Thursday, December 31
Hope…sometimes stuck in our finite brains as wishful thinking, as a “pie in the sky” kind of thing, but…
…hope is not wishful thinking!
What some others say about hope…
*Love floods us with hope. ~Jareb Teague
*Hope is grief’s best music. ~Author Unknown
*Hope is the physician of each misery. ~Irish Proverb
*Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. ~Christopher Reeve
*Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. ~Author Unknown
*You’ve gotta have hope. Without hope life is meaningless. Without hope life is meaning less and less. ~Author Unknown
*Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie
*When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you’re slamming the door in the face of God. ~Charles L. Allen
So, if hope is not wishful thinking, what is it? It is active participation in trust!
Scripture says, “And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” (Rom. 5:4 TLB)
How does the dictionary define the word ‘hope’?
Whether as a noun or a verb, it describes ‘hope’ as the feeling or desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, as that which is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best, a person or thing in which expectations are centered, to expect with confidence, to believe, trust, or rely, or to cherish a desire with anticipation.
How does the New Testament define ‘hope’? Two words are used…
*The first word is a noun, ‘elpis,’ which means expectation whether of good or of ill, rarely in a bad sense, fear; in a good sense: expectation of good, hope; and in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. It is always translated (in the KJ) as ‘hope.’
*The other NT word is a verb, ‘elpizo,’ which comes from ‘elpis,’ meaning to expect, confide, or trust. Many times in the KJ, it is translated as ‘trust.’
Of all the usages of the word ‘hope’ in scripture, most are expressed by Paul. He sprinkled his letters and speeches with phrases of hope, such as:
* “the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8)
* “in hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2)
* “the hope of your calling” (Eph 4:4)
* “the hope of righteousness” (Gal. 5:5)
* “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5)
* “the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
“The God of hope” (Rom. 15:13) has authored our hope. And Jesus, as Paul said, is the one “on whom we have set our hope” (2 Cor. 1:10), “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
Many are suffering great challenges right now, extreme health issues, deep financial troubles, devastating grief or loss, and the list goes on.
During dark times of adversity, hope keeps us spiritually alive. It brightens our paths and heightens our awareness of the Lord’s presence.
Have you misplaced your hope, placing it in your finances, job, family, possessions, or spouse? Or have you lost it altogether?
We cannot live without hope. Solomon said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12 NKJV)
We need to fortify the hope that God has placed within us. David tells us to “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Ps. 31:24 NKJV) Paul also encourages us, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5 NKJV)
In the last few weeks, I have bumped into numerous people who are writing on hope. I think God must be up to something. Maybe we all need to be filled with hope for whatever is to come.
No matter what may transpire in my life throughout 2010, I will say as David said to the Lord, “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more,” (Ps. 71:14 NKJV) and pray as he did, “Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” (Ps. 119:116 NKJV)
Will you be filled with hope in the New Year?
Father, I ask that You will touch the lives of those reading this and that You will bring renewed hope to reside in their hearts, giving them trust and strength to cling to You whatever may cross their paths in the New Year. Fill their lives with health, peace, protection, prosperity, success, comfort, joy, love, and their hearts’ desires. In Jesus’ name I ask this…amen! So be it!