Does Hope Weigh you Down?

anchor pictureYou know the song, so sing with me:

My Hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness…

What is hope? It can be confusing, because – to be a word Nazi for a second – it can be used as a noun OR a verb. Like in the above song, it is the subject of the sentence. It is used as a noun, which is a people, place, or thing.

But when we use it most of the time in conversation, we think of it as a verb. We say things like..

I hope I get that promotion,
Or
I hope God heals her,
Or
I hope we get this touchdown (if you’re a Gator fan, my regrets to you…).

But when we talk about finding our hope in God, it should be seen as the subject, not a supporting word like a verb in our life. The Hope we find in God is solid. It is strong. It is not moveable, shakable, or deniable.

You can try to deny it, or ignore it, or forget about it, but that shows you don’t fully understand it, The Hope we find in God never goes away.

Hebrews 6:19 says, We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure In English translations, it says – well, what you just read. But in the Greek, the word for hope isn’t even in the sentence.

Yes, I’m saying there is no hope found in this verse.

Why? Because it uses a picture word to describe the action for what Hope does for us.
The picture word used is anchor.

Hope anchors our soul to the God of the Universe. We find Hope in God through Jesus Christ because Jesus paved the way for us to have a deep, personal relationship with our Creator.

Our Hope is found in Christ because He is our salvation.

Our Hope is in Christ because His death on the cross allows us up close and personal access to converse with God about anything.

Our Hope is in Christ because when He left, the Holy Spirit came and will never leave us or forsake us.

Our Hope is in Christ because we have purpose. We have meaning. We have the power of God in our lives helping us everyday.

Today, remember where you dropped your anchor. If you feel like life is tossing you in stormy seas, or if you are blown with the wind, tell yourself that is a lie. The irony of hope is it isn’t breezy and light, something easily moved when put in the right place. Hope actually weighs you down in the best way possible.

You have chosen to be anchored to the immoveable God of the Universe.

He is your Hope.
He is your strength.
He is your purpose.

And God cannot be moved.

6 Ways to Be a Power Player

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.40.01 AMWhen Tae Bo was the rage, I walked with a strut. I knew without a doubt if anyone messed with me I could

TAKE
THEM
OUT.

I knew this because I’d learned the form. I had more power in my 5 foot 4 inch body than ever before.

As Christians, we forget the power we have is found in Christ. We walk around anxious, weak, or scared of circumstances, when the God of the Universe has it all under control.

Romans 15:13 says, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s break this verse down and see 6 ways we can tap into the power of God in our lives.

1. Understand what Hope in Christ means.

The Greek word for hope above is eipidos. This is not hoping we get great seats. This hope is rooted in the power of the resurrection of Christ. There is power in this kind of hope because it is not rooted in chance.

This hope shatters death.

It demolishes things that bring death in your emotional life, in your spiritual life, and in your relational life.

Human hope is fun, but empty of power. Hope in Christ is full of life saving power for now and eternity. When we say our hope is in God, it is powerful.

2. Know where your Joy comes from.

The Greek joy here is charas. It’s where we get “charisma”, and means great joy or delight.

When we look to people, things, or accomplishments to be our basis of Joy, our lives are insecure, unsettled, and inconsistent.

There is great power found in delighting in the Lord because what He thinks is most important to you. It helps bring security and assurance in your life. Find your joy in the God of the Universe.

3. See the Power in Peace.

The Hebrew concept of peace is complete wholeness. The Greek mindset is different. The word used here is eirēnēs, and it usually refers to absence of war. Because Paul’s audience was Roman, he is talking about peace that comes from power. This made a lot of sense to the Romans, with Pax Romana being a main political thought of the day.

But Paul, when he was known as Saul, had been a Pharisee. His context of peace was rooted in complete wholeness. He married Jewish and Roman ideas in this verse.

God gives complete wholeness through the power of defeating sin on the cross.

4. Live out your trust in God.

The Greek here for trust is pisteuein, and is best understood as being faithful. There is power in faithfulness because it is God’s power in you working to bring you closer to Him.

All power of God in our lives is lost if we refuse to live it out for others to see.

5. Let God’s power overflow in your life.

When Paul says “may you overflow with hope”, he is talking about the power of God’s faithfulness. When you combine charas (joy) and eirenes (peace) that is rooted in pisteuein (faithfulness), how can the Holy Spirit NOT be evident in your life!?

