Recovering Stolen Hope

Learning How To Recover Lost Hope In Difficult Times

Dan Franklin
Dec 3, 2023    39m
Have you had your hope stolen by difficult circumstances? When life gets hard, do you find yourself overwhelmed by sadness, anxiety, or despair? You don't have to passively wait for hope to reappear - you can actively recover lost hope. Listen to this encouraging sermon to learn biblical truths about placing your confident expectation in God's good plans, redeeming the dark times, and pursuing a future filled with purpose. Be empowered to make the choice to hope again. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Life Bible - Recovering Stolen Hope
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Cameron: [00:00:20] Hello, my name is Cameron from EXIT83. Today I'll be reading Psalms 43:1-5, "Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. 2You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? 3Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:06] Amen. You can grab a seat. Thanks, Cameron. Awesome to have some of our EXIT83 students leading us this morning and getting to experience where God is at work there. And it's awesome to get to start off Advent this morning. If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, advent just means coming or appearance; and so it's this time of the year as we lead up to Christmas, that we celebrate the coming and the appearance of the Son of God, that first Christmas Day in Bethlehem.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:39] Now, one of the things that also happens during Christmas time is every commercial turns Christmassy. So every commercial, and this one's been on for years. It has different permutations now, but you know, the commercial where the spouse or the person has got their spouse a car for Christmas, they go out into the driveway, and the car's there with the giant bow on it, and they've just given it to their spouse. Which, by the way, like, I don't know, like ten years ago, Karina turned to me when one of these commercials came on and said, if you ever go out on your own and buy me a car for Christmas, I will not be happy. And I was like, you have nothing to worry about, that is not in our budget, we are not doing that. But just imagine for a second, imagine it's not part of your budget, it's not coming out of there, but somebody gave you a car for Christmas, a brand-new car. And maybe you're excited because you either don't have a car, or the car that you have is starting to run down, and now you've got this great new car, new car smell, good gas mileage, which is really important right now. You've got all of these great situations going on, a much more comfortable ride for the whole family, and so you're going around and you're enjoying this great gift that you've received. But then a month later you get up, you go and look in your driveway, and the car is just gone, it's not there because it's been stolen. And just think in your head for a minute, what you would do, and I'll tell you what you wouldn't do. What you wouldn't do is shrug your shoulders and say, well, I guess it's gone, you would not do that. You would get on the phone, you'd get the police over there, you'd file the report, and you would do everything that you could to recover that stolen gift. You would want that back so that you could once again experience all the benefits of that generous gift that you received.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:40] Now, during Advent, we, along with churches all over the world, are going to celebrate the four gifts that we honor Jesus for bringing us when he first appeared. Those gifts are hope, peace, joy, and love. And each Sunday in Advent will highlight one of those gifts. But here's what I think has happened to some of us, these are gifts, if you're a believer in Jesus, you have received these gifts. By Jesus's appearing, you got hope, you got peace, you got joy, you got love, but too many of us have gone and we've looked in the front driveway and we found that those gifts have been stolen. We're not always even sure exactly how it happened, but we look at our lives and we're like, I don't know that I have hope, I have a lot more sadness and despair. I don't know that I have peace, I have a lot of anxiety and chaos. I don't know that I have joy, I have a lot of grief and sadness. And I don't know that I have love, I just have a lot of loneliness. We've got these gifts, they're here, they've arrived, but somehow they've been stolen. And the sad thing is that way too many of us look at those stolen gifts, and we just shrug our shoulders and say, well, I guess there's nothing I can do. And so for us, during this Advent season, we are going to be talking about recovering stolen gifts; that hope is ours, that peace is ours, that joy is ours, and that love is ours, and we want them back.