SOME GAVE ALL

SOME GAVE ALL                                                                                                                          Andy Hollifield 5-27-19

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that man lay down his life for his friends.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Samuel 17:29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

1 Samuel 17:32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.

1 Samuel 17:47 And this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.

Sacrifice————the surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim. To surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.

Two good examples of the word “sacrifice” are contained in the scriptures above. In the first two verses, the sacrifice of the Son of God laying down his life for the sins of all mankind. In the last 3 verses, the willingness of a man to step into battle and be willing to give his life if needed, in defense of the greater good. In David’s case, we all know the story that not only did he survive but was instantly, upon his victory, skyrocketed to fame in Israel and went on to become the greatest king that Israel has ever had.

The reason for these two examples is simply the fact that it is Memorial Day. This day was set aside officially as a federal holiday in 1894, although there is documentation of its observance back to June 3, 1861 in Warrenton, Va. claiming that is where the first Civil War soldiers grave was decorated. It was first celebrated on a large-scale on May 30, 1868 because that date was not the anniversary of any particular battle and also was the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom. The date was later changed to the last Monday in May. This holiday originally started out as “Decoration Day” and in spite of the official name change in 1894, it didn’t become widely known as “Memorial Day” until after World War II. The difference between “Memorial Day” and “Veterans Day” is that the former is to honor soldiers that died while in service to our country and the latter to honor the service of all veterans.

Young men laying down their life for their friends. In the scripture in 1 Samuel 17, although David was not killed in battle he was willing to put his life at risk to defend the honor of God and his chosen people Israel. He stepped into battle with no experience and only the weapons he had as a shepherd to defend his sheep. He later learned to fight but that wasn’t until after his defeat of Goliath. David could not sit idly by and allow tyranny to reign and good to be stamped out. In a nutshell, that was what he was willing to fight and die for if necessary. Over 642,000 Union soldiers and over 483,000 Confederate soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield. Whether you respect the causes they were both fighting for or not, you have to respect the fact that they were willing to die for the privilege of serving their country.

Our country since the early days of its existence, has gone to the defense of our allies and has often sacrificed the lives of our young men and women on foreign soil. We have done this to fight the spread of communism, socialism, Marxism, the Nazis, dictatorships, human atrocities, and terrorism of late. Many were drafted to duty in the late ’60’s and early to mid ’70’s, and throughout history many others have volunteered to defend the honor of this country at all costs.

David’s defeat of Goliath and the subsequent defeat of the Philistines by Israel, and the victories wrought by the U.S. military, pale in comparison to the other example I started with which did result in the sacrifice of a life for the defense of his friends. Jesus Christ gave his life for the forgiveness of the sins of all mankind, past present, and future. He did this for the purpose of bringing fallen man back into fellowship with God. That tie had been broken in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. No longer would men have to sacrifice animals because of the sacrifice of Christ.

I know this hasn’t been very long or detailed but I just wanted you to realize that the sacrifice made by our veterans and their families should not go unnoticed. These men and women are willing to give up their freedom and even their life in the defense of this country. I just want to wish each surviving family member of a fallen soldier a happy Memorial Day. May your day be filled with grace and peace that only God can give and also be filled with the gratitude of a grateful nation. May each of you; Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

FAKE PEOPLE

FAKE PEOPLE                                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 5-25-19

1 Kings 22:35 “… Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. (KJV)

Deadly disguises, wounds, and family feuds. A king fooling soldiers, a woman fooling her father in law, seducing him and having his child.  Even an entire army fooling their foe, and a rich man fooling a king. A king tries to fool a witch, a ghost confronts a king. It sounds like the plot lines of a mini series doesn’t it? Actually it’s from the bible. It’s just some of the ways people have deceived others in the bible.

The king of Israel tried to disguise himself in battle to save his life and failed (1 Kings 22:35-43). Judah lied to Tamar, his daughter in law, and in return she disguised herself and seduced him and got pregnant (Genesis 38:13-19). Joshua 9:3-6 tells of the Gibeonites deceiving Joshua into making a contract with them. In Genesis 20, Abraham tells Abimelech that Sarai is his sister and nearly gets him slain by God for adultery. In 1 Samuel 28:7 Saul disguises himself and ask the witch of Endor to call up Samuel from the dead. Also, Samuel reminds Saul of God’s judgment to come.

Twenty-two times the bible speaks about people using disguises to deceive others but deciet is always followed by judgement. Not one time does deceit bring forth good. Deceit also causes wounds that sometimes lasts a lifetime and never produce good.

Have you ever been a victim of deceit? Has anyone ever misrepresented themselves or their intentions to you? Deceit always produces anger, resentment, heartbreak, and wounds that don’t heal without the passing of time and sometimes not even then.  Wounds may heal but they often leave a scar.

Micah 6:8 tells us that God requires us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him. That sounds simple enough until someone fails to do it and it affects us. When we are the victim; only then can we realize how devastating it can be to others when we fail to walk with God, treat others fair, and to be honest in our dealings. We cannot possibly be the light of the world when we are the ones being fake people. As much as it hurts to be victimized by them, why would we want to be one? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

DUSTING YOURSELF OFF

DUSTING YOURSELF OFF                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 5-24-19

1 Samuel 30:6  And David was greatly distressed;…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  (KJV)
“I cannot believe you just did that!” Ronnie groaned while putting his hands on top of his head as if in pain. Have you ever worked continually, sometimes for years, at something only to crash and burn?

Such was the case for me in 2009 at the NC Truck Driving Championship. After several years of choking under pressure, I had finally redeemed myself. I had just out-driven every driver in my class except one. All the hours of staying after work, practicing on Saturdays, even in the rain, had just paid off.

With a sigh of relief as I released my seatbelt, I opened the door, took one step on the fuel tank, and finally back on the ground. I didn’t realize it immediately, but I had exited the truck failing to come out backwards using a three-point exit. A 25 point penalty and second place was gone. I had fallen to fourth place.

I slowly walked back to our team tent in disgust knowing I had let everyone down. I have never been so sick to my stomach in my life. For two years I lived with the anguish of knowing I had cost myself a trip to the nationals in Houston. The second place guy went after the first place driver got disqualified. A week in Houston getting VIP treatment, showered with gifts, my family getting a free vacation, all of it gone because of one momentary lack of concentration.

I lived with that until 2011 occasionally being reminded of it by coworkers, so I just quit competing. No, I doubled down, worked harder, and won third place a week before the end of my career due to surgery.

Just as David did in 1 Samuel 30:6, even when you’re in distress and things are bad, sometimes you just have to encourage yourself. You cannot let your past defeat you and make you afraid of your present. David went on to win battles and encourage his men and become a great king. He did not allow past mistakes and failures to define him.

We can never be useful to bring others to God for forgiveness, until we can learn to forgive and encourage ourselves. Sometimes, you just have to get up and dust yourself off. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

A FIRM HANDSHAKE

A FIRM HANDSHAKE                                                                                                               Andy Hollifield 5-23-19

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  That’s just one of the  things dad tried to drill into us.  I remember dad would say when he told someone he would see them later or would do something or made plans to go somewhere, he always preceded it or followed what he said with the phrase; “if nothing happens”. He would sometimes say “Lord willing” or “Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise” (you would have to be country to understand). I never remember him making a commitment of any kind without always at some point saying one of those statements and it was usually; “if nothing happens.”

I finally ask him once “Dad, why do you always say that?” He looked at me and said, “Because you never know what might happen between now and then and you don’t want to tell somebody a lie.” Up till that point, to be honest it was kind of annoying. After he explained it, I caught myself saying one of those statements almost all the time.

That may all sound silly to a lot of folks but you have to understand that I grew up in a different time than what we are living in now. A man’s word was his bond and a firm handshake was as good as a contract. That was just how you dealt with people. You didn’t have to have everything in writing. I remember underpricing mowing jobs as a kid due to my inexperience, and making less than what it was actually worth because I had given someone my word. I worked for a lot of good people and usually they would pay extra because they realized I had underpriced it. If they didn’t, I took what we had shook on and went my way thankful that they had let me work and paid me what they had agreed to.

