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Sermon4- 8Oct06-1of2 WhereToFindTheHopeYouNeed(RWHowGodMeetsYourDeepestNeedsPart1)

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WHERE TO FIND THE HOPE YOU NEED

How God Meets Your Deepest Needs

Part 1 of 2

October 8, 2006

                                                                                                    Part 1- 1926words      

At the end of World War II, an American submarine returned to its American base, to dock.  As it came into port something terrible went wrong with the mechanism and it began to sink in the harbour.  They immediately dispatched coastguards to go out because obviously it was full of crew and they were trying to save the crew.  They dispatched divers that would dive down to the hull of the submarine and find out what went wrong.  As the divers swam around the sub you could hear that one inventive sailor had a hammer and was knocking on the hull from the inside in Morse code, “Is there hope?” 

Is there hope?  That’s one of the fundamental questions of life.  Is life worth living?  Is there  hope?  Can I count on anything in life?  Is there hope?  It’s asked everyday by thousands of people in thousands of different ways.  When you phone the doctor’s surgery to get the test results you’ve been waiting for, you hear the question, “Is there hope?”  When you’re standing by the bedside at the hospital, you hear the question, “Is there hope?” 

When a couple who’ve put months and months into marriage counsellors sitting there and getting nowhere, they’re thinking in their minds, “Is there hope?” 

When you’re dealing with a tax accountant in a bankruptcy court and you ask, “Is there hope?”  When a couple or a family hears that their child is missing, they ask the police, “Is there hope?”  Governmental and political leaders ask the question about places like Iraq, “Is there hope?” 

You can go forty days without food and three days without water and you can go eight minutes without air.  But you can’t go a single second without hope.  Hope is one of the essentials of life.  When hope is gone, life is over.  You need hope to cope. 

Hope makes all the difference in the world.  It is essential for handling the crises of life.  But when hope is gone, people fall apart – emotionally, physically and spiritually.”

Today we’re going to be asking: Where do you go to find the help and the hope that you need.  You have to have hope to believe that God will work

in your life.  You have to have hope to believe that God can change your situation, that God can meet your needs.  You’ve got to have hope. 

Because hope is in such short supply in our society today, people will fall for all kinds of scams.  They actually put their hope in false hope.  They trust in things like physic hotlines and palm reading and astrology, fake healers, quack cures, all kind of crazy things – crystals – putting their hope in rocks – and things like that.  And of course, inevitably, these things disappoint and actually they end up being worse off because nothing is worse than being disappointed by a false hope.  Nothing is more useless than false hope.  Is there any place that I can get hope I can depend on, that I can count on for the crises of life, the things that are going to come into my life that I don’t plan but blow me over?  Are there any things like that that I can count on?  Where do I find that kind of hope?

The Bible tells us that you find it in God.  God is the source – the source of hope. 

Romans 15:13 “May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in Him.” 

In other words as you put your faith in God, He gives you peace, joy and hope.  And He says, “.. Then you will overflow with hope…” Specifically, God says if you want to put your hope in Me, you need to put it in My name.  “In Your name I will hope, for Your name is good.”  What does that mean?  How do you put hope in a name?  What’s the big deal? 

In ancient cultures, they would choose a name because of what it meant, because of what it described.  In fact, your name was usually the definition of your character.  You were given a name that matched who you were.

When God chose to reveal Himself to the Hebrew nation, He used Hebrew terms to describe Himself.  Did you know that God has a lot of different names?  In the Bible, God calls Himself by many different Hebrew names.  Each one of those names is a description of His character.  Each one of those names is a promise to you.  Each one of those names is a benefit that God says, I provide to man. 

For instance, one time God used the Hebrew name Yahweh Shalom.  That means, “I am the God who gives you peace.  And if you want real peace of mind you come to Me for it.”  In another place He uses the Hebrew term, I am Yahweh Jireh.  That means, “I am the God who provides for all your needs.  You can count on Me.  You can come to Me.”  Perhaps we’ll look at these names in the future because, its comforting to realise that for every one of the needs of man there’s a corresponding name of God.  And God says in so many ways, “Have you got a need?  I can meet that.  You got another need?  I can meet that.”  And so it goes on.

At the end of the book of Ezekiel, (48.35) God gives one of His names.  He says “I am Yahweh Shammah.”  In Hebrew that means, “I am the God who is always there.”  There is no place that God is not.  There is no place you will go that God isn’t.  God has been in your past.  He’s in your present.  He’s going to be in your future.  He’s in the good times and the bad times.  He’s in the good places.  He’s in the evil places.  He is everywhere.

This has profound implications on where you find hope.  If God is truly with me all the time, whether I feel it or not, if He’s truly with me, then that means there are three sources of hope that I can count on.  There are a lot of things in life that I can’t count on, a lot of things in life that are uncertain. 

These are three anchors of the soul as the Bible calls them – hope is the anchor of the soul – things that I can count on so that no matter what happens, I know that life is not hopeless. We’re going to look at the first one today and the other two next week.

The first thing I know about God is….  HIS PRESENCE IS WATCHING OVER ME.

