague was stayed.”  (verse 25).

PHILIPPIANS 2:13:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

GOD gives us the DESIRE to do His will and…He also enables us to do His will.

ILLUSTRATION:

A young man entered his church one Sunday morning where he started praying before the service began.  He was so anxious to find God’s will for his life that he took out a piece of paper he kept in his bible, writing down all the things he was going to do for God.

He started to PRAY that God might revel to him whether these promises were acceptable to Him.

God whispered in his ear, “This is not the way I want you to find My will.  All I want of you is for you to sign your name and leave the paper blank for Me to fill in.”

 

 

Footnotes:

[i]  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Photo Credit:

Photo Pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishin’ and Hopin’ in the New Year!

“Wishing” We Didn’t Have to Say “Goodnight”–

In 1964, my lovely bride and I were married!  On our romantic dates, leading up to September 26, 1964, I would drop her off at her house, walk her to the front door where we would often stand on the porch (depending on the time on the clock), singing the songs that were currently popular and playing on the radio.

“Hoping” to Meet Curfew!

Although Dianne was 20 years old at the time, a 2-AM Curfew was to be strictly enforced or…TROUBLE!  Dianne’s mother would often raise her voice from behind the closed front door,  “Dianne, be quiet. Your dad is asleep!”  That was my future mother-in-law’s way of telling us…it’s late and there will be no ‘hanky-panky’ out there.  What will all the neighbors think while peeking out between their curtains?  One neighbor came out one night to water her garden–at 1:30 AM!

It was a small neighborhood and everyone knew everyone’s business.  I wished we could have stayed outside singing until the sun would rise–but hoping– ‘restriction in dating’ wouldn’t be necessary– as long as…we were obedient to her mom and dad’s rules.

One of my favorite singers back in the olden’ days was Dusty Springfield.  There was one particular song she recorded in 1964, “Wishin’ and Hopin’ “.  For you older readers, do you remember some of the words?

Just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying

planning and dreaming…

The song by the way, wasn’t a ‘religious’ number emphasizing the practice of how to pray in life.  It was a secular song about finding LOVE in your life from someone else.  And if you are wondering where I’m taking all this, let me direct you to grab your Bible and turn with me to the Book of  1 John 2:28-3:1-3 AMP:

What Does HOPE Have to Do With It?

THE BLESSED HOPE REVEALED!
THE BLESSED HOPE REVEALED!

1 John, Chapter 2:

[28]  And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming.  [29]  If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is absolutely righteous (conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought and action), you may also know (be sure) that every one who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [God]. 

1 John, Chapter 3:

[1]  SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God!  And so we are!  The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.  [2]  Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children, it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.  [3]  And every one who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure–chaste, undefiled, guiltless.”

“HOPE” and “WISHES”–the Differences:

I read an article by Tonya Sheridan in preparation for our study that mentioned the differences between “hoping and wishing”:

A WISH is something that you desire to come true but no basis in reality.  It’s passive, can lead to frustration, even depression.  HOPING is having a DESIRE with REAL EXPECTATION.  To HOPE is believing the things you hope for can happen because you’ve invested time, energy, and passion toward making them happen.

An example of WISHING might sound something like this:  Lord, I’ve been unemployed now for too long!  I WISH you would give me a new job. 

The the Lord would answer by responding to your WISH:  I wish you had a job too! 

HOPING for a job would be praying that God would open the doors of opportunity today, and in HOPING…you actually start looking in confidence.  HOPE is a DESIRE coupled with DISCIPLINE.  God will do His part–you need to do your part.  You have to walk through the open door of opportunity.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary says, HOPE in the New Testament is a ‘favorable and confident expectation’–I like to add a few words to the definition:  With an outstretched neck!

Scripture Examples of “HOPE”:

Ephesians 4:4 – “[THERE IS] one body and one Spirit–just as there is also ONE HOPE [that belongs] to the calling you received–“

The “HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE”:  Titus 1:2, and 3:7

Titus 1:2:  “[Resting] in the hope of eternal life, [life] which the ever truthful God Who cannot deceive promised before the world or the ages of time began.”

Titus 3:7:  “…and that we might become heirs of eternal life according to [our] hope.”

(i.e., “the full manifestation and realization of that life which is already in the believer’s possession.)

The Subject of HOPE–

One of the great themes in the Bible is based on HOPE.  The word occurs over 50 times in the New Testament.

To a BELIEVER:  HOPE is our strength to live healthy, godly, productive lives.  We depend greatly on this element of HOPE that was placed in hearts at accepting Jesus Christ as savior.

Without HOPE, for the unbeliever and the Believer, there is really no reason to expand effort; a state of hopelessness is closely related to a state of death.  HOPE is essential to the human soul, as water or food is to our physical bodies.  And a life without hope is a ‘living hell’.  In fact, it’s one thing that will make hell unbearable!–the absolute absence of HOPE!

GUESS WHO’S HAVING A YARD SALE?

Devil's Yard Sale
Devil’s Yard Sale

The Devil was having a yard sale and all of his tools were marked the name and price.  They were tools like hatred, lust, jealousy, deceit, lying, and pride.  All were carrying a HIGH PRICE TAG!

The Oldest Tool!
A Well-Worn Tool

But set to one side, there was a tool more worn than any other tool.  It was the most costly of the tool inventory.  The tool was labeled, DISCOURAGEMENT.

