VIDEO God Is Good!: Hope

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19, NIV

The USS Gerald Ford is the American Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. It is nearly 1,100 feet long and weighs approximately 100,000 tons. The anchor for such a huge ship weighs 30,000 pounds. The anchor chain is 1,440 feet long with each link in the chain weighing 136 pounds. This anchor system is small compared to the anchors on the larger Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

Sailing ships in the first century had tiny anchors compared to modern ones, yet the idea of an anchor was well-known. The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote that hope is the anchor for the soul, holding the soul “firm and secure.” If it takes a 15-ton anchor and 98-ton chain to keep an aircraft carrier steady, think of the job hope has in keeping the human soul steady amidst the storms of life. Hope allows us to enter the very presence of God—surely the most “firm and secure” place we could possibly be.

Because God is good, He has given us the gift of hope. And God’s hope never disappoints because it is rooted in the character and promises of God Himself.

True faith is ever connected with hope. John Calvin


The Anchor for the Soul, Hebrews 6:17-19 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

The Need for Wisdom

Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. Exodus 18:24

Growing up without a dad, Rob felt he missed out on a lot of practical wisdom that fathers often pass on to their children. Not wanting anyone to lack important life skills, Rob made a series of practical “Dad, How Do I?” videos demonstrating everything from how to put up a shelf to how to change a tire. With his kind compassion and warm style, Rob has become a YouTube sensation, amassing millions of subscribers.

Many of us long for the expertise of a parental figure to teach us valuable skills as well as help us navigate difficult situations. Moses needed some wisdom after he and the Israelites fled captivity in Egypt and were establishing themselves as a nation. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, saw the strain that settling disputes among the people was having on Moses. So Jethro gave Moses thoughtful advice on how to delegate responsibility in leadership (Exodus 18:17–23). Moses “listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said” (v. 24).

God knows we all need wisdom. Some may be blessed with godly parents who offer wise advice, and some aren’t. But God’s wisdom is available to all who ask (James 1:5). He’s also provided wisdom throughout the pages of Scripture, which reminds us that when we humbly and sincerely listen to the wise, we “will be counted among the wise” (Proverbs 19:20) and have wisdom to share with others.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

In what ways have you benefited from sage advice? Who might you come alongside?

Heavenly Father, help me to seek out and listen to wise counsel from the people You’ve put in my life.

Identifying Laziness

Proverbs 6:6-11

Sometimes it’s difficult to see sin in our own life, especially if it’s something that doesn’t stand out as obviously evil. That’s the problem with laziness—it’s viewed as an acceptable weakness rather than a sin. Those who live in a pattern of laziness have trouble seeing clearly what they are doing wrong, and they find criticism unreasonable (Prov. 26:16).

To determine whether laziness is a problem in your life, consider these characteristics:

• Making excuses for not doing a task.
• Avoiding doing things you don’t like, even if they’re your responsibility.
• Not considering the future outcome of your inaction.
• Needing outside coercion to complete tasks.

The consequences of laziness are serious. In the workplace, there is the possibility of frequent criticism, probation, or even termination. In the home, a buildup of frustration could result in harsh words, and children may copy their parent’s undesirable habits and suffer as a result.


We may be able to fool ourselves by thinking that laziness is no big deal, but God isn’t pleased with poor attitudes, careless ways, and shoddy efforts. He wants us to do our work heartily, as unto Him (Col. 3:23).

Absent from the Body

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

This wonderful phrase of hope—“absent from the body, present with the Lord”—was the most appropriate inscription we could think of to place on the gravestone of our youngest son when he died many years ago. He was a solid Christian young man with a good Christian testimony, so we are indeed “confident” that he has been “present with the Lord” ever since sudden cancer temporarily conquered his body, leaving a beautiful wife and three young children behind.

Therefore, though we all miss him deeply, we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Sadly, however, there are many others who are “without Christ,…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Although Christ has paid the full redemption price on the cross to have their sins forgiven and to give them eternal life, they spurn His love, and so Jesus has to say, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).

The times of judgment are coming, when they learn that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Right now, however, all who know Christ as their Lord and Savior can know, with Paul, that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Furthermore, when Christ returns, “them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). And then He will change our old body, whether in the grave or still living, “that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” and “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2). HMM

A Wineskin In The Smoke

Kaph

I long for Your salvation; I hope in Your word. My eyes grow weary [looking] for what You have promised; I ask, “When will You comfort me?” Though I have become like a wineskin [dried] by smoke, I do not forget Your statutes. How many days [must] Your servant [wait]? When will You execute judgment on my persecutors? The arrogant have dug pits for me; they violate Your instruction. All Your commands are true; people persecute me with lies—help me! They almost ended my life on earth, but I did not abandon Your precepts. Give me life in accordance with Your faithful love, and I will obey the decree You have spoken (Psalm 119 vv. 81-88).