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:17] And so we're going to go each week on a recovery mission. And today we start with recovering lost hope. Now, here's the thing with hope, we talk a lot about hope, especially at Christmas time. But the way that we popularly talk about hope in our culture is not the same way that it's talked about in the pages of the Bible, the word doesn't mean the same thing. Because when we talk about hope, we're sort of like, cross your fingers, close your eyes, and just really hope it happens. Like we're blowing out the candles of a birthday cake and we're just hoping for the best. We're hoping to get the things on our Christmas wish list. We're hoping that our team makes the playoffs this year. We're hoping for a great family gathering. We're hoping for good weather when we want to be outside. It's no basis in reality, we're just sort of hoping, and that kind of weak hope is not what the biblical authors meant when they talked about hope. I'll put a definition up here for us. Hope is the confident expectation that better days are ahead. It's not shutting your eyes, crossing your fingers, and just hoping for the best. It is the solid ground of believing better days are ahead. And so the question that I want us to ask today is, where is your hope? If we had like a hope-a-meter and all of us were going to evaluate ourselves, there might be some of us who are like, I am filled with hope right now, and there might be some of us that are like, it's not terrible, but it's not great, and then there are some of you that are like, is there a negative part of this? You are just drained of hope, you see darkness all around you, you see despair, you see sadness, and you're like, I don't even know what to say about hope.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:08] Wherever you're at this morning, we get to go through a psalm, an Old Testament psalm that takes us on a journey to recover lost hope. And wherever you're at in this, for some of you, this will be a journey to say I've lost the hope and I'm going to look to get it back. For some of you, you might feel like you have hope, but it is placed in the wrong spot, and you're going to be invited to place your hope on something solid. So Psalm 43, if you have a Bible, turn to Psalm 43. It's towards the middle of the Bible. If you're using a Bible app on your phone, Psalm 43 is where we'll be. It's not very long, it's five verses, but in these five verses, we're going to be taken on sort of a three-part journey. And here are my labels on these three parts of the journey that the psalmist is going to take us on. Part one is what I've got, in other words, it's the situation I'm in right now. Part one is what I've got. Part two is what I want. And part three is what I'm doing. What I've got, what I want, and what I'm doing.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:17] And we start in verses 1 and 2 with the psalmist just telling us the situation, saying, this is what I've got. Verse one "Vindicate me, my God." This is the first of three requests in the opening verse, vindicate me, it's a judgment word. He's saying, God, judge my situation, step in as judge in order to fix what's broken, "Vindicate me, my God." And then he follows it up by saying, "And plead my cause." Which actually in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word that's translated for plead my cause, this is like a fighting word, this is like, get into a fight, get into an argument, get into a quarrel. He's saying, God, go and fight for me, plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Which we'll talk about in a few minutes about what might be going on here, but if it's not just a person that's against him, but if it's a whole nation, this guy's got problems. "Plead my cause against an unfaithful nation." The third request, "Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked." God, I need you to step in as the judge and vindicate me, I need you to go and get into a fight so that you plead my cause, and I need you just to save me, I need you just to deliver me, from those who are deceitful and wicked. And the Hebrew is actually kind of ambiguous with the deceitful and wicked, where it could be a group, it could be kind of the same as the Unfaithful Nation, or some translations have it as just a person, a deceitful and wicked person. And again, we'll talk in a minute about why that might be the case.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:52] In verse 2, he goes on, he says, "You are God my stronghold." And a stronghold is like a military compound, and it's the safest place to be. If you are in a stronghold, you are in the safest place that you can be in time of war. So he's saying, God, that's what you are to me, you're the safest place I can go, you're the safest place that I can be, you are my protector, you are the one who keeps me safe. And that's why it's so strange to him to be saying, why have you rejected me? Now he's not saying this because God came to him and out loud said, I have rejected you. He's saying this because his circumstances are so bad that he can't come up with any other explanation. He says, why must I go about mourning oppressed by the enemy? Why is this happening to me? Why am I in such a dark spot? God, if you care about me, if you've given me these great gifts, if you're paying attention at all, why am I in a situation where the best I can figure out is that you must have rejected me because all I see is darkness and sadness all around me?

