The enemy of hope is pride. It is a proud heart that raises itself up in trying to deal with matters too lofty for itself. It is a proud heart that refuses to adjust its behavior to what The Lord wants. As a dependent child submits himself to his nurturing mother, a prideful heart will not stand in awe before God and submit itself to him and his plan. A prideful heart cannot and will not wait on The Lord.
Trouble waiting on the Lord reveals a prideful heart that wants to take over. As anxiety builds, so is pride. A person resists submitting to God because they have already submitted to their own pride.
Pride still comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is not confined to the act of looking down at others. It is the attitude that people have after their hearts have been deceived into thinking that they can handle matters greater than their ability. Whether it be sin, raising children, managing finances, work, or any other area of life makes no difference. Pride moves man into the driver’s seat of his life and as long as he remains there, he will not experience hope.
Man does not need to do anything to get hope. He simply needs to remove himself and his prideful heart from the plan. When he does, The Lord takes over and with him comes hope.
Make sure that you wait and wait. Yes, wait and wait! For the Christian there are two aspects of waiting in his life. Regardless of how difficult life may become, The Lord wants you to wait and wait.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Psalm 130:5)
One aspect of waiting is found in the word hope. Hope is not something that a person desires or hopes will possibly one day happen. Hope is the expectancy of what we know will happen and is yet to come. We have the hope of casting off our mortality and putting on immortality. We have the hope of the Lord’s return, heaven, seeing The Lord, ruling and reigning with him, the wiping away of all tears and countless other promises in Scripture. These things will take place as promised, but until then, we need to patiently endure. When we patiently endure, we are hoping.
Another aspect of waiting is found in the term “wait”. To wait comes from the word that means “to bind together” or “to collect”. By waiting, a believer holds himself back from anxiously trying to solve the problems in life and allows The Lord to handle them. Philippians states it as, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In today’s terms we could say to those trying to deliver themselves from the struggles of life, “Get a hold of yourself!” A famous addictions recovery program has captured the phrase, “Let go and let God.” What these phrases have in common is that an individual needs to stop trying and wait on God.
Ask yourself, “am I holding myself back from trying to deliver myself? Am I anxiously trying to bring about answers to my own prayers? Am I accomplishing God’s will in my own power or by my own efforts? If so, you need to WAIT for what God has determined to be your hope and WAIT on God by getting ahold of yourself and stop seeking deliverance by your flesh.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6)
Why has the Lord allowed this trial? What should I do ? Can anything be gained through these adverse circumstances? A look at Psalm 126 may give you some insight.
This psalm was written in regards to Israel and their deliverance from captivity in Babylon, which lasted for about 70 years. Many people refer to this psalm in regards to evangelism, but its true purpose is in relation to trials.
As Israel was taken to a land where they did not want to go, trials take us places in life where we do not want to go. During times of trials, our hearts become heavy and our eyes wet with tears. It is in the midst of these tears that The Lord wants us to continue on and bear our precious seed. The word for precious also carries the idea of a possession. This possession is what we have given to us as people of God. The New Testament speaks in this manner: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
God promises that if we continue on through tears, we will produce fruit in our lives. The purpose for the trial is the fruit. Seeds of faith produce fruit of faith. Patience produces greater patience and also the fruit of victory for others as you patiently encourage them along.
As you struggle along, sow seeds of forgiveness, temperance, gentleness and you will receive a bounty of fruit for yourself, others and for the glory of God.
Peace, in my opinion, is one of the most misunderstood terms in the bible. Sometimes people refer to peace as a state of happiness. Others refer to it as a condition where they are sure about something I.e. “I have peace about it. Yet others consider it a state of contentment. Although these emotions may be present with peace! these beliefs about peace are wrong.
The term peace carries the idea of “to set at one” much like to reset a broken leg or arm. With that understood, peace is the state that occurs after a state of division, confusion or disharmony. Consider two countries who are at the brink of war. A negotiator brings representatives of each country together for peace talks to where they finally arrive at terms of peace. The end result is two countries that were at a division are brought together again. When this occurs, the countries are said to be at peace. Sometimes we use the term correctly by saying that we need to see somebody and make peace. Others may say that somebody has made or is a peace with God.