The older I get the more I realize how much of my life is out of my control.  The truth is, not only can I not control much of what’s in the future, I don’t even know much of what’s in the future.  Isaiah 41:10 “’Don’t worry because I am with you,’ says God.  ‘Don’t be afraid, because I am your God.  I will make you strong and I will help you.  I will support you.’”  The good news is regardless of what happens, you and I don’t have to go through it alone.  There is a God who will be with us.  He will be there with you.  That is one of the certainties of life that I can hold on to.  When I hold onto that certainty, I have hope. 

There are a lot of uncertainties in life.  One of the sad uncertainties of life is that people will leave you.  Friends and family might move away.  There will be people that you love that will die.  There will be people that you love that will become ill and won’t be themselves any more.  There may even be those that you argue with and there’s a separation that’s painful.  The sad truth of life is people leave us. 

But the certainty of life is God will never leave you.  That helps us to have hope because the fear of being abandoned is one of the greatest causes of hopelessness in all of our lives.  This feeling that I’m going to be deserted, I’m going to be forsaken, I’m going to be left alone, I’m going to be overwhelmed and there’s going to be no one to help.  It’s expressed in the two words, “What if…?”  What if my husband/wife leave me and I’m left alone?  What if my children aren’t there for me at the end of my life?  What if these friends aren’t there?  What if…? 

The truth is, God will never leave you. 

Some of you may be full of doubt today: you may be asking yourself how you are going to go on.                

The answer is this:  God will be with you. 

Not only is He with us but the Bible says He watches over us.  Not just watches us but watches over us and cares for us.  Psalm 32:8”I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and will watch over you.” 

The important words are “guide” and “advise”.  You and I, we don’t know the future.  We can’t control the future.  God does know the future.  God can control the future.  And that God who knows and can control the future is willing to guide and advise us.  He’s willing to show us the way.  There’s great hope in that. 

For many of us, when we can’t figure out why something’s happening, there’s real hopelessness in that.  If we can figure out why we’re having a problem, if we can figure out what the benefit of that problem is going to be, there’s a little more hope.  But when I can’t figure it out, I feel hopeless.  One of the great things that brings hope is realizing I don’t have to figure it all out.  I just have to trust the God who has it all figured out.  He knows and He understands and He’s willing to guide and advise me through life.  Lamentations 3 “I have hope when I think of this:  the Lord’s love never ends.  His mercies never stop.  They are new every morning.”  That one verse has enough hope to get me at least through to the next week.  It’s all about hope.  Nothing can ever make God stop loving me once I put my hand in His hand. Once I put my hand in His hand He will never let go.  Remember the last phrase “God’s mercies are new every morning.”  Many of us look back on our lives and say “I really blew it there.  I wish I hadn’t done that.”  We feel hopeless because we feel like we’ve already messed the thing up anyway.  The Bible says that God gives us a new fresh start every morning.  I need that.  I need the hope of that.  That God gives me a new start and a new day to live a new hope that He wants to give.                              

If you’ve just been barely hanging on you need to do two or three things.

So, first you need to remember the presence of God.  That He is always with you.  That you will never be without Him.  That may not be how you feel but nonetheless He is there.  

Yahweh Shammah – “I am the God who is always there.”

That’s the first source of hope and next week we’ll look at the remaining two sources.

Let’s pray: H/F if there are people here today who are without hope, we thank you for bringing them here today.  Lord Jesus, I know that You love them very much and I pray that they will turn it all over to You so they can begin a new life of living hope. Amen

The second source of hope is this:  HIS PURPOSE IS WORKING IN ME.  No matter what’s happening in my life – good, bad, or ugly – God’s purpose is working in me.  As Tom just pointed out, when you have a problem that you don’t understand the purpose, that’s very difficult to handle.  You know the most difficult kinds of questions of life are, “Why is this happening to me?”  When the problem is there that’s kind of a freak accident and it doesn’t have any rhyme or reason to it.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Those are the kind of situations that are the most difficult to handle.

On the other hand, when you see a purpose behind your problem it gives you enormous hope.  It also gives you enormous power to endure it.  And God says, I am working in your life and I have a purpose no matter what’s happening. 

God is doing good things in my life even when the situation is bad, even when I don’t feel it, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when I have no understanding.  When the situation is bad, He is still doing good things in my life. 

This morning if you are here and you’re facing an impossible situation, here’s a verse just for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you.  I will give you hope and a good future.”  You may think that what God is doing in your life right now is painful and is to no avail but God says, “My plan is good.  You just don’t see it.  You need to trust Me.  You need to have hope because it’s a plan to give you a hope and a future.” 

If you have walked away from God.  And you think, “I was close to God at one time but I can’t get back to Him,” then the next verse is for you.  Philippians 1:6 “God began doing a good work in you and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.”  God starts something in your life and what He starts He finishes.  You may say you’re too far beyond hope.  You’re not.  You’ve walked away from it but when you come back and say, “God, I’m going to give You the mess, give You the pieces.  Give me Your peace.”  Then that which He started, He finishes in your life.  And He keeps on keeping on.

