Thursday, November 5, 2009

To Give Them Hope

Jeremiah 29:11: 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This verse is hanging on the wall in the Sessler's home. After the day I had on Tuesday, this verse really jumped out at me with regard to what the Sessler's have been through, you know, CANCER and all. It's a pretty big deal. Did you know that Jerrod was diagnosed at the age of 30? I can't imagine having a stage 4 diagnosis at that point in my life.
Knowing that God has asked me to heal my body the same way Jerrod healed his, I am grateful for them opening their home to me so I can see how they did it; how they continue to do it.
Is it coincidence that a couple of months ago I began volunteering with cancer patients? On Tuesday, while at the clinic, I witnessed a woman very angry for being there. After her appointment she had clearly been told she had nothing to worry about because she ran up to me to tell me she was ok. She had hope to live another day.
Hope is so important to one's vital being; to your motivation to live, to every aspect of your life.  Pastor Mark gave a sermon on hope last year from 1 Peter 1:13-21 on February 1, 2009. I have put it here for reference:

While looking at my notes from the sermon, the theme that leaps from the page is that we are not to put our hope in man, but in Jesus. Pastor Mark defined it this way:
"Hope is confident assurance in the person and spirit of Jesus Christ." he then went on to say that, "Faith acts upon confident hope" and finally, "If you stop hoping, you stop living."
Every time I tell my mom I had kind of a hard day at the clinic, she says, "They have to put their hope in a higher being."
This is true; God is Supreme; the God of all comfort. We all need Jesus. For those I am in contact with, who may or may not know Jesus and who are facing uncertainty and death, how can I help them have hope? Jerrod was told he only had a 5% chance to live, and, being told there was nothing more he could do, he remembered visiting his Aunt & Uncle in Chicago who were on the Hallelujah diet. Two months later he began the diet and two years later was completely cancer-free! I believe God led Jerrod to this diet, as he led me. How can I share this hope with others? Is this the wrong hope as our lives are fleeting anyway? Couldn't I just be telling them about Jesus? But if this diet is the way God designed us to eat, then maybe I am sharing Jesus with them by sharing the diet. Theologians, please insert suggestions here:____________________
Jerrod talks about setting up a booth across the street from the cancer clinic to catch those people who have just been told they have no other options, and give them information on this diet, to give them hope. Not a bad idea.
So, how about for the rest of us who do not have cancer, but need hope?
Let's turn back to Jesus and the sermon I mentioned earlier. Pastor Mark gave 6 areas we can have hope. These notes are abbreviated from the notes I took back in February; for the full context, please watch the sermon.
Six Areas We Can Have Hope:
1.) I can be a wise learner. I can prepare my mind for action. I can give my life a foundation of Jesus. As Pastor Mark says, "A lot of Bible needs to go into our minds so God's thoughts can come out."
The change in our life begins in our thoughts. HEAR the word, READ the word, MEMORIZE the word and STUDY the word.
2.) I can be a sober thinker, aka "being sober minded." Reflect on what you need to learn and what causes you to have clouded judgement.
3.) I can be a grace seeker. THIS ONE IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!!! Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you by Jesus Christ. Jesus gives us Grace to give us hope. God's grace IS in your life; you need to seek it. This will help keep hope aflame in your heart.
4.) I can be a holy worshipper. I Peter 1:14-16: 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
Be holy in your conduct as your life is holy. Because God loves us, we should want to be holy.
5.) I can be a ransomed sinner. I Peter 1:17-19: 17Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
We are missionaries in a foreign home; our home is in heaven. We can be ransomed from the futile ways of our forefathers. Our slavery is self-selected. As we worship Jesus, we are liberated from our slavery.
6.) I can be a legacy leaver. I Peter 1: 18: (see above).
We don't have to carry on the godless ways of our forefathers; we  have the opportunity to create a new legacy. We may say, "but, that's how we are." The question is- is that how God is?

My faith and my hope are in God. I Peter 1: 20-21: 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

May you know Jesus, and may you have hope.

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