When You've Lost All Hope

Learning How To Have Hope And Strength In Hard Times

Dan Franklin
Feb 13, 2022    38m
Have you found yourself losing hope? If so, The story of God's temple being rebuilt in the Book of Haggai teaches us how to have hope and strength in hard times. Hope is critical in our lives; hope is what drives us forward when life is hard and when we want to give up, and so losing hope is pretty crushing, but with Jesus in our lives, we live in the reality that the best days are always in the future. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] You know, we just sang a few minutes ago about hope, and I want to start this morning with us just talking about hope, making sure we have a picture in our minds of what hope is. Do you know what hope is? Hope is that great, majestic view that you get at the end of a long, grueling hike. Hope is that college acceptance letter that you get after working and working for the grades and the test scores, and you finally get that in the mail. Hope, if you're a parent, hope is when you overhear, secretly, your kid talking to one of their friends and they say to one of their friends a life lesson that you've said to them over and over again, and you suddenly realize that they've internalized it, and then you get out of there as soon as possible, so they won't notice you and take it back. Hope is what's going to drive over one hundred professional athletes, later on this afternoon, to try to win the Super Bowl. So that they can have the glory of hoisting that trophy, and the glory of calling themselves for the rest of their lives, champions. Hope is what drives us forward when we're going through difficult things, and it can be as every day as just hope is the paycheck that you get after two weeks of hard work, or it can be as significant as hope is that baby that you get at the end of nine months of pregnancy.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:48] Hope is what drives us forward when life is hard and when we want to give up, and so losing hope is pretty crushing, right? When you don't have hope, how in the world are you going to find a way to go on? And that's what we're going to look at today, we're going to ask the question, how do you respond when you begin to fear that your best days are behind you? Hope is the promise of a better future, of better days ahead, not just the possibility of better days ahead, but the expectation, the confidence, the promise, that the best days are in the future, and so what do you do when you begin to conclude that your best days are behind you?

Dan Franklin: [00:02:33] I ask this question, because this is what the Israelites were encountering in this passage that we're going to go through in the Book of Haggai. You've just heard it read, let me give a little bit of the setting for this. We're going through this five-week series through the book of Haggai, and we're calling it Rebuilding, because literally the Israelites were rebuilding the temple and rebuilding Jerusalem during this time. And because we, as a culture, are going through a time where we're talking a lot about rebuilding. We're talking about it as a society, we're talking about it as a church, we've even talked about it on an individual level. And so we get to see the story, where literal rebuilding is happening, and we get to see how God was leading the people through this. Now we're in the third week, and each week we've been talking about how there's a different phase in the rebuilding process that the people of Israel went through.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:21] So two weeks ago, we talked about phase one, which is, take stock. In other words, look at your life and see where rebuilding needs to happen, see what's going on in your life that's led you to a point where rebuilding does need to take place. And we've even talked about, there's an individual level to this, where all of us are meant to pause and look at ourselves and say, where is God wanting to rebuild, is it my prayer life, is it my marriage, is it in my personal habits, is it in the fight against sin in some way? Where is God calling me to take stock and rebuild?

Dan Franklin: [00:03:53] And after phase one, where we take stock, last week we talked about phase two, where you step out. Where the Israelites said, all right, despite the fact that the King of Persia 16 years ago told us to stop building, we're going to trust and obey God, and we are going to rebuild and come what may. They stepped out in risky faith, and after we've paused and taken stock, our calling is to step out in risky faith, trusting that God is going to come through.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:23] Now we've talked about this, all right, there's an individual level we do want to look at this and say, how is God calling me to rebuild? But as we talk about this, I hope that you're also catching that there's a vision for how we're all part of the bigger rebuild. And as the church, not just LBF church, but as the people of God in general, we are always building, we are always rebuilding. And what we're always building towards, is that we would be a community of people who have completely given ourselves to Jesus and his mission. That we would not just casually be saying, all right, we're going to try to be good folk, and we're going to try to be kind to each other, and just get a little bit better and behave a little bit nicer, but that we are saying we are bringing our gifts, we're bringing our money, we're bringing our resources, and we are bringing ourselves to Jesus, we are trusting him completely, and we're giving ourselves over to what he's doing in the world. That's the rebuilding that we are all a part of, and what we get to look at today is what happened when the Israelites started to lose hope.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:24] And so phase three in the rebuilding process is the phase where we look forward. Where we look ahead to the hope and to the promises that we've been given, so that when work gets frustrating, we don't give up. Now we're going to walk through these nine verses in Haggai chapter 2, I know Lauren got you there, if you're not already there, make sure to get there. As we go through this, we're going to see this break down into two real simple parts. Verses 1 through 5, and then verses 6 through 10. In verses 1 through 5, Haggai the Prophet, is going to look at the people of Israel and tell them, this is the work God is calling you to do, this is your work. And then in verses 6 through 10, he's going to say, and now, this is the work God promises to do, and the work God promises to do is what makes your work worthwhile?