This same condition occurs in our hearts. Problems may arise in life to where our hearts are confused, hurt or fearful. At that point, The Lord brings promises from his word to our attention. Immediately after he speaks to us, our hearts are set at one again. The problem may still be present in our lives, but his word has restored our hearts.
In Psalm 122:7, the Psalmist speaks of Jerusalem in these words: Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Notice that peace occurs in Jerusalem and not outside of Jerusalem. Many think that when The Lord brings peace to their lives everything will be wonderful. It will not be and until the Lord returns, it never will be. But his promises of peace will occur within the walls of Jerusalem and for us within the walls of our heart. Regardless of what takes place in our lives, we can have peace in our hearts.
While in the midst of a trial, seek God through his word so that he may set your heart at one again.
One winter day, I walked into the living room where my daughter was engulfed in a movie. For the sake of not being unloving, I allowed her to watch what she wanted and I joined her. The longer I watched the movie, the more uneasy I became. Tension began to rise up inside and as the movie trailed on, the tension increased. The movie seemed to go on forever. I continually checked my watch to see when it would be over. I finally couldn’t bear any more and needed to leave, but before leaving, I asked the name of the movie. With a gleeful smile my daughter exclaimed, “Little Women.” It may be a wonderful movie for girls, but it requires great patience or endurance for a guy to watch it.
Similarly, as we live life, we are faced with situations that are not pleasing. The Thessalonians experienced this and were praised for their patience and faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4). They. patiently endured the hardship in life until another obstacle was faced. It was at these times that The Lord would bring truth to their hearts and then move upon them to persuade them to follow truth and not react to the circumstance. Their positive response to God was faith and with their faith, they continued on or endured after which the cycle began again.
Each day, we face trials. While in those trials, we need to seek for the truth that The Lord is bringing our way and then allow him to move us to follow in obedience of faith. It is the mixing of truth with our faith that allows The Lord to provide us the patience that we need.
We cannot muster up patience no more than we can muster up spirituality. It is all The Lord. It is his truth, his faith, his patience and subsequently will be his glory. We are but vessels that he entrusts to use in bring himself glory. What trial are you facing? What truth or promise do you need to help you endure? Seek it and experience patience and faith.
In biblical times, many marriages were previously arranged and those marrying had no choice in the matter. However for most reading this, the case is much different. When selecting a life’s mate we were drawn to someone who had physical features that satisfied our desires. We also were drawn to people who had similar interests. But imagine what it would be like if you purposefully chose the opposite.
Could you choose someone to marry whom you thought was ugly. Could you live with somebody who detests everything that you enjoy and the things that they like you despise? Would you fellowship with them? Could you? Better yet, could you become consumed in love with them? Not me!
Because Ephesians 2:4 states, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” we can know that God loves us.
• God loved you and me who were ugly with sin.
• God loved you and me who despised him and everything good.
• God loved you and me who enjoyed sin, which he hates with all of his being.
Stop and think, God’s love for you and me was so great that he sought us regardless of our position, desires or guilt. If he loved you and me then, he most certainly loves us now. If he loved us when we were consumed in sin, he loves us now that we are free through his redemption. If he loved us when our hearts longed for sin, he will love us as we desire him to pick us up when we have fallen again. If he loved us when we boasted of our sinful acts, he will love us when we are ashamed for falling. If he loved us when we were ungodly or the opposite of God, he will love us now that we have been renewed in Christ.
God’s love cannot be measured because God cannot be measured, but we can determine the greatness of his loved based on the obstacles that he overcame just to be able to express his love to us.
I can’t go any further! I just can’t take any more! I’m tired and I give up! Have you ever heard anybody say these words? Have you ever said these words? What does The Lord think of us when we say these words? Is he angry, sad or disappointed with us?
The average believer would find this to be a great occasion to issue a rebuke. They could expound on each of the Greek words for power and declare to you that you have this very power and by it you should be abounding. After the dust settles, you are standing alone, still overcome with the belief that you cannot go any further and on top of it you now have guilt. Where is God and what does he think and feel?
