Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four Questions: Hope verses Faith

How is hope different than faith?
What does it mean to have put our hope in Jesus? 

What are we hoping for if we already have salvation?

Doesn't the bible say that hope does not disappoint us? 

I was going to go all theological in order to answer these questions precise, to the point and absolute.  I got out my bible dictionary, my Where To Find It In The Bible book, different versions of the bible, and of course the lap top with unlimited resources at my finger tips. I studied for a few hours and well, mostly I got a bunch of facts and statements that were void of emotion. How can I even begin to answer these questions in such a way that leaves my hearts cry and personal experiences out of it. Then again there are some very specific facts that are important. So here goes my shot at it. 

Think of your self as a car, the shell of the car, Faith is your engine, Hope is your gas and hopefully Jesus is who is driving you. 

Bad analogy of who you are personally, but as far as what the difference between faith and hope is, it works. Faith and hope work together like inhaling and exhaling. Hebrews 11 says it this way "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about the things we cannot see. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we see did not come from anything that can be seen."

Hope is often a verb. Faith, according to the dictionary, is commonly a noun.
Hope drives us forward, keeps us going.
Faith holds us stead fast and keeps us securely on the right path.

Faith:  Belief in God,  belief or trust: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.

Hope: Trust, to desire especially with expectation of getting what you want.

The difference between hope and faith is that our Belief in God never disappoints us. Our hope in specific out comes, we desire God to work out, often can leave us disappointed. We are after all his children and often do not know what is best for us. But there are other factors to weigh in to the out-come of events and circumstances. The will of God is perfect and wonderful. But everyone living in this world has free choice. The ability to live in and out of the will of God. For example a drunk driver runs over a small child. That was not God's will for someone to get drunk and murder an innocent child. "NO!"  But God does promise us that ALL things are made for the good of those who love him. So when we place our hope in God, even after catastrophic events, He is faithful and will stand by us, loving us through hard times, give us strength, and use that child's death for the good. I do believe this is why we have Mothers Against Drunk Driving Associations.

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. 

Psalm 119:116
Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.

The Lord fearfully and wonderfully made each one of us with hopes, dreams. He does not wish to crush those things he created in us to reach for.  Our hope is like our dreams large and small. We hope that tomorrow will come, that it will be even better than today. We hope for the desires of our heart to be fulfilled, whether that be to find a husband, or to run a mile, or to sing the national anthem at a baseball game. Our faith tells us we are adored by God. Our faith assures us he is with us and wants to be involved with our lives. Our faith reminds us to listen to that still small voice that guides us and directs us. Our faith believes the words of the bible are true. Our hope takes the steps necessary for our faith to be active. In James it reads that faith with out works is dead. It could have very well said that faith with out hope is dead. We need our hope in the Lord!  We need to know His ways are better than ours. That he will bring to pass our dreams come true. YES we have Salvation. But oh, we have so much more than that. We have a best friend to lead us and guide us and walk with us through adventures of a life time... our life time!

I have hope that one day my arthritis will no longer hinder me. I have hope my children will come to love the Lord as much as I do or even more!  I hope to ride a motor bike on a country road and feel the wind whip my hair as I speed...yes past the speed limit. I hope to be an author of a book that changes peoples lives. Some of my hopes have already come true. I had faith and hope that God would hear my prayers for my dad  during open heart surgery.... he lives. I hoped one day to be a teacher of children. I taught at a public school. I am blessed to be able to homeschool my kids. I continue to teach kids at church as well. I hoped to one day have close friends I could call dear to me. I have several. I dreamed one day to run a race and beat the asthma that tries to stop me. I have run several now. 

 Romans 11:33-35  Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?

So this is what we do: 

Lamentations 3:24-26  I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 

Psalm 33:20   We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 

Psalm 33:22  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 130:5   I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Micah 7:7
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 This is what we are promised by putting our hope in the Lord:

Psalm 147:10-12      His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,  nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. 

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." - Joseph Addison

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What can I DO? Nothing it has already been done!

Mark 10:17-22
The Rich Young Man
 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.""Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 
This young man did not see his need for Jesus. He thought he had what it took to earn his way to heaven. When Christ set the bar too high for him to reach he went away realizing he did not have what it took to earn his way to heaven. He still did not realize his need for a savior. 
Mark 10:46-52
Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus." What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
The blind man knew of his need of a Savior! The blind man knew there was nothing he could do to earn his sight. He knew he had to rely on his savior's mercy.  
Lord God bring me away from the businessman mentality, and back to the beggar's. May I remember, when seeking you, I have nothing valuable to barter with. There is nothing I can do for you or give to you as payment for you hearing my cries for help.  Lord when I come to you empty handed I can acknowledge how profound your mercy, how mighty your love, how complete your joy is for me; How free you have died for me to be!
Zephaniah 3:17 He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing!
Quote from the book HE LOVES ME by Wayne Jacobsen  
"When you are tempted to stake your relationship with God on your own goodness or your sacrifice, don't even try. Picture the bar so high that you'll never find a way to clear it. Approach God on the basis of your own efforts, and you will always go away disappointed and disillusioned. But that is not bad news. What it means is that God has fulfilled in himself everything he would ever require of us. Abandoning our own attempts to establish our own worthiness is central to the power of the gospel. Learn that, and a door stands before you to the very heart of a loving Father. 
Matthew 9:13 "I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners!"