Dan Franklin: [00:06:20] So let's start with our work, or with the work that was given to the people of Israel. Again, we've already heard this, but let's look through it, "On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2“Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people." Now, if you've paid attention the first two weeks, a little bit of this will start to sound familiar, Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua the high priest, they keep coming up. With the prophecies, they tend to be focal points because as you can see, it's to all the people, it's to the whole remnant of the people in Jerusalem right now, but it's highlighted by the fact that the governor who's in charge of the civic life, and the high priest who's in charge of the religious life, they're meant to go first, they're meant to take the lead in leading Israel in this rebuilding process.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:16] And also, just as a note on the date, alright, so we keep getting dates, this is the third date that we've got in Haggai, and we're just in the first verse of chapter 2. It started all the way back in 1:1, "On the first day of the sixth month." Then right at the end of Haggai chapter 1, we heard that they started the rebuilding process on the twenty-third day of the sixth month, and now we're on the twenty-first day of the seventh month. So we're about seven weeks from the time that Haggai started prophesying, and we're about four weeks into the actual rebuild of the temple, where they're laying brick upon brick by faith.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:55] So let's check out verse 3 and see how it's going. Verse 3 starts with a question it says, "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory?". Now, what he's asking here is, are there any Israelites in the crowd listening who saw Solomon's temple before the Babylonians destroyed it when you were carried off into exile? Now, it's dangerous to do math upfront, but it was 586 B.C. that the Israelites were carried off into exile and the temple was destroyed, we're in 520 B.C., correct me if I'm wrong, sixty-six years, that means if anybody saw the temple, they're old. I'm sorry if some of you are like, hey! But if you're in your seventies or eighties, no offense, but you're old. And if we're talking about it back in 520 B.C., there are a lot fewer people living that long, and so it's probably not a massive number. If you're offended by that, come on, it's OK to be old. I'm not saying it's bad to be old, I'm just saying, you're old, own it. All right, enough of this, hey, I'm seventy-three years young. No, you're not, you're old, and it's OK to be old. So I didn't know all that was going to happen. So he's asking this question, there's not many people that could say, yeah, I was there, but there's got to be a few. There are a few people that would say, oh yeah, I was a kid, or I was a young man or a young lady, when we were taken off into exile. I remember Solomon's temple and all its beauty and all of the gold that inlaid it, and the Ark of the Covenant was there at the time, and it was this beautiful, amazing structure. So he asked them, how many of you remember it? And then he says, how does it look to you now? And he answers your own question by asking, does it not seem to you like nothing? In other words, he says, I know what you're thinking. If you remember Solomon's Temple, I know what you're thinking, what you're thinking is this doesn't measure up.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:05] Now, maybe part of it is because it's just in the rebuilding process, but even when they were beginning this, 16 years before, you may remember 16 years before this, they laid the foundation before they were told to stop. An interesting event happened when they laid the foundation, and it's recorded in Ezra chapter 3 verse 12. They lay the foundation, and then here's the response, "But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy." In fact, this is interesting, he goes on to say, "No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping." You lay the foundation and there's a big response, and all the people celebrating and shouting for joy don't realize that some of the people shouting, are shouting in grief because they're looking at the foundation of the temple and they're saying, this is it, this isn't what we remember, this isn't the beauty of what we recall. And maybe even some of the people weren't there to see the temple, but they remembered grandma and grandpa talking about it, or mom and dad talking about it, and they're looking at the temple now and they're saying, this is it, this is all that we're getting. There's disappointment here, and you could sort of see the wheels turning, and I'm starting to ask, is this worth it?