Dan Franklin: [00:11:05] Now for some of you, you feel like today you could have written this psalm. You're like, this is me right now, this feels like something out of my diary. For some of you, you might feel like it's a little dramatic, but you relate. You're saying, yeah, there are things in my life right now that I feel like I'm blocked from hope. I'm dealing with difficulty, I'm waiting for God to come through, and I'm not really seeing him do anything. I'm trying to believe that God cares about me, but the way that my life is going, it doesn't really seem to be unfolding that way. And it might be worth, at this moment, to take a pause and say what might be going on, historically, what might be going on in this psalm. And the commentators give two options of the best explanation of what situation he might be referring to.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:55] The first is that this may be a psalm that is just written from the perspective of the average Israelite after they were taken off into captivity in Babylon. A strong foreign nation comes in and invades them, and think about this, beforehand life is going about fine, people are just doing their normal thing, they're looking with hope towards the future, with their children and marriages and work and things like that. A foreign nation comes in, hope is gone and they're off in enemy territory. And in that case, the unfaithful nation would obviously be Babylon, and they would also be the wicked people and deceitful people.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:34] The second option that's given is that this Psalm is written from the perspective of David, when he was the king, and there was an event in King David's life where his son Absalom rebelled and set himself up as a rival king, and the nation sided with Absalom. And so in this case, the unfaithful nation would be Israel, who sided against David with Absalom. If you want to read this story, you can read it in Second Samuel chapter 15, it's all there. Absalom turns against David, and David ends up running away and fleeing, and in this case, the deceitful and wicked person that he talks about would just be that one person, it would be Absalom. The psalm doesn't make it crystal clear, there's kind of arguments on both sides.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:19] But either way, here's what we see is going on, this is not a small problem, this is a big problem. And part of the grief is that either the whole nation or just David is away from home and despair has taken over, darkness has taken over. And one of the things that both these stories tell us is just how fragile hope can be. You're going along fine, and then you're at the fragile, vulnerable point where a nation can come in and just take everything away, or even your own flesh and blood can betray you and take everything away. And for us as human beings, man, our hope is really, really vulnerable, our hope is really, really fragile.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:07] I was thinking of the students who were up here earlier because I was just remembering back in junior high and high school. And man, in junior high and high school, hope is really fragile. Like, all it takes is one friend not saying hi to you one day, and you're just like, my life is over. I mean, you get one bad test back and you're just like, what am I going to do? My future is ruined. And it's funny because for us as adults, we might feel like, all right, maybe we have a little bit more stability in this, but, man, our hope is still really fragile. Just think about the sorts of things that steal our hope. Everything is fine, and then you get passed over for that promotion and now all is lost. Everything was fine, but then you just get that one conversation, that one diagnosis from the doctor, and all seems to be lost. All it takes is a breakup. All it takes is a job that didn't pan out. All it takes is looking around and seeing the societal decay around us and saying, what kind of future is this for me, or for my children, or for my grandchildren? All it takes is anxiety and depression rearing its head again. Or maybe for some of us, maybe for some of you in here, your hope is stolen for this reason. Maybe there is a battle against sin and temptation that you have just decided, it's never going to happen for me. I will never win the battle against this sin, it will always own me, it will always defeat me. I might as well just give up; I have no hope of a future where I am victorious in this area. We get a Psalm that starts with what I've got, and what I've got is darkness and difficulty and a bleak future. And some of you are there right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:52] The psalmist says that's what I've got, but then in verses 3 and 4, he moves into what I want. And this is actually kind of cool, in his darkness, he allows himself to imagine a different future. And so we get into verse 3, and in verse 3 he says, "Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me." He's still praying to God. God, send me your light. Light is associated with God all through the Old Testament and the New Testament, light is illumination. I want to see clearly, so God, send me your light because this is a dark situation. And when he says, send me your faithful care, actually, if you have a different Bible translation, you might see this, probably a better and more simple translation of the Hebrew here is just, send me your light and your truth. Faithfulness is highly connected to truth. So in a way, he's probably just looking at this and saying, I'm in a dark, confusing situation, God, I need your light to lead my way, and I need your truth to tell me what's real and tell me what's not.