July 5, 2022
GOD OF HOPE – 1 Peter 5:7
On July 3, 2022, Pastor Betty Marshall shared with the congregation what we can do when we are feeling overwhelmed or when we are experiencing fear, marital difficulties, family problems, work pressures, or have difficulty sustaining relationships. It is inevitable that we will feel overwhelmed at times in our lives, but God is always there to assist us.
Read 1 Peter 5:7
Pastor Betty asked the congregation the following five questions:
1 – Are we rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus?
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential for our spiritual growth. Jesus enters our lives when we confess our sins, repent, and ask Him to dwell within us. Upon receiving God into our hearts, He becomes our heavenly Father, our Saviour, and the Lord of our lives. Our status as His children is thereby established. If we have not already done so, we should cultivate a personal relationship with the Lord today.
2 – Are we committed to the Lord?
A personal relationship with our Saviour is of utmost importance. Where do we stand in terms of our commitment to Him? Is our commitment sufficient? Are we fully committed to the Lord or only to a certain extent? Or is our commitment to God limited to Sunday mornings? The Lord will not work in the areas we did not completely surrender to Him. Consequently, it is imperative that we fully surrender to God.
3 – Are we growing spiritually?
In the early stages of our physical development, our bodies undergo a series of changes. These changes range from our inability to do much as newborns; to taking a few steps with the assistance of our parents; to our ability to crawl independently as toddlers; and finally, to our increased mobility as preschoolers, up until adulthood. It is important to grow physically, but it is equally important to grow spiritually. Our Lord does not wish for us to remain infants, but rather for us to grow in faith; however, it is up to us whether or not we will do so.
4 – How would we rate our attitude?
It is essential that we maintain a positive attitude. The behaviours we exhibit in times of difficulty are observed by others. How are we responding to the challenging situation? Are we swearing, blaming, complaining, grumbling, or are we seeking God’s guidance and assistance?
5 – Are we teachable?
What is God trying to teach us through this challenging situation? Could it be patience? Could it be intercessory prayer? Occasionally, the Lord places specific people in our hearts without our understanding why, but we simply know that we ought to pray for them at that particular time. This type of prayer is known as intercessory prayer. God desires that we be teachable, but we must be attentive to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. There must be a willingness to listen on our part.
God is the source of our hope. He is a reliable source of support. Throughout the ages, He has been our Rock, our Strength, and our Fortress. Where do we turn for assistance when we are faced with adversity? We should seek refuge in the arms of Christ.
Read Romans 15:13
Hope can only be achieved by trusting God. When we do, He will grant us His peace and joy. We can rely on God’s assistance in our time of need. He is the source of our purpose and the source of our blessings.
Read 1 Peter 1:3
The above passage refers to a living hope. Despite the uncertainty of our lives, we know that God is in control and we should trust Him regardless of our circumstances. Trusting God is ultimately up to us.
Read Jeremiah 29:11
It can be a very stressful and challenging time for students as they approach the end of their high school years, due to the uncertainty of what lies ahead. After spending their entire lives in school, they are suddenly faced with a difficult decision. What does God envision for them? As they contemplate their future, they should pray to God for guidance and direction.
Read Hebrews 6:19
Pastor Betty recounted the time when she and her children were involved in an automobile accident that resulted in the total destruction of their vehicle. As they were hanging upside down by their seatbelts, the CD began to play Pastor Betty’s favourite song, The Anchor Holds, by Ray Boltz. Pastor Betty believes it was no coincidence. Rather, it was God’s way of saying, “You may be hanging upside down, but there is no need to worry. You are safe in My hands. I will take care of you.”
Read 1 Timothy 1:1
People who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are saved by Him. He is the source of their hope. In the gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Is Jesus our source of hope today? If not, He certainly can be. Our only requirement is to ask Him to enter our lives and our hearts.
God is our refuge in times of adversity. Our strength lies in Him. In keeping with Scripture, “greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world”. (1 John 4:4). As part of his effort to undermine us, Satan encourages us to abandon the Lord and give up. It is his intention to convince us that we are doomed to failure and that there is no hope for us.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:13
It is impossible to have hope in our lives if God’s love is not present in our hearts. Ultimately, it comes down to our love for the Lord.
Read 1 Peter 3:15
We demonstrate a marked difference when facing adversity because we are at peace in our circumstances. The difference in us will be apparent even to those who do not know the Lord. Our lives have been impacted positively by Christ, and we need to share that impact with others.
The responsibility of praising the Lord lies with us. It is therefore important for us to praise the Lord, worship Him, and listen to worship music because “God inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3). Our task is to praise God regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and regardless of the fact that we might not always feel like it. The act of praising God during such times requires personal sacrifice. Choosing to praise God despite our storms also strengthens our faith. Furthermore, David recorded his decision to worship the Lord in the Psalms.
We can trust God to deliver us in spite of our circumstances. The Bible records numerous instances in which God has delivered His people. As the Scripture says, “Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He has not changed. We can count on Him for help and deliverance.
The following are some biblical accounts of God’s deliverance of His people. God will deliver us as well.
a) – Amidst the Egyptian pursuit of the Israelites, Moses parted the Red Sea.
b) – Jonah was swallowed by a large fish after he attempted to flee from God. Through this experience, he was able to contemplate his situation, before he was thrown up on shore.
c) – In Peter’s case, the angel appeared to him in prison and freed him.
d) – Despite being shipwrecked, God brought Paul to safety.
e) – When David faced Goliath, a giant, God provided him with the strength and ability to defeat him.
Read Colossians 1:27
According to the above passage, God reveals to us the rich and glorious secret He has for all people: Christ Himself, who dwells within us. It is through Him that we will achieve glory. If we have accepted Jesus in our hearts, His Spirit dwells in us. Pastor Betty, therefore, encourages us to embrace the hope we have and share it with others.
Read Jude 1:20
In addition to the ability to pray in tongues, we are also able to pray in the Spirit. If we do not know how to pray, we can begin by praying in the Spirit.
When David was discouraged, he sought the Lord. David’s friend, Jonathan, also provided him with encouragement.
The ministry of prayer is beneficial to us all. Every one of us, whether a pastor, a leader, a member of the congregation, or anyone else, could benefit from the support of prayer. Regardless of our circumstances, our ability to ask for prayer should not be hindered.
Finding a safe place
We are to find a safe place: a trustworthy individual who is willing to pray for us and with whom we can discuss our concerns in confidence. Prayer support is of utmost importance.
Rejoice that God is our hope
Let us rejoice in the hope that God provides. As believers, it is imperative that we spend time in the presence of the Lord, praying, reading His Word, and worshipping Him.
Read Isaiah 40:31
We need to soar like eagles. Eagles possess exceptional vision and a unique perspective due to their position above the clouds. They are up above all circumstances of life.
We are assured in the above passage that God will be our source of strength at all times. It is His desire to impart to us a sense of determination and perseverance that will enable us to persist through difficult times. We will inevitably experience moments of despair from time to time, but God wills that we remain committed. As Christians, we must remember that the Lord is our hope and that He will never abandon us. We must never lose sight of this truth. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we encourage one another.
Read Isaiah 50:4
It is imperative that we lay our concerns and cares at the feet of Jesus.
Even when the situation appears hopeless, we need to trust that God is guiding us through it. As we are encouraged and strengthened by the Word, we will be able to walk in God’s grace, and He will provide us with the assistance we need.
We are to pray that God will equip us with the appropriate words of encouragement for us to share with those who are discouraged, weary, and tired. We are called to reflect His light. The Lord will guide the weary throughout their journey. We are to be of good courage for God is with us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) There is no need to be fearful in the presence of God. All we need to do is to rely on Him and He will provide us with the appropriate words to say.
Occasionally, we do not know what to say; however, it is not always what we say that matters. There are times when simply being there for others and showing them love is sufficient.
Although we may not all be called to preach, we can all encourage someone through an encouraging word. Through the power of God, we can provide hope and encouragement to those who are weary and depressed. It is not always possible to accurately assess a person’s inner feelings. Listening carefully and showing sensitivity will enable us to understand what is going on in their lives and whether they are in need of prayer, assistance and/or encouragement. All of us should strive to assist others in need and hold them up in prayer.
Watch Pastor Betty’s sermon here: