I want you to know that I don’t particularly feel qualified to give anyone advice. Many times I have had to bail a boat. My parents had a boat rental business when I was a child. Every time the winds blew and the rains came, meant I had to get that big bucket and sponge to work. In life the storms come and sometimes it does seem like our life boat is sinking. What do we do when that happens? I’m going to give one solution which always has proved to help me keep my life boat afloat.
Speaking here to fellow believers (followers) of Christ Jesus: Sometimes we must get out of our comfort zone. We don’t just accept The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and then go sit back in the lazy boy for the rest of our lives. Jesus said, “now go and do”.
We all have many things we are good at. As a body of believers we need to all put the buckets in the boat, remove the water, fix the leaks and get all oars rowing in the same direction. So, we figure out what that is and get involved. This morning, is our first attempt at a ladies breakfast. Already, many hands have step forward and helped to put this event together.
You see… Hope Floats with all oars in the Water. I want to encourage the body of Christ to get your oars in the water and get that boat moving for Christ. Share the gospel with as many people as possible. Every part of the Body is necessary for great success. Think of the half empty life boats when the Titanic sank. We the Body represents Christ’s life boats. If we believe what is written within the Bible, we can see the storm is coming. Let each of us offer the HOPE that FLOATS. Have you ever watched that movie called “Hope Floats”? At the end of the movie the mother and daughter are summing up the meaning of life. The mother says, “There are the things we remember from years ago. There is the beginning, the in-between and then there is the future. All good things eventually float to the top.” The topic has nothing to do with the movie. But it did get me thinking about the meaning of Hope.
What is hope?
How do we first receive Hope? By receiving Jesus Christ not only as our Saviour but also The Lord of our lives. Jesus is HOPE.
Once we have that Hope how do we share it with others individually and as a Body of Christ?
1. By working together with all ores in the water.
2. By sharing our faith and the truths written within the Bible. That is why it is so important to know scripture, the infallible Word of God”. What are we called by God to do?
Disciples making disciples. That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is about. teaching, praying for others for healing and deliverance. Building a relationship and always growing in that relationship with Christ Jesus and at the same time reaching out to the lost or hurting.
3. We also give hope to others by listening to someone who is struggling and helping them to gain a right perspective.
4. By doing this we are showing God’s love – Jesus and Holy Spirit manifested through us.
5. By praying for others and with them. Prayer is a powerful weapon. Prayer is effective in helping to restore those who are struggling to either find or regain the hope. We have an enemy who loves to steal our hope and our joy and our faith.
6. To be an effective part of the body of Christ, we also need to know the enemy’s schemes and recognize his interference. He likes to make the first ripples in the storm. Often the storms can be calmed quickly before they turn into a category 4 storm. Sometimes the little ripples can cause great destruction within our lives or the lives of others. It might be as simple as recognizing our impatience with our spouse or with other people. How quickly a little snap of the tongue can cause a great wound or a quick reaction in our anger.
7. Be quick to ask forgiveness from God and from those we may offend. Lord knows we are not perfect. Our hope floats like a lily pad. Sometimes that lily pad has to sit in the weed bed for a while before it get picked and set in a beautiful dish of water on someone’s coffee table. Also quick to forgive. Quick to focus on the hope of Christ.
Dictionary Definition of Hope
Hope is the combination of expectation and desire, a feeling of trust. To set one’s hope on something or doing something, where there may seem a glimmer of hope. Hoping against all odds, a person or things that give cause for hope.
Bible definition of Hope
As for a Bible definition: Our hope is an absolute assurance. We are to have unwavering confidence in Jesus, who is our Hope, as we patiently wait for His return. Our hope is anchored in the Character of God Himself, who is unshakable, and unchangeable:
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”.
“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.”
We read many scripture verses where faith and hope work together. Kind of like two oars in a boat.
Bible definition of Faith
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Peace with God Through Faith
Romans 5: 1-5(ESV) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Where do we find our hope?
Do we put our hope in other things, other people, our security in our jobs or do we put our hope in The Lord Jesus Christ? When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we don’t need to fear or be anxious about anything. That is where faith and hope work together. I think of Jesus and the disciples and their experience or should I say lesson about how hope floats.
Jesus Walks on the Water Matthew 14:22-32 ESV
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[b] from the land,[c] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Also we see another example of disciples literal storm which we can use as a parallel to our personal life storms.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great wind storm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
In that storm the waves were almost capsizing the boat and the disciples began to fear that their boat was going to sink. What do we do when we feel like our boat is beginning to sink?
Do we begin to look at the waves capsizing our ship and focus on the problem? Do we react like Peter? or Do we take our eyes off the problem and put them on what floats (Jesus, the one who walked on water and didn’t sink. He is our hope that floats.
I like to watch some movies. Patch Adams. Based on a true story. He tried to overcome depression with humour. While sitting in the insane asylum this genius Mathematician who was also in the asylum, he asked Patch a question. How many fingers do you see. At first the Mathematician was frustrated because Patch only saw the four fingers. He could only see what was in front of him. But when Patch looked past the four fingers – the problem, he gained an entirely new perspective. He began to see a solution rather than the problem.
In life we all go through the storms. Many people suffer in many different ways. I know of five people within my life time, some family, some friends and a neighbour who committed suicide.
In each case lives where shattered. Their boats capsized by the waves of life. Sometimes many of the waves are caused by many of our own choices and consequences. They didn’t have the Hope that Floats. All they could see was the tangled web (the four fingers) I imagine they could not see any way out of that dark tunnel of despair they were living in. So Sad… Because I know them all quite well, I tend to question if they invited Jesus into that sinking boat. There are so many people out there battling the waves in their own strength. It is a tough way to live life. Even when you are a Christian it can be really difficult at times. We must always remember the Hope that Floats and focus on Him – Jesus Christ.
One of my favourite verses I like to meditate on when my faith is attacked is:
Matthew 6:25-34 ESV “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Sometimes those storms teach us many valuable lessons. I know every storm in my life God has taught me a valuable lesson. These lessons are part of our growth. Our faith grows and with it our Hope grows. When that happens we can walk on water with all ores in the living water.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37, 38 ESV)
As the Body of Christ (similar to the disciples in the boat that day) we put our trust and faith in the Hope that Floats. We are called as a Body of believers and followers of Christ Jesus to work together synchronously with all oars moving in the same direction. A boat full of fishermen or women. We have a job to do. There are many people who desperately need to find that Hope that Floats – Hope that saves and empowers us to keep paddling until we reach that final destination. We only stay in that storm so long. Sometimes self-pity, un-forgiveness, anger, bitterness can keep us shackled to the ores. That is not what God wants. No, he wants us to eventually also get out of that boat and walk on water with him and share that hope of Jesus Christ. My challenge to each one of us is to commit to go and do.
Message written by Rebecca Robinson – ladies breakfast Feb. 15,2014
Place – Hope for Today Fellowship