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:56] And I'll talk more about this at the end, but it's worth pausing here and saying, man, if we are in a dark situation and we're looking to find our way through it and we are not cracking open God's Word and the truth in God's Word, we are ignoring his great gift of truth that he has already sent us. He says, all right, God, here's what I need, send me your light, send me your truth, and those will lead me through this dark situation. And where are they going to lead him? "Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." Because remember, whether this is Israelites in Babylon or whether this is the king away from Jerusalem. In either case, do you know where they want to go? They want to go home, they want to be home, they want to be where they're supposed to be and away from their enemies. And in here, when you read the Old Testament for the Jewish people, that their identity and their understanding of God's closeness to them was all bound up in the land that he had given them. So you've got these grieving Israelites, and we're like, we're not even in the land, or you've got a grieving king who is saying, I'm not even at my throne. So God, lead me back, bring some restoration.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:10] And then look what he goes on to say in verse 4, he says, "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre..." Which was sort of like a harp, it's a musical instrument. "...O God, my God." Now, I don't know if you're picking this up at all, but as you read verse 4, does it seem like there's any sense in which the author seems to be kind of bargaining with God here? Like, hey, God, I've got a deal for you, you bring me back and you know what I'll do? I'm going to sing the best worship songs you've ever heard. I'm going to bring you the greatest offering to the altar you've ever seen. And I think one of the reasons why we see this is, first of all, you see that kind of thing in the Bible sometimes, and also because there's not a single one of us that has not done that at some point. God, if you get me out of this mess, I will give you 50%, maybe not 50%, like 30, 20, God, I will give you more of my money than I'm currently giving you. Like God, if you get me out of this one mess, I promise I'll never sin again, I promise I'll tell all my friends about Jesus. God, if you just do this for me, here's what I'll do for you.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:21] Now in verse 4, there might be some element of that, I'm not going to rule it out. There might be some element of him saying, here's what I'll do for you. But here's the greater thing that he's saying, here's the bigger picture. What he's saying is, that I am imagining a future, and the future that I want is a future that when it comes time to worship, I'm ready to worship. I'm ready to worship because there are so many reasons to worship God. I'm coming to that altar, and I'm not like, I got to give another lamb. I'm like, I love God, of course I would do this. It's coming to time for music, and I got my own harp out, I got the lyre, and I'm writing my own songs. I'm ready to go, and I'm ready to worship because God has been so good to me that I can't help but explode with praise.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:09] When I went to seminary up in Oregon, I got to know one of my professors a little bit, one of my Greek professors. And part of his story was that years before I knew him, he had a daughter who suddenly dropped dead while she was in high school. Nobody saw anything coming, it was a heart issue, and she just suddenly dropped dead. And of course, he and his wife were devastated over this. And part of the story that he told, is he said that in the months directly after his daughter's death, his wife and him would show up on Sundays to the church services, and when it came time to sing, he said, I would stand, but I wouldn't sing. And the reason he wasn't singing wasn't because he was, like, hard heartedly refusing to sing, he wasn't, like, arms folded, I'm not singing to God. He just said, well, I don't want to sit because I'm not, like, rebelling against God, but he just literally did not have it in him. He couldn't bring himself to sing because his heart was in such sorrow over his daughter. And at that point, you know what he wanted? Yeah, he wanted just to be able to show up on a Sunday, and when the worship pastor says, everybody stand up and sing, that he's not standing up, he's hopping up. That he's not just going through the motions and singing, but he's singing joyfully. I don't care if it's my favorite song, I don't care if it's a song, I don't care if I'm off-key, I love God, and I have so many reasons to give him praise that I'm hopping up and I'm ready to go. There are some of you in here that that's how you're feeling right now. You're like, I did sing earlier, I barely remember what I sang because I was just sort of doing it. You want a future where you're hopping up and singing to God because he has been so good to you. You want a future where next year, at Thanksgiving, when it comes to that ominous time where somebody's going to ask for everybody to say what they're thankful for, that you're actually going to have something roll off your tongue. You're not going to be rabidly searching your mind, being like, what can I say? You're just going to know because you've experienced so much of God's goodness. That's what the author is saying here.