Thursday, January 29, 2009


I really wanted to get this out there yesterday but for various reasons I was not able..In hindsight I believe I needed more time of reflection before I sought out to tackle such a powerful message..The message today is HOPE..and I hope that I can convey in words what is on my heart..

I opened up AOL very early yesterday and the first article that came up jumped off the screen at me and the set into motion this attempt to lay hold of the very idea of HOPE.. This article was titled "Distraught Father kills wife, 5 kids, self"..Now I cant even begin to describe the emotions that flooded my mind after seeing that headline..I embarked on reading the article and my mind kept referring me back to the word HOPE..Let me share with you some of the excerpts from the article to help provide context and background for some of the areas I am about to tackle..This article is like a double edge sword in that I am sensing the lack of Hope this Father and Mother had and then I am reminded of the HOPE I have in Christ...all the while thinking..if they only knew what I knew..wondering if they were ever confronted with the Life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ..

This is how the article opened up "A man fatally shot his wife, five young children and himself Tuesday after he faxed a note to a TV station claiming the couple had just been fired from their hospital jobs and together planned the killings as an escape for the whole family."

It was the fifth mass death of a Southern California family by murder or suicide in a year. Police urged those facing tough economic times to get help rather than resort to violence.

Ervin Lupoe claimed he and his wife both had been fired and that she suggested they kill themselves and their children, too

They did nothing to the manager who stated such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are," the note said

At the bottom of the note, Lupoe wrote, "Oh lord, my God, is there no hope for a widow's

On his Facebook page, Lupoe posted photographs of a daughter at karate class, and of a fancy tub and wash basins in an apparently remodeled bathroom.

and then I scrolled down to the comments section and this was the first one I read, so I wanted to post it here so I could try and lend further light to the point I want to make in writing this entry(I did however bleep out some words in order to make this readable)

***********"god bless this family, bush started the s#@t now let obama try and fix it instead of bailing out all them banks he should have given it to the poor people who didnt have job this should have never happen its gonna get worse......................"*******

Ok..I need to gather my thoughts here as I am stunned at the comment made by someone after such a tragic situation..People are just angry..People need something to direct their anger towards..Anger is a poison let out by Satan himself to affect God's people and it has a devastating effect on society as a whole...

Ok..Now let me expand on this idea of HOPE..Just what is HOPE..? What does it mean? Is it tangible? Is it even worthy of possessing? Before I break into that I must make some admissions..I too, have been at a point in my life where the only option seemed grim..I dont mean taking the life of my family, but there have been days where I felt my life was of no use and no value and that I added not a single bit of worth to anyone around me..How do we get to such low places in our life?and how do we or can we overcome them?

Satan is very deceiving and exposes our weaknesses with precision..He plants seeds of discouragement and doubt that begin to fester if left unchecked..We must remember that Satan is ruler of this world and everything in it he uses to trip us up..Money, material possessions, jobs, emotions, other people..He is the Master of Sin (refer to my post on Mastery to further explore this concept)..and all he needs is a small paper cut to enter and then he begins to plot his stranglehold on your mind.. but to elaborate further on how we get to these low places that leave us hopeless..We allow satan to convince us that our worth comes from the approval of others, or from the success we have in our careers, or the amount of money we have in our bank accounts, or the amount of stuff we can acquire..Anytime we place our value in life on things of this earth..we are in deep deep trouble..unfortunately, most of us do not recognize our mini idols until we are in to deep..Everything in this world is perishing, fleeting and has no real value in eternity..however it is part of our nature..who we are..our sinful self trying to stay in control of our lives..desperately not wanting to relinquish control..That is how you get in the lowlands of life..and might I add that it is most often subtle & gradual...and usually not all in one fail swoop..

