“We Have This Hope”
Pastor Ken Beach
Many times we use the word “hope” interchangeably with the word wish. “I hope I get that job”, “I hope I lose 20 pounds”, “I hope the Packers win today”. But hope is really what comes when a promise is made and we rely on it. It inspires and motivates us even when the times are tough.
The Psalmist puts his “hope” in God and His word. He knows that it will shield him from the tough times in life. He can rest knowing the promises God has given in His word will come true.
The Hebrew word “Batach” is translated as trust—which in the context we are using it, it means to have confidence in God’s ability to lead and fulfill his promises. This word is used in Proverbs 3:5-6 when it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” God has never broken a promise. In all his covenants with man it has always been man who has broken them. So God is trustworthy and worthy of our praise and service.
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)” Paul says, “…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)
Hope is important to everything in our lives and to our spiritual walk with the Lord. We have this “hope” of salvation. We have this “hope” of eternal life. And we know that God is faithful—no matter what comes our way our hope is justified because we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ—that means we have a home in heaven.
It’s God’s word that brings hope, and with it, the opportunity to grow closer to Him and stronger in our faith.
Here are a couple of quotes to encourage you:
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
“I’ve messed up…”
Pastor Stephanie Humpa
2 Samuel 12:1-31
Verse of the day:
“Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13 NLT)
Have you ever messed up really bad? So bad that you didn’t even know where to begin to fix things? So bad that you didn’t even know if you could be forgiven? How do you fix something that has damage that can’t be undone? Where do you even begin?
David’s situation was bad. REALLY BAD. He had slept with another man’s wife, gotten her pregnant, tried to come up with a plan to hide it, when that didn’t work he came up with a new plan that involved having her husband killed and then quickly married the woman to try to continue to cover up what had really happened. Problem was he couldn’t cover up what had happened—God knew and God was not going to let this sin be covered—it needed to be dealt with. God loved David too much to let his sin separate them.
So where to begin to fix things? There was so much damage that couldn’t be undone. David couldn’t take back any of the things he had done. He started though where we all need to start when we sin. He confessed it. He exposed the ugliness of his actions for what it was—it was ALL sin. He humbled his heart and acknowledged that what He did was wrong.
Sometimes you find yourself so far down the path of sin that you don’t know what to do. Is it better to just continue down the path since there is already so much damage or to turn to God and expose the ugliness for what it is? Both options involve pain. But only one option offers hope. David still had to face extremely painful lifelong consequences for his actions but there was still hope because God forgave him. Had he continued down the path he was on there would have only been more pain and devastation.
Sometimes we complicate things by thinking that we have to figure out how to fix it all before we can be forgiven, but God just wants us to humble ourselves, expose the sin, and ask for forgiveness. He will help us figure out the rest. You aren’t beyond His forgiveness.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Pastor Shawn Follis
2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
Verse of the day:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
We all look for the perfect gift. We all love to receive just what we want. Aren’t you glad that our father in heaven is a gift giver as well?
Jesus was preparing his followers for a time when he would not be with them. He knew that his earthly ministry was coming to an end and he wanted them to know that even though he would be gone, they would not be alone. He was sending a gift. This gift would be one that remove worry and fear from their lives.
Take a few moments and look at how the disciples would react during the Passion Week events. Even after the resurrection from the dead they were worried and afraid. Jesus would appear to them and remind them not to be fearful. However, the peach of mind and heart that Jesus promised did not come until they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus gift was not peace but a person. Jesus gift was not giving peace of mind and heart, but filing the minds and hearts of his people with the Spirit of God. This spirit was not just to fill their lives and make them feel better, but it was to be a power that would flow through them to help them to be peace to others as well.
If you have never lived a life walking in the fullness of God’s Spirit, just know that this is the gift that keeps on giving. It was not given just to his followers in the early church but is for us today. Reach out and take hold of all that God has for you. Receive the Holy Spirit, the gift of peace of mind and heart, today.
I Never Saw It That Way
Pastor Joshua Humpa
Have you ever looked at something a hundred times, and suddenly you see it as if for the first time? Being a new home owner has caused this to happen to me. We’re in the process of remodeling a lot of our house including the kitchen, bathroom, painting, landscape, the works. I didn’t grow up a handy man so this is all a new experience for me and I’m loving it! What’s fun is I can appreciate how other people build and decorate. I know how to do those things now… and it also means I know when people have done a mediocre quick fix. Two years ago, I would have never noticed. Today, because of my new experiences, it’s as if I’m seeing the world from brand new eye balls!
I’m sure you’ve had that same sort of experience in some way or another, whether it stemmed from travel, a position, a class, etc. When we gain these fresh experiences and see things in a brand new light, it changes our world for us. And that’s what the writer of today’s Psalm is asking for. King David, the author, asks God to open his eyes to the wonderful truths of God’s instructions. Once we discover God’s ways of doing things, it changes how we view the world around us.