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:20] We, as a family, are going through the Advent devotional, just as many of you are, and last night we were talking about it as a family. We were talking about hope, because that's been our theme all week, and, you know, this next week, tomorrow we'll start into the peace theme that will lead us up to next Sunday. But Karina said something, my wife said something yesterday that I thought was really insightful about hope, and that was that she was saying, there can be a real temptation not only to have our hope placed in God, but to have our hope placed in God, doing precisely what we want him to do to fix our situation. Like, instead of just in general, saying, I'm going to trust God that he will bring about a hopeful future, for us to say, I'm trusting God that he will take these precise 16 steps to get me there. And I love that the psalmist doesn't really go there, he doesn't say, God, my hope is that you do each one of these steps along the way. He says, I just want to be in that place, I just want to be in that place where praise and worship are flowing out of me, and he allows himself in the darkness to imagine that kind of future, a future where his hope is not so vulnerable that the least thing will take it away. So he says, here's what I've got, what I've got is darkness and difficulty. But here's what I want, what I want is overflowing praise because God has shown me his goodness.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:42] And now in the last verse, in verse 5, what he gives us is what I'm doing. And before I put verse 5 up here, I want to give you a preview, this psalm does not end with resolution. This psalm does not end by the author saying, and now everything's better. It's not better in verse 5, he's just deciding what he's going to do as he waits for that better future. Verse 5, "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?" So he's talking to somebody. Who is he talking to? He's talking to himself; he's talking to his soul. So if you sometimes talk to yourself, you're in good company. The author of this Psalm is like, all right self, all right soul. And I almost imagine him looking in the mirror and looking at his soul, all right, soul, let's have a little conversation because, soul, I've noticed some things about you. The first thing I've noticed is that you are downcast. And the Hebrew word for downcast here is translated a lot of times in the Old Testament of literally crouching down. And have you ever noticed that sometimes your posture reflects your inside? So he's saying that this is what my soul looks like, my soul looks like this, just crouched down, humbled, humiliated, sad, depressed, not even lifting the head to look up. This is my soul right now; my soul is downcast. And he says, soul, I've noticed something else about you, you're disturbed within me, and one of the ways the Hebrew word for disturbed here can be translated is to murmur or to grumble. I think all of us have experienced that when you're hungry enough, what does your stomach do? It starts to murmur; it starts to complain. He saying that's what my soul is doing right now, my soul is grumbling and murmuring within me. So, he said, all right, soul, I'm looking in the mirror, this is not good, you're crouched down, you're humbled, you're not even looking up, you're downcast, you're in despair, also, you're disturbed, you're complaining, and you're murmuring about this situation. That's the situation.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:54] And then he talks to his soul, he tells himself what to do. He says, all right, here's the game plan, the game plan is this one phrase, "Put your hope in God." Does he say, just sit there and maybe hope will arrive? No, he says, do this, make a choice, and put your hope in God. So many times for us, we think of hope and despair as things that just happen to us. Like, if I'm feeling hopeful today, you would assume, well, that's just because a bunch of things happened that made you feel hopeful. And if I'm in despair, you would say, well, that's because a bunch of things happened and so despair just came upon you. But here is the psalmist saying, I'm going to make an active choice to put my hope in God. I get to decide whether I'm going to be hopeful or not. He says, put your hope in God. Why? "For I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." You know that future that I imagined, where, man, it's worship time and I'm standing up, it's time to praise, it's time to give thanks, and I have too many things to say. Saying I trust that that future is coming, I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. He says I'm going to do something about it, I'm going to grab a hold of hope, and I'm going to choose to hope, even though I'm still in the darkness.