Posts Tagged ‘hope’

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10

Hupomone

  1.  steadfastness, constancy, endurance
  2. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
  3. patiently, and steadfastly
  4. a patient, steadfast waiting for
  5. a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

So far we have talked about characteristics of the men we call the major prophets that qualify them as Hupomone Men.  They were all called by God to be His (just as we are).  They all committed there way to him in body, mind and soul….and perhaps more importantly in action daily.   They recognized and imitated God’s undying love for a disobedient people. Finally their core purpose was to serve God, even when it meant death.

We might be tempted to think that the Hupomone life is a horrible grind.  We may even take on the attitude that life is horrible but as men of God we will endure it.  There have been (and are) entire movements of faith based on this very concept, that somehow our lives as men of God should be this slogging through a swamp of suffering.   This is not the lot of the Hupomone Man.  In our title scripture Jesus makes this clear.  Nor is the Hupomone Man going to walk through life without negative circumstances.

Daniel survived the siege of Jerusalem.  He was ripped from his family and taken to Babylon to serve the man who destroyed his home.  Every move that Daniel makes and records for us reflects the Hupomone Man and the abundant life that God affords to those who follow Him.  It is an abundance that is not dependent on circumstances.  It is an abundance born of patience, of perseverance.  It is an abundance that causes three young men to face a mighty king and say, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  Daniel 3:18  Daniel faces the lion’s den with the aplomb of someone who recognizes the abundance of the Hupomone life.  It is an abundance that transcends death itself.  It is a life that is based on the very Word of God, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in Righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for good work.” 2 Timothy 2:16-17  Paul called on all followers of Christ to live the hupomone life.  It is life that does not depend on circumstances but is anchored firmly on the rock, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

The Hupomone Man has enveloped himself in the hope that does not disappoint.  Peter calls it a “living” hope. (1 Peter 1:3).  It is this hope that is at the base of the abundant life we have in Jesus and at the core of hupomone living.

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 The Chemo Tree

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope ; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:25-26

 

I have wrestled with this post for weeks.  In fact I am still struggling with it and will probably continue to struggle with it. It is not meant to be doctrine or even counsel.  It is simply emotional and spiritual transparency from a moment in which God spoke into my life.

Some time ago Real Hope with Perseverance sat next to me.  He probably does not even realize how profoundly he impacted my life.  God is so amazing in the way that he pairs the events of our lives with the biblical truths that he is laying on our hearts.  This man and his loved ones walked the path that Allana and I, along with our family and so many of you walked over the past 18 months.   He road the rollercoaster of emotion.  He even walked the same hospital hallways.  He prayed and was prayed for.  He held those he loved and was held by them.  A few short weeks before I met him the vibrant woman of God, his beloved wife, whom I will only meet when I get to stand in the presence of my God died.

As I sat there with my lovely Allana across from me God whispered in my ear…ok maybe he shouted.  “Is this  the sum of all your fears or the truth of All your hope.”  “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Hope and perseverance are inexorably entwined for the believer and it is not hope in the visible and perseverance to the seen but a hope that is embedded in faith. ” Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1  

All the numbers that I had heard and read rolled through my mind, percentages of life and death.  Grief and fear walking alongside faith and hope as I stood with my beloved.  The same grief, fear, faith and hope that I saw sitting next to me.  “Is this the sum of all your fears or the truth of All your hope”

Blessings,

Sam

 

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“For you have need of endurance (hupomone) so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised”  Hebrews 10:36

 

Obedience is at the very core of perseverance.  Obedience springs from our true hope in God and in the fact that he will do what he says he will do.  Our hope springs from the obedience of our savior.

“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous.”  Romans 5:19

Daniel understood obedience as Paul did.  He saw it as more than just the sum of our earthly actions but as a spiritual principle.  In chapter 1 we see a three step process for biblical obedience.

 

Step 1:  Choose

” But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank…”

Daniel 1:8 

The first step is one of the heart and mind.  The King James states “Daniel purposed in his heart”, the English Standard Version, “Daniel resolved”.  The Hebrew here is significant.  “Leb Suwm” .  Leb indicates the inner being of man.  The root of this word is used of the people of Israel after the spies came back from the Promised Land. Ten delivered a report of fear while Caleb and Joshua delivered a report of God.  Moses states in Deuteronomy 1 “‘Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”  Ever have that fear so intense that you feel like your inner most being is melting?  Sometimes we term it “having that sinking feeling”.  The reality is that Israel had  not yet sinned.  I have to believe that there were times in the experiences of this boy who watched his home decimated in a siege and then was ripped out of all he knew that his heart melted within him.  Moses goes on to say, “But for all this, you did not trust the LORD your God, who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.”  The resolve to be obedient for the Children of God (both New Testament and Old) is tied up in our Trust in the One True God and it is this resolve that translates into biblical perseverance.  Daniel directed his inner most core through all his circumstances not to defile himself before God.

