HopeSeries: Upside Down. James Dewhurst April 5, 2020
In the opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote, in describing a season of extreme opposites during the French Revolution, “It was the best of times and the worst of times”. As the ball dropped to begin in 2020, America found itself in the middle of a season of unmatched prosperity. Every demographic within our nation was experiencing some level of growth, as unemployment was at record lows and job opportunities at a record high. America started the year at an all-time high, and now we are experiencing, in the eyes of many, an all-time low. How quickly life can change!!!
This is a humbling reminder that this world is temporary, and it won’t last forever!
1 Corinthians 7:31
31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 13:1
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (ESV)
Hopelessness is arguably the most crippling mental state a person can find themselves in. Without hope, discouragement sets in, depression sets in, fear sets in, anxiety sets in, panic sets in, and doom sets in. Hopelessness is a black hole that overwhelms!
We cannot lose our hope! Christians have another name. We’re also called believers!
Hope is the confident belief, based upon the promises of God, that things will get better!
We can drop our heads and expect the worst or lift our heads and hope for the best!
A crippled man once said – “Once you choose hope, anything becomes possible!”
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (ESV)
18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” (ESV)
Martin Luther – “Everything that is (ever) done in this world is done by hope.”
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)
Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary to Burma, in the face of imprisonment and torture, responded to his torture, “My future is as bright as the promises of God!”
Scientific research tells us that the bodies of sick people who have Hope often recover, but those without Hope often shut down. Hopelessness shuts down everything in life!
1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (ESV)
The truth is, the roots of Hopelessness begin in the mind. Feelings follow our thoughts and thoughts shape our perceptions. Hopelessness is a choice, not a circumstance!
7 for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. (ESV)
+The Hebrew word for thinks is Sa’ar and refers to our reasoning.
+This same Hebrew word is also defined as a gateway or an entrance.
+The thoughts we choose to focus our attention on, literally become the gateway that determines who we become. We think ourselves into life we end up living!!!
-Fear doesn’t start in the body, it starts in the mind!
-Anxiety doesn’t start in the body, it starts in the mind!
-Negativity doesn’t start in the body, it starts in the mind!
-Hopelessness doesn’t start in the body, it starts in the mind!
Franklin D. Roosevelt – “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their minds.”
Someone else said – “No matter where you go or what you do, you (will) live your entire life within the confines of your head.”
Albert Einstein – “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
1 Corinthians 10:4-5
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (ESV)
+Our minds are a spiritual war zone and must be given spiritual boundaries.
+In Greek, the word obedient refers to a parallel of a slave and his master.
+The Bible is telling us we have to make our thoughts a slave to God’s truth.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
We have to constantly weed the garden of our minds and choose to believe the truth!
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV)
+The word used for the mind here is Nous and means: the seat of our affection!
+Every day that we wake up, there is a battle over who or what will control our minds.
+Whatever we allow controlling our minds will end up taking over our entire life!
Someone once said – “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can (certainly) keep it from making a nest.”
I know there are all kinds of thoughts that are trying to make a nest in your mind right now. Thoughts that lead to paralyzing emotions. We are all human, and it is natural to have concerns. The question is, what do we do with thoughts when they come?
To overcome hopeless thinking, secular psychologists often lean on the placebo effect, to try and trick the mind into thinking differently, but people of faith can transition their thoughts from fear and hopelessness to life-changing truth.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (ESV)
Every thought that comes into our minds, we either agree with or disagree with. We do this every day of our lives. Some thoughts we disregard and reject, while other thoughts we accept as truth, even if they aren’t. Thoughts that are agreed with becoming beliefs that manifest in emotions and physical manifestations. When fearful, negative and hopeless thoughts enter our minds, we have to disagree with them and choose the opposite truth to agree with. This is how we take our thoughts captive and renew our minds. This is not minding over matter, this is true over lies. Hope over hopelessness!
At the bottom of your App notes and on our website is a list of Scriptures for you!
Nearly 2020 years ago, the Jewish people found themselves in a state of frustration and hopelessness. Living under the heel and tyranny of the Roman Empire, the Jewish people were disliked, overtaxed and oppressed. They were hoping for a political leader or conquering king to overthrow the Roman government and end their plight. Then on a spring Sunday, in AD 30, one week before Easter, Jesus rode into Jerusalem:
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (ESV)
+Over 200,000 Jews waved Palm branches and Shouted Hosanna, meaning Save us!
+The only problem was, Jesus didn’t come with a sword, he came riding on a donkey!
+When someone came riding in on a donkey, it was the universal sign for peace!
+The Jews wanted Jesus to defeat Rome, but the Price of Peace came to defeat death!
+ They wanted Jesus to get them out of it, but Jesus came to get them through it!
*Peace isn’t the absence of a storm. It’s embracing Jesus in the middle of it!*
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (ESV)
The only thing that brings peace to a troubled mind, is fixing it on the God of Peace!