Dec 26 2010

When You Think There is No Hope…

By Pastor Steve Disher

Matthew 2.13-15

December 26, 2010

In Matthew 2, we see the magi, the wise men, making their way to Bethlehem, and following the star.

They first make a stopover in Jerusalem to get directions. Undoubtedly expecting Jerusalem to be alive with excitement regarding the birth of a king, they were innocently asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”  (Matthew 1.2)

Such questions caused no little anxiety for Herod. With the secret intent to destroy the One who might take his throne, Herod sent the magi to Bethlehem, instructing them to, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matthew 1.8)

Two similar statements, two different intents.

Both the wise men and Herod said they wanted to worship Jesus, but the intent of their hearts, the area of our lives God examines, were totally different.

God moves wonderfully and mysteriously in our lives, examining our hearts along the way, seeking to transform those hearts and to turn those hearts toward Himself. When our human hearts have God as our focus, He is glorified. And God will be glorified. With or without our contribution, He will be exalted, lifted up, glorified.

It’s our choice to be participants in His exaltation or to refuse to exalt Him to our detriment.

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Aug 28 2009

The God of Hope

“Are we there yet?”
How many times have these words echoed through the car as the family treks toward the beach, amusement park or other anxiously anticipated destination?

How many times have we repeated the same words in our minds as we long to make up lost time; as we long to overcome a particular habit or sin; as we seek to reach a life goal?

Maybe you don’t care, at the moment, about “arriving,” you would simply like some relief.

Life is often difficult and sometimes hope is lost or postponed.

The world is experiencing continuous and very rapid change. As a result, our lives are in flux. Suffering surrounds us, a feeling of dread hangs in the air, many people are hurting. Politicians offer empty promises, leaders lack vision, frustration and fear mounts.

But there is a God and He offers us hope.

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Dec 4 2008

Our God is There

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were directors of the Chabad (meaning “glory”) Center in Mumbai, India. There they ran a synagogue, taught classes, assisted traveling Jews and helped people in need. This young couple, born in Israel, had a two-year-old son, Moshe.
On Wednesday, November 26, when terrorists burst into the center, Rabbi Holtzberg, phoned the Israeli consulate, saying, “The situation is not good…” The conversation was then cut off. 
Ten or more hours after the initial attack, Moshe’s nanny, who had barricaded herself in a nearby room, heard him crying. The woman opened the door, grabbed the child and ran outside. Although his parents had been killed, Moshe was saved. 
I firmly believe that the Lord had appointed a deliverer for Moshe. I couldn’t help but wonder what plans He has for that child. Amid the death and destruction, this helpless child was rescued for God’s own purposes.
It’s interesting that the name Moshe (the Hebrew pronunciation of “Moses”) means “he who draws out” or “deliverer.” The Moses of the Bible, called to deliver the Hebrew people from cruel bondage, is a type or symbol of Jesus Christ who came to deliver us from the cruel bondage of sin.
From this illustration I want to offer you encouragement and hope. As we look around us at the world today, we see that “the situation is not good.” But even in the most difficult circumstances, even in the face of impending death and destruction, we have a Deliverer, there is hope. Our Deliverer is Jesus Christ (Romans 11.26).
In every trouble, every trial, every pain, every moment of every day, our God is there. He will deliver you in His own timing and in exactly the manner he chooses.
Because God is God there is hope. Hope means to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence. 
John Piper writes that “…biblical hope is full assurance not uncertain desire. It’s not the hope my sons speak of when they say, ‘I hope daddy gets home for supper on time.’ I may very well not! That is what they mean by hope! But that is NOT what the Bible means! …it does not mean, cross your fingers. It does not mean, God might work for his servant. It means, be confident that he will! Be strong in God! Be courageous in God! Preach to your soul a sermon about the full assurance of hope!”

Our God not only offers us deliverance from sin’s destruction, He also delivers us to be His instruments of love, grace and power in the world. Yes, YOUR life has purpose because God is not causal in His choices and makes no mistakes. Live your life knowing you have purpose which flows from the mind and heart of God Himself!

In Psalm 42:5 we read, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?
why are you disquieted within me? 
         Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him 
For the help of His countenance.”

We live in a sick and dying world and our only hope is in the One born in Bethlehem, when God became one of us, when God suffered as one of us, when God died for us and rose again to become our Deliverer and only Hope.

Oh Holy Child of Bethlehem, 
Descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, 
Be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels, 
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, 
Our Lord Emanuel.                      Phillips Brooks