Episode 148

148 Disciple Up
Hope Against Hope
By Louie Marsh, 2-26-2020

Recent events have caused this phrase to echo through my mind quite often lately.

I hope against hope that a few meager words spoken on a Sunday morning will heal a marriage, mend a troubled mind or motivate someone to respond to the Word of God.

I hope against hope that an hour’s counsel will help someone begin to overcome a life time of running and hiding from their inner monsters.

I hope against hope that this new class or that new program or this new book will finally cause the hearts of the people in my church to catch fire for Christ.

Hope against hope.

In a way I guess you could say this describes what we Ministers do for a living. We are called and paid to hope against hope – and to never stop doing so!

After hearing this echoing around in my mind, I checked and found out some interesting info on what this means and where it comes from on Dictionary.com.

hope against hope

Hope or wish for with little reason or justification, as in I’m hoping against hope that someone will return my wallet. This expression, based on the biblical “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18), was first recorded in 1813.

 

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Here’s verse in the NIV – Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18 (NIV)

The story of Abraham and Sarah is one of the great examples of faith in the Bible, and is often presented that way as it should be. But I want to point out to you that It’s also a prime example of hope as well.

Hope against hope – hope that God will work in spite of most of the evidence pointing to the contrary. Hope that with God’s help tomorrow can be better, a marriage can grow and heal and thrive. Hope that a child can learn and turn from sin back to God.

Hope, hope, hope – and hope is almost always pitted against itself. We hope against hope. God calls us to, in the words of the late, great Mark Heard, “withstand the winds of time,” and the winds of culture, opinion and the devil as well!

And of course we have to hope against the evidence of our eyes as well. Just because things look hopeless doesn’t mean they are! Indeed God “…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

I love how Peterson paraphrased this verse in the Message. Read it, and then read it again, letting it sink into your heart.

20  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:18 (MSG)

That’s hope against hope all right!

It’s deciding not to live on the basis of what I quite correctly know I can’t do – and instead live life based on what God has said He will do!

Wow – what a liberating thought!

Or as we call it in Celebrate Recovery – Principles One & Two

Principle One: Realize I’m not God. I admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

Principle Two: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.

So, go ahead, hope against hope today!

May I live today on the basis of what God has said He’ll do – not on the basis of my helplessness!

During his time in a Nazi prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his friend Eberhard Bethge that he was neither a pessimist (expecting things to get worse) nor an optimist (expecting things to get better). He said that he was living by hope.

Hope! One of three foundational forces—faith, hope, and love—that St. Paul said “remains” when everything else goes belly-up.

 I find Bonhoeffer’s allusion to hope as an alternative to optimism or pessimism to be insightful and inspirational. He has identified a biblical idea that I think sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

SESSION ONE:

Know the Power of Hope.

 3 Graces to  MOTIVATE ME.

 1) FAITH

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith… 1 Thes. 1:3a

Work = a job or task

  • Faith BRINGS US INTO SALVATION.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— Eph. 2:8a

 Faith LOOKS BACK.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 Faith always PRODUCES ACTION.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26

2) LOVE

… your labor prompted by love… I Thess. 1:3b

labor = to cut, beat and used of working bread dough

 Love is my response TO GOD’S LOVE FOR ME!

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 Love LOOKS AT THE NOW.

 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17

  • Love keeps me going THROUGH THE TOUGH TASKS.

 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

3) HOPE

 and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes. 1:3c

 Hope keeps me from GIVING UP.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

 Hope LOOKS AHEAD.

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25

  • Hope is JUST AS IMPORTANT as faith & Love.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:5-6 (NIV)

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints– the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel  Colossians 1:4-5 (NIV)

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:22-24 (NIV)

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)

  • How To REMAIN HOPEFUL.

Renew your relationship with God daily

my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Psalm 42:6 (NIV)

Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 (GW)

We encourage you, brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not living right, cheer up those who are discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (GW)

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NIV)

Maintain Fellowship with Believers

But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)

for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 14

Love Defined or The Return of Dr. Love

By Louie Marsh, 7-19-2017

The Beatles recorded a song in 1967 with was then and in many ways continues to be the anthem of our culture. Yet look at the lyrics and you’ll see that like everything else, love needs some definition.

Lyrics – John wrote this as is clear from the lyrics.

Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It’s easy.
Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).

1 Cor. 13

1 Cor. 13 in context,

Written about spiritual gifts, not inspirational love poem.

It’s called a gift BUT… Love is also in the Fruit of the Spirit as well in Galatians 5:22-23

In fact if you understand the Fruit of the Spirit like I do Love IS the fruit of the Spirit – the rest of the qualities in that list are what love is made up of. It’s a shorthand description of the character of Christ.

This is different because now days most people teach that the fruit of the Spirit is completely different from the gifts. Gifts are God given abilities to do things while Fruit are characteristics the Spirit develops in us.

But – that’s not true of Love. And note that in 1 Cor. 13 Paul talks about faith, hope and love, and that hope is also a fruit of the Spirit.  Paul says love is kindness, here its kind in the fruit is kindness, but very close. So in THIS context – there is crossover between the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit

After making the point that love is the most excellent gift of all Paul goes on to define it.

IS Patient – literally long suffering, takes a long time to burn, this word used primarily of patience with people.

IS Kind – Not found elsewhere save in Clement of Rome and Eusebius. “Perhaps of Paul’s coining” (Findlay). Perhaps a vernacular word ready for Paul. Gentle in behaviour. – Word Pictures in the New Testament.

DOES NOT Envy– Love isn’t envious of others because love only compares itself with God.

DOES NOT Boast – Rare word means one who sounds his own praises.

NOT Arrogant –  literally “puffed up.”  Similar to Boast but perhaps more aimed at how we feel inwardly while boasting is outward. Someone to constantly tells themselves how great they are. How does this relate to what we teach on building self-esteem?

NOT Rude – Not acting in a way that is unseemly or indecent. Love does not act out the attitudes of envy, boasting or arrogance.

NOT – Insist on its own way – Love does not act out of self-interest alone.

CHRISTIAN QUOTES ON LOVE

To love someone means to see him as God intended him – Fyodor Dostoevsky

The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now. – Rick Warren

You will never really love until you love someone who hates you. – Jack Hyles

The chains of love are stronger than the chains of fear.- William Gurnall

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. – C.S. Lewis

The world does not understand theology or dogma, but it understands love and sympathy. – Dwight L. Moody

In biblical thinking, genuine love exists only when good works are done in a context where God rather than the doer gets the credit. – Daniel Fuller

1 Cor. 13 Again:

NOT Irritable –  Rare word used of Paul by Luke. 16  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. Acts 17:16 (ESV)

So Paul must mean not provoked out of selfish needs.

NOT Resentful – Easily provoked to anger.

NOT  Rejoicing with Evil BUT DOES rejoice in the Truth – true love comes from God and agrees with God’s assessment of what good and evil and is always happy to see truth triumph.

DOES – bears all things – old word for roof. Love protects all things, covers a multitude of sins 1 Pet. 4:8

DOES –  believes all things – not in the sense that love is gullible, but in the sense that love is hopeful, it tries to see the best in everyone, knowing God will bring good from evil. Love takes risks on people because not being selfish it fears no loss.

DOES –  hopes (fruit of the Spirit) all things – hope stems from God and truth. Love never gives up on God working in any and all situations. It looks forward to what God will do, not back on past failures or lives in past successes.

DOES – Endures all things – to stay under or remain, Love doesn’t quit, it’s steadfast and reliable.

DOES – love never fails. Never falls off, used of actor booed off the stage. Love never gives up and remains.

The Disciple Up Low Down

Closing

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My book – 

 

 

 

 

Episode 13

Disciple Up #13
What Is Love? Pt 1 Or…When Dr. Love Comes To Town
By Louie Marsh, 7-12-2017

Drivel from Psychology Today article.

Greek words

E-Harmony’s Definitions

The ancient Greeks used seven words to define the different states of love we can experience:

  • Storage: natural affection
  • Philia: friendship
  • Eros: sexual and erotica
  • Agape: unconditional, divine love
  • Ludus: flirting
  • Pragma: committed, married love
  • Philautia: self love

Oxford Dictionary’s Definition of Philautia

In a classic book titled Colors of Love (1973), J. A. Lee defined six varieties of relationship that might be labeled love.

Eros is romantic, passionate, love—what Tennov labeled limerence. In this type of relationship, love is life’s most important thing. Lee said a search for physical beauty or an ideal type also typifies this type of love.

Philia – friendship love.

Ludus is a game-playing or uncommitted love. Lying is part of the game. A person who pursues ludic love may have many conquests but remains uncommitted.

Storge (STORE-gay) is a slow developing, friendship-based loved. People with this type of relationship like to participate in activities together. Often storge results in a long-term relationship in which sex might not be very intense or passionate.

Pragma is a pragmatic, practical, mutually beneficial relationship. It may be somewhat unromantic. A person who leans toward this type of relationship may look for a partner at work or where the person is spending time. Sex is likely to be seen as a technical matter needed for producing children, if they are desired.

Agape (a-GOP-aye) is a gentle, caring, giving type of love, brotherly love, not concerned with the self. It is relatively rare. Mother Theresa showed this kind of love for impoverished people.

A Jewish Perspective

Segment Two – When did we get so crazy about love?

My candidate – The Beatles signed a contract to represent the BBC, and Britain, on Our World, the world’s first live television satellite link-up to be seen by approximately 400 million people across five continents.

The Beatles’ appearance was announced four days later, on 22 May. John Lennon wrote the song All You Need Is Love especially for the occasion, to the brief given by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers around the world would understand it.

Our World took place on 25 June 1967. Video of Beatles singing, “All You Need Is Love during Our World 1967.

Lyrics – John wrote this as is clear from the lyrics.

I’ll get into this Next Week

What Love is from Biblical Perspective.

God is love.

15  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:15-16 (NIV)

“When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’” (Luke 9:54), (Mark 3:17).

  • God only wants the best for everyone

9  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10 (ESV)

  • Love does no harm, therefore it only does good.

 36  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38  This is the great and first commandment. 39  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)

 Love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Therefore: Love is doing what’s best for the object of your love.

Love is the Golden Rule

 12  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (ESV)

Note: Both love for God and love of others is said to fulfill the Law.

Christian love has nothing to do with feelings one way or the other. It’s not about liking someone or disliking them because of a personality clash. Love is acting towards others as God would and Jesus did.

The Disciple Up Low Down on Love, Confusion & Loving Confusion

Video of Larry Norman song mentioned.

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My book –