“You have a purpose on this earth that, if you ever find it and do it, will bring more satisfaction than any of your problems combined can discourage you.” – Pastor Chris
Yesterday was chemo shot day, a shot that hit me inexplicably hard so Henry Wonderpup Herring and I spent our day today in bed:
As we were resting, I was catching up on some schoolwork and reading and other “in bed” type projects and I kept thinking back to our pastor’s sermon last Sunday.
On Legacy Sunday, he usually gives a similar sermon each year about the purpose of our Legacy offering – to be given away locally, nationally, and internationally – but this year he felt led to change his sermon on Saturday afternoon and give an amazing sermon that just really resonated with me – probably because I’ve been just sick as hale and dealing with some serious stress recently – on hope.
I went back and looked over my notes. And then I decided to listen to it again. Twice.
And it’s so good that I just really wanted to share it with all of you, as well as some thoughts I have.
I know I really needed it and I also know that some of my nearest and dearest people are struggling mightily this holiday season and I think true hope is always always needed.
So, first, here is the link if you want to watch it (and I hope you will):
Pastor Chris defined hope as “confident expectation based on something solid.”
He also used one of my favorite verses (the reason for my anchor tattoo), Hebrews 6:19: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
He said, for Christians, hope is not something we do, it’s something we have, something tangible.
Then he talked about five places we can find our hope:
- God’s Presence – As he said, and I agree, that knowing that God is with me is worth more than having the answers to my problems. He suggested just getting away and turning on worship music and finding time to feel the presence of God. He will never fail us or leave us alone.
- God’s Promises – “If you can’t talk to God, let Him talk to you.” Even when you are too discouraged to pray, read His word. Pastor Chris mentioned some recent discouragement and how he would find the One Year Bible readings would perfectly suit his situation. I can honestly say I have sticky notes all in my Bible from the same thing happening to me in the past few months. I have a different version of the One Year Bible to start next year and I am confident the same thing will happen. God’s timing never fails.
- God’s Process – Pastor Chris said it’s easier to face a painful situation if we see a purpose in the pain because “God is more interested in developing our character than our comfort.” The verses he mentioned have actually come my way several times in the past few months and I’m sure it’s not by accident: “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the Glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perserverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5: 2-4.
- God’s Purpose – The quote at the beginning of this post was from the section on God’s purpose. Our church focuses heavily on helping people find their purpose and I am so thankful that it does. As my whole life changed when I had to stop working, I had to look hard at my purpose. And, when I did, I realized God had other wonderful things waiting for me: to focus on my family (my loves) and being a home mom, to serve Highland Kids with our precious little ones (which is just my heart), to spend more time writing (a lifelong dream), to finish nutrition school(a goal for many years). A whole new beautiful life. It’s not less; it’s more. There are still unresolved issues but God has not brought us this far to leave us. He will take care of us.
- God’s place. – Finally, Pastor Chris said that many people have gotten caught up in a prosperity mentality, expecting this world to be perfect, when the Bible actually says we WILL have trouble here. Only Heaven will be perfect. So we have to make peace that our hope is also in Heaven with Jesus. There is no perfection until then.
These are just the basic points of his message. I do hope you’ll watch it.
Christmas is my favorite season but it’s also a really hard time for a lot of people for many reasons and I suspect that’s why this was so heavy on my heart to share.
Be well, everybody, and Happy Thursday!
Grace and blessings.