Dad taught us to be men of our word, and he wouldn’t tolerate anyone cheating us. I remember one Saturday morning I went to help my brother mow a yard that he did on  regular basis in a wealthy neighborhood for a very wealthy widow woman. She had contracted with my brother to mow her yard for fourteen dollars. On this particular day I was wanting to go crow hunting or squirrel hunting I think with a couple buddies of ours.

Being fifteen, I couldn’t drive so if I wanted to go, I had to help him get that yard mowed. We went over early and he used her mower and I took ours. We were done in less than an hour. When it came time for my brother to be paid, she only paid him seven dollars. Although their deal had been that he would cut her grass for fourteen dollars, she felt that since he had help and she hadn’t hired me that he had only done half the work and shouldn’t be paid for the whole yard since he hadn’t done all of it. Keep in mind that it was a contract job and not hourly. The yard was supposed to pay fourteen dollars flat rate. My brother told her that she had a completed job and that he had a deal with me and he didn’t expect her to pay me. She refused to pay the full amount so we left.

After we got home and he told dad what had happened.  After he calmed down he called her.  He told her he would be mailing her check back to her and not to call either of us anymore to work for her. He explained that he had raised us not to cheat people and he didn’t expect us to be cheated and he certainly didn’t want my brother taking her money if she couldn’t afford to keep her word.

That may sound simple and maybe even silly, but I gained a lot more respect for my dad that day. I was pleased he got that worked up in defense of me and my brother.  It gave me a sense of security knowing that my dad always had my back. To put it in plain English, I was plumb proud!

I am thankful that all that honesty was drilled into me and that I also had a good example lived out in front of me. My dad was a man that you could always “take it to the bank” if he told you something. If he didn’t follow through with something he told you, you knew something was wrong.

In Proverbs 22:1 the bible says that “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good name is better than precious ointment;…” We were always taught a man’s word is his bond as I mentioned earlier. We were also taught to “guard your name cause it’s all you have.”

One more thing I remember being taught is “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I try to retain those lessons of my youth and pass them on as I have opportunity. I am not even sure why I wrote this today. I guess I got to thinking about how careless we are with promises and commitments. It seems that everyone is always trying to avoid keeping their word rather than going out of their way to be honest.

We as Christians need to be especially mindful of this. We have a whole world of lost folks looking at our lives. If they don’t find honesty, integrity, and moral values in us; where are they going to find it?  You can kill your own influence with people by failing to keep your word.  Always keep your word. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

JUST WHAT MOMMAS DO

JUST WHAT MOMMAS DO                                                                                                           Andy Hollifield 5-13-19

I know we’ve all heard the saying “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” I wrote a tribute to my mom on Mother’s Day so I decided just to write a post for her as well as the rest of you moms about what mommas do. It may sound strange coming from a man because I have no experience really being a mom. I have heard the term “Mr. Mom” but there is still a lot lacking in that. No offence to anyone but God made moms and dads different and therefore both are necessary. Some folks are forced into filling both rolls and God has grace for that but there is still a difference. Before any men reading get mad at me, think about this; how many times after Jesus was a toddler do you read anything about Joseph? If I remember correctly there is only the time when Jesus was in the temple for three days as a boy and Mary and Joseph returned looking for him. In Luke chapter three, he is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus when Jesus was baptised at thirty years old. Don’t get me wrong, even though Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, God honored him with the job of dad and protector of both Jesus and Mary and by reading about all of the moving they had to do, he had a tough job. It would also be assumed by Mark 6:3 that Joseph had taught Jesus carpentry. Jesus already knew all things but everyone else assumed that he learned it from Joseph.

