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Mockingbird
07-29-2007, 09:11 PM
What is the difference between faith and hope? We remember the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to king Neuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up." Daniel: 3:17-18. The statement of faith is as follows: "Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, He is still our God." Now, here is the statement of hope: "He will deliver us."

Having cystic fibrosis, I found it necessary to focus on faith. I believed God was able to deliver me from illness and pain, but lacking hope, I did not believe He would deliver me in this life (I had hope in the eternal, but as far as this life was concerned, I could see no hope). I began to see life as continually being cast into the furnace. As a result, I had only a grim determination to face the scorching flames of each day.

Faith and hope are like mercy and truth, it is not enough to focus on only one or the other. Without faith, hope is desperate, while without hope, faith is lacking. We remember these words from Jesus: "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you, too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " Luke 17:7-10. However, we also remember when Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15.

Now, to say only "I am an unworthy slave" is focus on faith and neglect hope, to abound in truth yet lack mercy. Likewise, when we say only "God has made me his friend" we have great hope, but our faith is shallow; we possess mercy, but without truth it becomes a deception to us. However, "We are unworthy slaves, yet God has made us our friend." In this statement faith is perfected by hope, and hope is justified through faith.

Living with cystic fibrosis, hope does not always come easily. We know we have hope in eternal life, but what of this life? What do we have to hope for? Yet hope is necessary in this life.

"It is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it is written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." 1 Corinthians 9:8-10. It says elsewhere in the Law of Moses concerning times of war, "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to lose its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, other wise he might die in battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man might marry her.' " Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

Now, an ox who is threshing is like a man who is living in good faith, and to muzzle an ox is to deprive him of reward for his labor. If God commands us not to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, He will surely not do it Himself, will He? Even though we realize in faith God can muzzle the ox and be justified in doing so, in hope we know it is not God's purpose that we should be exasperated or lose heart. Otherwise, what person would build a house without hope of dedicating it? Or who would plant a vineyard without hope of eating its fruit? Or who would become engaged without expectation of being married? And we recognize the house we speak of is not a house made of wood, but a house built with faith and works in Christ Jesus; the vineyard we are planting is not sown in the ground of the earth, but in the hearts of our fellow man, and the marriage to which we are engaged refers not to the union of a man and a woman, but the union between man and God. If God wishes us to accomplish these things as His children, will He not encourage us? Or what parent does not reward a child for good behavior, even in small matters?

God does not want us to be without hope. In the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah, we find Jerusalem besieged by a great army, the Chaldeans. Yet in the midst of all this, when God has proclaimed disaster upon the nation of Israel, He tells Jeremiah to buy for himself a field. Jeremiah does so in faith, but it is little wonder when he prays to God, "Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it. You have said to me, O Lord God, 'Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses' - although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." Jeremiah 32:24-25. God responds to Jeremiah, however, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 23:27, and, "Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.' Men will by fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes." Jeremiah 32:42-44.

Jeremiah had great faith, but here we have God telling Jeremiah to live life with hope for the future, even in the most desperate of circumstances. Even in discipline He does not wish us to lose hope. "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:19-25.

All this time I have been working as a servant, expecting nothing besides pain and difficulty for serving my Master. This I had accepted because I thought it was right. I had muzzled myself knowing I was unworthy to share in the Lord's bounty, yet God removed the muzzle from my mouth, saying, "Never wear this again, for My crop is yours." God has put His arms around His unworthy servant and said, "I do not consider you my slave, but you are my friend, with whom I share My hopes and dreams." The Lord's way is so much better than my own, for when I plow in hope I have a reason to plow, and when I thresh in hope I have a reason to thresh. There is much work to be done in this world, but in hope the work becomes easy and the burden is light. Even with cystic fibrosis, life seems so much more precious, and I have a new-found desire to live. Whether I live or die, His hope is with me, and how wonderful is His hope!

Mockingbird
07-29-2007, 09:11 PM
What is the difference between faith and hope? We remember the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to king Neuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up." Daniel: 3:17-18. The statement of faith is as follows: "Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, He is still our God." Now, here is the statement of hope: "He will deliver us."

Having cystic fibrosis, I found it necessary to focus on faith. I believed God was able to deliver me from illness and pain, but lacking hope, I did not believe He would deliver me in this life (I had hope in the eternal, but as far as this life was concerned, I could see no hope). I began to see life as continually being cast into the furnace. As a result, I had only a grim determination to face the scorching flames of each day.

Faith and hope are like mercy and truth, it is not enough to focus on only one or the other. Without faith, hope is desperate, while without hope, faith is lacking. We remember these words from Jesus: "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you, too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " Luke 17:7-10. However, we also remember when Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15.