When asked why this tool was priced so high, the Devil answered,  “It’s more useful to me than any other tool.  When I can’t bring my victims down with any of these other tools, I use DISCOURAGEMENT–sweep them away!  That’s because most of them don’t even realize it belongs to me.”  Have you ever had that tool used on you?  Have you ever lost your JOY because you lost your HOPE?

The apostle Paul wrote to the ROMAN Christians, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing  (bubbling over) with hope”  (Romans 15:13 AMP).

Have you ever been around a person overflowing in hope?  When I’ve been around a person like that, I want to get all the overflow of hope I can!

A Person Who Is Overflowing With HOPE–

Paul says that person–has the POWER of the Holy Spirit who is also full of joy and peace.  Those are the things that accompany HOPE.  It is amazing what a person full of HOPE can accomplish.

But the Devil also knows that godly hope is a powerful thing.  He will do everything he can to rob you of your confident expectation in God.

THE ISSUE OF FAITH AND HOPE–CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER!

If I were to ask you a question right now:  “What are you looking forward to in the New Year?”  How would you answer?  Then, if I were to strengthen that question, asking, “What are you living for?”  I would be touching on the issue of HOPE.

“For in [this] HOPE we were saved.  But HOPE [the object of] which is seen is not HOPE.  For how can one HOPE for what he already sees?  But if we HOPE for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure”  (Romans 8:24-25).

Having HOPE and having FAITH are two of God’s gifts–

1.  HOPE provides purpose and well-being in our belief.

2.  FAITH gives us the strength to keep hoping which in turn, makes us optimistic and loving.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the one in Hebrews 11–the FAITH Chapter:

“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality  [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]”  (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

FAITH is enduring–

Isaiah 7 verse 9 says, “If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure.”  God’s promise to us if we continue to endure, continue to carry on–God will provide for ALL of our needs.

God asks simply for HOPE and FAITH–

Bringing your umbrella when you are faithful–it will rain.

Bring your Bible when you are faithful–you want to share the Word.

Bring your heart when you faithfully want to love someone.

Be HOPEFUL and Be FAITHFUL and God will show you what goodness can come by simply having HOPE and FAITH!

What I Uncovered This Detective Investigation of 1 John 3:1-3:

1 John 3:1:  WHAT WE ARE.

1 John 3:2:  WHAT WE SHALL BE.

1 John 3:3:  WHAT WE SHOULD BE.

First John 3:1:  TELL US what we are and First John 3:2:  TELLS US what we shall be.  The reference here, of course is to the time of Jesus’ coming back for His Bride, the Church.  And although today’s conservative churches confess they believe it, ESCHATOLOGY has become a dormant message from pulpit these last days.  Although, this message of Christ’s return was mentioned in 1 John 2:28 as an incentive of holy living, now it’s repeated once more in the Third Chapter of First John, verse 2.

God’s Love For Us–

God’s LOVE doesn’t stop at the new birth, it continues throughout our lives and takes us right up to the return of Jesus Christ.  When the Lord appears, all true believers will see Him and will become like Him (Phil. 3:20, 21).

This means, of course, we will have new, glorified bodies, suited for heaven [NOT Asbestos, fire-proofed clothing].  But the apostle doesn’t stop here!

He has told us what we are and what we shall be.  Now in 1 John 3:3, he tells us what we should be.

In the HOPE of Christ’s return, we are to keep our lives CLEAN (purified)–

God works through our circumstances:

“Such HOPE never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s LOVE has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy spirit Who has been given to us”  (Romans 5:5 AMP).

That’s why John says…all those who have this kind of hope–this certainty–and understands this process, PURIFIES THEMSELVES, even as Christ is PURE!  (1 John 3:3).

But you say,  “Purify myself?  That is the one thing I can’t do.”  And that IS true.  God knows that.  So what does God mean when He says, purify yourself?

You purify yourself when you use the means He’s provided.  You mothers know how this works.

Your little boy has been playing outside and comes to the supper table–covered in dirt.  You send him to the bathroom to purify himself.  And like ALL boys, he turns on the water, runs his hands through it–turns the water off, wipes his hands on the towel, then comes back to the family table.  I know this from personal experience (I was a young boy and I had a son).

And as my mom said to me as she looked me over,  “But you’re not clean.”

Mel:  “Well, I washed myself.”

Mel’s Mom:  “But look at the dirt on your hands and arms, on your face, behind your ears.  You’re not all clean.”

Then every wise mother (my mom was very wise) asks, “Did you use soap?”  Of course he hasn’t, so she sends him back TO USE SOAP.

What is SOAP?

— It is a purifying agent, a cleansing agent.

It will do the job if it is employed.

So when he comes back the second time, he has washed with SOAP;  the SOAP has cleansed him, purified him.  Now he says,

“Look Mom, I’ve cleaned myself up!”  It is true that he did it, but he did it by using his mother’s provision.

THE “PROVISION” FOR OUR CLEANSING:

1.  The WORD of God.

2.  The Spirit of God.

1 John 1:7:  “But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].”

1 John 1:9:  “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”.

This is significant for Believers, and we must begin to take seriously the break in fellowship with Christ Jesus; because of an impatient spirit, an ugly word, a lustful idea, or a thought we have dwelt on, for oh to long.

The stain of it–

It doesn’t disappear with passage of time.  It interferes with our fellowship with the Son of God–we must do something about it.  We can’t simply forget it.

We must PURIFY OURSELVES by using His provision so we might become clean!  That is our desire, our HOPE within us.

I HOPE now, you’ve made a distinction for the upcoming New Year–Wishin’ for things to come won’t bring the desired result.  Only your heartfelt expectation with an “outstretched neck”, will you see the desired results.