Sunday, February 10, 2013

Genuine Hope

It is interesting to note that The Handbook of Bible Application [abbreviated below as "HBA"] uses the terms "anticipation," "confidence," and "faith" as synonyms for the term "hope."

BHO ran his 2008 political campaign utilizing the terms "hope" and "change." For many voters (the ones who rejected BHO's first term and subsequently, his second term),  the promises of that campaign ended up turning out to be more like hopelessness and chains of restrictions designed to destroy our beloved Constitutional Republic.

How should we respond to feelings of hopelessness?

There is no one in Scripture better than Job to study when it comes to depression, desperation, and discouragement. [Note:  If unfamiliar with the book of Job, read Job 1:1-22].

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

Job 1:21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."

Job 1:22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Excerpt from HBA:

Remember that we live in a fallen world.   As we see calamity and suffering in the book of Job, we must remember that we live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished.  When we see a notorious criminal prospering or an innocent child in pain, we say, "That's wrong,."  And it is.  Sin has twisted justice and made our world unpredictable and ugly.

Remember that God is sovereign.  The book of Job shows a good man suffering for no apparent fault of his own.  Sadly, our world is like that.  But Job's story does not end in despair.  Through Job's life we can see that faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless.  Faith based on rewards or prosperity is hollow.  To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God's ultimate purpose will come to pass. (1)
Also read Psalm 69:1-36  and realize that hopelessness is an opportunity to trust God.

Read Isaiah 22:1-25 which will help you to keep God's promises in mind.
For more about genuine hope and finding true happiness, please view:

 David Beautiful in His Time

[Note:  If pressed for time, you can drag the cursor at bottom of video ahead to 18:20 to get to Dr. Jeremiah's message.]
Events in our lives may seem confusing or even mysterious to us at times, but in God’s time, His plans and purposes are good.

What are the sources of a believer's hope?

BIBLE READING:  Leviticus 26:1-46

KEY BIBLE VERSE:  Despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies.  I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, I, the LORD, am their God. (Leviticus 26:44)

A Christian's hope is based on God's faithfulness.  These verse show what God meant when he said he is slow to anger (Exodus 34:6).  Even if the Israelites chose to disobey and were scattered among their enemies, God would still give them the opportunity to repent and return to him.  His purpose was not to destroy them, but to help them grow.  Our day-to-day experiences and hardships are sometimes overwhelming; unless we can see that God's purpose is to bring about continual growth in us, we may despair.  The hope we need is well expressed in Jeremiah 29:11-12:  " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord.  "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen,'"  Retaining a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.' "  Retaining hope while we suffer shows we understand God's merciful ways of relating to his people. (2)

If you take the time to listen to Dr. Jeremiah's message today, you will have a huge amount of further insight into how a Christian's hope is based on God's faithfulness!


BIBLE READING:  Mark 5:21-43

KEY BIBLE VERSE:  Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, "Don't be afreaid.  Just trust me."  (Mark 5:36)

Hope comes from trusting Christ.   Jairus's crisis made him feel confused, afraid, and without hope.  Jesus' words to Jairus in the midst of crisis speak to us as well:  "Don't be afraid.  Just trust me."  In Jesus' mind, there was both hope and promise.  The next time you feel hopeless and afraid, look at your problem from Jesus' point of view.  He is the source of all hope and promise.
When a mere mortal person (especially politicians!) claim to be "the source of all hope and promise," we know that they are lying! 

It was very refreshing to recently hear Senator Marco Rubio state that despite the fact that Time magazine put him on their cover and labeled him as "the savior of the Republican Party," he rejected that title and stressed that there is only ONE SAVIOR - JESUS CHRIST.


BIBLE READING:  Romans 5:1-11

KEY BIBLE VERSE:  Since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.  (Romans 5:1-2) (3)

Is that one of the greatest verses you have ever read??  It is for me!!  I often write about how grateful we should be because of Christ's promises in Scripture.  The Romans verse expresses THE greatest of them all.


Hope comes from remembering all that God has done for us.   As Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:13, faith , hope, and love are at the heart of the Christian life.   Our relationship with God begins with faith, which helps us realize that we are delivered from our past by Christ's death.  Hope grows as we learn all that God has in mind for us; it gives us the promise of the future.  And God's love fills our life and gives us the ability to reach out to others. (4)
Witnessing to unbelievers is more challenging today than in the past.  Why?  Because there are more people who have never read or studied the Bible and they have no idea about the truth it contains!  Plus, many can be swept away by false religions, cults, and even the occult.  People celebrating Satan these days don't even think it's wrong!    The next paragraph will help you through:


Hope grows as we depend on God in the difficult times.  For first century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception.  Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome.  This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow.  We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life's difficulties and Satan's attacks to build our character.  The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance--which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future.  You probably find your patience tested in some way every day.  Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). (5)

The joy of celebrating God's mercy, grace, and love through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, never, ever gets old!  The eternal promises that have been given to His children are just that...eternal!
Once a believer has given his old life over to Christ, his new life begins immediately and as Scripture tells us, "no one can snatch him out of His hands."

There is NOTHING on this earth that can satisfy that deep desire to know and fellowship with Jesus Christ.  There is a reason for this.  God has placed eternity into our hearts.  There will always be a hole there, in the spot where Jesus Christ needs to indwell each and every one of us in the form of the Holy Spirit.   Until that moment of surrender we cannot turn the "hole in the heart"  into being made whole again spiritually through Christ!


BIBLE READING:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
KEY BIBLE VERSE:  Brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Hope grows as we remember the promise of the Resurrection.  Because Jesus Christ came back to life, so will all believers.  All Christians, including those living when Christ returns, will live with Christ forever.  Therefore, we need not despair when loved ones die or world events take a tragic turn.  God will turn our tragedies to triumphs, our poverty to riches, our pain to glory, and our defeat to victory.  All believers throughout history will stand reunited in God's very presence, safe and secure.  As Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the promise of the Resurrection, so we should comfort and reassure each other with this great hope. (6)

As believers in Christ, we have confidence, faith, and trust in the God of the universe!  What could possibly compare to that?

Reference source:

(1)  The Handbook of Bible Application.  Second Edition, A Guide for Applying the Bible to Everyday Life, Neil S. Wilson, Editor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois.  pp. 300-301.
(2)  Ibid.  pp. 299.
(3)  Ibid.  pp. 299.
(4)  Ibid.  pp. 300.
(5)  Ibid.  pp. 300.
(6)  Ibid.  pp. 300.

No comments: