Bible Study Notes 11/17/20
Word Alive! © 2020 Fall Series
Unshakable Hope For Your Shaken World!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 17, Nov., 2020
Max Lucado, “Unshakeable Hope…” Lesson 5, (Chap. 5)
Devotional Time: “Unshakeable Hope” (pp. 47-56)
Prayer Cultivates Hope – The scriptures teach us that prayer is a core spiritual discipline for our lives. Without prayer we can neither have, nor grow, in a relational experience with the Lord. The Apostle Paul said, “Christ’s presence in us, is the “hope (assurance) of glory.” It’s important we have “expectant confidence” (Greek, elpis or hope). The cultivation of our hope comes as a result of our prayer life. The Apostle James uses the planting of seeds and their cultivation as a metaphor for a person’s life of prayer. James says similar to the persistent cultivation of crops, our consistent prayers are necessary for us to experience the results we hope for (cf. James 5:16b, NLT). James describes the confident prayer life of the Prophet Elijah, as an example of a person who called upon God with an expectation that God would grant his petitions. James mentioned that a confident prayer life is not the result of special favor, but comes through cultivating a hopeful outlook as we petition God (cf. James 5:17-18, NLT). The concern of Elijah’s prayers was the terrible drought that had come to Israel. Elijah’s consistent prayer life had engendered a sense of hope in an outcome that would prove God’s sovereign power. None of us is given any special incantation that guarantees the answers we’re looking for in prayer. We must simply pray in confidence, trusting God for His promises to be fulfilled. In his helpful devotional book, Unshakeable Hope, author Max Lucado says, “[Elijah’s] prayers were heard because he prayed, not eloquently, but earnestly. This was not a casual prayer or a comfortable prayer, but a radical prayer.” Jesus taught us to have boldness in our prayers, and to be in a spirit of agreement about what we’re praying for. Jesus said to pray in this hopeful manner is to bring beneficial results (cf. Matthew 18;18-20, NLT). A hopeful attitude in our prayers, is the result of knowing what we desire of God . When Jesus approached the visually impaired man, the people around the man were critical of him calling for Jesus to help him. Jesus ignored the criticism of the onlookers, and so did the man seeking assistance. When Jesus asked the man why was he calling Him incessantly, the man had a specific answer. The man’s hope was in what he asked for: to have his sight restored! Jesus commended the man’s faith and “immediately” pronounced his healing. Hope can restore much!
Prayer Produces Hopeful Results –The results we are looking for in our prayers, are very often the result of our unflinching hope in the power and promises of God. When Elijah faced the false prophets that King Ahab depended on, he was confident that God would “prove” Himself with unquestioning authority (cf. I Kings 18:36-37, NLT). Elijah’s prayer was sincere and confident. The prayer was answered with an “immediate” divine response. The response of God affected all the people who heard Elijah’s public prayer (cf. I Kings 18:38-39, NLT). Max Lucado comments on Elijah’s prayer in this manner: “No request for fire ws made. Just the heart of the prophet was revealed, and pow! The altar was ablaze. God delighted in hearing Elijah’s prayer. God delights in hearing yours as well.” We should desire to be earnest in our prayers, for when God delights in hearing us, we develop an anticipation of hopeful results. It is certain that life’s circumstances can cause us to feel “less” hopeful, than we would be at other times. The scriptures state that when seasons pass with unanswered prayers, there could appear to be “no reason for hope.” However, like Abraham, we must continue to hope regardless of the immediate outcome. Because God’s promises are certain, an answer in accordance with God’s will is sure to arrive. Trusting God will cause us not to waver in our hope (cf. Romans 4:18-19a;20, NLT). The Apostle Paul endured many trials in his life. Most of these trials occurred after he became a Christian. However, Paul boldly describes a “hopeful” attitude in the face of his problems. He says the trials and problems produced strengths that cultivated both his spiritual life and his hope (cf. Romans 5:3-5, NLT). Paul also came to understand that because God loved him, no problem or trial would separate him from God’s love (cf. Romans 8:31-39, NLT). Lucado says, “Your prayers impact the actions of God.” We know that God is sovereign and He can choose to respond to our prayer in any manner He deems necessary. To realize and accept this should not diminish, but empower our hope. When we trust God with every detail of our lives, we will always remain hopeful and aware of His love for us!
What We Believe
Our prayers can cultivate hope.
1. Confident hope comes through confident prayers!
2. Hope assures us that God’s promises will be fulfilled!
James 5:16b, NLT
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
James 5:17-18 NLT
“Elijah was as human as we are and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.”
Matthew 18:18-20, NLT
“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will doit for you, for where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Luke 18:40-43a, NLT
“When Jesus heard him, He stopped and ordered that the man be brought to Him. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Lord,” he said, “I want to see! “And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God.”
I Kings 18:36-37, NLT
“At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all that is at your command.”
I Kings 18:38-39, NLT
“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord – He is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”
Romans 4:18-19a; 20, NLT
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping – believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken…Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.”
Romans 5:3-5, NLT
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, and we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to dis-appointment. For we know how clearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.”