New Hope

Today we are looking at I Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (KJV) The Amplified Bible says, “Blessed (gratefully praised and adored) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again (that is, to be born from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose) to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

This springs hope in my heart, to know that God’s mercy was extended to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, so that we could become transformed, born again, renewed, and set apart for His purpose. Many of us can remember lives that were drastically different from the ones we live now before we were changed by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Some of us were raised in Christian homes and never had to deal with some of the things others had, but we knew that there was a void in our lives, and when we asked Jesus to save us from our sins and ourselves, our lives changed.

I like the way the Amplified Bible breaks this verse down. God’s mercy is “abundant and boundless!” That in itself, brings me joy…knowing His mercy has no limits! It is through that limitless mercy that we become Born Again Believers. We are “transformed and set apart to an ever-lasting hope and confident assurance.” We have a hope, a confident assurance, that is ongoing because Jesus rose from the dead! We have no fear of what is ahead because He has already conquered sin, death, and the grave! We know that He lives now and is coming back again to take us home with Him. That is our hope, that is our confidence.

We also have the hope and confidence in knowing that each day we walk with Him, He will walk with us. We are never alone. (Joshua 1:9) Isaiah 30:21 reminds us, “and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’” (CSB) God is guiding us every step we take.

To know He is showing me what trail to take, what decisions to make, letting me know when to stop and wait and when to forge ahead, strengthens me. I have nothing to worry about because I know that God has everything under His control!

This brings a newness of life every day, a confident hope of His love and grace, and in turn our spirit is renewed every day. He tells us that His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) We know then that He sees the end from the beginning, and we have nothing to fear. We are given a new hope!

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Hope During Times of Waiting

We all have times where it seems we are in a stage of waiting. What do we do in those times? Today we look at Romans 15:4, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (KJV)

The waiting time is hard, at least I know for me it is. My family will tell you that I am not the most patient person. I get ruffled easily and waiting for something is excruciatingly difficult. That includes waiting on God. Today’s Scripture tells us that we can find patience, comfort, and hope through reading God’s Word. As we dive into His Word, we learn how to live, we learn how to be patient, we learn that the Bible brings us comfort within its pages, and all of that tied together gives us hope.

Right now, I’m going through a time of waiting on God. Our house has been up for sale for a year and we haven’t had one nibble on it. Not one inquiry. My husband and I want to sell this house and move out of state. We haven’t decided yet where we want to move to, however; we have a couple of options available to us. At this stage of our lives we want to be close to family, so both options would put us either with my family or with his. We are praying for God to bring the right person or family to come and fall in love with our house.

It’s easy for me to become discouraged, but I must remember that everything is in His timing and not in mine. Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (NIV) As we search the Scriptures, God reveals Himself to us, He shows us how patient He is with us. He is our example. I know I have a lot to learn in the “wait quietly” department.

So, as we read of how patient He is toward us, we are learning how to be patient, that brings us comfort and hope in the situation. As we keep in the Word of God and allow His Word to change us and we make it part of our lives, we become more like Jesus. We can wait even though it seems that what we are waiting for will never come. God keeps His promises. We learn that through the Scriptures. Knowing that He keeps His Word, teaches us to be patient in the waiting. We learn that we can rely on His Word.

Making the Bible part of our essence, the “who we are” part of ourselves, gives us strength, gives us comfort, gives us hope! A daily communication with the Lord through reading and study of the Bible, and prayer, brings us closer to Him. It changes us and faith is increased. I encourage you to dig deep into God’s Word, learn how to be patient in the waiting times, and gain comfort and hope.

 

We Hope in God and What He Has Done

Jeremiah 1422Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Jeremiah 14:22, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, For You are the one who has done all these things.” (NASB) In thinking about this verse and the hope we have in God, the thought came to me as I did my journaling page, that we can hope in God (have confidence in Him) whether we are in a time of trial or whether we are enjoying a life of ease.

God brings the rain as well as the sunshine in our lives. It is through the rainy times that we grow in our Christian walk. Just as in nature, the rain comes and causes growth. In the world around us we see the result by new vegetation sprouting up after the rains come. We hold that hope in our hearts that after the rain, comes the sunshine and a new beginning. Going through those times in our lives with Jesus causes growth as well. As we grow, we gain more confidence that He will be with us during those times.

In the sunny times of our lives we also have the confidence in God that we are not alone, He walks with us. We see His blessings all around us. We know that He will guide our walk with Him. We know and hope (have confidence) that He will direct us, whether it is in our job, or a ministry He has gifted us with, or in developing the gifts and talents He has given us.

He has given us reason enough to hope in Him. He proves over and over that we can trust in His leading. As we walk with Him, He proves Himself faithful, and with each victory we gain, we have confidence to rely upon Him in every instance. We say to ourselves, “If God can lead me through this, and I make it through to the end, He will do the same the next time I come to a hard time in my life.”