Dan Franklin: [00:11:28] By the way, that this is important. do you know what the older people are doing? The older people are pining for the good old days. They're saying, remember, back in Solomon's temple? That was when we were at our height as a nation, we're not really there anymore, longing for the good old days. Let me just show you a quick verse about the good old days, Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 10, "Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions." We have a verse directly telling us, if you're longing for the good old days, you're not being wise. Now, if you're young and you're like new favorite verse, I love this, I'm going to tell this to my parents and my grandparents and all the older people. All right, that's fine, let me just say you will one day reach a day where it will be really tempting to talk about the good old days. I'm in my 40s and I'm like, oh man, remember what it was like back in the 80s and 90s? Thank God for Stranger Things, so that we can relive all the great days in the past. We all do this, just take your turn, we all do this, but what we're told is it's not wise to do this and probably for a couple of reasons. Number one is, you can't get back there, it's not useful. And number two, we all have a way of romanticizing the good old days and forgetting what was really going on. And the same way that maybe some of the older people are remembering the temple inaccurately because all they've got is their imagination.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:03] You know, there are things in our nation right now that are worth grieving over, and it's natural to look back and say things didn't used to be this way. We can look at our nation right now and say, my goodness, how many kids are growing up being born out of wedlock, it didn't used to be like that, this dramatically. And the percentages, it's horrifying when you look at the percentages of kids who are grown up without a dad present in the home. You say that's horrible, it didn't used to be that way, there used to be the expectation that the dad would be present. Or you're looking at education in our country and saying, we're really going downhill, we're not holding people to good standards, good standards of behavior, church attendance isn't what it was. It's natural to look back and say, man, if only we could go back to the time when all of that was different. And then somebody is going to say, back to the time when we had separate drinking fountains for black people and white people, those times? Here's the point, the point is not that there are some things that are worse than before, there are some things that are worse than before. Are there some things that are better than before? You better believe there are some things that are better than before. Don't spend your time pining for the good old days, because first of all, they're gone. And secondly, you probably have a romanticized memory of them. And when we find ourselves dwelling on the good old days, we end up undercutting the good work that God is doing now.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:25] So he's telling them, are you're pining for the good old days. Now, he's going to have a word for them on this, he's going to tell them what they need to do. He even validates it, he says, I understand right now the temple doesn't look like much but let me tell you where you're supposed to do in response to this. Verses 4 and 5, "But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear."

Dan Franklin: [00:15:10] So the end first, we will start with the end first. He says, when I made you into a nation, when I brought you out of Egypt, I covenanted it with you, I promised you that I would be with you. And you can go all the way back to Exodus and read the story of when God made them into a nation and see his promise, don't be afraid because I am with you. He says I'm still going to be with you, this is what I promised, nothing has changed. And so in response to the idea that God will be with them, he says, be strong and work. He says be strong three times. Now here's what he means when he says be strong, what he means is don't let discouragement keep you from doing what God has called you to do, be strong and work. And I love that that's just put at the end there, be strong and work, be strong and keep working. It doesn't look like much right now; do you know what you're supposed to do? Keep working. You're frustrated about how it's going, and it seems slower than it should be, keep working. You're discouraged because surrounding nations are starting to put obstacles in your way and you're not sure how you're going to overcome them, what should you do? Keep working, be strong, don't let discouragement get in the way, and keep working.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:31] And let me just say a quick word on this also, in our sort of pop psychology, therapeutic culture right now, it would be easy to read this and say, I know what God is calling me to. God is calling me to the dreams that I've always had of what my life is supposed to be like, what he's telling me is just keep following your dreams and God will make those dreams a reality. Here's what we need to understand, that is not what he's saying to the people of Israel here. He is not saying I'm going to be the genie and co-sign everything that you've ever dreamed about. He's saying there's something I've called you to do, and I will be with you as you obey me and do your part in all that.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:12] Sometimes God does give us a passion or a dream for doing something for him, and it's clearly from the Holy Spirit, and we're meant to follow through and work hard and pursue that. But if you're simply saying I've always dreamed of being in a house much nicer, I just need to keep working because God's going to get me there. I've always had a dream of having all these kids and grandkids gather together around me. I've always had this dream of going on this wonderful vacation. God's just saying I should just keep going and I'll get there. No, he's not, God does not co-sign every fantasy we have. God calls us to be part of what he's doing in the world, and he says, as you obey, I will be with you. Be strong, keep working.