How we treat people, why we act the way we do, and who we associate with all are affected by our relationship to God. When God’s power overflows in our lives, it is evident we yield to Him instead of living for ourselves.

6. God’s power should overflow to the point of exploding in your life.

The word for power above is dynamei. The root is where we get out word dynamite. It is explosive power than cannot be contained. Because we have hope, joy, and peace all found in our relationship with the God of the Universe, the power of the Holy Spirit should explode out of our lives!

The power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian is reflected in the closeness with their creator. If you want to be a power player in life, rely on the ultimate power found in Christ.

Commitment Issues? Just Roll With It

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 2.39.04 PMOnce at a youth event I changed the rules mid-game. It was guys against girls, and adults weren’t supposed to play. My bright and quick-witted leadership girls had slipped into thinking the dumb and ditzy act was a good idea. They would volunteer, then stand there twirling their hair and saying “um” for the whole minute they were in front of the group, instead of giving clues for Taboo.

It is not that hard to think of clues for “apple”, people.

I shanghi-ed the whole thing and got up there for some serious points. I think we scored ten that round. Being “smart” turned the game around, and the girls realized it wasn’t as fun when they didn’t live up to their abilities.

After that, they decided to commit to the game and do their best.

As Christians, we play around with our commitment to God all the time. We often treat God how we think the world wants us to so we can be accepted, rather than how we know He should be treated no matter what people say.

We pray sometimes, but especially when we need God in our lives because we are stressed, or anxious, or sick. We run to the Bible when we are sad, or worried, or confused.

To be clear, God wants us to come to Him about everything.

I’m all for this, except when it turns into us using God. What if you treated a person like that, only going to them when you needed something?

It would

Just
Be
Wrong.

We use God because we “need” Him, and once we are “better”, we tuck him away again until our next life struggle comes along.

This is not being committed to God. This is a lazy or confused faith that doesn’t understand who God can be in the life of a Christian.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

The Hebrew word for commit (gol) comes from a root (galal) that means to be “rolled away” or “to heap on” something, like stones in a pile. It is a picture of rolling away one’s trouble to someone who can help, or building an alter to sacrifice to God.

Sometimes in the Bible the word used as “ to roll” in other places is translated as “to commit or cast”. Check out 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your burdens on Him because he cares for you.

The word “cast” comes from the same word (gol) as commit. It’s the same idea of giving something to God because He is bigger, holier, and knows WAY more than you do about your life.

If you are a Christian, you have committed your life to God. You agreed He is Lord of your life, and that you will try to live for Him in all you do.

The easy part of commitment to God is rolling Him the hard stuff.
The hard part of commitment is giving God the easy stuff.

When we roll away the things in life that put us on shaky ground, we are left with a firm foundation on which to stand. When we are established and committed, we will find rest, and complete wholeness through the Holy Spirit.

Commitment to Christ isn’t just about when life gets hard. It is about the every day. When we continually “roll” with our faith, we begin to know God more. We begin to meet our potential in Christ.

And, like the girls, in Taboo, we come out as winners in the end.

A Personal Declaration of Independence

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.10.59 AMJuly 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The members of Congress had been labeled traitors by the King of Britain, and responded by issuing a document that changed the world.

The Revolutionary War had been going on for a year when the Declaration was drafted. The document they wrote declared freedom from injustice.

Even today we have soldiers all over the world fighting against oppression, tyranny, and dictatorship. Because we know once you gain freedom – in your spiritual life or in the tangible world – you must fight to keep it.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Our forefathers pledged their lives to Freedom in America.
As Christians, we have pledged our lives to the Freedom we find in Christ.

If you have a relationship with your Creator, you too have your own personal Declaration of Independence. You have denounced sin ruling your life. You have pledged to follow God and his ways. We are to throw off anything that could threaten our freedom in Christ, and let God’s ways dictate how we should live.

Our forefathers created a document in which to live by so we could be free.
God gave us laws in which to live by so we could be free.

You yield to something in your life by the way you live. Your worldview dictates how you treat people, what you believe, and why you believe it.

Why not yield to the very thing that gives the most freedom, and base your life on God’s will and ways for your life?

Enjoy today. Light some fireworks. But when you think about Freedom, think about the freedom Christ can bring you as well.