Now, to say only "I am an unworthy slave" is focus on faith and neglect hope, to abound in truth yet lack mercy. Likewise, when we say only "God has made me his friend" we have great hope, but our faith is shallow; we possess mercy, but without truth it becomes a deception to us. However, "We are unworthy slaves, yet God has made us our friend." In this statement faith is perfected by hope, and hope is justified through faith.

Living with cystic fibrosis, hope does not always come easily. We know we have hope in eternal life, but what of this life? What do we have to hope for? Yet hope is necessary in this life.

"It is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it is written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." 1 Corinthians 9:8-10. It says elsewhere in the Law of Moses concerning times of war, "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to lose its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, other wise he might die in battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man might marry her.' " Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

Now, an ox who is threshing is like a man who is living in good faith, and to muzzle an ox is to deprive him of reward for his labor. If God commands us not to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, He will surely not do it Himself, will He? Even though we realize in faith God can muzzle the ox and be justified in doing so, in hope we know it is not God's purpose that we should be exasperated or lose heart. Otherwise, what person would build a house without hope of dedicating it? Or who would plant a vineyard without hope of eating its fruit? Or who would become engaged without expectation of being married? And we recognize the house we speak of is not a house made of wood, but a house built with faith and works in Christ Jesus; the vineyard we are planting is not sown in the ground of the earth, but in the hearts of our fellow man, and the marriage to which we are engaged refers not to the union of a man and a woman, but the union between man and God. If God wishes us to accomplish these things as His children, will He not encourage us? Or what parent does not reward a child for good behavior, even in small matters?

God does not want us to be without hope. In the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah, we find Jerusalem besieged by a great army, the Chaldeans. Yet in the midst of all this, when God has proclaimed disaster upon the nation of Israel, He tells Jeremiah to buy for himself a field. Jeremiah does so in faith, but it is little wonder when he prays to God, "Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it. You have said to me, O Lord God, 'Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses' - although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." Jeremiah 32:24-25. God responds to Jeremiah, however, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 23:27, and, "Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.' Men will by fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes." Jeremiah 32:42-44.

Jeremiah had great faith, but here we have God telling Jeremiah to live life with hope for the future, even in the most desperate of circumstances. Even in discipline He does not wish us to lose hope. "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:19-25.

All this time I have been working as a servant, expecting nothing besides pain and difficulty for serving my Master. This I had accepted because I thought it was right. I had muzzled myself knowing I was unworthy to share in the Lord's bounty, yet God removed the muzzle from my mouth, saying, "Never wear this again, for My crop is yours." God has put His arms around His unworthy servant and said, "I do not consider you my slave, but you are my friend, with whom I share My hopes and dreams." The Lord's way is so much better than my own, for when I plow in hope I have a reason to plow, and when I thresh in hope I have a reason to thresh. There is much work to be done in this world, but in hope the work becomes easy and the burden is light. Even with cystic fibrosis, life seems so much more precious, and I have a new-found desire to live. Whether I live or die, His hope is with me, and how wonderful is His hope!

Mockingbird
07-29-2007, 09:11 PM
What is the difference between faith and hope? We remember the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to king Neuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up." Daniel: 3:17-18. The statement of faith is as follows: "Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, He is still our God." Now, here is the statement of hope: "He will deliver us."

Having cystic fibrosis, I found it necessary to focus on faith. I believed God was able to deliver me from illness and pain, but lacking hope, I did not believe He would deliver me in this life (I had hope in the eternal, but as far as this life was concerned, I could see no hope). I began to see life as continually being cast into the furnace. As a result, I had only a grim determination to face the scorching flames of each day.

Faith and hope are like mercy and truth, it is not enough to focus on only one or the other. Without faith, hope is desperate, while without hope, faith is lacking. We remember these words from Jesus: "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you, too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " Luke 17:7-10. However, we also remember when Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15.

Now, to say only "I am an unworthy slave" is focus on faith and neglect hope, to abound in truth yet lack mercy. Likewise, when we say only "God has made me his friend" we have great hope, but our faith is shallow; we possess mercy, but without truth it becomes a deception to us. However, "We are unworthy slaves, yet God has made us our friend." In this statement faith is perfected by hope, and hope is justified through faith.

Living with cystic fibrosis, hope does not always come easily. We know we have hope in eternal life, but what of this life? What do we have to hope for? Yet hope is necessary in this life.

"It is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it is written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." 1 Corinthians 9:8-10. It says elsewhere in the Law of Moses concerning times of war, "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to lose its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, other wise he might die in battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man might marry her.' " Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

Now, an ox who is threshing is like a man who is living in good faith, and to muzzle an ox is to deprive him of reward for his labor. If God commands us not to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, He will surely not do it Himself, will He? Even though we realize in faith God can muzzle the ox and be justified in doing so, in hope we know it is not God's purpose that we should be exasperated or lose heart. Otherwise, what person would build a house without hope of dedicating it? Or who would plant a vineyard without hope of eating its fruit? Or who would become engaged without expectation of being married? And we recognize the house we speak of is not a house made of wood, but a house built with faith and works in Christ Jesus; the vineyard we are planting is not sown in the ground of the earth, but in the hearts of our fellow man, and the marriage to which we are engaged refers not to the union of a man and a woman, but the union between man and God. If God wishes us to accomplish these things as His children, will He not encourage us? Or what parent does not reward a child for good behavior, even in small matters?

