Hope

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Psalms 40: 1-5).

God’s deeds for us are ‘too many to declare’! in other words, they are infinite! Our hope for our life is simply waiting, (and praying and listening) for the Lord. For Him to rescue, place me on His foundation, cause praise to leave my mouth, convert others to follow Him, to turn away from the things that distract from His hope, and to delight and revel, in the wonders that he has done. How much more hope can be derived from knowing that we have such a loving Father.

-Tim Johnson

 


Faith & Hope

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Hope, what a beautiful word! I got to thinking about the difference between hope and faith. I looked up the meanings of both and hope’s definition said: a feeling of expectation for a certain thing to happen or grounds for believing that something good may happen. Faith’s definition said: complete trust in something or someone or a strong belief in God based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. 

Hope is something I have desperately longed for in the past 9 months. I understand that so many people feel like all hope is lost right now and I admittedly have felt that way many times in my life. Those times felt so much heavier when I didn’t quite understand that all my hope should have been in Jesus. In the past I have hoped to get married to the perfect guy (I was blessed in that department for sure), I hoped and longed for a baby that took a while to come along, but this blessing was the one that changed me forever. This is the blessing that helped my hope turn into faith. As Parker and I were disappointed over and over again waiting to start a family, our faith began to strengthen. We dug deeper and deeper into the word and prayed over each other until God answered our prayers. 

In Hebrews 11:1 it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 

My prayer in this time of hopelessness is that we will strengthen our faith and put all of our hope in Him. Rest in God’s promises during this season and do not give up hope. 

A prayer of HOPE

Jesus, as we remember your birth during this Christmas season please help us to rest in you. Remind us that you are on the throne and no matter how hopeless we may feel at times, you are always in control. Our faith in you can be transforming and we thank you for all you have done to bless our lives. Amen!

-Jessica Durrett

 

The Golden Cord

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

Years ago I was reading through, “Jesus is Calling” a devotional by Sara Young.  She wrote this…“Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  This cord helps you to hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you.  Without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with the Lord.  Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road.”

I remember when I first read this how much I loved the visual of hope being “a cord to help us hold our head up high” because I know how easily we can become discouraged and lose perspective in difficult times and bow our head in defeat. This “cord of hope” helps us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and His many promises.

This past year has really been a tough one in many ways and if you are like me, your patience, perseverance, character, strength, peace and faith have been tested over and again.  Without the promises that God has given us through Jesus Christ, I dare say many of us would have thrown-in the towel and joined the chorus of hopelessness and despair that the world is singing.

Hope is absolutely crucial to our spiritual well-being. Hope reminds us that God has given us every good and perfect blessing when He gave us Jesus Christ.  Hope is necessary for us to keep moving forward in our journey with the Lord.  Hope reminds us that God is always working, and believes that He will work all things out in His good and perfect time.  Hope is confident expectation and helps us to stay calm and at peace when our world seems to be falling apart.  Hope remembers God’s faithfulness and reminds us of the innumerable times that He has helped us to make it through before.  Hope teams with faith and believes in the impossible.

I thank God for the Living Hope that He shares with us in His Word to keep us looking up instead of giving up. I pray that the “Golden Cord of Hope” keeps your heart, mind and soul looking up to Christ Jesus through this Advent Season.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

-Connie Hays

 

Wishing vs. Hoping

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13, NLT).

“Make a wish!” This is a common phrase in American culture. It is also a deeply embedded belief system. Many people believe good will comes to them if they cross their fingers, rub a rabbit’s foot and wish upon a star. Thanks Disney! Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney movies, but wishing upon a star doesn’t work in real life. Firstly, faith in something like a lifeless star is futile. Secondly, wishing doesn’t get us anywhere because wishing is void of action. 

Instead of wishing, God calls us to have hope – particularly in Him! Who needs a star when we have Jesus? Think about it. He proves Himself faithful over and over. Just think about the nativity story. Jesus entered into our broken world in the most humble way. He endured hardship after hardship until His death on a cross, yet He continually overcame and helped others to overcome. Now that’s hopeful! The mission of Jesus has not changed. He wants you to experience hope this Christmas season and beyond – regardless of what’s happening around you. Moreover, He wants you to act! He wants you to actively enter into the brokenness of other people so they too can know the power of hope. 

Wishing is passive. Hoping is active. Put your trust in Jesus this week and His Spirit will fill you up with hope and allow those around you to benefit.

Questions

  1. How has Jesus proved Himself faithful in your life?
  2. How can you put your hope in Him this week?
  3. How can you help someone who is lacking in the hope department this week?

 

-Ryan Fisher

 

Wait on the Lord

But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Let’s be honest, you’re not very good at waiting are you? I know that I’m not and I also know that there are countless others who struggle in this area. For example, I recently saw a TV commercial saying that people didn’t have to wait until Friday to get Black Friday merchandise, they could get it on Wednesday. Talk about struggling with waiting.

When the prophet Isaiah said that waiting on the Lord renews our strength, what was he talking about? Well, it’s pretty interesting once we dig down a little bit. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Theological Dictionary, the word wait in Isaiah 40:31 has two specific meanings. The word wait, as it is used in this verse, can also be translated as hope; meaning to hope in and to have an unceasing expectation. In the original Hebrew, this word for wait and hope is the same word that is translated gathered together in Genesis 1:9; it means to bind together, to gather together, or to unite.

Waiting on God is a discipline that we really need to learn. Sometimes that means that we are going to have to just be still and know that He is God. We are going to have to stop doing our own thing, but in the midst of this waiting we should be worshipping the Lord. We should worship Him for the simple fact that He alone is God. We should worship Him because if there is any answer to the questions on our hearts, any comfort to be found, any redemption in our struggle, it’s going to come from Him. We need to wait on God with hope, having an unceasing expectancy that He will answer, heal, restore, and that He will save. Then finally, we must be united with God, we must gather together with God in the work of redemption bringing glory to His name. When we do this God promises to give us His strength and His power.

This year has been tough, but my prayer for all of us is that we will not lose hope and that our hope will be firmly rooted in the God of our salvation.

-Tre Clark

Advent of Hope
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