Well, I have given us dads a whole paragraph for Mother’s Day so lets get down to business with the moms. There are a lot of moms listed in the bible and stories about a lot of things they did for their children. I want to look at just a few that overcame extremely difficult life and death circumstances to save their kids. Let me start off by giving a verse that tells what the number one duty of a mom is. Psalms 113:9 “He maketh barren women to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” Do you know why that verse ends with “Praise ye the Lord?” I think it is because God gave women the most important job on this earth other than His, Jesus’, and the Holy Ghost. That’s just Andyology but I know we’ve all heard the saying “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Also, keeping house means more than laundry, dishes, and diapers. Proverbs 1:8 says moms are the lawgivers. Momma sets the rules of the house when dad is away. He may be the instructor and teacher of his sons and head of the house but mom lays down the law for the children in accordance to the leadership of the husband. Proverbs 29:15 speaks about “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Not only do you lay down the law but you are also the enforcer. Isaiah 66:13 says you are the comforter and in Matthew 1:18 it was a woman that was chosen to bring the greatest gift ever given into the world. Proverbs 31:15,18,21,27, and 28 all speak specifically about the role of mom. As Mary found out in Jesus’ life, moms often have to bear heartache that others know nothing about. Being a mom is a badge of honor, wear it proudly.

I began to think about some of what you could call “Hero Moms” but I am sure all of you mothers would say they were just doing what had to be done for their babies because that’s “Just what mommas do.” Exodus 2 speaks about the mother of Moses. She hid him as long as she could but then built a ark of bulrushes and put him in it on the rivers edge. We know how Pharoah’s daughter found him and wound up hiring Moses’ mom to be his nurse. Some might think there is no way you could ever do that to your baby. I dare say you could if it meant saving him from death. It would break your heart and scare you to death but that’s “just what mommas do.”

One I almost forgot about in Genesis was Hagar. In chapter 21 she fled from Saria and wound up in the wilderness of Beersheba. Out of water and desperate she put Ishmael under a bush and walked off a little ways and sat down groaning and weeping. A lot of you have been there in the place where you could do nothing for your baby and its life was out of your hands. The Lord heard the lad and spoke to Hagar and showed her a well and promised he would be with her and the boy would become great right there in that wilderness. This was the second time she had been forced out by the jealousy of Sarai but this time the Lord didn’t send her back. In Genesis 21:21 Hagar even got Ishmael a wife out of the land of Egypt. God blessed her in her wilderness and provided all they needed just as he does now. It took quite a woman to sacrifice her life for the well being of her son but then again, that’s “just what moms do.”

In 1 Kings 3:16-28 we find the story of two harlot mothers. While some may think that harlot moms don’t exactly deserve the celebration and reverence given to the position on Mother’s Day, when we get to the end you will change your mind. The story goes that both had babies and one of their babies died in the night. The one whose baby had died stole the baby of the other. It’s not much of a Mother’s Day story yet is it? They brought their case to Solomon who, unbeknownst to Solomon or anyone else, had just acquired great wisdom overnight from God. He thought it had only been a dream where he had asked God for wisdom but the next morning he found out God had given it and it was no dream. After both women argued that the remaining baby was hers, Solomon made a simple yet wise decision. They would cut the baby in half and give half to each woman. As it turned out, the real mother told the king she would give up the baby if he would just let it live. In his wisdom, he determined by her obvious love for the baby and its well being that it truly belonged to her. Why would she be willing to give up her child? When it is necessary, that’s “just what mommas do.”

Another mom that gave up her child is found in 1 Samuel 1. It is the story of Hannah who was barren but prayed desperately for a child. She was praying silently in the temple so much that the priest thought she was drunk. When she explained her predicament, he told her the Lord would give her a son. She promised to give him back to the Lord. When he was weened, she returned with him to the temple to present him to the priest to serve him in the temple. Why would she make such a promise? Because experiencing motherhood and knowing the love of a child is worth it even if you have to give them up. That’s “just what mommas do.”

I have already mentioned the last and most obvious one I want to look at and that is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Out of all the Jewish women in humanity, God picked this little virgin that had never known a man to bring his Son into the world. She was “highly favored among women” but it also came with a boatload of heartache. I guess that could be said by most moms at one time or another. From the time the angel appeared to her until the death of Jesus, there were a lot of things she had been told by the angel, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, and later even the wise men. All of her life she pondered these things in her heart. I can’t help but think the prophecy of Simeon as he told her in Luke 2:35 “(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” had to have kept ringing in her ears all of those years. Then, as he began his ministry, she seen and heard the hatred and disdain that many had for her Son. To know that you can’t lash out but must restrain yourself from defending your baby, must have been torture. Then at last to see him give his life on a cross, crucified for doing good, would have made any mom bitter. Had she not understood the Father’s will for his life and that he was the Messiah that brought salvation to man through his death, she would probably have been consumed with hatred. Knowing that was what he had to do, she didn’t try to hinder his work because like it or not; that’s just what mommas do.