God does not want us to be without hope. In the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah, we find Jerusalem besieged by a great army, the Chaldeans. Yet in the midst of all this, when God has proclaimed disaster upon the nation of Israel, He tells Jeremiah to buy for himself a field. Jeremiah does so in faith, but it is little wonder when he prays to God, "Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it. You have said to me, O Lord God, 'Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses' - although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." Jeremiah 32:24-25. God responds to Jeremiah, however, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 23:27, and, "Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.' Men will by fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes." Jeremiah 32:42-44.

Jeremiah had great faith, but here we have God telling Jeremiah to live life with hope for the future, even in the most desperate of circumstances. Even in discipline He does not wish us to lose hope. "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:19-25.

All this time I have been working as a servant, expecting nothing besides pain and difficulty for serving my Master. This I had accepted because I thought it was right. I had muzzled myself knowing I was unworthy to share in the Lord's bounty, yet God removed the muzzle from my mouth, saying, "Never wear this again, for My crop is yours." God has put His arms around His unworthy servant and said, "I do not consider you my slave, but you are my friend, with whom I share My hopes and dreams." The Lord's way is so much better than my own, for when I plow in hope I have a reason to plow, and when I thresh in hope I have a reason to thresh. There is much work to be done in this world, but in hope the work becomes easy and the burden is light. Even with cystic fibrosis, life seems so much more precious, and I have a new-found desire to live. Whether I live or die, His hope is with me, and how wonderful is His hope!

Mockingbird
07-29-2007, 09:11 PM
What is the difference between faith and hope? We remember the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to king Neuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up." Daniel: 3:17-18. The statement of faith is as follows: "Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, He is still our God." Now, here is the statement of hope: "He will deliver us."

Having cystic fibrosis, I found it necessary to focus on faith. I believed God was able to deliver me from illness and pain, but lacking hope, I did not believe He would deliver me in this life (I had hope in the eternal, but as far as this life was concerned, I could see no hope). I began to see life as continually being cast into the furnace. As a result, I had only a grim determination to face the scorching flames of each day.

Faith and hope are like mercy and truth, it is not enough to focus on only one or the other. Without faith, hope is desperate, while without hope, faith is lacking. We remember these words from Jesus: "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you, too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " Luke 17:7-10. However, we also remember when Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15.

Now, to say only "I am an unworthy slave" is focus on faith and neglect hope, to abound in truth yet lack mercy. Likewise, when we say only "God has made me his friend" we have great hope, but our faith is shallow; we possess mercy, but without truth it becomes a deception to us. However, "We are unworthy slaves, yet God has made us our friend." In this statement faith is perfected by hope, and hope is justified through faith.

Living with cystic fibrosis, hope does not always come easily. We know we have hope in eternal life, but what of this life? What do we have to hope for? Yet hope is necessary in this life.

"It is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it is written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." 1 Corinthians 9:8-10. It says elsewhere in the Law of Moses concerning times of war, "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to lose its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, other wise he might die in battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man might marry her.' " Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

Now, an ox who is threshing is like a man who is living in good faith, and to muzzle an ox is to deprive him of reward for his labor. If God commands us not to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, He will surely not do it Himself, will He? Even though we realize in faith God can muzzle the ox and be justified in doing so, in hope we know it is not God's purpose that we should be exasperated or lose heart. Otherwise, what person would build a house without hope of dedicating it? Or who would plant a vineyard without hope of eating its fruit? Or who would become engaged without expectation of being married? And we recognize the house we speak of is not a house made of wood, but a house built with faith and works in Christ Jesus; the vineyard we are planting is not sown in the ground of the earth, but in the hearts of our fellow man, and the marriage to which we are engaged refers not to the union of a man and a woman, but the union between man and God. If God wishes us to accomplish these things as His children, will He not encourage us? Or what parent does not reward a child for good behavior, even in small matters?

God does not want us to be without hope. In the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah, we find Jerusalem besieged by a great army, the Chaldeans. Yet in the midst of all this, when God has proclaimed disaster upon the nation of Israel, He tells Jeremiah to buy for himself a field. Jeremiah does so in faith, but it is little wonder when he prays to God, "Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it. You have said to me, O Lord God, 'Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses' - although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." Jeremiah 32:24-25. God responds to Jeremiah, however, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 23:27, and, "Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.' Men will by fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes." Jeremiah 32:42-44.

