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Archive for July 11th, 2016

Anchored to hope

from JO’s sermon tonight:

an anchor is something that holds a boat in place. once the captain arrives at his destination, he puts the anchor down; that way, he won’t drift, and end up in places that he doesn’t want to be. when the boat is anchored, it may move a little bit, with the waves and the wind, but the captain isn’t worried, he can relax; he knows the anchor is down. scripture tells us:

Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul

what’s going to keep your soul in the right place, cause you to overcome obstacles, reach your dreams, is when you are anchored to hope.  that means, no matter what you face, how big the difficulty, how long it’s taking, you know God is still on the throne, His plans for you are for good, that He’s bigger than any challenge. 

when you’re anchored to this hope, nothing moves you. the wind, waves, storms may come; you’re not worried, you have your anchor down. you receive a bad medical report, a lot of people would be upset, negative, not you, you’re anchored to hope; “I know God is restoring health back unto me.” you go through a loss, a disappointment, your emotions are pulling you towards discouragement, bitterness, but something’s holding you back; you can’t explain it, but down in here, you hear a voice saying, “everything’s going to be alright; God has beauty for these ashes.” that’s the anchor of hope. 

or maybe your dream looks impossible. every voice tells you, “it’s not going to work out, forget it, you’re wasting your time.” most people would throw in the towel, but your attitude is, “I may not see a way, but I know God has a way, He’s opening doors no man can shut.” when you’re anchored to hope, God will make things happen that you could never make happen. 

I’ve learned, there’s always something trying to convince us to pull up our anchor: delays, disappointments, bad breaks. in the tough times, when life doesn’t seem fair, your prayers weren’t answered, it’s taking longer than you thought, you have to make sure to keep your anchor down; if you pull it up, you’ll drift into bitterness, discouragement, self-pity. when you’re anchored to hope, it’s like you’re tied to it; you can’t go very far. you may have some negative thoughts, thoughts of doubt that say, “it’s never going to work out,” but your faith will kick in; “no, I know the answer’s on the way.” on paper,  it looks like it’ll take 30 years to get out of debt; you could accept it, but because you’re anchored to hope, something in you says, “no, I know God can accelerate it, He has explosive blessings coming my way.” or perhaps your children are off course, it doesn’t look like they’ll ever change; you should be discouraged, but you’re tied to hope. every time those negative thoughts come, trying to pull you away, your anchor kicks in; “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 

my question today is, do you have your anchor down? do you have this hope, expectancy, that you’re going to accomplish your dreams, break the addiction, see your family restored?  or, have you pulled up your anchor, and drifted into doubt, mediocrity, not expecting anything good? I’m asking you to put your anchor back down. the scripture says:

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for

you can’t have faith if you don’t first have hope. one time, David had a lot coming against him; he was down and discouraged, he felt overwhelmed by life, he’d given up on his dreams, everything kept getting worse and worse. he finally said to himself:

Psalm 42:5 (ESV)

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul… Hope in God

he recognized that he’d let his circumstances convince him to pull up his anchor. he said, in effect, “I’m going to put my anchor back down; I’m going to hope in the Lord.” 

you may not have any reason, in the natural, to be hopeful; it doesn’t look like you’ll get well, meet the right person, start your business. you have to do like David, and hope in the Lord. don’t put your hope in your circumstances; they may not turn out the way you thought. don’t put your hope in people; they may let you down. don’t put your hope in your career;  things may change. put your hope in the Lord, in the God Who spoke worlds into existence, flung stars into space. when you have your hope in Him, the scripture says:

Isaiah 49:23 (ISV)

23 … I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed

and sure, you may go through some temporary setbacks, life will happen, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll come out better than you were before. 

this is what Joseph did. he had plenty of opportunities to pull up his anchor; he was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit. he could’ve become negative, angry, “that’s not right, my whole family did me wrong,” but he kept his anchor down. they sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused, put in prison.  it was unfair;  he had a good reason to be sour, nobody would have faulted him. but through all the trouble, all the things that didn’t make sense, he didn’t pull up his anchor. his attitude was, “God, You have the final say. people don’t determine my destiny, a bad break can’t keep me from my purpose, all the forces of darkness cannot stop Your plan for my life.”  because he was anchored to hope, he didn’t stay disappointed; he was vindicated, promoted, put in charge of the whole nation. Zechariah puts it this way:

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV)

12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;

    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

“prisoner of hope” means that you can’t get away from it; you’re anchored to it.  you should be discouraged, but you can’t help it; despite all that’s come against you, like Joseph, you still believe that you’re going to accomplish your dreams. you should be overwhelmed; the obstacle looks bigger, Goliath looked stronger, more powerful, but like David, you have your hope in the Lord; you know if God be for you, who dare be against you. 

that sickness may seem like it’s going to be the end of you; you could live worried, stressed out, but you know that nothing can snatch you out of God’s hand. your hope is not in the medicine, the treatment, or the doctors, even though all of those things are good, we’re grateful for them; your hope is in the Lord, in the God who breathed life into you, makes blind eyes see, took Joseph from the pit to the palace, caused David, a teenaged shepherd boy, to defeat a huge giant.  I’m asking you to keep your anchor down; keep your hope in the Lord.

when your find yourself negative, worried, not thinking it’s going to work out, recognize what’s happened; you’ve pulled your anchor up. the good news is, you can put it back down. instead of dwelling on those negative thoughts, “you’ll never get well, break the addiction, meet the right person,” turn it around; “Father, thank You that the answer’s already on the way, healing, promotion, the right people are coming, favor’s in my future.”  that’s how you stay anchored to hope.

this is what Abraham did. God gave him the promise that he and his wife Sarah were going to have a baby, but they were 80 years old; it was impossible, it’d never happened before. Abraham could’ve dismissed it, thought, “I must’ve heard God wrong.” I’m sure his friends said, “Abraham, you really think you’re going to have a baby? you’re I’m an old man.” he could’ve talked himself out of it, but:

Romans 4:18 (AMPC)

18 [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith

sometimes, there’s no logical reason to have hope. you may have plenty of reasons why your situation is not going to work out, but you have to do like Abraham; against all hope, hope on in faith. keep your anchor down, don’t talk yourself out of it. God is not limited by the natural; He’s a supernatural God.

at nearly 100 years of age, Sarah gave birth to a baby; the promise came to pass.  it didn’t happen overnight; they waited some 20 years. they had plenty of times where they were tempted to think, “it’s never going to happen; we’re too old, it’s been too long”; if they would’ve believed those lies, pulled up their anchor of hope, they would’ve drifted into doubt, discouragement, and never saw the promise come to pass. (technically, they did have a LITTLE bit of doubt, which is why Abraham produced Ishmael with Hagar, but they eventually got back on track, and God’s promise come to pass.)

are you drifting today? worried, negative, in self-pity? why don’t you put your anchor back down, get your hopes back up? just because the promise hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. you may have had some bad breaks like Joseph; that doesn’t mean you’re not going to fulfill your purpose. God wouldn’t have allowed it if He wasn’t going to use it for your good. shake off the discouragement, the self-pity. what God started in your life, He’s still going to bring to pass. 

don’t let other people talk you out of what God put in your heart. don’t let someone convince you, even if it’s your Pastor, to pull up your anchor; God didn’t put the promise in them, He put the promise in you. that’s why you can have faith when they think it’s far-out, why you can believe for it when to them it seems totally impossible.  if you’ll stay anchored to hope, God will restore back to you double what you lost. what you’ve been believing for may be taking a long time, but what God started, He’s going to finish. God doesn’t abort dreams; keep your anchor down.

The scripture describes hope as the anchor of our soul; it wouldn’t use the word “anchor” unless there was a possibility of drifting. this is what happens in life; if you don’t keep your anchor down, if you don’t stay filled with hope, little by little, you’ll start drifting, getting a little negative, worried, discouraged, “I’m never going to have this baby, break this addiction, overcome this challenge, it’s been too long.” the problem is, you don’t have your anchor down. 

when you’re anchored to hope, you may have negative circumstances, but you’re not worried; you know that God is fighting your battles. you may not see how your dream can come to pass, but you don’t give up; you know that God is behind the scenes, arranging things in your favor.  you may go through a bad break, a loss, but you don’t get bitter; you know that weeping endures for a night, but joy is coming in the morning. here’s what I’m saying; when you’re anchored to hope, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have difficulties, it means when those difficulties come, you won’t drift.  nothing will move you. the storms, waves, tides may change, but you’re consistent; your hope is in the Lord. 

if you don’t keep your anchor down, the normal currents of life will pull you off course. not a major sickness, divorce, layoff, just everyday life. perhaps you don’t realize that you’ve drifted into doubt, you’re not believing for your dreams anymore. you used to be excited about it, now it’s been a long time, you’ve lost your passion. Have you drifted into self-pity? you had a bad break, somebody did you wrong, you used to be loving, kind, fun, now you’re sour, hard to get along with. maybe you’ve drifted into worry; you used to believe that God was in control, that He was taking care of you, but you pulled up your anchor, you’re living stressed out. you can get back to where you’re supposed to be; you can put your anchor of hope down today. start believing, expecting again. life is too short to go through it drifting, negative, worried, no passion. if you don’t have this hope that something good is coming, it will limit what God can do. 

you have to stir up your hope. otherwise, you’ll drift toward the negative. “if God is so good, why haven’t my dreams come to pass? why did I have these bad breaks?” it’s because there is an enemy of your soul that’s trying to keep you from your destiny. the good news is, the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. don’t let what happens in life, big or small, convince you to pull up your anchor. if you’ll keep your hope in the Lord, all the forces of darkness cannot hold you back.

and this is not about just about being positive, hopeful, this is about keeping your soul anchored to the right thing. I’ve learned, if you don’t stay anchored to hope, over time you’ll become anchored to something else. you can become anchored to discouragement, where that’s your default setting; you wake up in the morning discouraged, you see everything from a tainted perspective, everything is sour. it’s because you’re anchored to the wrong thing. I know people who are anchored to bitterness; they’re so focused on the bad breaks, who Hurt them, now that bitterness is poisoning their life. 

you may have a good reason to feel that way; I’m simply saying that staying anchored to those things will keep you from your destiny. it will cause you to miss your purpose. it’s time to cut those anchors, and come over into hope. God did not breathe His life into you, crown you with favor, give you a royal robe, so you could go around anchored to bitterness, doubt, worry. He created you to be anchored to hope, to go out each day expecting His goodness, knowing that the days ahead are greater than the days behind. 

and when you face difficulties, and we all do, keep the right perspective; if David would’ve looked at Goliath, and thought, “oh man, I’ll never defeat him. he’s twice my size; I don’t have a chance,” if he would’ve pulled up his anchor of hope, we wouldn’t be talking about him today. Goliath wasn’t sent to defeat David; he was sent to promote David. what you’re facing is not meant to stop you; it’s meant to move you toward your divine destiny.  instead of being negative, “why is this happening to me? how is it ever going to work out?” no, turn it around; “Lord, I don’t see a way, but my hope is in You; I know You have it figured out, You’ll get me to where I’m supposed to be.” Proverbs says:

Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick

if you don’t have the hope that the problem’s going to turn around, that the baby is on the way, that the new house is in the future, then your heart, that means your spirit, will be sick. when we’re not hopeful, something is wrong on the inside. even physically; when we’re stressed, rundown, worried, that weakens our immune system, it doesn’t fight off disease like it should. for your health’s sake, keep your anchor of hope down.

we all go through seasons in life where it’s not really exciting; it’s easy to have the blahs, lose our enthusiasm. those are the normal currents of life; nobody lives on cloud 9, where it’s exciting all the time.  part of the good fight of faith is to stay hopeful in the dry seasons. when you don’t see anything happening, when it’s taking a long time, keep a smile on your face. all through the day, “Lord, thank You that something good is coming my way.” “what if I do that and nothing happens?” what if you do it and something does happen? I’d rather go through life anchored to hope than anchored to fear, worry, bitterness.

sometimes, we’re a anchored to things that don’t come off easily. if you’ve been anchored to doubt, fear, discouragement for a long time, you’re going to have to cut those lines. the enemy doesn’t want you to be free. he doesn’t want you to go through life anchored to hope; he wants you to go around depressed, bitter, angry. it’s time to cut some lines. it’s time to say, “this is a new day. I’ve been anchored to that junk long enough. I’m done living bitter, depressed, no passion. I’m cutting those lines; I’m anchoring myself to hope.”

keep the right perspective: that sickness can’t defeat you. that addiction is temporary. the right breaks are already in your future. you may have had some disappointments, life threw you a curve; that cannot stop your destiny. the odds may be against you, but the most high God is for you. when you stay anchored to hope, He’ll show out in your life in ways you’ve never imagined. a bad break, a disappointment, a divorce, a sickness can’t stop you. when life throws you a curve, don’t you dare pull up your anchor;  keep hoping on in faith. God has you in the palm of His hand. it may have been meant for your harm, but God’s going to turn it for your good. have you drifted into doubt, discouragement, worry, self-pity? I’m asking you to put your anchor of hope back down today. if you’ll do this, what is now your test will soon become your testimony, you will rise above every challenge, accomplish every dream, and become everything you were created to be. 

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