Sermons

Summary: Greg Laurie wrote a New Year’s Day Devotion in which he shared an acronym for hope. HOPE: Holding On with Patient Expectation

Sermon

January 3, 2021 – David Simpson

Lanier Christian Church

Hope in the God Who is Faithful

Lamentations 3:22-25

New Year’s Quotes and Captions for the Realist:

Welcome, 2021! Here’s hoping you can’t be worse than last year.

Happy 2021! Spoiler Alert: We’re still social distancing.

Whatever you do, don’t ask what’s next!

On the bright side, thanks to lockdown we never got used to writing 2020 on things, so 2021 should come easier.

We’re social distancing from 2021 until we see how it goes…

First rule of 2021: No one talks about 2020.

I lived through 2020. Please don’t kiss me at midnight.

Here’s hoping 2021 figures out which Zoom meetings could have been emails! (Unknown source)

Happy New Year! Every single person I know is ready for this new year. 2020 has been a difficult year in so many respects. Economic challenges, political upheaval, damaging storms, and of course, a deadly global pandemic.

2020 seemed to bring out both the best and worst in people. Like Charles Dickens said in his opening line of his book, A Tale of Two Cities…”It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

I don’t want to talk about the worst. You don’t need me to remind you of that. When you think of the best, well, our hospital staff deserves special praise during this pandemic. They have cared for countless patients during this past year and as we speak. They have risen to the occasion over and over again and especially now as our local hospital reaches capacity. I’m thankful for scientists that have created this new vaccine to fight off the virus. It was done in record time and hopefully will bring an end to this pandemic this year. And, I’m thankful for those who were baptized into Christ this year…and those who relied on their faith throughout this pandemic to get through every day. I’m thankful for renewed hope that is found in Jesus who remains the same yesterday, today and forever. Despite the troubles of 2020 I have hope for what lies ahead.

Hope is needed as we enter 2021.

Greg Laurie wrote a New Year’s Day Devotion in which he shared an acronym for hope. HOPE: Holding On with Patient Expectation

I learned a phrase as a young teenager that I’ve never forgotten. “When You’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

I have learned, however, that hope is so much more than holding on. Hope is filled with patient expectation in the one who controls the future. It’s not about what we can do, it’s about an expectation of what He WILL do. God WILL make a way. Do you believe that? I’m not sure all of us do.

A lot of us say we have hope, but in reality we don’t live like it. It’s like gift cards given at Christmas time. I gave and received gift cards this year as Christmas gifts. But, they are often forgotten and left unused. In fact, approximately $3 billion worth of gift cards were not redeemed in 2019. Like those gift cards, God’s promises won’t have any effect on our lives if we don’t apply them. And the way to redeem those promises from God is simply to trust Him with great hope that he will keep his promises.

So let’s join together to have one overriding resolution in 2021 and that is to have Hope – Hold On with Patient Expectation about what God will do and how he will use each one of us in this new year.

Hope can Be Challenging.

I know it can be challenging to live with hope. This virus has caused great heartache to many families and a disruption of normal behavior to all. I would like to think that just turning the calendar ahead to January 1 would erase all the challenges and despair of 2020 and bring on exciting renewal in 2021. But, the reality is that the challenging virus is still among us and the toughest months may lie before us.

The Old Testament book of Lamentations offers some helpful spiritual advice for dealing with such uncertain times.

Most scholars think Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. He had been an eyewitness to the destruction of the Temple and the city, so he wrote his laments or sorrows to stunned and depressed Jewish exiles who were now slaves in Babylon.

There is something about this book of the Bible that is unique. The Hebrew title for the book is ‘ekah, which is translated as “How!”…with an exclamation point. The opening words of the book are “How deserted lies the city once so full of people!”

Only later did Jewish tradition adopt the name “Lamentations,” because of the depressing subject matter.

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