Jeremiah had great faith, but here we have God telling Jeremiah to live life with hope for the future, even in the most desperate of circumstances. Even in discipline He does not wish us to lose hope. "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:19-25.

All this time I have been working as a servant, expecting nothing besides pain and difficulty for serving my Master. This I had accepted because I thought it was right. I had muzzled myself knowing I was unworthy to share in the Lord's bounty, yet God removed the muzzle from my mouth, saying, "Never wear this again, for My crop is yours." God has put His arms around His unworthy servant and said, "I do not consider you my slave, but you are my friend, with whom I share My hopes and dreams." The Lord's way is so much better than my own, for when I plow in hope I have a reason to plow, and when I thresh in hope I have a reason to thresh. There is much work to be done in this world, but in hope the work becomes easy and the burden is light. Even with cystic fibrosis, life seems so much more precious, and I have a new-found desire to live. Whether I live or die, His hope is with me, and how wonderful is His hope!

Mockingbird
07-29-2007, 09:11 PM
What is the difference between faith and hope? We remember the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to king Neuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up." Daniel: 3:17-18. The statement of faith is as follows: "Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, He is still our God." Now, here is the statement of hope: "He will deliver us."

Having cystic fibrosis, I found it necessary to focus on faith. I believed God was able to deliver me from illness and pain, but lacking hope, I did not believe He would deliver me in this life (I had hope in the eternal, but as far as this life was concerned, I could see no hope). I began to see life as continually being cast into the furnace. As a result, I had only a grim determination to face the scorching flames of each day.

Faith and hope are like mercy and truth, it is not enough to focus on only one or the other. Without faith, hope is desperate, while without hope, faith is lacking. We remember these words from Jesus: "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you, too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " Luke 17:7-10. However, we also remember when Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15.

Now, to say only "I am an unworthy slave" is focus on faith and neglect hope, to abound in truth yet lack mercy. Likewise, when we say only "God has made me his friend" we have great hope, but our faith is shallow; we possess mercy, but without truth it becomes a deception to us. However, "We are unworthy slaves, yet God has made us our friend." In this statement faith is perfected by hope, and hope is justified through faith.

Living with cystic fibrosis, hope does not always come easily. We know we have hope in eternal life, but what of this life? What do we have to hope for? Yet hope is necessary in this life.

"It is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it is written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." 1 Corinthians 9:8-10. It says elsewhere in the Law of Moses concerning times of war, "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to lose its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, other wise he might die in battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in battle and another man might marry her.' " Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

Now, an ox who is threshing is like a man who is living in good faith, and to muzzle an ox is to deprive him of reward for his labor. If God commands us not to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, He will surely not do it Himself, will He? Even though we realize in faith God can muzzle the ox and be justified in doing so, in hope we know it is not God's purpose that we should be exasperated or lose heart. Otherwise, what person would build a house without hope of dedicating it? Or who would plant a vineyard without hope of eating its fruit? Or who would become engaged without expectation of being married? And we recognize the house we speak of is not a house made of wood, but a house built with faith and works in Christ Jesus; the vineyard we are planting is not sown in the ground of the earth, but in the hearts of our fellow man, and the marriage to which we are engaged refers not to the union of a man and a woman, but the union between man and God. If God wishes us to accomplish these things as His children, will He not encourage us? Or what parent does not reward a child for good behavior, even in small matters?

God does not want us to be without hope. In the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah, we find Jerusalem besieged by a great army, the Chaldeans. Yet in the midst of all this, when God has proclaimed disaster upon the nation of Israel, He tells Jeremiah to buy for himself a field. Jeremiah does so in faith, but it is little wonder when he prays to God, "Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it. You have said to me, O Lord God, 'Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses' - although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." Jeremiah 32:24-25. God responds to Jeremiah, however, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 23:27, and, "Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.' Men will by fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes." Jeremiah 32:42-44.

Jeremiah had great faith, but here we have God telling Jeremiah to live life with hope for the future, even in the most desperate of circumstances. Even in discipline He does not wish us to lose hope. "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:19-25.

All this time I have been working as a servant, expecting nothing besides pain and difficulty for serving my Master. This I had accepted because I thought it was right. I had muzzled myself knowing I was unworthy to share in the Lord's bounty, yet God removed the muzzle from my mouth, saying, "Never wear this again, for My crop is yours." God has put His arms around His unworthy servant and said, "I do not consider you my slave, but you are my friend, with whom I share My hopes and dreams." The Lord's way is so much better than my own, for when I plow in hope I have a reason to plow, and when I thresh in hope I have a reason to thresh. There is much work to be done in this world, but in hope the work becomes easy and the burden is light. Even with cystic fibrosis, life seems so much more precious, and I have a new-found desire to live. Whether I live or die, His hope is with me, and how wonderful is His hope!