Restoring Hope

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Restoring Hope!

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 27th June 2021

Good morning everyone.  Thanks for joining us again at 

Seacoast Church Australia. 

And a huge shout out to all of you who watch from other nations around the world.  We’ve had a few of you respond in various ways recently.  And we’re thrilled that you are able to join us each week.

This morning I want to bring a few thoughts about our hope for the future – and suggest some keys to restoring hope when we become discouraged.

Then we’ll finish by sharing in communion together.

I can hardly believe that it was over thirty years ago that Venese placed a bible under my nose and said read this…

I was feeling depressed.  I felt stuck. It was all related to my work situation.  I had lost all passion and interest in my job….   And Venese was over my moodiness as much as I was.

I used to enjoy my job….  Most of my time was working for a national airline, but I had changed over to working as an office manager in a travel agency…. A change that I thought might help…. But it only made things worse.

I found myself in a place every Sunday afternoon, contemplating going back to work Monday morning…. And it just zapped the life out of me.

What I didn’t realise at the time, was that God was up to something.  And I probably took a little longer than I should have, to get it.

Have you ever noticed that things sometimes become really uncomfortable right before a significant shift happens in your life?

I’ve heard that there are some birds that deliberately fill their nests with prickly sticks and thorns so that their chicks feel so uncomfortable that they find the courage to take a leap out of the nest.

That’s pretty much what happened to me.

The first spark of hope came alive in me again when I read the scripture Venese put before me.  She was fed up with seeing me withdraw into this dark place every Sunday.  And as has been the case many times, the Holy Spirit reached me through her faith and obedience. 

Some of you have already heard the story – but this scripture has become my anchor in life ever since…

Jeremiah 29:11-13

New King James Version

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Back in the day – I only had the Good News Bible. What a classic that is.  The Good News bible says:

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Good News Translation

“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster… 

I pretty much thought my work life was a disaster at that stage – which in many ways was crazy, because some people would have loved to be doing what I was doing.  All with free educational holidays thrown in as well.  I’d only just returned from a free trip to Hawaii and California.  

But you see, when you’re in the wrong position, all the frills under the sun don’t make you any more content or happy. 

The Good news version continues on…

…plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12 Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.”

At the time, I think the thing that ministered to me the most was the fact that God had a plan.  Because I certainly didn’t.

But what I really think was happening, as I think about it now, was that I had hope rekindled on the inside again for the future.  Hope is such a vital thing to have…

And I really feel that this morning, the Holy Spirit wants to rekindle or any least strengthen the hope that we carry on the inside.  Because hope is powerful!  It completely changes the way you see life.

Without hope, you can’t see ahead. And everyone needs some kind of vision for their life.

I want all of us today, to have such a confidence that God has a plan – and He has a future for every one of our lives – and what’s more – it is good – it is prosperous – and it is full of hope.

Christian hope – biblical hope – is more than just wishing something would happen.   

It’s about having faith, trust and confidence that it is going to happen.  The plan will come to fruition.

And part of the way through to stepping into that plan is seeking Him with all our heart.  We’ll find Him when we search for Him and seek after Him, wholeheartedly.

Venese reminded me of something one of our lecturers at Bible College once said.  

He said one of the main things in counselling is, you want to restore hope in people’s hearts.

It’s a pretty simple approach. And hope may look different for everyone – but I think he was on to something.

Proverbs 13:12

New King James Version

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

I never refer back to the Good News Bible these days – not because it’s good or bad – only because it feels like it comes from the beginning of my own personal journey.  And Bible College was all about the New King James.

But for this message, I’ve found some gems back in the Good News.

The first part of this verse in the Good News says:

Proverbs 13:12

Good News Translation

“When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed…”

We all pretty much know what it’s like to have a crushed heart.

I think we need to take a moment to understand that having a heart that is crushed through deferred hope – is a very real and very debilitating condition.

A crushed heart is one that is full of disappointment, depression, anxiety, frustration… hopelessness…. and all these things can lead to physical sickness.  Our emotional wellbeing and our physical wellbeing are entwined in one another.  

The thing is – our hope is real.   Our hope is something that anchors us in a place of peace – even before we see our prayers, our desires, our dreams come to pass.  

Yes, our hope may be deferred, but when our hope is grounded in eternal promises, we are held up… we are undergirded by hope that is solid.

And God does something in the waiting.  

Sometimes hope is deferred because God has another agenda.  And it’s usually to make us stronger, wiser, better in some way – it refines our character.   He desires that we grow and mature and are transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ His Son.

2 Corinthians 12:9

New King James Version

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…”

I know some of you are feeling weak right now.  Your hope has been deferred.

You’ve been waiting and believing for a breakthrough, for a loved one to be saved, for a healing in your body, for some prayer to be answered.

We all know people who are going through even life threatening situations.

But in the end, our hope isn’t just in an answer to a prayer.  

Our hope is in the One Who holds all things in the palm of His hands.

Our hope is in the One who loves us more than we could ever imagine.

And hope in Jesus and His grace is sufficient.   

When we are weak, we are actually made strong.   Perfectly strong.  

Romans 5:5

New King James Version

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Other versions say that hope in God does not put us to shame.

The Passion says that hope is not a disappointing fantasy.

For anyone who is listening to this message this morning, Jesus wants you to know that there is a hope and a love that is poured out into your heart by His Holy Spirit that goes way beyond your own natural understanding.

It’s a love so powerful and so real that it will carry you through the toughest of times.

I’ve experienced it myself.  I’ve seen it and do see it in the lives of others who are waiting and hoping for a miracle.  But their hope is in Jesus more than it is in an answer to their prayer.

Hebrews 6:19

New King James Version

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,”

Hope in Jesus Christ is an anchor to our soul.  It means that we are anchored and grounded emotionally, intellectually, relationally…. In every way that we express our lives, we are anchored in hope – eternal hope.

And this scriptures says that it’s a hope that enters behind the veil.

Of course that’s talking of when Jesus gave His life for us on the cross of Calvary – He shed His own blood so that we would be forgiven and set free from the power of sin – and when He died, the huge, thick veil that separated the people from the very presence of God – was torn from top to bottom.

This is the anchor of our hope – that we have been made right with God through Jesus Christ His Son.  And now nothing can ever separate us from the presence and the love of God.

But through it all, we don’t stop believing for our dreams to be fulfilled, for our prayers to be answered – because when that happens, the Scripture says it is a tree of life.

In other words, it’s newness of life – a fresh start – it revives us.

Proverbs 13:19

New King James Version

“A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul…”

There’s something sweet and joyous about a prayer being answered and something we have hoped for coming to pass.

But through it all – our enduring, patient, strong and anchored hope is in Jesus.  After all – He Himself is the Tree of Life!

I just want to spend a few moments thinking about some practical ways that we can restore hope in our lives when we’ve become discouraged, even closed off in our heart – even hardened our heart….  How can we bring some of that sweetness back to our souls when the big dreams remain unfulfilled?

  1. Rejoice in Today

Sometimes restoring hope means bringing ourselves back to the present – and being thankful for the blessings of today.

Psalm 118:24

New King James Version

“This is the day the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Other scriptures speak about not being anxious about tomorrow…. Today has enough cares of its own.

The reality is, none of us in this life can be assured of anything but today.  

But I think there’s something in having expectations and a confidence that we will experience the goodness of God in some way today.

Finding God’s presence in the now will strengthen us to believe for Him to be in our hopes and dreams for the future.

  1. Remember and celebrate those desires and accomplishments that you’ve already walked in. 

I love the stories of how the people of God in the Old Testament would set up memorial stones that would help even the generations yet to come to recall the incredible victories that they have had. 

