Date: 
Sunday, January 8, 2012 - 10:45am
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Romans 15:13

THE GOD WHO IS ALWAYS THERE

ROMANS 15:13

OPENING REMARKS

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

One day I walked up to a baseball field and stood along the left field fence.  The kid playing left field was so excited.  He was talking no-stop.  He was yelling to his teammates, encouraging them.  He was cheering on the pitcher.  He was so excited.  During a moment when play was stopped, I asked him what the score was.  He told me the other team was winning 18-0.  I was shocked by the score.  I asked him if he was discouraged.  And he said to me, “Why should I be discouraged, we haven’t even gotten up to bat yet?” 

        That kid had a heart filled with hope and because of all that hope he was having the time of his life even though the score was 18-0.  Life is abundantly sweet when we liv with that kind of hope.  When hope flows through our lives, regardless of our circumstance, there is joy. 

        For many people in our community, 2011 was a tough year and they wonder if 20121 will be any better.  They wonder if they have any hope for a better future.  The terrible economy hurt many.  Others battled health issues.  And some said good by to a loved one.

        Maybe for you 2011 was a rough year and you are hoping 2012 will be better.  We all need hope.  We desperately need hope.  Somebody once said:

        You can live forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but not a single second without hope. 

        There is a lot of truth to that statement.  Hope is one of the essential ingredients in life.  When hope is gone, life is tough.  Rick Warren says, “You need hope to cope.” 

        And because hope is in such short supply today, many people turn to the wrong things looking for hope.  They put their hope in false hope, in things like psychics, palm readers, astrologers and faith healers.  See my question is, how come the psychics don’t win all the lotteries?

        The Bible tells us that God and God alone is the source of hope.  Ezekiel 48:35 is the very last verse in the book.  In that verse God gives us one of His names, Jehovah Shammah.  In English it means, “I am the God who is always there.”

        The Lord, in describing Himself, says He is the God who is always there.  If you really think through that, you will see the great foundational source of hope.   See there is no place God is not.  There is no place you can go in this life and God is not there.  He is in your past.  He is in your present.  He is in your future.

        Don’t we stress about our past, worry about our present and get anxious thinking about our future?  And why?  God is there and He will take care of it.  God is here, He is with you.  And He isn’t leaving.  He is with you in the good times and the bad, the smooth times and the rough, the difficult times and the easy.  He is a God who is always there. 

        And here is the principle you need to take home today:  If God is with me at all times, there is A constant, divine, reliable and unlimited source of hope. 

        Now let me show you two things, God’s Presence and God’s Purpose, two things that give us hope. 

1.  GOD’S PRESENCE GIVE US HOPE

        This life is filled with uncertainties.  There is so much in life that is out of our control.  Life is not fair.  Bad things happen to good people all the time.  That is why it is so important that we know deep in our hearts and understand with our faith that God will never leave us or forsake us.  He is always there.  He is always with us.  Others may abandon us, God never will.  We may drive others away, but the Lord, we cannot.

 

Is. 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

 

        I have stood in funeral homes, I have sat in counseling sessions and I have heard people say they didn’t know how they were going to make it.  Their tragedy left them feeling so alone.  They were being crushed by the weight of their fears. 

        But they did make it.  They did survive.  Because God was always there.  The Lord gave them strength they didn’t have in themselves.  He helped get them through days they thought were unbearable and He helped them overcome obstacles they thought were insurmountable. 

        He held them up with His righteous right hand.  The right hand represents the hand of power.  See God is always with you.  You are in the palm of His hand.  He is going to hold you up with the same hand that holds the universe in place.

 

The prophet Jeremiah speaks to hope in Lamentations 3:21-24

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

 

        Now at first thought, a book named Lamentations would be the last place you would look for a word of encouragement, a word of hope.  But right there in the midst of his destruction and despair, the prophet knew where to find hope.  The LORD was the source of his hope. 

 

2.  GOD’S PURPOSE GIVES US HOPE

        Not only does God’s presence give us hope, but God’s purpose gives us hope as well.  See no matter what is happening in our lives, good or bad, God is present with us and God is at work in us.  God’s purpose is to transform your life through the power of His Holy Spirit.  God is at work remaking you into what He originally designed you to be before sin entered the world and corrupted His creation.

        When bad things happen, when things don’t go right for you, when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can know that God is still there and God is at work. 

       

Look at this verse from Romans”

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

 

        Life is not a fairy tale.  Is not a “happily ever after” story.  Not every disease is healed.  Not every marriage survives.  Not every business decision works.  Not every problem has a simple and quick solution.  But there is hope because God is always there and God is always at work.

        The Apostle Paul makes a powerful statement here.  Don’t miss it.  Paul says, “We know”.  Paul doesn’t say we wish, we think, we imagine or we desire.  He says WE KNOW.  See true hope is built on knowledge.  Many put their hope in hope.  We put our hope in the knowledge of our God.  We know God is always here and we know God is always at work and in that knowledge we have hope.

        Paul says that we can have hope because we know that God will work in every situation, even in a crisis, even in difficult circumstances to bring about good in us and for us.  God will take every situation we find ourselves in and He will go to work.  He will use even the worst of events to work good into our lives.  Doesn’t mean we have to like it.  But it does mean we have hope. 

 

        Life is like baking a cake.  By the way, my favorite kind of cake is any cake you bake.  I like it all.  Anyway, life is like baking a cake from scratch.  You have a number of ingredients.  There is flour, eggs, oil, sugar, etc.  I wouldn’t like eating plain flour.  I wouldn’t like eating raw eggs.  Sugar doesn’t sound bad, but I am not really into consuming Wesson oil.  But you take those ingredients, mix them up, put them through the pressure of 400 degrees and you get a delicious cake. 

        Your life may be mixed up right now.  You may be under a lot of pressure.  You may be wishing that 2012 turns out a lot different than 2011.  But regardless, you can have hope.  God is at work.  The cake will soon be ready.

 

        Is your hope alive this morning?  Jesus Christ is here  and He is real and He can be your source of hope.  He is ready to give you hope.  He has conquered sin for you.  He has overcome death for you.  He has opened heaven for you.  And He is wanting to walk this life with you.  Regardless of what you are facing there is hope, His name is Jesus.  He can change your life. 

 

 

THE GOD WHO IS ALWAYS THERE

ROMANS 15:13

  

Ezekiel 48:35 “Jehovah Shammah”

In English it means, “I am the God who is always there.”

 

 

1.  GOD’S PRESENCE GIVE US HOPE

 

Isaiah 41:10   

 

Lamentations 3:21-24

 

2.  GOD’S PURPOSE GIVES US HOPE

 

Romans 8:28 

 

Is your hope alive this morning?