2.  Share

The second step is one of relationship.  Everyone of us lives within a web of relationships that involve influence and authority. “so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” I think that too often the people of God pursue obedience in arrogance.  They use God as an excuse to ignore or defy authority in a disrespectful manner.  Paul makes it clear what the relationship of the Jesus Follower is to those in authority, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”  Romans 13:1-2  Even when our faith requires us to obey God rather than men it is done with respect and honor.  Consider Daniel’s three friends in the face of King Nebuchadnezzar’s rage, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  This is another aspect of perseverance in obedience.  When it is shared it spreads.  Not only did Daniel share his perseverance with the commander of officials, he shared it with his friends.  I can only imagine that this is one of the things that the kings of Babylon appreciated in Daniel.  As he was obedient to God and persevered in his faith it multiplied itself in those around him and with that multiplication the blessings that come along with godly perseverance were multiplied too.  In this way Daniel experienced incredible favor in a pagan land.

3.  Follow Through

Once we have chosen and shared we need to trust God as we follow through in our obedience. This is the part of obedience in perseverance where the rubber meets the road.  It  led James to say, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”  James 2:17  You can purpose in your heart and then share that all day long but if your actions don’t follow through with that purpose and those around you cannot match up what you are representing to them with what you are doing then it is all a bunch of hooey.  Daniel and his friends engage their purpose and sharing with real action that results in miraculous favor.  I can only imagine that at first their actions were met with derision.  As the other boys ate their sumptuous meals and drank the wine of the kings table I am sure that the obedience to this foreign God seemed pretty silly.  When Daniel and his friends were elevated to high positions, it suddenly was not so funny.  When God’s people obey, the world notices.  Daniel’s follow through on his purpose and sharing was so consistent that his enemies knew that if they were going to bring him down it would have to be by compromising his obedience to God.  What they did not count on (or possibly believe in) was miraculous intervention of Jehovah-Sabaoth, God our protector.  Consider Jesus’ words to His disciples , ” He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable * that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:1-2  Daniel’s enemies found that messing with his obedience to God had real consequences.  Daniel portrays another aspect of persevering obedience in a story about his friends.  When their stance on worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol on pain of death this is their answer:  “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  Daniel 4:17-18  Persevering obedience does not require a positive earthly outcome.  The value of true obedience is spiritual and eternal.  It is this kind of obedience that Jesus demonstrated as he moved through His earthly ministry towards The Cross.  ” Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “Philippians 2:8-11

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The Long Haul

I wanted to first thank God for providing the wonderful opportunity to speak at The Patient Experience Summit hosted by The Cleveland Clinic last week.  It was an amazing event in so many ways.  It did throw us back a week on our look at Daniel as a Hupomone man but we will pick it today.  Click here if you want to go back and read the first post in this series.

What are the characteristics of someone who stays in it for the long haul with God?  Specifically what can we see in Daniel’s life that contributed to the fact that he outlasted kings and empires?  The first thing that we are going to look at is hope.  Even though the word is never used in the text of Daniel, his hope in God shine’s through.  Consider this prayer of thanks after God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2:

20Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs ; He removes kings and establishes kings ; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.  “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things ; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.  “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power ; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel makes it clear to Nebuchadnezzar who is the revealer of mysteries, not Daniel, but God.  “However there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” Daniel 2:28  This must have seemed very strange to the king who was used to all of his wise men, magicians and sorcerers trumpeting their own skills of wisdom and divination.  Here was a young man who gave all the credit to his God.  Daniel not only held God as his personal hope, he proclaimed God to be the hope of all men.  Daniel stood with Peter in his faith and hope.  “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”  1 Peter 3:15  Daniel’s gentleness and reverence in the proclamation of his hope is perhaps without parallel in Scripture.  There is no sense of derision or haughtiness in any of his dealings with his pagan bosses.  He is a great example to us in all of our dealings with both our fellow believers and those who have not found Jesus as their Lord and Savior.    Consider Daniel’s plea with Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways, “Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you:  break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.”  Daniel 4:27  The fact that the king did not accept Daniel’s plea is irrelevant to Daniel’s faith.  Daniel acted on the hope that was within him.  The seed of truth planted, God acts and in the end the king proclaims, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” Daniel 4:37

It is with this hope that Daniel walked bravely into the lion’s den.  It is a hope that he shared with his friends who walked bravely into the furnace.  It is a hope manifested both in the miraculous and the mundane.  It is a hope that does not rely on events or circumstances, “If it be so, our god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But eve if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  Daniel 3:17-18.  Paul held this hope even as he walked a path that he knew led to death, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul walked the Hupomone path to martyrdom, giving his life.  Daniel also walked the Hupomone path giving his life for the hope that he held in God.  In human terms they had very different ends but before God each of them lived the life of perseverance that He seeks for all who call on His name.

 

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Here is the link to The Morning Mayhem page with the Morning Munch Podcasts.  I spoke on change this week!

http://www.yeshome.com/TPage646.aspx

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