Therefore I Have Hope

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Friday, April 05, 2013, 5:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “I Will Lift My Eyes” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Lamentations 3 (NIV). [I will quote some and summarize some.]


When we sin against God and against others, there are often consequences for those sins regardless of God’s forgiveness. Some of those consequences can be quite painful. Yet when we, as his children, continually and willfully sin against God and others, refuse correction time and time again, will not listen to the counsel of the word of truth, God’s holy words, and we refuse to repent, then God may and often does correct us with some type of divine correction and/or discipline (see Rev. 3:19). The Bible states that those God loves he disciplines, reproves and scourges, as a father would discipline his children. In fact, it states that if we are not disciplined by God, we are illegitimate children. God’s purpose in discipline is for our good, “so that we may share in his holiness.” When we are going through such times of discipline, it is painful, yet if we learn through it the lessons we need to learn, it will yield in us “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (see Heb. 12 NASB).

When we go through these times of divine discipline and correction in our lives, they can seem very dark, and we may even feel as though God has abandoned us. He has not. We might have a sense of hopelessness and even despair of life, feeling as though we are walled in with no way out. We possibly could think our prayers are going nowhere, because we can’t hear God’s voice speaking to us as we once did. That is a horrible feeling, I know! We could also possibly face the desertion of friends, either because of our sin, or because of God’s hand of discipline upon us. We may be brought to many tears, sorrow and regret over our sinful folly. People could even mock us and make fun of us because they may believe we got our “just desserts.” We might experience deep depression and loss of peace and deem the future we had hoped for has now vanished before our eyes, feeling despondent.

This I Call to Mind

It is during these times that we need to accept God’s hand of discipline on our lives as his love for us in helping us to turn back and to go the right direction (like a U-turn). He is not mean, and he gets no pleasure out of bringing us pain, but in love he will correct us so that we do not continue down a path of self-destruction - hurting ourselves, others, and our relationships with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

When a loving parent has to discipline a child, the parent does not cease to love or care for the child. In fact, tough love is one of the hardest and greatest expressions of love because it risks the rejection of the one being disciplined in the hopes that the correction will produce the needed change. It cares more about the other person than it does itself, willing to be hated in return, in order to see the other person go free. It is the ultimate in self-sacrificial love. That is how Jesus loves us, and it is how we should love one another.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

We also need to remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us - of his great love and compassion, mercy and forgiveness, for those things have not changed. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Amen! He is ever faithful. He will do what is good for those whose hope is in him and who seek him. We cannot give up on God just because our circumstances get bleak all of a sudden. If we turn from our sins and we turn back to him in faith and obedience, he will help us to start again on the right path. It does not mean we will not have to experience some natural consequences for our sin and rebellion, but that he is a God of new beginnings. Amen! He can help us to forgive ourselves and to believe, by God’s grace, that we can live for him, and we no longer have to be slaves to sin.

Examine and Return

Though God may bring us grief for a time, he will show us compassion, because he is great in love. When we experience his divine discipline, we should not complain against him. He has every right to bring both calamities and good things into our lives. We should not expect only good from him. I think that is where a lot of people get off the mark, because they see God much like a doting grandfather in the sky who only gives good gifts but who never disciplines or corrects his children. That is not a true picture of God. We were made in his image. If we, being human parents, understand the necessity of discipline and correction with our children, then we must be willing to accept it when God disciplines us.

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven, and say:
“We have sinned and rebelled…”

So, instead of wallowing in self-pity, or spending our energies on blaming or complaining to God and others because of our circumstances, we should take this opportunity to do some self-examination before God, inquiring of him as to what, in our hearts, needs to be changed, and then turn from whatever wicked or adulterous ways the Lord shows us, and return to our Lord with our whole hearts, minds, and emotions, trusting him with our lives fully, and being ready and willing to obey him in all things and to follow him wherever he leads us.

We should get our eyes off ourselves and we should focus on our Lord and on his great love for us - his mercy, forgiveness and compassions - and on his requirements for our lives. We should find out what pleases him, and we should begin to do those things. We should “fall in love” with our Lord all over again, desiring him above all else, and making him truly Lord!

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes
To my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him,
Who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and
He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and
Your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes
To my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him,
Who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes
To my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord.
My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us,
He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior,
He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes
To my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord.
My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
My home now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord,
Who is on our side.
Our help found in Him.
He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken.
God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us.
He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord,
Who is on our side.
Our help found in Him.
He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.