Saturday, April 28, 2007
A good day in the yard... and "Hope".
We got quite a bit done today. I nearly finished weeding and pruning the two side beds on the west side of the house. I weeded and pruned all of the Peonies and completely scrubbed the front porch entry, top to bottom... including removing old planters and scrubbing the only two items that will be out there until I pot some flowers in those pots that need scrubbed. I picked up all of the sticks in the yard (no small task due to the size of the lot we have next to us, the number of older trees we have, and the wind that kicked up from those 4 tornadoes that went through Thursday night about 15 miles from here). My husband got the bed in the front dug and tilled so we can do some landscaping out there. And, a smaller bed that we will put stone on and then a bench with two terra cotta pots with flowers in them, next to each end of the bench. Then on both corners of the house in the back yard, he dug and tilled two beds that wrap around the corners of the house for me to plant flowers in. So, tomorrow after church I will finish what little is left on the west side. Then prune and weed the east side which has a hedge/border of Lavender and Asian Lillie's, and plant the Black-eyed Susan's and Red Hot Pokers in those backyard beds next to the house he just dug. I think my husband will be working on that trash can corral and a composting container while I am doing all of that. Then through the week, we will do the front landscaping and I will plant my herbs :-). By week after next we should be out of danger of a frost and we can start putting in the veggies. I love doing the veggies! I will post pictures as all of this starts growing and blooming.
Now, about that hoping thing.
Right now our Sunday School class is studying, prayer. Our homework assignment this week is to read and meditate on all of Hebrews 11. Last week, we took a close look at faith and its important role in prayer. Tomorrow, I am sure we will be pressing in on that some more... and I just have to say, our teacher is amazing. He and his wife are two of our closest friends, but as a teacher he is simply amazing. The man on the left (without the Scottie) in the picture above is our Sunday School teacher and dear friend, Ernie. The man with the Scottie, Baxter, is my hubby.
Okay, so we know that faith is our victory and that God’s Word is true and so we have decided that using God’s Word to help overcome the cares of this world is a good idea. So, just how do we pray for and receive the promises we have?
First, we have to have faith in God. When a person is saved, they are saved by faith. And, that is exactly how we receive everything we will ever receive from God, by faith. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word. If we want to be able to receive that which is ours, we have to know what we have coming. Here is what James 1: 6-8 says about the person that does not have faith. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” When we doubt God we are unstable in all our ways, and get zilch. Ouch!!!
Then, to receive we must have an expectation. We have to have, hope.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
That expectation, or hope, needs to be something God says is part of our covenant package with Him. Once we know God intimately and therefore know what He wants us to have, Hell and all it’s thievery, deception and desire to destroy us can not keep us from having it. Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
I think the word hope gets overlooked sometimes when we study Hebrews 11. And, it is vital... or it wouldn’t be in there. Ever heard someone say, “Well, I hope so.”? That can be said with the best of intentions, but I always wonder when someone says that what it is exactly that they are putting there hope in. Anything less than that which God promises is a sketchy and fragile desire. And, often that is said with the voice inflection that indicates complete doubt. Either way, you really can’t put your confidence in anything other than that which God promises in His Word. The good news is, we CAN put our complete trust and confidence in what He has promised us.
So, our hope must be in a promise that God has promised us in order for our faith to have substance.
Hope is a verb. It is an action word.
1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment
2 : to expect with confidence : TRUST
Faith is our victory and hope activates our faith. Hoping for the things God has for us and expecting to obtain them is the first step in walking in faith. When we are operating in hope, faith can begin to bring the desired thing into manifestation. If results are not quick to come, you will need to be operating in patience to see the desired thing actualized. That will be discussed later.
Oh, and by the way, Romans 5:5 says that, “Now hope does not disappoint...” There’s a good promise to start with!
Let’s define receive.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups can be falling from the sky and screaming grab me, but if we do not hold our hands to catch them, we don’t get any. Receive is not a passive word. The word “receive” by definition is either a transitive verb, or an intransitive verb. Either way, it is a verb which means it expresses an act, an action.
1. to come into possession of or acquire;
2. to assimilate through the mind or senses;
3. to permit to enter in, to welcome or to greet;
4. to accept as authoritative, true and accurate;
5. to take from the weight of something as an impression or mark.
So let’s take that definition apart.
1. Possession or acquire. Here is where we find the promises through searching out the Word for what we need.
2. Assimilate through the mind or senses. Here is where we renew our minds and transform our thoughts to God’s thoughts by continually reading His Word.
3. Permit in and welcome and greet. Welcome God’s Word!
4. Accept as authoritative, true and accurate. Believe what God says about our situation and give His Word final authority.
5. An impression or mark. Let God’s Word mark us and change our life.
God has blessing after blessing after blessing for us. But, until we put our hope in what God promises us, and release our faith to bring it to manifestation we won't receive those blessings.
If we are going to take things (and here I am talking about the request part of praying... there is more to prayer of course like, praise, giving thanks and being still and listening to God) to the Lord in prayer, we need to have real hope in what we are asking for, the faith to see it come to be and know how to receive the answer. We need to decide to do what it takes to be a good receiver of all God has promised us by learning what His Word says He want for us, knowing we won't have our hopes let down because we can put our confidence in Him... and then simply believe we have that which He promises. It is at that point we are walking by faith and not by sight.
It has just occurred to me that this portion of this post has come off a little text book like. Well, I guess I can't apologize since it is in response to studying and an homework assignment. This is what has been on my mind where my Sunday School lesson has been this week. It was good for me to collect my thoughts and put them down tonight since Sunday School is tomorrow morning.
If you have read all of this... well... I hope you got something out of it. I did. And, thanks for reading!
I am tired. It's a hot cup of tea and bed for me.