My dear sister in Christ Shari Johnson delivered a very powerful and loving message at the House of Hope in Windom, Minnesota last week. I do have to say EVERYTHING Shari does is very powerful and loving! We all were so blessed by Shari and her good friend Tracy Miller with also ministered us through her words and music. Shari and Tracy came all the way from West Virginia to minister to us! We are forever grateful!
Here is the message that Shari shared with us Saturday night at House of Hope at the BARC in Windom:
Matthew Henry wrote: But for hope the heart would break.
In the day to day of life, when Murphy’s Law of “What can go wrong will.” Where would we be without hope? If you want to know the answer to that question, watch the evening news. Hopelessness abounds. We know that we have the answer, which is Jesus Christ! But, why then is it that even Christians can find themselves in a state of hopelessness?
But for Hope. That’s the title of this message.
The text for this message comes from Lamentations 3:21, written by Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet.
This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.
When you read the word “therefore,” you know it’s there for a reason. One thing we all have in common is we all have a need for hope. The need may be greater in someone else’s life, but tomorrow that could change on dime with one phone call. We’ve likely all been there. America became the Nation it is because of hope. When the firsts settlers boarded the ship to a new land, they did it because they had hope life could be better and they could have the freedom of faith they desired. But now America has become the nation it is because they’ve lost hope. (I speak of the nation as a whole)
Jeremiah the weeping prophet reminds me of Dewey Moede. Dewey has shed countless tears over the city of Windom, much like Jeremiah wept over Israel. Dewey weeps because he wants to see his city returned to the state of its glory in his youth. That is a compassion and love for a hometown that I wish the world would have. He inspires me to love my city more. And I’ve come to give you hope for your hometown, wherever it is.
In his lamenting, Jeremiah recalled something to his mind.
It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion fails not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
I want to put an explanation point at the end of that sentence, but God put a period. Jeremiah stated a fact. God is faithful. I will state a fact when I say that I am not. That’s why God’s mercies being new every morning and His compassion fails not makes me excited. I need it!
Seven days a week, 365 days a year, and not one is without His mercy and compassion. We have a reason to rejoice as Christians. We should be the happiest people on the planet. We are forgiven, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and we serve the Only God Who’s compassion never fails and all we have to do to receive it, is receive Him.
The world around us is in the shape it’s in because they don’t know Hope.
The Umpire Story:
Three umpires were talking about how they did their jobs.
The first one said, “Some of them are balls, some of them are strikes, but I call’em as I see ‘em.”
The second umpire said, “Some of them are balls, some of them are strikes, but I call’em as they are.”
The third umpire said, “Some of them are balls, some of them are strikes, but they ain’t nothin’ until I call ‘em.
That is an awesome parable about life. It’s ain’t over until God calls it. Today we have hope because the only One in the game calling the shots in our life, is the Lord.
Someone called the Savior
More of Jeremiah’s words in verse 24-26
The Lord is my portion saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah knew Who to hope in, because his portion of hope was in the Lord who has it all. But something we fail to realize is, you can’t have hope unless you’re willing to wait, and Americans are not good at waiting. We’re a microwave society that wants it in 30 seconds or less. We need a lesson from Jeremiah on how to wait for hope. And perhaps a lesson from Harmon Killebrew.
I was reading some of the web comments on Harmon and it was said of him that he was a “gentle and quiet” man who liked to wash dishes. And yet it was also said that he could knocke the ball out of any park including Yellowstone. How does a small mid-western town boy make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame? I certainly didn’t know him, but I have a feeling he was a boy of hope who grew into a man of hope.
Harmon may have been quiet, but as he hoped for a career in major league baseball, I doubt he sat twiddling his thumbs. No. In order to become such a great player he’s had to put some time in on the field practicing, waiting for the games to begin.
God didn’t hand Harmon his ability, He handed him the skill and Harmon worked for the ability. Harmon no doubt sought to become the man he did.
Jeremiah the weeping prophet, didn’t just weep. He didn’t make it in the word of God as a notable prophet by twiddling his thumbs and waiting for God to take him home. He wept and he prayed and he preached and did not what prophets do.
What ever it is that you stand in need of tonight, whatever it is that you’re hoping for, you won’t get it without a plan. And that plan has to begin by seeking God’s will for your life.
God’s will for my life has been affirmed again and again. I’m a mouthpiece for God.
Ephesians 6:19-20 says
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
That’s my hope. That I’ll speak boldly and not cower down to the world. I can quietly wait, and listen to what God has to say in my life, but when it comes to getting the work done for the Lord that I have to do, there’s some prep work and some real work ahead. Because I want to knock it out of the park for Jesus, just like Harmon did for the Minnesota Twins.
I don’t only hope to be an awesome speaker for God, I hope to be an awesome fiddler and singer and guitar player. I want to be the whole package. The problem is, I’m ADD-OSS. Attention Deficit Disorder, Oooo something shiny. Something or someone always captures my attention. That won’t cut it if I want to be great.
I have hope, and God has mercy and compassion for one such as I. There’s a friend in my life who’s name is Lew Babbbock. And he’s a carpenter and wood craftsman including the making and repairing of fiddles. God sent Lew in my life for two reasons. The most important one, and I’m still hoping, is the opportunity to lead him to the Lord. He is a gentle, quiet man that I adore as a friend. He refinished a German fiddle for me and allowed me to add my own touch, and more recently gave me a blank fiddle and helped me to create the dove that I’ve been playing. God gave me the instruments, but it’s up to me to make the music.
God is the provider of hope, but we have work to do too.
I have another story of the provision of God in my life. Several months back a friend had given me a bow, an nice, but expensive bow and told me use it for a while and when I got the money, to pay him for it. Well, long story short, I didn’t have the money, so I sadly gave him back the bow and just planned on going back to my old worn out bow with many missing hairs.
But God had another plan. A few days after I returned the bow, another friend called and said her husband had been cleaning out an old house and found a brand new fiddle bow, still in the original packaging and he wanted to know if I needed it. I wept that God would think enough of my poor fiddle playing to provide for me in such a way.
That’s the reason I have hope on so many other fields in my life. Because I serve a God Who has provided for me over, and over and over again. And He does so because I’m His mouthpiece. I can share that hope fulfilled in my life, so that you can have hope in yours! God has provided many material things, but there’s also been, health and family issues that God has done amazing things as well.
I want to pray for the hope of Windom tonight. But you will have to put the work into it. And that starts with talking to God about it.