God’s ways are way different from what we deem normal, or natural. It’s normal to live “me first.” It’s natural to lie to cover the truth. It comes on it’s own when we’re frustrated and want to yell at people. But God’s instructions are wonderful truths that can completely change our lives and give us freedom. King David was asking God to open up his eyes to these instructions so that he could be set free from what feels natural. What feels natural is not always right. Our natural way is sin. But God’s instructions have the power to give us the best possible life and keep us free! Ask God today to give you fresh eyes to see things the way God sees them.
Pastor Jon Brooks
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
Verse of the day:
“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:14 NLT)
Have you ever washed someone else’s feet? Has someone else ever washed your feet?
A few years ago I lead a missions trip to Arizona where we did an outreach with Convoy of Hope. Part of that event was distributing free shoes, but before you were able to take your shoes there was a tent where volunteers would first wash your feet. We encountered person after person who was thrilled at the prospect of receiving new shoes but would strongly resist having their feet washed.
John 13 tells the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and there was resistance to this idea back then too.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
I can definitely relate to Peter. To allow someone to wash my feet publically would bring embarrassment and publicity that I like to avoid. Yet this is no small matter.
I believe the reason we struggle to wash others’ feet is because we have not let Jesus wash ours first. We act strong like Peter and tell him not to touch us. We don’t want Jesus or anyone else to see our dirt and we’re used to carting it around. We accept it. We might even like it. And if we were to allow Jesus to serve us in this manner then we might acknowledge we are servants as well.
The only way we can serve is to allow the greatest of all to serve us. You and I must grant him permission to wash us and serve us and remove all our sins, shame and pain. Today Jesus still washes feet. We are called to do the same.
Choose Your Counselors Carefully
Pastor Ken Beach
For any purpose or project to be accomplished successfully, good counsel is a must. And for larger projects, a multitude of counselors are needed to get it done—one man’s thought process is not enough. I have also heard it paraphrased this way: “With counsel a man can wage war, but it takes many counselors to gain the victory”.
Team work and good counsel are vital for a large vision to be accomplished. A good counselor is one who weighs the pros and cons of a given situation and suggests the best way to accomplish something—or correct something if needed. With a multitude of counselors, goals and purposes will stand a much better chance of being completed without frustration. Here at OCAG, for larger projects and long term goals, each department is part of the whole, and weighs in with suggestions from their perspectives—perspectives developed through experience. The result is the establishment of the vision as we set our feet on the path to victory.
We need to employ this principle in our personal lives as well. We make decisions daily, and while many of them are routine—what to have for breakfast, what to wear, etc.—many times they are life altering. This is where we need counsel, and at times, many counselors. We are all surrounded by people with experienced wisdom. They are not there by accident, they are God placed—we just need to learn who they are—we need to discern the difference between those God has placed in our path and those who do not have our best interest at heart.
You ask, how will I know the difference? James 1: 5 has your answer: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”.
So there you have it—God will direct your path to those He has placed in your life to help you succeed—choose wisely.
Your Chance To Take Them Out
Pastor Tom Murray
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
Verse of the day:
"You have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.”
1 Samuel 24:15 (NLT)
In pursuing our goals, we can see a person who is in a position we desire as standing in our way. We think as long as they are where they are, we will never get what we want.
Is there a role you want in your organization that is currently held by another person?
Do you want them to succeed or fail?
Would you seize an opportunity to bring them down?
David had an opportunity to bring down his predecessor. King Saul was vulnerable in a cave. David’s men urged him to seize the moment by killing the king.
As David began to take action, his conscience spoke to him (1 Samuel 24:5). David restrained his men and spared the king’s life. Then, David told Saul what happened.
Saul responded, "you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it” (v. 18).
Hoping for someone to fail is a miserable place to exist. There is also no peace for the leader who is constantly paranoid about who is after their position.
God has you right where you are today for a reason and purpose. The position that you long for may be in your future. In the meantime, pray for the person who is currently in that role and do everything you can to help them succeed. If God is preparing you for that position, trust that He will open the right door at just the right time.
Listen and Follow
Pastor Stephanie Humpa
Do you know the voice of the Shepard? Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the voices in our heads—Is it our own voice? Is it God’s voice? Or are these thoughts the voice of the enemy? Jesus tells us that those who are His will know His voice and will follow Him. As we grow in our relationship with Christ the more we are able to discern His voice and the promptings He gives us.
It’s not enough however to be able to hear His voice --we also need to follow His voice. We can trust Him to give us good council for the direction of our lives. God is all knowing and He has our best interest in mind. There are times that He may lead us down hard and difficult paths but it is always for our benefit and not to harm us.
Do you struggle to discern God’s voice? Get to know his voice by spending time in God’s Word. Spend time each day talking with God--but don’t be the one doing all the talking! Let there be times of quiet where you wait to hear what He might want to say to you, and when He does speak make sure to follow what He says! Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to learn His voice—Just like it takes time in any human relationship to get to know someone; it takes time to get to know God as well!
The Freedom of Faithfulness
Pastor Shawn Follis
1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
Verse of the day:
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)