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Monday, June 30, 2014
Sunday morning ride to church in Lancaster County PA
"Overflowing With Hope"
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"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope" (Lamentations 3:21). "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" (Romans 15:13).
"Gaze upon God and glance at your circumstances" is a wise quote worthy of writing down or memorizing. You might want to post it at your computer or behind your kitchen sink to remind you of this important truth! Some who tend to stay awake at night entertaining the worst possible outcome for their troubling circumstances might want to post it on their bedframe. For way too many in reality there is a tendency to "gaze upon our circumstances and glance at God!"
Yesterday I preached from the passage that contains the brief portion in the daily text. I challenge you to remember just three powerful words: "I have hope." These are three of the most assuring words in the entire Bible that you can easily memorize. Hide them deep in your heart today so that you, like Jeremiah can recall them during a time of adversity or despair.
Jeremiah uttered these words while in the very midst of one of the most horrendous scenes in human history at the fall of the kingdom, the burning of Jerusalem and the forced exile into Babylon. Just prior to this verse he sums up his despair with these words, "My soul is downcast within me." He surely was experiencing tremendous adversity and even despair.
The spiritual truths reserved in Jeremiah's heart were temporarily forgotten as he looked [gazed] upon the heap of human rubble that surrounded him. But finally he reached down deep into his heart and recalled the immutable character of God's faithfulness, "Yet this I call to mind" and declared "therefore I have hope." His immediate circumstances didn't improve; they actually worsened. But Jeremiah's focus went from trying to fix impossible circumstances in his limited wisdom and power and redirected it to the unending hope that comes through God's steadfast care.
In the verses that follow he identifies the immutable character of God as the source of this hope highlighting three specific attributes as expressed in verses 22 & 23: "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."
1) The Lord's great love.
2) The Lord's unfailing compassions that are new every morning.
3) The Lord's great faithfulness.
As our focus is directed to God and a consideration of His immutable character we are filled with joy and peace which enables us to "overflow with hope." Isn't that a wonderful spiritual state of mind that we want to experience! It's how I want to live emotionally. The word "overflow" has the sense to "superabound". Picture a bucket that is filled and the contents are continuously being replenished and thus are constantly overflowing.
"Hope"- this word so often has the sense of mere wishful thinking in the English. But in the Bible it has the sense of "absolute certainty" or "assured confidence". That's the kind of hope the "God of hope" offers to the trusting believer. Today may each of you experience this overflowing hope in your life as you trust in the Lord!
My hope is in the Lord
From this time on and evermore.
Oh my hope is in the Lord forevermore.
His tender mercies come with every rising sun.
To meet the sinner in his brokenness.
To offer healing and forgiveness.
And those who trust in Him will find their hearts at rest.*
Today in whatever situation we are encountering we all, like Jeremiah, can declare, "I have hope!"
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I have hope because I've anchored my faith in Your Holy Word and the unchanging character of who You are. It is not the circumstances of my day that will determine my eternal future, but it is the hope I have in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of my soul, that overrides the temporal and potentially discouraging matters that lie before me. I have a hope that is firm and secure in Christ who speaks to You, Father, on my behalf. Thank You for hearing me and responding to all that concerns me this day. Amen.
Yesterday I shared God's Word with a Vietnamese congregation in Lancaster, a very friendly and welcoming congregation. In the early service I preached to English-speaking younger people and in the second service, with the assistance of a translator, I spoke to many first generation Vietnamese. Pastor Dave and his assistant pastors are out of town at a conference and invited me to speak.
Mr. Le Mylong (to my left) was the translator for the second service.
The English service sang the same songs popular all through typical American evangelicalism including the typical instruments and pounding drums!
During the worship service the children came up to the front as they joyfully danced and sang during the music. What a delightfully distracting sight!
The second service was more a middle-aged to older crowd, mostly first generation. We recognized the hymns but of course could not sing with them, though we did sing the English words under our breath.
One little lady came up to Stephen following the service and said in halting English, "You have very strong voice, That good, that good." She was actually observing how loud he was, though she did say, "Good for emphasis"!
There are a number of Vietnamese who work in the companies we serve as chaplains. They are very kind and receptive toward our friendship though we are extremely limited in our communications.
One the way to church yesterday we passed through beautiful rural Lancaster County.
These folks were out on a beautiful day for a Sunday hay ride.
It's always a pleasure to pass through a covered bridge.
A young Amish couple going to church.
We passed this farm where the Amish church gathering was held.
These boys were pleased to wave as we passed by.
Note the men standing in the barn.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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