Don’t Put A Period Where God Put A Comma

Sometimes we feel like a period of our life is coming to a close, and we decide we’re going to throw in the towel. Jeff encourages us not to close doors too quickly, because sometimes God wants to surprise us with something more.


  • There is hope.
    • We receive hope in baptism.
  • Sometimes when it seems we are failing, it’s the beginning of something great.
  • Michael Jordon is a good example
    • He followed his dreams, showed tenacity, and used hard work.
  • Sometimes we have a feeling of wanting to quit, drop out or just plain give up.  We may find ourselves saying, “That’s it, I’m ruined, there’s no hope, period.”
    • This happened to Moses. Moses (after killing the Egyptian) he fled to the wilderness and most likely thought life was over.  What if he had called it quits?  You have a lot of opportunities to just give up.
    • All throughout the Bible there are stories of people like you and me who faced problems that seemed to have put life on hold or even stop it.
Hope in the Bible
  • The definition of hope in the Bible:
    • Tiqvah – Hope is expectation of good.  It is linked with trust and yearning.  A good definition would be an interest or desire whose fulfillment is cherished.
    • To us hope means “hope-so” (as in our response to the question, “Do you think it’s going to be sunny today?” “I hope so!”)
  • Ecclesiastes 9:4 – “4 But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.”
    • As long as you are alive you have hope.
  • The life of the righteous is grounded in a hope that implies a future because its point of reference is God.  But there is a difference in the kind of hope of Plato and the hope of Scriptures.
    • Plato speaks of a hope that is a projection from oneself (concerning the future).  In other words I create my future with the limited brain power I have, and limited experience.
    • Nietzsche held that hope was the worst of evils, because it prolongs the torment of man.
  • The hope that the Bible speaks of is good expectations about the future because of what God has done and says he will continue to do.  What a difference!
Periods Vs Commas
  • The Story of Lazarus
    • John 11:30, 43 – Martha said “period,” Jesus said “Comma.”
      • You will live even if you die. This is a principal of life with Jesus.
    • The Crucifixion
      • Mark 15:25,33,34 – The people put a period at 3pm, but God placed a comma.  The story wasn’t over.  And this is so true when on the Great Adventure with Jesus.  Just when you think it’s over, and you think you see a period, God reveals a comma.
    • Peter After The Resurrection
      • John 21:1-9 – Peter gave up hope and returned to fishing. Jesus calls him forward.
    • Life of Jacob
      • Gen 27:41 – Jacob flees from Esau after deceiving Esau.
      • Gen 29:16-30 – Married Leah and Rachel
      • Gen 31–  Laban pursues Jacob.
      • Gen 32-33–  Jacob meets Esau.
      • Gen 34 – Dinah, his daughter is raped by Shechem.  Jacob’s sons take revenge and Jacob’s name is destroyed.
      • Gen 35:16-18 – Rachel dies
      • Gen 37:34-36– Joseph apparently dies
      • Gen 45:25-28 – Joseph is still alive.  His period is changed to a comma.
Scriptures (New International Version)
  • Philippians 3:13-14 – “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
  • Philippians 2:12 – “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed– not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence– continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
  • Colossians 2:6 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:14 – “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.”
  • Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
  • Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
  • John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Final Words
  • If your goals and dreams have been derailed, I would encourage you to get up, dust yourself off and get back on track.  Those who make a difference in life are those who are acquainted with both victory and defeat.
  • Remember the greatest quarterbacks complete only six out of ten passes.  The best basketball players only make about one-half of their shots.  Major-league baseball players make first base only forty percent of the time — and that includes walks.  Pro soccer players score on about two out of ten shots.
  • Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of tenacity is the professional life of President Abraham Lincoln.
    • He lost his job in 1832.
    • He was defeated for the legislature, also in 1832.
    • He failed in business in 1833.
    • He was elected to the legislature in 1834.
    • He suffered the loss of his sweetheart, who died in 1835.
    • He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1836.
    • He was defeated for speaker of the state legislature in 1838.
    • He was defeated for nomination for Congress in 1843.
    • He was elected to Congress in 1846.
    • He lost his renomination for Congress in 1848.
    • He was rejected for the position of land officer in 1849.
    • He was defeated for the Senate in 1854.
    • He was defeated for the nomination for Vice-President of the United States in 1856.
    • He was defeated again for the Senate in 1858.
    • Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860.
  • Hymn by Fred Pratt Green 1971. “When Our Confidence Is Shaken”
    • I found this in a Methodist Hymnal at an Emmaus Meeting.
    • “When our confidence is shaken in beliefs we thought secure, when the spirit in its sickness seeks but cannot find a cure, God is active in the tensions of a faith not yet mature.”

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