There are more that I may write about later but in the interest of not going too long, I will stop now. I want to thank all the true mothers that love, care, comfort, nurture, instruct, and discipline their children for all they do. Even those moms who have given up their children through adoption to make their life better. Most of us will never know the hurt of that decision and the sacrifice you have made but thank you for loving your child that much. Also, those step moms and adoptive moms who have born someone else’s child in your heart. If you are the one doing the job, that makes you mom in my book. If I have made you all sound like the heroes or heroines us men believe you are, I have done my job well. Thanks for reading and I hope you had a Happy Mother’s Day. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

BACK TO THE WELL

BACK TO THE WELL                                                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 5-21-19                                (RERUN FROM 5-21-18)

*John 4:3-7 He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. (4) And he must needs go through Samaria. (5) Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. (7) There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

*John 4:25-26, 28-29 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. (26) Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (28) The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, (29) Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

It is kind of hard to sum up 42 verses in just a handful. But there is one thing that I heard recently that I hadn’t ever thought about until it was mentioned by Pastor Terry Sprouse at State Street Baptist Church. He made the statement, “I wonder how many more times that Samaritan woman went back to the well after the day she met Jesus there.” I had never thought about that even though I have preached out of that scripture many times. I guess that goes to show that you never get too old to learn and God can always show you something new, regardless of how well you may think you know something. I am glad it is that way. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we ever got to where we knew all there was to know about a scripture?

As I began to ponder that thought, my mind went back to Barnardsville, NC 45 years ago in the fall of 1973. October the 2nd to be exact. Somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 to be a little more precise. About 3 feet to the right of the pulpit and about 4 feet from the front bench. That’s where my well is located. Pisgah Forest FWB Church in a revival on Tuesday night. My pastor Bruce West from New Hope BC, just up the road about a mile, was preaching the revival meeting with Preacher Horace Honeycutt. I don’t remember what was said or exactly what all took place or even what I prayed. All I know for sure is that the Holy Ghost did a work in my soul that night that I have never got over and don’t want to. I met someone that night like no other I have ever met. He has been better to me than anyone else ever could, ever since the moment I met him.

Although I was only eight years old when I got saved, I was still just as lost and needed the Lord just as much as the biggest drunk in Barnardsville. I hadn’t done a whole lot by that age that was wrong and certainly nothing that I would have considered evil or wicked. I was faithful to church, not of my own will all the time, and studied my Sunday School lesson, and even did my memory verses each week. At some point I had even memorized the books of the bible, although I probably couldn’t recite them in order now without missing a few. I was even singing in church from the time I was probably six or seven years old. My point is that I was doing everything I knew to do but there was still something lacking. I didn’t realize it until one day I was walking outside to practice singing. As I rounded the corner stepping off of the porch and laid my songbook on a stack of three or four cinder blocks, something told me, “There’s more to it than what you have.” I may not have been doing a lot of things that we categorize as being actions of a sinner, but I was just as lost as anyone could be.

Rolling forward now about 45 years, I can look back now and see some of the things that I needed forgiveness for. And yes, contrary to when I was eight years old, some of them have been wicked and evil. I am glad however, that I got saved when I did. Although I tried to go astray and fit in with the world, it was an evident fact that I didn’t belong.

*Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

God meant exactly what he said. In my teen years I would have gotten into a lot of different things if God would have left me to my own devices. I am thankful that he didn’t. Looking back I can see a lot of times that God would have been better off just cutting his losses and leaving me but he is faithful and has never even entertained the thought of leaving me.

I wasn’t able to just parade right back into church and pick up where I left off as a kid. There is a little matter of repentance. Nothing gets swept under the  rug.

*Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

*Isaiah 40:27-28 says it a little plainer. “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”

*Psalms 69:5 says “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”

No matter how embarrassed or ashamed we may be of things we have done, we can still go “…boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. I have been back to the well many times just seeking his mercy and forgiveness. I don’t have to go back to Barnardsville to my well, even though I have been on occasion. But I can go in prayer to draw from the well of grace all that I have need of in my life. I have even taken the devil back to that spot many times when he would try to make me doubt it.

I have often taken him back to another well where I settled in my heart that God was calling me to preach. I have taken him back to another Tuesday night 13 years later in June 1986, where I knelt beside a bush in my grandma’s front yard and give in to him. I tried again to talk him out of it the next night in the altar at church but in the end, I had to give in to his will. Those two places I have drawn strength from many times. The funny thing is that the devil don’t stay around long when you take him back to your wells.

I wonder how many times that Samaritan woman went back to that well just to see the place where her life changed forever? I have the answer: just as often as she needed to. Just like me, there are times that we all just want or need to be reminded. When you come upon those times; you just need to “go back to the well.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

YET NOT DISTRESSED

YET NOT DISTRESSED                                                                                                                Andy Hollifield 5-20-18                           (RERUN FROM 5-17-18)

Nehemiah 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. (KJV)

Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. (KJV)

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (KJV)

Distress—–great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble. 2) a state of extreme necessity or misfortune. 3) that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc…

Paul said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.” Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” The reason we are not distressed is simply because we have the Lord for our hope. We don’t just have hope in him, he is our hope. Hope is not only “the feeling that what is wanted can be had and that events will turn out for the best” but it is also defined as “a person or thing in which expectations are centered.” That is who our God is. Psalms 33:18 says, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” Just knowing that the Lord has his eye on us should be great cause for hope.

The word “distress” is used 33 times in the bible and “distressed” is used only 11 times. The word “hope” is used 129 times. With that being said, which one does the Lord put more emphasis on, distress or hope? “Hope” is used almost 4 times as often as “distress” and almost 12 times as often as “distressed.” Sounds a little bit ridiculous for us to allow ourselves to be distressed when we have as much hope as what we do. Job, who once said that his days were spent without hope and had good cause to be distressed, used the word “hope” 16 times. It is used 22 times in the book of Psalms talking about the Lord and his word being our hope. Isaiah described the Lord in chapter 25 verse 4 saying, “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” With a God like that, how can we stay in distress?

I know that we are all human, made out of the same dust, and all of us without exception are subject to getting in distress. We have all seen the times when circumstances concerning yourself or others looked seemingly hopeless. The Lord has been described in the book of Psalms alone as our shield, our glory, the lifter up of mine head, our strength, our help, our buckler, a sun, our hiding place, our goodness, our fortress, our high tower, our deliverer, he in whom we trust, he who subdueth people, our refuge, a very present help in time of trouble, our rock, our defence, and our portion just to name a few. With a God that strong, what do we possibly have to be distressed about? The verse above in Isaiah 25 should be enough to give us hope. What a mighty God we serve!

None of us are “up” all the time. Satan wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t afflicting us. But, the thing to remember is this; Satan can’t overcome the Lord. He has always tried and failed numerous times throughout history. He couldn’t tempt the Lord into sin and he couldn’t keep him from the cross. He couldn’t keep him from the grave and he definitely couldn’t keep him from the resurrection. He couldn’t keep him from ascending, and he cannot keep him from coming back to get those that have been born again. He couldn’t overthrow God from his throne, and he can’t keep us from getting to the Lord unless we allow him too. James 4:7 tells us that if we will resist the devil, he will flee from us.

We may have trouble on every side and we do. Nation against nation and children against parents. It is enough to make you wonder how long God will withhold his judgment from a world gone crazy. But we have a God that is all-knowing, all-seeing, and always everywhere at the same time. Why should we be distressed? Just as the scripture in Nehemiah 2:18 says, even in all of the distresses Nehemiah and the Jews were in; “the hand of my God which was good upon me.” You may have faced some trouble and tragedy and hard times in general but there is one thing for sure; you will never face anything that God can’t handle if you submit yourself to him. I hope this has been a help to someone. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!