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:57] There's a New Testament verse that's become really important to me over the last 10 years or so, it's Galatians chapter 6 verse 9, and it says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." And I love this verse from Paul because it implies a couple of things, it implies you're going to feel weary about doing good and you're going to want to give up, but he says, don't grow weary in doing good. Do you know why? Because if you keep working, the harvest is coming. Right now, you're sowing seeds, and it's frustrating and it's difficult, keep working, keep going, don't miss out on the harvest because you give up now.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:48] Once a month, we have our kind of normal elder meeting with the elders here at LBF church, and then in addition to that, once a month we gathered together, and we just pray. We just pray for the needs of the church, and we pray for one another, and we pray for what we want to see God do through this church family. And this last Monday, we met for our prayer meeting, and just several of us had had interactions, and we were just really burdened over the brokenness of a number of marriages that are part of this church, and just knowing of the pain and the alienation and the sadness and the loss of hope and the hurt and the children involved. And we just spent some time praying over the marriages, some of those that we knew about specifically, and some that we didn't know specifically, but just prayed, God, move for reconciliation in the marriages that are part of the membership here. And I just want to say to you, some of you, you might not know it, but you got prayed for on Monday. And if you're at the point that you're feeling hopeless, that you're just like, I feel like I've been trying and it's this pathetic little temple here, nothing's really happened, it's not what it's supposed to be. Keep working, don't give up because the harvest is coming, and if you give up now, you're going to miss out on it. And I don't say the harvest is coming to say everything about your marriage is going to be how you always dreamed it would be, but what I'm going to say is God never leaves unrewarded any step of faith that you take. Don't give up, look forward for the harvest.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:29] Right now, you're in the battle against sin in some way and you're just like, this is frustrating. Why do I even try? I should just give in and accept this as a part of my life. Keep working, be strong, don't give up. If you're reaching out with the gospel to your neighbors and your classmates and the people around you, and you're frustrated because you're not seeing any fruit and any response, keep going, don't give up. If you're serving with your gifts with LIFEkids and you're like, I don't really know if this is doing anything, or if you're leading the life group and you're like, I'm not sure if anybody's growing, keep going, don't give up. Don't grow weary in doing good because we're going to talk about this a little bit later, just because you're not seeing what God is doing, doesn't mean God's not doing something. And here they are, discouraged at the temple, and God says to them, keep going, don't give up.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:22] But if we're going to keep going, and if we're not going to give up, we need hope, and that's what we get in the second half of this passage. Because after we're told about our work that we're called to do, we're told about the work that God is going to do. Verses 6 and 7, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty." I love this idea of shaking things, I'm going to shake the heavens, I'm going to shake the Earth, I'm going to shake all nations because we even sort of use this terminology today, we say I'm going to shake things up. That's what God is saying, I'm going to shake things up, God is on the move. He's saying you're frustrated, and you're discouraged, because you're looking at the temple and it doesn't look like much, I am once more going to shake the heavens and the Earth.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:18] And he says once more, because he did this before, back in Exodus Chapter 19, when God gave the Ten Commandments to the people, it says that the Earth trembled. So he's saying, remember when I did that? Remember how I shook the Earth? I'm on the move again, and I'm doing something. And he says, not only am I going to shake the physical structures, that was great for back then, he says, I'm going to shake all nations. And then he uses this cryptic phrase that that's debated, he says, what is desired by all nations will come and I'll fill this house with glory. What is desired by all nations will come. People debate what's meant by this, but what most likely is meant by this, and what most commentators agree he's talking about, is that he's saying foreign nations are going to bring what's most valuable to them, which is their financial treasures, they are going to end up bringing it to this house. When Solomon built his temple, it was beautiful, and it was ornate because Israel was at a time of riches during his kingdom. Israel is poor now, but he says, I'm going to shake the nations and they're going to bring their treasures. And I love this because it's almost like he said, I'm going to turn them upside down, shake them till everything comes out of their pockets, and you're going to get it all. Now, one of the reasons why I think that this is what he's saying is because of what he says next in verse 8. In verse 8 he says, "The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty." He says in case you're wondering, in case you're saying, how is this temple ever going to be glorious? I own all the gold, I own all the silver, finances are not a problem for me. Are any of you right now stressed out over finances? You don't have to raise your hand, I know some of you are, we all experienced that. God owns all the gold, God owns all the silver, finances are not a problem for him.