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land – something they had been believing and hoping for for a long time…. They took stones from the river (which God had stopped supernaturally) and placed them together at Gilgal – on the other side – in the promised land.

These stones became a place of memorial – a place of remembrance of the goodness and faithfulness of God.  

We need to have these places of memory and memorial in our own hearts to give us strength and hope for the victories that are yet to come.

  1. Recognise there is a spiritual battle for your soul.

When I say a battle for your soul, I really mean a battle to rob your joy, your peace, your soundness of mind…. And your hope…

Spiritual warfare is very real.  The devil comes only to rob, kill and destroy. He hates your joy.  He hates your faith and expectations in God.  He hates your godly hopes and dreams.

But if we can rise up above our disappointments and discouragement long enough to fight, we will have the victory.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

New King James Version

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

Those weapons are the Word of God – standing in faith in His Word – renewing our minds with the truth of the Word.

How many times does David say in the Psalms – that God’s Word is His hope.  God’s Word brings him life.

It’s declaring the Blood of Jesus Christ over us – praying in the Spirit.  Lifting up the name of Jesus Christ over our lives and circumstances.

Worship even when you don’t feel like worshipping.  Bring a sacrifice of worship.  

These expressions of faith are powerful in bringing down anything that tries to exalt itself above your rightful destiny and hope for the future.

  1. Reach out and remain close to the body of Christ – your brothers and sisters in Christ.

We do life far better and more effectively together.  We all need others to stand with us – to encourage us – to weep with us – to rejoice with us – it’s how we were created to be – in community with one another.

If you are hoping and believing for something – well, Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20

New King James Version

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

New King James Version

Two are better than one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up.

I’m so grateful for a wife who, when it’s necessary, it willing and able to lift me up.  And we do it for one another.

All of us have times in life where we need others to lift us up.  And just that simple act of being there for someone who is in need can be enough to restore our hope for the future.

  1. Forgive those who have let you down in the past.  Let go of past disappointments.

It’s difficult to have hope for the future and find God’s plans for your life when you are still stuck in past failures, regrets, or holding on to unforgiveness – holding blame against those who have hurt you.

Of course that can be a process of working through issues and emotions – but you will become stuck if you refuse to let go of experiences you can never change.

The only thing we can change is ourselves.

You know the saying – become the change you want to see.

Sometimes the only way our future will look different is when we look at it through a different filter.  A filter of love, trust, forgiveness, release, wholeness, humility…

  1. Flowing on from that last point:  Bring hope to someone else.

Be an encourager of others.

Demonstrate love to others.

Appreciate others.

Speak prophetically over other people’s lives.  Not “thus saith the Lord” kind of words – just simply sharing the good things about what you believe God has up ahead for someone else.  Speak life and hope into their future.

Come back to that story Jesus told about giving a stranger a drink of water, or food for the hungry,  a place to stay for the homeless, clothing for the naked….

He says when you did this to the least, you did it to Me…

Turning our heart towards others is a great way to start healing ourselves.

I’m sure there are many other thoughts about restoring hope.  These are just a few.

But I’d like to finish this morning by inviting you to join me and one another in communion.

Because there is nothing that speaks more powerfully about hope than what this bread and juice represent.

This speaks of the greatest expression of love and hope ever.

When Father God gave His only Son to take our place on the cross of Calvary – He declared His eternal faithfulness towards us.

He gave us hope.  Hope for eternal life – but also hope for a life of deep joy and gratitude even this side of heaven.

This bread speaks of the broken body of Jesus.  He was broken so that we would be made whole and complete.

Let’s take and eat this bread together now and give thanks.

This cup represents the Blood of Jesus Christ – the priceless gift of His blood that bought us freedom from the power and penalty of sin.

As we drink this cup – we remember and celebrate our salvation – including everything that accompanies salvation.  

Let’s drink this together in Jesus’ name.

Thankyou again for watching.  God bless – and take care.


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