Monday, September 18, 2017

HOPE - How Firm a Foundation

We have spoken before that perhaps the greatest poverty is a poverty of hope. Life can be unbearably hard with so many things out of our control. Whether physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, relational, or some other issue that confronts us, we need to believe that things are going to be OK. But there is a huge difference between sunny optimism and HOPE that has a true and lasting foundation. Let’s look at the four foundational corners of our great HOPE: Honor God, Obey, Pray, Expect

Psalm 37:3-7
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;

Things to think about:
·      We all hope for many things – I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I hope my big sale closes, I hope Liverpool wins this week, I hope my children come to a saving faith, I hope, I hope, I hope.  Some things we hope for are trivial, some are crucial. Sometimes “I hope” is really a synonym for “I’m worried about”. 
o   What’s something that you’re hoping for this week/month/year?

Honor God
·      In our passage it says to, “Commit your way to the Lord”
o   Proverbs 1:7 in The Message states, “Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.”
o   The first step can often be the hardest step and in this case I believe for many people this is true.  First base in Christianity is saying I’m wrong, I need to be forgiven, and I can’t do anything about apart from Christ.
§  Is/was this true for you?
§  Why do you think some people choose to thumb their noses at God?
§  What would you tell to someone who feels they don’t need Him?
o   Why must HOPE begin with committing oneself to God?
·      “Trust in the Lord and do good.”
o   By definition, if we are Christians and seeking to genuinely please God, doing good is synonymous with obedience.
o   What are some ways you can think of to “do good”?
·      The other week we looked at how “Almost” obeying God is never good enough.
§  Why is obedience critical to having HOPE?
·      “Be still before the Lord”
o   In our hectic world, being still can sometimes be the hardest thing to do.  There is no shortage of things to engage, distract or amuse us.  We are programmed to multi-task, be successful, and stay connected.
o   The problem with all of that is it doesn’t leave a lot of time to just “be still before the Lord”
§  Do you find this to be a challenge or have you found success in this area?
o   When you are able to be still, do you find it often leads you to pray?
o   Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
§  Why is prayer important to our theme of HOPE?

·      Wait patiently for Him
o   Romans 8:24-25 – “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
·      The final piece of the puzzle is in our expectation that God will do something good!
o   It is honoring to God to expect goodness, the fidelity of His promises, and His love for you.

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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