Houston Forward Times

24 July 2013 Written by  Rev. Manson B. Johnson II

HOPE IN GOD

HOPE IN GOD

I Peter 3:8-(14,15,16)

                    Bible Fact: God is willing to keep those whose minds are stayed on Him in faith.
       The Big Idea: Hope in God is always filled with strong confidence that God can handle any situation.

     Suffering emotionally and extremely heart broken, Steven Lavaggi sat on his bedroom’s wooden floor, and began searching his Bible for answers. His wife had just left him to marry a writer for The Rolling Stone Magazine. Ten days later, Steven discovered his son was stricken with Juvenile Diabetes. Then he lost his graphic art business.
Unemployed, abandoned, and worrying about his son, Lavaggi turned to God’s Word.
     As Steven read, he skipped over the black letters, only wanting to read the words of Jesus written in red. The Risen Christ emerged from the pages. Lavaggi Steven Lavaggigave his life to Jesus.

     As a new Christian, he clung to Psalm 91:11: "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."
     Out of his brokenness, came a passion to create a message of hope. He discovered his passion was to minister through fine art. He moved to California, to influence the people who influence the world--Hollywood. He is doing just that.
     The response to his work is overwhelming. Inspired by the Psalmist’s words he painted an angel. When a friend encouraged him to make the image three dimensional, he collaborated with a sculptor, and together they cast the angel.
     While speaking to a crowd of 3500 natives in Soweto, South Africa, Lavaggi held a 20" sculpture of a black angel above his head. When he did, the crowd erupted with enthusiasm. A man on the stage told him that just a few days before, a preacher had declared that God would soon send an international artist who would express Hope Prayingthe love of God to their culture by doing something like "painting Angels in black!" When Lavaggi heard this, he grabbed a 20" white angel, held it above his head and said, "these angels were created to be like brothers and sisters, even as we are supposed to be." Those sculptures became known as, "The Angels of Reconciliation."
     Today, he is known as the artist of Hope. It propelled him into creating an incredible series of spirit-inspired paintings, sculptures, figurines, and prints. Steven’s message would not exist without his passion! Through his passion, today, he is touching and changing the world for Jesus Christ.
     As we study this lesson, let us never forget the power of  HOPE IN GOD!  Scripture hope (hope in God) is based upon the believer’s certainty to believe God’s standard and certainty to trust what God does. Scripture hope moves the believer from a strong confidence in God TO evidence of trust in God.

I.          HOW DOES ONE OBTAIN BELIEVING STRONG CONFIDENCE IN GOD?  THERE ARE THREE  BASIC ELEMENTS THAT WORK TOGETHER TO CONTRIBUTE TO A BELIEVER’S STRONG CONFIDENCE IN GOD:

A. First, a God-directed will – plus a strong hope – into a passionate desireDeuteronomy 6:1-6; 30:6; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:3

II.        One’s HOPE in God should never be mixed, substituted or exchanged for strong      overwhelming selfish desires of the world.  Job 27:8; 31:24-28; Matthew 6:19-21;Mark 8:34-38; I Timothy 6:9-19