Sermon on Hope - July 18, 2004

Shake It Off and Step Up

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and stem up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking if off and stepping up!"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and stem up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking if off and stepping up!

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! You're right! What would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

That's life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us!

Remember that forgiveness-faith-prayer-praise and hope are all excellent ways to "shake it off and step up" out of the wells in which we find ourselves.


The mule had hope. Yet, his hope was not based upon what he absolutely knew would occur. His hope was based upon what he believed or had faith would occur if he shook off the dirt and stepped up.

We as Christians live our lives in a similar light. We have faith or believe what the Bible says and what we have been taught. Yet, there is a time where we move beyond believing and having faith to a place where we know.

Do you know? Do you simply hope it to be true? Do you have faith that it is so? Or, do you know?

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Yes. We must trust God. It is impossible to please God unless you trust Him.

Hope arrives in us and before us when we begin relationship with Christ. Faith precedes and continues in this relationship with Christ. As we continue our relationship with Christ, we begin to know Him. We begin to know that we know that we know that the Biblical promises are true. Not solely based on hoping that it is true but we begin to know.

The scripture says that hope deferred makes the heart sick.
Prov 13:12

Be assured that Christ will not defer your hope, faith, and knowing in His promises. God is not a man that He should lie. Let God be true and every man a liar. Jesus is the way the truth the life and the only way to get to God.

You can trust God. You can have a hope in God.

When the mule was in the pit, it is like us when we have issues in our lives that we feel that will never change. We have convinced ourselves that we have to just live with the problem, the failure, the trouble, the lack, the pain, the bad relationship, the sin, the depression, the worry, the lack of hope, and the belief that will never change.

Yes you can live for God with all those things in your life. You can be on your way to Heaven with these types of things. But...
There is hope. Not just in the next life. Not just in Heaven is what I mean. There is deliverance available today. When I say deliverance today. I don't necessarily mean the absolute correction of the problem this day or this instant. But I mean there is a type of deliverance that comes with hope. A hope from God.

I struggle with depression. One of those things in my life that motivates me is that I will not struggle with depression one day. If I will never be free of it in this life before I die then I know I will be free from it when I get to Heaven. It's called hope. Hope motivates. Hope brings you endurance. Hope is intertwined with vision. Hope is intertwined with goals, plans, and your future.

The trouble I've endured. The trouble I have walked through in my past with struggles and spiritual warfare. What is it that makes me not bow down to it and give up? My faith, trust, love, and hope in Christ.

In 1992, God sent me a dream of hooking up with a petite blonde girl, and shortly after, mom and an elderly lady said they had visions of me marrying a pretty blonde. It's another motivator for me. Hope. This hope is based upon what God revealed and confirmed through two others.

Hope. Knowing that it won't always stay the same. Hope.


I will have victory in Jesus. I will overcome. I can do all things through Christ who is my strength. Hope. He is coming again. Hope. My God and His Kingdom will outlast Liberalism and all the works of Satan. Hope. God will outlast all things. What you do for God and what you do for God will outlast all things. It will outlast all the meaningless works of mankind. Hope.

It won't always be this way. The condition of this world. The condition of our lives. The condition of the fallen state of man.

We have promises written for us. Promises that will not fail. We are secure in Jesus. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Jeremy Brown 2004

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