How do I learn about God’s plan for my life?  Through the Bible.  The Bible tells us in Romans 15 that everything that was written in this book was written for our encouragement and our hope.  The more you get into this book – God’s word, the Bible – the more hopeful a person you’re going to be.  In contrast, the more you watch local news on TV, the more hopeless you’re going to be.  It is just what you decide to spend your time on.  when you focus on the fact that God’s presence is watching over me and God’s purpose is working in me you’re going to have hope.  But that’s not all. 

There’s a third source of hope and it’s this: GOD’S PLACE IS WAITING FOR ME.  When things get unbearable in your life you remember that our ultimate hope is heaven.  Paul says it like this, If all our hope is just on this earth, we should be pitied.  But there’s more to life than just here and now.  We do have an ultimate destination.  This is just the warm-up act.  And God is preparing a place in heaven.

Notice what Jesus said.  John 14 “Don’t be troubled.  You trust in God, now trust in Me.  I am going to prepare a place for you.”  Circle “place”.  Jesus Christ says that heaven is a place, not a state of mind.  It’s not some kind of nirvana, nothingness, where you just float around, bodiless, spiritless, whatever.  It is a real place and God says “I am going to prepare a place for you.” 

If you are feeling hopeless this morning about something in your life, you have forgotten how much God cares about you.  The Bible says in Isaiah 46 “Listen.  I have upheld you since you were conceived and I have taken care of you from your birth.  Even when you are old, I will be the same.  Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.  I made you and I will take care of you.  I will carry you and save you.  Can you compare Me to anyone?  No one is equal to Me or like Me.”  What a God we have!

Maybe you have felt trapped in a hopeless marriage.  It’s on the rocks and you’ve tried anything and everything and it’s going nowhere fast.  Or maybe you’ve felt trapped in a hopeless career and you’ve bounced from job to job to job and you just haven’t found where you fit yet.  Or maybe you’re stuck in a hopeless health problem.  You’ve been to all the doctors and you’ve tried all the cures but nothing has helped you.  Or maybe you’ve got a hopeless situation with a child.  Or maybe you’ve got a hopeless situation with your finances and you’re not getting out of dept; you’re getting deeper in dept – month after month.  Maybe you’re a single parent like Dee and there are those days when you feel powerless and hopeless to cope. 

What do you do?  You give it to Jesus Christ.  When you do, you will have a rebirth of living hope in your heart.  “In God’s great mercy He has caused us to be born again into a living hope because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.”  You will have a rebirth of hope in your life.  You will go from no hope to new hope.  Instantly.

If you’ve just been barely hanging on you need to do two or three things.

First you need to remember the presence of God.  That He has always with you.  That you will never be without Him.  You may not feel it but He is there.  He is aware.  He cares.  He can help.  Yahweh Shammah – “I am the God who is always there.” You remember God’s presence.  You will never go through anything alone. 

And two, you need to receive from God’s people like Dee did.  She let other people support her.  That’s why you need a church family.  That’s why you need to be in a small group.  That’s why you need to be more than just a spectator.  You need to be a participator.  Dee says, When I was in the crisis, my church family stood with me.  Who’s going to stand with you?  Do you know anybody?  Do you have any relationships?  Who do you stand with when they’re going through tough times?  That’s why you need a church home.  You need a family who will be there when the crisis comes on and the heat is there so you can receive from God’s people and you can remember God’s presence and then you can rely on God’s promise.

There are a lot of things in life that are uncertain but these three things you can count on.  They are certainties of life.  No matter what happens, God’s presence will always be watching over me, God’s purpose will always be working in me and God’s place is always waiting for me. 

When I have hope what happens?

“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.”  No situation is hopeless.

Let’s pray:

      God brought some of you here today so He could say this to you: Don’t give up.  Don’t do it.  Don’t give in to discouragement or despair.  Don’t give up, look up.  Don’t despair, turn to prayer.  Don’t give up.  Don’t give out. 

      Give over.  Give over to God. 

      Father, I’m sure there are people here today who are feeling pretty beat up by the circumstances of life.  They may be feeling hopeless.  I know that there are others here today who are discouraged and depressed by events that have happened just in the last week or two.  I know that there are some who have been in the pit of despair and they’ve even considered taking their life because of the pain.  Thank You so much for bringing these people here today.  Jesus Christ, I know that You love them very much and I pray that in this moment they will turn it all over to You so they can begin a new life of living hope.

      Why don’t you pray?  God knows your thoughts.  He knows what you’re thinking right now.  Just pray this in your mind and He’ll hear you.  Dear God, You know exactly how I’ve been feeling.  You’ve seen the confusion and the sadness in my soul and today I want to turn it all over to You.  You alone are my hope.  Help me be more aware that You are always with me and that You’re always watching over me.  I want to thank You for working in my life even when I didn’t know it, even when I didn’t understand it, even when I didn’t feel it, even in the middle of all my pain and problems.  I thank You for Your purpose.  I want to get to know You and follow Your purpose for my life.  So today, Jesus Christ, as much as I know how, I open up my life to You.  I want to build a relationship with You so that when I die I can be with You.  I want to put my trust in the hope of heaven.  In Your name I pray, Amen.

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