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:23] Now this sounds good, how in the world do you do this? How in the world do you make a choice to put your hope in God? And I think of it a little bit this way, you know, about three and a half years ago, a whole bunch of us learned how to use Zoom. Some of you already know, I know, I even grumblings. I am so glad I'm on Zoom so much less than I used to be, but for a while we were all on Zoom a whole lot. And there are some interesting features on Zoom. So if you're having a Zoom meeting and there's like 15 or 20 people, you can put it on the setting where it's sort of like the grid and it's just 15 or 20 faces all on there, it's like The Brady Bunch on steroids, it's just a whole bunch of faces all there. And if somebody's talking, you're looking like, where are they coming from, and you're kind of tracking them down. And so because it can be kind of tricky to be like, I don't know who's talking when, you can do a feature on Zoom where you make it so that most of the faces are just like along the edge in very small boxes, and then the speaker is front and center, is sort of pinned to the screen. And this is a good feature because if one person in the meeting is doing most of the speaking, it's nice, their face is nice and big, it's right there, you can focus on it and all the other faces are just on the side. The problem with speaker mode on Zoom is this, Zoom responds to whoever makes noise and they become the speaker. So at first, it's the person leading the meeting, and then somebody coughs and it switches. And then maybe, you know, the person leading the meeting says something and somebody else says, oh, good point, and it switches to them, and it's just constantly switching. So you're trying to focus on the person leading the meeting, but it's constantly switching back and forth by just every little noise, every little distraction. And so thankfully, Zoom has a feature to overcome that. You are able to choose one person in the meeting and pin them to be the person whose face is right there, front and center, so that even if there's a cough, even if there's an okay, even if there's a distraction with somebody who didn't mute themselves, you still are focused on where you want to focus.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:35] And I think what happens with most of us is that we say, well, I want to focus on God, and I want to focus on his promises. I'm going to put my hope in the better future that God has promised me, I want to do that, I want to focus on God. But man, I find myself, I find my screen switching back and forth between the God I want to focus on and every little cough, every little complaint, every little distraction, every little noise, and it's very difficult to focus. And so what we need to do is we need to find a way to pin God and His promises front and center, so that we're less distracted by what goes on along the way.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:13] So, man, if you read the Bible, there are so many promises that God has given us. I'm going to run through just four of them right now that might give us a glimpse of what it's like to put our hope in God. And so for some of you right now, your hope is being stolen because of health issues or physical limitations, and you're struggling with those and you're not feeling very hopeful about the future. And so maybe you need First Corinthians chapter 15, verses 51 and 53, where Paul talks about the future of what God is going to do for our bodies. And he says, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." And so if you're not totally tracking with what Paul is saying here, what he's saying is one day Jesus is going to come back, that's that final trumpet. And when he comes back, he is going to clothe us with bodies that don't get sick and don't break down and don't get injured and don't die, but with an immortal, imperishable body that doesn't have any limitations. Can I get an amen? Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:31] Some of you are like I'm sick. Some of you are injured. Some of you are just old. You're like, I'm old, like, I don't have anything particular except I'm just old and everything hurts. You need some hope, and God has promised us a better day ahead. As some of you, your hope is stolen because you're looking around at the culture around us and you're just like, man, this is not going well, social upheaval, lots of conflict, lots of confusion, we don't even know what a man and a woman are anymore. What kind of future is this for me, for my children, for my grandchildren? You need to pin to the front of your screen Philippians chapter 3, verse 20, which says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from..." Washington. Okay, no, not from Washington, not from Sacramento, "We await a Savior from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ." Our citizenship is in heaven, our future is bright because King Jesus is coming back one day.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:37] And some of you right now, you are floored by the fact that you just can't seem to overcome sin in your life. And you're so discouraged and you're like, what kind of a future do I have if I keep falling into the same ruts? And you need to pin Philippians chapter 1, verse 6 to the front of your screen, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." You may not be sitting in here right now confident of your future holiness, but you know who is confident about it? Man, Jesus is confident about it. If you've given up on yourself, Jesus hasn't given up on you, Jesus will continue to complete that work.