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:13] In fact, I love this because he keeps defining himself, he keeps describing himself as the Lord Almighty. In verses 6 through 9, four verses, five times he calls himself the Lord Almighty. Do you think he wants us to get that message? He is the Lord Almighty; nothing is too difficult for him. Now, by the way, what he is prophesying here, this happened, and not long afterward. Because I told you last week what happens in the process of all this is Israel starts to rebuild, a governor from the Trans Euphrates comes and says, you guys aren't supposed to be doing this, and they say, go ahead and tell the king, that King Cyrus years ago gave us orders to do this. So the governor of Trans Euphrates writes a letter to King Darius, and he says, alright, the Jews are rebuilding their temple, they're not supposed to do this because King Artaxerxes told them not to, go and check because they claim in the record, Cyrus told them to do it. And Darius goes and checks the records, and he says, oh yeah, they're right, they're supposed to be building this. In fact, then he says to Tattenai, the governor, he says, give them everything they need and bring the treasures to that house. God has foreign nations bring their treasures here. And later on, even when Herod ends up refurbishing this, centuries later, foreign nations regularly came and brought tribute and brought treasures, including the Magi, who stopped by this temple before they went to see Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:39] But one more verse, and one more really important step, because this is where hope really comes into play. Verse 9, "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Now, as a quick note, there's debate about exactly how to understand this verse. Some people think what he's saying is this present temple is going to be greater than Solomon's temple. And others think that because of the wording, what he's saying is, the future glory of this temple is going to be greater than the earlier glory of this same temple. The second one is probably the right one, but here's the point both are pointing towards the same reality, the future is going to be greater than the past. You thought it was great back then, you think it's going to be great when you first get this temple up, the future is greater.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:36] You know, I don't know if you know this as a believer in Jesus Christ, you get to live in the reality that the best days are always in the future. No matter how good it is now, no matter how good it was back in the good old days, the future is always greater because God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, your best days are ahead. If you're aging, and you're sick, and you have health problems, and you're like, I might die this year, your best days are ahead because God is working all things together for your good.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:14] But let's try to dig into this, how can this be true, how can it be true that the future of this temple is going to be more glorious than what they've experienced before? I mean, after all, Solomon's temple not only had gold in it, but Solomon's temple had the glory cloud of God's presence, it had the Ark of the Covenant, it had these amazing symbols of the presence of God in it. What could possibly happen in this new temple that would outshine all of that? Yeah, you're seeing it, aren't you? The temple that they are building is the temple where the Son of God one day will step his physical feet. He'll come there every year as a child. He'll end up cleansing the temple because of his passion for it, depending on how you read the Gospels, he might have done it twice. This is the temple that he says, in Matthew chapter 26 verse 55, "Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me." This is the temple that the Son of God one day will come to. Solomon's temple may have had the glory cloud, this temple is getting the son of God in flesh.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:28] This temple is getting Jesus, and when Jesus comes, there's more glory. Because we know some things because of Jesus coming, because of Jesus coming, and because of him taking on flesh, we know that God never stands far off, but God draws near to people who are suffering. Because of Jesus' death, we know that no sin that we've committed is ever going to outshine or outpace the amazing grace and forgiveness that was poured out by Jesus' sacrifice. And because of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, we know that no enemy can ever stop God from bringing final victory to his people.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:13] If you're not a Christian and you're listening to this and you're like, yeah, I need hope, can I get some advice? Yes, here's your advice, put your faith in Jesus. Before we get to, well, continue to work hard, and hard work pays off, and be diligent, and hard work is its own reward, all right, here's the deal, put your faith in Jesus because when your faith is in Jesus, the better days are always in the future because he is working all things together for our good.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:39] And if you're a believer in Jesus, do you know what I'm going to tell you to do? Put your hope in Jesus. So right now, you're saying, all right, this is good, I'm taking care of by Jesus. Now, what good advice do you have for how I make my life as good as it can possibly be? The answer is, put your faith in Jesus, be strong and keep working, follow the path that he has set before you because he is working all things together for your good. And as you're doing that, always remember this, just because you can't see what God is doing, don't ever mistake that for thinking that he's not at work.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:19] Imagine these Jews building this temple, putting brick upon brick, saying this is kind of pathetic, this isn't very impressive, this isn't what it was before. What could possibly happen that would bring greater glory than the past, and you can almost imagine God in heaven just sort of laughing, being like they have no idea, you have no idea the Son of God is one day going to set foot in what they're building.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:40] I mean, even in the United States, where we're not very reverent about these things, you can still go to Georgia and you can see the house that Martin Luther King grew up in, you can still see different sites where presidents and famous people gave speeches because we recognize that that idea of those having significance. He's saying this temple, you're putting that brick on the temple thinking it's not doing anything, the Son of God is going to come here, and he is going to bring peace. Peace between man and God and peace between man and man because of his sacrifice on the cross.