Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

Abounding in Hope


In this month’s Guideposts magazine (December 2013), two quotes from “The Up Side” caught my eye. These quotes from positive thinkers fit right in to the theme of our sermon at church yesterday. The first was by Jon Gordon, “If you think your best days are behind you, they are. If you think your best days are ahead of you, they are.”

The second quote that caught my attention was by columnist Marilyn Vos Savant, “Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” Yes, it is the giving up that signals defeat… and that was the main message of the sermon we heard yesterday. It was titled, “Abounding in Hope.” I took these notes while I listened:

If I think I’m not good enough,
If I quit before I try,
I tell myself I’m a quitter.
That message is a lie.

The lie lived on inside me;
My confidence suffered most.
I thought I was a quitter.
I began to lose all hope.

Despair and hopelessness consumed me;
I felt useless as can be.
I knew I wasn’t good enough
To change anything even one degree.

To enter Hell is to give up Hope,
According to Dante who penned those words.
The Bible tells us otherwise.
With God, hopelessness is absurd.

Realize that God is in control.
Whatever our future holds near,
Remember God won’t abandon you.
Trust in His Hope and have cheer!

God will take care of you.
God will give you joy, peace, and power.
Allow God to work inside you.
His Hope is yours – every minute – every hour.

You may not be good enough
If you set out to go it alone,
But you don’t need to solo it.
Take God’s Hope and make it your own.

Amen?

Amen!

End of Your Rope?


Rope_knot : rope fastened in knots

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. It’s about a man who seemed to be “at the end of his rope.” He had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. For “a very long time,” he had been lying by a pool near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. The pool was surrounded by “a great number of disabled people,” waiting for the water to be stirred. Scripture teaches that healing would come only to the first person who entered the pool after the water was stirred. When Jesus saw the man, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

For most of us, that question comes across as rather strange. “Well, duh! Why else would I be lying here?” would have been a rather disrespectful answer, don’t you think? A simple, “Yes,” would have sufficed. But the man replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Some people might read that as whining. They might interpret the man as one who lacked creativity or tenacity or sufficient faith or courage. I have even heard pastors and Biblical teachers speculate that he might have made his paralysis a way of life, and was content to just be there, maybe begging for a living or thriving on the sympathy of others. But, I think this man was at the end of his rope, and Jesus saw his tenacity, appreciated his struggle, and His heart went out to the man. He did not chastise him for complaining that he had no help. He simply said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

The story tells me, when I am at the end of my rope, it’s OK to complain to Jesus. It’s OK to cry to Him when there is no one to help you.

Imagine your rope is stiff jute, hanging only halfway down from the ceiling. You’ve tied a secure knot and you’re hanging on, but you’re tired of the struggle. Your grip are getting weak. By faith, you DO want to be made well. You rely on Jesus. He changes the rope to a bungee cord and it stretches to the floor where you can get your feet on the ground again. Pick up your mat (or your rope) and walk.

That was today’s message for me. Hang on until by God’s grace, you CAN walk again – or you can compensate – you can rely on other attributes that multiply in you – and make life do-able again. Then – healed by faith, count your blessings, and go out to tell your story! Radiate God’s Hope so that others can keep on keepin’ on when they come to the end of their ropes.

Here are today’s sermon notes (message from Rev. Jean Johnson, adapted – interpreted – and rendered in poetic form through my filters):

How to Get Well

Are you at the end of your rope?
Do you really want to be healed?
What are you doing to create a knot
And hang on where the knot is sealed?

What Super Glue sealed the knot tight?
Your fingers grasp at the end of straws
Looking for what solutions dangle there –
Within reach of your grasping claws.

Are you responsible for catching the clues?
Is healing a matter of finding and grasping?
If we whine and passively hang without doing,
Is this the key to healing that’s lasting?

No, firmly clasping that knot you’ve made
Requires faith and strength and tenacity.
Ultimately, healing comes from God’s grace.
Our gratitude gives that rope elasticity!

That’s the Good News! Bounce on down!
Untie the knot and let go of the rope.
By God’s grace – His goodness alone –
Walk, healed by Faith, to radiate God’s Hope!

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. Hang in there!

Begin Anew


It is finished, the finale, the end –
The point of it all is through.
When all is said and done,
We’ll see clearly – when we begin anew.

The end will arrive at last,
But life is not finished there.
God’s purpose is not a finality here.
He sent His Son for life everywhere.

He brought life to an empty world.
He brought love to a world of hate.
He promised us love for eternity.
The point of this world is in debate.

Some think this world is all there is.
We are born, we live, and we die.
When all is said and done,
We are buried and there we lie.

We live on this earth – a botched creation.
God didn’t intend all this hate and crime.
Injustice, cruelty and pain aren’t  God’s plan.
He sent Jesus to show us a loving time.

Easter is a prelude to God’s Kingdom promise.
We celebrate the Victory of God’s Lamb.
When my life is finished – at the finale, the end,
May the Lamb carry me on the promise of who I am.

I am not a top-of-the-class Christian.
I’m a sinner forgiven by grace.
There is no hope for this botched life,
Except by God’s Plan – I’ll see God face-to-face.

When all is said and done,
We’ll see clearly when we begin anew.
Plan for that Grand Finale, my friends.
When all’s said and done, I’ll see you!

Amen?

 

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