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:19] And if some of you are in here and you're like, my hope is stolen by grief and sadness around me, maybe you need to pin to the front of your screen revelation chapter 21, verses 3 and 4, and the promise of the new earth, where we read, 'And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ b or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Man, every single one of us needs to pin this one to the front of our minds. And whether it's you looking at this and saying, yeah, man, I need to take one of those promises, and I need to put that on a card, I need to put that on my phone, I need to get that before you. We need to find a way to keep God and His promises front and center, instead of waiting for hope just to return home to us, we need to go out and recover hope by focusing on God and His promises.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:28] But I want to make sure to show you one more thing about verse 5, so let's go back there for a second, "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior, my Savior and my God." The Hebrew word for savior right here is very intimately connected to the name Jesus. You will call his name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins, my Savior and my God. And here we are approaching Christmas, and we get to remember that great angelic announcement in Luke chapter 2, verse 11, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." We're saying we need a Savior in all this, and we get the joy of saying he already came. Hope is already here because the Savior has already come. We're not waiting for hope to happen, we're looking to recover the hope that already arrived, and he arrived in the flesh of a baby boy 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, our Savior and our God. And man, we want to focus our eyes on him.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:55] I'm going to have a few last things to say, but I want to invite, as I'm talking, the prayer ministry team to start coming up right now. Because, you know, the main application for what we're talking about in this message, in this Psalm, is that we need to find a way to pin God and His promises front and center. We need to say, I'm not waiting for hope to just sort of come to me passively in some way, I am going to put my hope in God. Not in my sports team, not in my money, not in my family, not in politics, not in any of that, I'm going to put my hope in God and in the future that he's promised. And for some of you, that is going to mean maybe there's one of the four promises I had up here, and you're going to be like, I need that, that is now my marching orders, that's what I'm pinning front and center. Maybe some of you, you know the word well enough to know that there's actually another one that Dan didn't say, but man, that's the promise I need to grab a hold of right now. We want to grab a hold of the promises of God. And the reason that the prayer ministry team is up here right now is that after I've closed the service in a few minutes, they're going to be up here because for some of you, your next step of faith and obedience is going to be to bring your burden to one of these folks who's up here and say, I need to grab hold of hope again and I want to partner to pray with me as I enter into that man. Don't you want to recover hope? Don't you want to walk out your door, look in the driveway, and see it's still right there and you are experiencing all the benefits of it? The people who are part of the prayer ministry team love to be able to go to God on your behalf with you to say, God is at work and we're going to seek him out to restore hope into broken situations. So I'm going to invite you right now just to bow your heads and pray with me.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:44] Father, thank you so much that you have sent us a Savior. You had no obligation to do that, we hadn't earned it, and yet you sent us a Savior, the Lord Jesus. Thank you that he has taken away all of our sins and thank you that he has conquered death for all of us. Thank you, that whether we're 8 or 80 this morning, our future is bright. And Father, I pray also for anyone in here who has not yet placed their faith in you, and I pray that you bring them in this morning to the hope that is available to them, young or old, regardless of money, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of background, that you offer hope in Jesus to everyone. Father, may we be a people who have so recovered hope that our praise to you is overflowing and that we're bringing hope to our neighbors and friends? And Father, I pray now, especially for anyone that you are nudging to come forward after the service to get prayer, that you speak louder than any doubts or any distractions, and that when they come forward, that you make it so worth their while that their faith in you will be stronger. I pray this in the name of our great Savior, Jesus. Amen. Amen. God bless you this morning, let's move forward with the hope that Jesus has brought us.

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