We must, absolutely must place our HOPE in Christ..It is with Christ only that we can draw strength to endure the low periods in life and plow thru the trials..God wants a dependent soul..dependant on Him..I did a little research and check this out.. The very word Hope is mentioned in the bible 143 times in name alone..That doesn't count all the times it is referenced..Here are a few Verses that stand out to me:

Psalms 33:18
Psalms 65:5
Acts 2:26
Romans 5:2,4
Romans 8:24
Romans 12:12
2 Corinthians 1:7,10
1 Timothy 1:1
1 Timothy 4:10
Hebrews 6:11
Hebrews 10:23
1 Peter 1:21

Obviously there are countless more verses one could refer to in order to see HOPE play out in the Word of God..Pslams and Proverbs are riddled with HOPE.. Hope in the Greek is "elpis" - to anticipate with pleasure..(el pece'), confidence

Matthew says in chapter 11:30 - "For my Yoke is easy and my Burden is Light"

and then there is the famous passage in Matthew Chapter 6, verses 25-33 - 25-26(Message)"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative
, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

These verses are but a glimpse of the reality that you can have if your life is focused on God and not this world..Romans 12:2 says " Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" and them 1 John 2:15-16 says "Do not love this world or the things of this world.....For all that is in this world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the father but is of the world"

We could go on for a very long time looking up verses that are applicable here but none of this matters if we do not know God, trust God, depend on God, live for God.. This all begins in the must believe in Christ and his bearing the sins of mankind as a just payment good and acceptable to God evidenced by the resurrection and then confess with your mouth the inward belief you possess...and then you will begin to unravel the mysteries of God Almighty and the conduit of Grace will be opened to you..There is tremendous peace in knowing God is in control and you are not..It takes the pressure off..and if you will seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul and will have the desires of your heart..God is not interested in playing games with you..He requires a total surrender of self..You cant keep parts of your life in your control and give God 95%..He requires ALL..but the reward is everlasting in the future and Peace, Joy, Hope in the Now..Lose your job...No big deal because God has a better plan..Broke..ok because God has a better plan..Illness..God is Sovereign and All knowing..and works all things for good..ALL things.. It would not be right if I did not refer to my favorite book in trying to explain this..

AW Tozer said " many ordinary treasures may be denied him(meaning you), or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go(money, job, friends, stuff, etc),one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all Satisfaction, all Pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in in ONE, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever"

I believe that captures the thesis of my point rather precisely..We must let go of all the distractions and focus on God...give him everything..Turn it all over to Him and watch before your very eyes, your life change like never before..That does not mean you will not suffer trials or difficulties..quite the contrary..God says He will discipline those He loves and calls His if you are never disciplined by God and refined by Him (thru what I call "faith testers" )- then you might want to take a heart check to make sure what you experienced with God was genuine.. What it means is that those trials and difficulties don't destroy you, they simply draw you closer and closer to God and his work is being perfected in you..till one day He will call you home and then the perfection will be complete..

Jesus said I did not come just to give you life, I came to give it to you more abundantly..That means nothing of this world can strip you of your joy, your peace in God's Sovereignty. So live a life worth the Light and Salt of this world...a Beacon of Hope to those caught up the wiles of this world.. If you have truly been transformed by God and received a New Heart and a New Life, it will take extreme effort to contain the good news inside you..because you will want everyone around you to experience what you know what you have the Hope you have..

We must understand that God is the Answer.. God is the only one that will not return Void..Money, fame, toys all will leave you empty after you attain them..but God is fulfilling and sustaining and rewarding.. Phil Jackson, head coach of the LA Laker's, has 6 NBA championship rings..One as a player and the other as a coach..He has made mass sums of money, traveled all over and he said.."all that is nice but still leaves you empty"..( I am not suggesting Phil Jackson is Christian..I have no idea)..The point is that after you attain all the things you "think" are going to make you end up with the blues..Ask anyone who has ever attained or amassed a great fortune..It just isn't satisfying once you have it...and Many people will say "If I could be Phil Jackson for one day"..Ironically the people who keep thinking that a little more money or a little more success will make them happy don't have it to prove to themselves that it falls short and leaves you empty and they keep chasing this "stuff" in hopes it will fulfill them..It will never satisfy you because you are made to worship God..That is how he built you and until you allow Him to Satisfy your longings, you will forever be chasing an elusive dream.. Allow God to fill your life with meaning and Joy and Love and Hope..Seek Him out and Trust in Him and He will not return Void..I testify to this because I have tried it both ways..and God's way is the only way..!!

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