I’ve felt like “a wineskin [dried] by smoke”—empty and shriveled and useless. I’ve felt pressure like the thousands of pounds of tension on the strings inside a grand piano. What an encouragement this section is to me!

With dramatic imagery the psalmist compares himself to “a wineskin [dried] by smoke. In the heat of severe persecution and harassment, his soul is shriveling like a goatskin, and his eyes, “looking for what You had promised,” grow red and watery.

Then he states, “They almost ended my life on earth” (v. 87). Arrogant persecutors are digging his grave in anticipation of an early death.

Even if all of this is taken figuratively, the metaphors are stunning. In these unbelievably adverse circumstances, the psalmist’s faith in God’s Word is immovable. He continually voices his hope and trust in God’s trustworthy “commands,” his “precepts, ” and “statutes.” The emphasis is on God’s Word—not on the wrongs that have been committed.

I can understand this ancient musician’s impatience. I have experienced deep hurt, searing anger, and dark despair. I’ve sometimes wondered where I fit in and where God is when I’ve needed him. I’ve even rebelled and come awfully close to dropping out. Yet, when I allow God to perform on the keys of my life, music comes forth! Like the psalmist, I choose to put my hope in the Word, to honor the Lord, and to wait patiently for him to work more obviously and directly in my life.

Personal Prayer

O Lord, help me, even when under intense pressure and pain, to learn to wait for you to do your deep work in my life.

Enter at Your Own Risk

My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that … Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.—Philippians 1:20

Jesus is the supreme example of living without fear of being disappointed by others: “He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave…. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (Php 2:7-8).

Disappointed people sometimes find it difficult to move out toward others. After all, people—even Christian people—can be rude, uncouth, obnoxious, and sometimes downright disgusting. I sometimes think it might be helpful if we put a sign outside some churches saying: “Enter here at your own risk.” Forgive my cynicism, but I have lived long enough to know that Christians can hurt! What are we supposed to do when we know that to move toward another person in love exposes us to the risk of being disappointed? We move forward in love: easy to say, but more difficult to do. Making ourselves vulnerable to disappointment is frightening, but this has to happen if we are to love as we are loved.

Mature Christians are those who are willing to look fully into the face of disappointment and feel it, knowing that because they do, they will come to a deeper awareness that no one can comfort the heart like Jesus Christ. In the presence of such pain, one more easily sees the uselessness of every attempt to find solace in one’s own independent strategies. Facing and feeling the pain of disappointment underlies more than anything else the gripping truth that only in God can we trust.

Prayer

Father, at times Your purposes seem to run diametrically opposite to my interests, but the more I ponder them, the more I see that You always have my highest interests at heart. Help me to trust You more—and myself less. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 26; 2Tm 2:13; Php 2:3

What disappointments must Jesus have felt?

How often do you disappoint Him?

The Music of God

Ephesians 5:19

Where did music start? In the heart of God Himself. The Bible is known and loved throughout the world as a book of laws, a manual of instruction for living, a literary masterpiece, the story of eternal salvation—the very Word of God. But it is also a book of music and song from beginning to end.

Its treasury has been inexhaustible and unsurpassed as a source for the most glorious music written through the ages. Georg Frederick Handel with his 21-day miracle oratorio The Messiah was not the first to be captivated by the music of the divine revelation, nor will he be the last.

When we lift our Sunday voices to sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” we are joining the mighty river of songs to God that has its head streams in the history of God’s people.

For the people of God, there was party music for meaningful events. So Jacob’s father-in-law scolds him by saying, “Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps?” (Genesis 31:27).

Surrounding and infusing all this life-music was the music of God and His glory. God spoke to His broken but faithful servant Job about the day of creation when the morning stars sang together.

That song would be ever new, for in that great Psalm book that lay at the heart of worship, they and we are urged to “sing to the Lord a new song” (96:1). In that book are recorded songs of trust, despair, penitence and rejoicing. Only in the fullness of God’s time would it become clear that the central theme of all the songs and all the music of God was then and is now the Lord Jesus Christ.

The music continued into the New Testament. Jesus told of the prodigal’s elder brother hearing the music of the welcome-home party. On His last night before Calvary, Christ and the disciples sang a hymn before going to the Garden.

The mark of the new Christian church and the coming of the Holy Spirit was more music, “with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The joyful heart is an unmistakable sign of those who are born again.

Where does the music of God, which has gone round and round through all ages, come out? Around the throne of God where the redeemed play the harps of God and sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Stanley Jaynes, The War Cry