By looking at Jesus, we can see exactly what God feels and thinks. My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch (Mark 14:34). Jesus states that his soul is surrounded by sorrow. No matter what he says, thinks or does, his soul is pressed in on every side. It is at this point that The Lord sends an angel to strengthen him. As God, Jesus had unlimited power and did not need or receive strength from the angel in this aspect of his being. It was the soul of Jesus that needed strength because it was exceedingly sorrowful. After receiving strength from the angel, Jesus was able to continue in prayer even as his body experienced emotion distress. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:43-44). People have fallen to the ground or have passed out after hearing tragic news as a result emotional/physical stress to their body. This same stress or trauma was what Jesus was facing in the garden. The strength that he received did not remove the great trial that he would face, but it did give him what he needed so that he could physically and emotionally continue on.
When you feel that you cannot go any further, God is not disappointed with you. The trials that you face are intended to bring you to that point because it is there that God plans for you to meet with and experience him. Don’t look down in guilt, but instead look around for the strength that The Lord will be providing so that you may continue on to the end of your trial.
Grin and Bear It: that was the name of a comic strip. It conveyed the idea that life was going to happen and that the best attitude to have would be to just grin and bear it. The philosophy is not rock solid, but is does capture the insight that things in life will happen that we don’t like, so why not just accept them and move on. But what can you do if your life contains a tragedy or events that are emotionally distressing?
Psalm 119:92 states, Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. From this, we can see that our attitude towards the Word of God determines our emotional state in our trial or affliction. Hopelessness, fear, anger, and bitterness are just some of the negative emotions experienced by people. Those who have these emotions and do not deal with them properly will eventually be overcome by them. However, as we focus on God and his word, he will begin to change our perspective and emotional state. As the Holy Spirit brings hope, hopelessness and bitterness will be driven away. Anger and fear will be abolished by peace and contentment. The Holy Spirit does not accomplish this by overpowering us, but by speaking to us the promises, principles and hope that the Word of God declares. If we neglect or resist his word, it will not have the effect as intended and we will continue on in despair, but if we by faith cling to it, we will cease from perishing.
In short is comes down to resisting life and trying to fight it on our own or bowing down to God, accepting what he has allowed and seeking refuge in him through his word. Which will you choose?
Have you ever been around somebody who was in a bad mood? Of course you have and with that you know that how they respond to situations is affected by that mood and trying to get something out of them is a difficult task. But have you ever thought about what mood God is in? What changes his mood? What moves him in his response to man and his petitions?
Psalm 119:89 states that God’s word is settled or is firmly established in Heaven. Much like how our laws settle disputes and determines guilt and degrees of punishment, God’s word is his guide for determining how he acts towards mankind. Because of this, God declares that he is faithful to all generations. The first generation did not have it any easier than this or other generations. God is not short tempered with us because of the unfaithfulness of previous generations. His word governs his actions.
Because God’s word establishes his actions, he faithfully acts according to it and cannot be swayed by man or circumstances. This brings us security because we know what he expects from us and what we can consistently expect from him. There is no need to convince him to show mercy or grace, for his word will determine his actions. Some of God’s actions are in response to prayer. We are instructed to pray because God is bound to the promises of his word and some of these promises are directly connected with prayer.
In the end, we do not need to wonder about God, we simply need to look at his word for by it, his actions are determined. This brings rest and peace.
Those seeking forgiveness are in no position to teach others the errors of life. God’s process of deliverance is sin, repentance, forgiveness, restoration and then instructing others (Psalm 51:13). Any diversion from this reveals pride.
As redeemed sinners, we continue to struggle with our flesh and the power or control that it has over us. Sin and the flesh do not demand complete control and access. They are both content to just have a foothold into our lives because as leaven grows in wheat, so sin will grow just as long as it has the opportunity.
When sin occurs in your life follow God’s steps for recovery. First recognize sin in your life. The Holy Spirit will continue to accomplish this through conviction. When you recognize your sin, take full ownership for it. Do not cast blame on others, accept circumstances for its cause or minimize your actions. Be careful to recognize pride which will yield its ugly face in your restoration. When involving your sin, pride will always focus on somebody other than you. Whether it is to focus blame for your sin or to point out the sin of others. The Pharisees were notorious for this.
Thirdly, seek God’s forgiveness and believe his promises concerning it. Allow God to restore your heart and your actions. This may take longer than you desire. He will use his word and others to aid you in this process.
Finally, when you have sustained victory over future temptations, consider helping others out of their mire of sin or from falling into it. Only after your own deliverance and recovery will you be able to do this.