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:11] You know, some of you are in the family of God because a mom, a dad, a husband, a wife, somebody prayed for you for decades and you finally responded. Some of you know this, some of you probably don't know this, some of you are like, no, I chose. No, probably somebody prayed for you until finally your heart was stirred. If you are praying diligently, don't ever think that nothing is happening. Just because you can't see what's happening doesn't mean for a second that God isn't at work behind the scenes.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:46] The people of Israel are told to keep working, for what they're told is that because God is working, that makes your work worthwhile, that makes your work, work, that gives you the reason to keep going and not give up. So if you are in that spot where you're thinking of giving up, where you wouldn't want to say it publicly, but you're like, yeah, that marriage thing you talked about, that's us right now, and we're just about ready to give up because of the pain that we're experiencing. Or you're in the battle with sin in some way, and you're just like, I just don't know if I should keep fighting this, I should just define myself by whatever I feel drawn towards. Or you are like, why am I even trying to use my gifts in this? I don't know that God is doing anything through this. The reason that you trust and obey is because you have hope, and also because all along the way, you're trusting in the reality that Jesus is better than whatever you're going to get through giving up. Whatever relief you think you're going to get through throwing in the towel, Jesus is better than that, and his promises will carry you on. Keep working, don't give up, because God is at work.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:56] Now, here's what we're going to do now, we're going to do something as an opportunity to respond. And I'll give you some time to get used to this idea, but I'm going to tell you in a few moments, I'm going to invite some of you to stand if you're at a point where you say, you know what? I feel like, I'm ready to give up, I need hope. And the way that it's going to work is I'm going to invite some of you to stand just where you are if you're saying I need prayer, I need hope, and I'm going to invite people who are around you just to gather around, lay hands on you, and just pray for you as brothers and sisters. We've done this before, and this is one of those elements of that step of faith. We talked about part of what the Israelites did, they took stock and then they stepped out and it felt risky. And some of you might be thinking, well, standing up feels risky, it feels vulnerable. Yeah, it does, you never get the reward of faith if you don't step out. But when you step out, you get to start to experience the hope of what God is going to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:55] First of all, you might not be a Christian and you might be thinking, what do I do? All right, so number one, put your faith in Jesus, but even if you're at a point right now that you're like, I don't know that I'm quite there, I still have questions, I still have doubts, I'm still trying to work that all through. You know what, even if you're not a Christian, don't feel like you're excluded from standing up and saying, I need hope, I'll take some prayer. If your marriage is struggling, if your battle with sin feels like it's a losing battle, if you're frustrated because you're trying to do what God has called you to do, but you just don't see a way through it, please know, God knows every doubt and every discouragement that you're feeling. He is ready with the grace and mercy and help to be poured out to you, and he wants to pour that out through your brothers and sisters in Christ. And I promise you, if you stand, nobody in this room is going to think less of you, they're probably going to think, I wish I had the guts to do that also.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:52] So we're just going to do that now. If you feel like, yeah, I need some hope right now, I need some prayer right now, as I'm talking, don't even wait till I'm done talking, just go ahead and stand up where you are. And in a few moments, I'm going to invite people to gather around you and pray for you. If you're at the point that a battle is getting too fierce, and you just feel like I'm not sure what else to do, if you're at a point where you're frustrated or sad, if you're at a point that temptation just feels too fierce, take the step of faith and go ahead and stand so that people around you can gather around you and pray for you. Thank you.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:50] All right, church, here's what we get to do, is some of you didn't even wait for me to say it, gather around, let's be the body of Christ to those around. If you're not close to anyone who's standing, that's OK, you can sit and you can pray. But if you're close to somebody who's standing, don't let them be standing alone, gather around them. You don't know what they're going through but pray for Jesus to bring hope into them right now, and let's do that now.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:16] Father, God, we thank you so much that you hear every prayer, you hear every cry for help, you see every broken heart, you see every place where hope is needed. Father, I thank you, I thank you for this church family, I thank you for those who took the brave step of standing. And, Father, I pray that they would have such an experience of you meeting them in their step of faith, that they'll be anxious for that next step. Father, bring hope where there's not hope, bring resolve where giving up seems like the best option, and Father, lead all of us to be people who so live by hope that we step forward with faith, anticipating that even when we're not seeing it, you are at work behind the scenes. We pray in the name of our Great Savior, and our one true hope, Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:11] And let me ask you to stand, I want to close the service with a benediction for all of us now. And as I do that, when I'm done with this benediction, there's going to be some folks on the right and on the left, you might have decided not to stand, but you might need prayer. But as a benediction, let me read for us Hebrews chapter 10 verses 22 and 23, "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Amen. Amen. God bless you the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848