Hope for today: the Saving Refuge

HopeThe Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their Shepherd and carry them forever. Psalm 28:8-9

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

Hope for today: pray

Hope“…brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1b-3

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Hope for today: God works wonders

HopeBlessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. – Psalm 72:18-19

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Hope for today: ambassadors for Christ

HopeNow then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

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By faith Abraham and Sarah

Hebrews 11.8

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. Hebrews 11:8-12

Abraham and Sarah’s story is told in Genesis 11:27-25:11. It is the story of faith…by faith, by faith, by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed…when he was called to go. Abraham had no idea where God was taking him.“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1).” The land of Canaan. We know now where he was going but Abraham had no idea. He went out, not knowing where he was going…time passed but Abraham remained in faith…until he was living in tents with Isaac and Jacob who were heirs of the same promise. Absolutely amazing and by faith.

Abraham did not walk by faith just for the right now, but trusted God for the future, the promise of heaven, ‘the city whose designer and builder is God.’

Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. Yet they both believed that God would perform a miracle and keep His Word. Sarah was 90 years old and had never bore a child when the angel appeared. Abraham was 99, well beyond the age of conceiving a child. But God! Look at what the Lord has done – Sarah received power to conceive because the One who promised is faithful.

21 The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

By faith, by faith, by faith…this is what God says about it (using New Living Translation here)…

Romans 4:13-25 (NLT)…

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Abraham’s faith recorded for my benefit, your benefit that we too would walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

faith not sight

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Hope for today: Bless the Lord

HopeBless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,  bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

By faith Enoch

Hebrews 11.5a

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

I have always loved the story of Enoch, a man who so walked with God that the Lord just took him out of this world. Genesis 5:21-24 tells his story:

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

The Hebrew name for Enoch is Chanokh which means “dedicated.” We all know that in the Old Testament days a name had meaning for one’s life. I am led to believe that Enoch’s name is our first indicator of his walk with God. Enoch’s life was dedicated to God and he walked faithfully with God.

Now, this would not mean that he lived life as one who never committed sin for we know that would only be Jesus. The verse tells me that Enoch was man who knew how to live in communion with God. A man who knew how to ask forgiveness, make sacrifice for sin (OT requirements), repent, and spend time at the altar.

The Scriptures tell us that Enoch was a father of at least 5 children (note the “s” on the words son and daughter) so he must have had a wife and a busy life. Yet he was a man who was without excuses, was faithful and dedicated to God! Enoch’s life pleased God and one day he was no more, couldn’t be found, disappeared! He was not lost for God took him and commended him as one who pleased God. 

We are also privileged to know of Enoch’s son, Methuselah. The Scriptures tell us that Enoch was 65 years old when he became father of a baby boy, Methuselah. Methuselah’s name comes from two Hebrews words: muth means “death” and shalach which means to bring, to send forth. Methuselah’s name means to bring forth death, in other words judgment. It is interesting to note that Enoch was Methuselah’s father and God was sending a prophetic message of impending judgment in Enoch’s day through his son’s name.

So we are able to take note that at the time of Enoch’s dedicated, faithful, and pleasing walk with God things were not too pretty on the earth. So much so that God used Methuselah’s birth and life to warn of impending judgment. Methuselah lived 969 years…that would be 969 years of grace, mercy, opportunities to repent and turn back to God. When Methuselah died, the flood came.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:11-14.

I know, I know, I know…this is longer than you want to read but I’m trying to lay the background for a couple of meditative questions for you and for me.

  1.  I note that Scripture specifically states, After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years.” SSSSssssoooo Enoch lived 65 years before his faithful walk. At the age of 65, Enoch experienced a heart change that caused his walk with God to become faithful, that caused him to live according to his name – “dedicated” to God. Was it the prophetic warning of his son’s name, Methuselah? Was it the birth of a child and the responsibility to raise him in the fear and admonition of the Lord? Was it that the culture at the time revealed the need for a personal and intimate relationship with God that would be a witness to his children? We don’t know but I do know that the Genesis 6 verses sound very similar to the times of today. The question is what does your life, my life tell our children and present generation about God and culture? Does our walk with God display the self-focused, self-indulgence, self-exalting, selfishness of this present culture or display the beautiful, wonderful, magnificent attributes and character of God? The God worthy of our love, dedication, and sacrifice!
  2. The Scriptures above give testimony of Enoch and Methuselah’s lives. When all here is said and done, what testimony will we leave behind…that we walked faithfully with God? Pleasing to God? Though our lives were not perfect, when we were convicted of sin that we were in a hurry to repent? Will our very lives give testimony to the judgement to come?
    • But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.


Hebrews 11:5b

O Father, How we praise, honor, and bless Your Holy Name! Wash us by Your Spirit and Word that You would commend us as one who pleases You!
In Jesus Name, Amen!

Hebrews 11.5b

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Hope for today: receive what is promised

HopeTherefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, “Yet a little while, and the Coming One will come and will not delay. Hebrews 10:35-37

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

The Lord is my Strength and my Song

Isaiah 12.2

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord,
    for though You were angry with me,
Your anger turned away,
    that You might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and He has become my salvation.”

With joy You will draw water from the wells of salvation. And You will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name,
make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaim that His name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done gloriously;
    let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Isaiah 12.3

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Hope for today: Blessed are…

Hope And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-11

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior