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Pastor Mauricio Alvarez shared at our company's staff retreat last week and I was really encouraged and challenged by a lot of what he said. I meant only to write down a few key points, but my pen kept writing as he kept talking and I ended up with a lot of notes!
***My favorite things that he talked about are noted with asterisks below!! :)
---------------Hope in Any Circumstance---------------
Jeremiah 29:11 – Whether we like it or not, God has plans for us.
Murderers of Hope:
1) Doubt – James 1:6 Don’t let doubt steal what Christ did for you.
2) Lack of faith – Matt 14:31
3) Bitterness/discouragement – Matt. 5:13 – This takes the ‘savor’ our of the salt we are supposed to be in the world. Bitterness is toxic and contaminates everything.
4) Trusting in man – Jermiah 17:5 – Our value is hidden in Him.
5) The work of the Enemy – Ephesians 6:10 –If he can destroy your hope, he can destroy your life
6) False Expectations – John 16:33 – Bad things do happen to good people. That happens. Everything is not going to be alright. It’s not a matter of whether we deserve it or not. You know what we deserve. Anything about that is grace. You should not expect all to be just fine. Only expect from God.
***What we want and what we need is not the same. God knows what we need and gives us exactly that.
The Hope Equation
Faith (Heb 11:6) + Patience (Colossians 1:9-10) = Hope (2 Thes. 2:16-17)
Faith that God is who he is.
Patience that God will fulfill his promises like he says he will
To build hope in your heart for every circumstance, you must focus:
1) On God and His glory. Rev. 4:11
How will we make God shine? Many times we don’t reflect of god of Glory. There are 2 attitudes:
a) Everything’s great!! Yay, glory to God. Everything is wonderful!
b) We go to church, but then complain, ‘oh, I have so many problems…’
Both attitudes are wrong – neither bring glory to God.
(My comments on this: The first attitude is not real and denies reality. The second lets reality rule and dwells on the negative)
Best way to witness is to be transparent. People should see the problems in my life, but see that in the middle of the crisis, we have something. We are like them, but different.
2) On God and His sovereignty. Who does your life belong to? Is he really Lord?
We often are not living in that dependent date. We fail to ask God.
***We all plan our lives, but few of us plan our death. ‘I am planning my death so that when I die, people will say that this man lived by God, for God, so that the nations will know God, for His glory.’
If we develop an independent heart, when the important times come, we won’t accept his sovereignty.
Where is our focus?
God does have the last word. And it is good.
3) On God and his work. Ecc. 11:4-5
***Chess example. When you make one move, it will have an effect 7-8 moves later. God is doing something now that you may not realize the results of until 5, 10, 15 years later.
***LOVE the time you are living right now! Love the difficulty. Understand, believe that God is working and that there is something He is doing that will bear fruit later.
The only way to receive a larger blessing is to let go of the one you have.
God always wins in his chess game!
4) On God and his character. 1 Samuel 17:33-37 (I think this was my most favorite part !)
The law of preparation.
***Lions, bears and giants (for David). How did God prepare David for the giant? He had to practice a lot at the slingshot.
***There are times in our lives when nothing is happening, but God wants us to be preparing our slingshot because when it’s time to use it, it needs to be a perfect shot.
***Times when we have quietness with God to practice, times of bearts, and lions. When the lions and bears come, we tend to run and cry. But, we must face the lion and bear because it may just be the preparation for the 'giant' task God has for you. Face it!
2 Timothy 2:15 – the law of approval.
1st year medical student can’t say he’s a doctor. He has to finish training/preparation first. He wants the blessings of being a doctor, but he needs the approval first.
***We long for the blessings in life. But we should run after the approval of God- whatever that may mean for each one of us, and then the blessings will chase us.
5) On God and his spiritual resources.
Jesus is your peace.
The Holy spirit
His word – “In your law, is my delight.” God listens to a heart humbled before Him.
Prayer and worship- Phil. 4:5-6
The Christian family – find it in a place where people are seeking God.
“Your boat isn’t going to sink. The storm will not last forever.”
***So many times we trust God for a season and then we stop. What if Daniel had stopped fasting on the 20th day (Daniel 10:2-3) God might bring the answer tomorrow. Don’t give up hope. Don’t cut God’s work short. Hope does not disappoint.
(My comments on this: God is doing a work, and if we stop hoping, we will never realize all that He has for us. We also will not receive the blessing of being a part of the task He has for us – He may find someone else to use in our place… God wants us to realize that He is so amazing that we long for Him and never give up hope, never give up waiting. We desire with all our hearts to trust Him and follow Him.)
James 1:4 – Patience must have completion