As I look at this verse, I’m struck by the question, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain?” Those false gods cannot do what our God can do. The prophets of Baal proved that when Elijah put them to the test. (I Kings 18) The prophets spent all day praying to Baal to bring fire down on a dry offering on their altar and nothing happened. Elijah put the offering on his altar and doused it with water until the water flowed over the altar and down onto the ground. He offered a prayer to God and immediately God sent fire from Heaven and consumed the offering. Our God is alive, powerful, He works in our lives, and He can be trusted. The false gods of this world are dead, weak, and ineffective. There is no hope or confidence in their abilities because they have no ability to show themselves powerful.

Our hope is certain because our God has proven Himself to be faithful. When our faith is weak, we can know that God will do as He has promised. We can depend on Him in every situation. When we struggle with issues of life, He is there to bring comfort and strength to persevere. He is more powerful than any illness, addiction, or circumstance. He loves us more than we can ever imagine, and He shows it in His care for us.

Hope That Brings Strength

 

Today we are looking at a very familiar verse to most Christians, Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (KJV) That kind of strength comes only from God! Our hope is in God. Remember, we have said that the kind of hope we are talking about is confidence…confidence in God, confidence that He will do what He has promised, confidence that no matter what we go through, He has our back, and that no problem is too big or too small for Him.

There are days we go through when it just seems like it’s too much. Everything seems harder than it should. We can barely keep ourselves together, much less accomplish a task. That’s where hope in God’s strength comes into play. We rely on His strength to get us through. When we feel we can barely crawl, He gives us the strength to walk, then to run. Our hope, our confidence is in knowing we are not alone, He walks with us, sometimes, He carries us.

Our Scripture reference talks about mounting up with wings as eagles. If you have never seen eagles fly, it is an absolutely amazing thing to see. When I lived in Montana, in the fall, the eagles would fly over the canyon in their mating ritual. It was awesome to see them do their mating dance and see the strength they had in their wings to be able to grab their talons together and fly hooked to one another. God gives us that kind of strength. We are held by God, He gives us strength to persevere through each circumstance, and our hope, our confidence, grows with each situation we face.

I know for me, God has given me strength in several instances. My husband and I have gone through a hard time over the last two years. We were married March 25, 2017, and right after that he went to the doctor for a yearly physical. The doctors found something wasn’t right and he had to have a biopsy. We waited to go on our honeymoon because my niece was getting married in May, and we decided to take it then. While we were on our honeymoon, the doctor’s office called and told us that my husband, Kraig, had prostate cancer. We both were rocked to our core. But God held us both up through the whole process of Kraig’s treatment. After having radiation treatments, a lot of prayer from family, church, and friends…Kraig was declared cancer free on October 23, 2017! His last test a few months ago showed an improvement in his test scores, in fact they were lower than previously! He still is being watched by the doctor, but for all practical purposes, there is no more treatment needed, just to keep an eye on things. We are rejoicing for God’s goodness and care. I thank Him for the strength He gave us and the hope of knowing that He is a healer.

That hope, that confidence, that God would do as He promised is what held us together and kept us from falling apart. It not only strengthened us spiritually, but also strengthened our commitment to one another. We found out that we could go through anything if we could go through that. We both held on to God, believing in His healing power for Kraig, and we gained strength.

Our Scripture says we are to “wait upon the Lord.” That means to trust His timing on things, trust that He knows our situation and knows the solution, and have the confidence that nothing that happens to us goes without notice by Him. Then we can fly like the eagles, we can run and walk, and not faint.

The Hope of Resurrection

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Acts 24:14-15, “But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets. I have the same hope in God that these men have that he will raise both he righteous and the unrighteous.” (NLT) If we read on to the 16th verse, Paul tells Felix, the governor, “Because of this I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.” (NLT)

Paul had been in Jerusalem preaching. This stirred up the Pharisees and the High Council, and a riot was about to erupt, and the captain of the guard took Paul into custody to protect him. There were Jews threatening to kill him. Paul’s nephew heard the plan and had his nephew tell the commander of the guard. The commander and 200 of his soldiers took Paul to Caesarea to go before Felix the governor.

Paul presented his case before the governor. Paul explains that he follows Jesus (the Way) and worships the God of the Jews and follows Jewish law. He tells Felix that he has the same hope in God as his accusers, that God will raise Believer and unbeliever alike in the resurrection and maintains a clear conscience by living a life consecrated to God. He wanted to be an example of righteous living before man and God.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we have the hope of resurrection and to be with Him for eternity. Like Paul, we should desire to live in a manner that will give glory to God and be an example to those around us of why we hope in God. The hope we have for the resurrection is not what saves us. Salvation comes in belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, in His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. As we endeavor to live for Him, we should desire to live a holy life before all around us, showing how Jesus has changed us and how our reliance upon His grace brings us hope.

You will notice, Paul mentions resurrection for the righteous and unrighteous. There will be a resurrection not only for Christians, but non-Christians also. One resurrection is to eternal life and one resurrection is to eternal death. I’ve heard people say that once we die, that’s it. However, if we look at Scripture, it talks of a life for Believers and a life for unbelievers, one in Heaven and one in Hell.

Hell was never designed for people, it was created for Satan and his demons. But God gave us free will. It is our decision to accept Jesus into our hearts and live for Him. The hope of the Believer is one of joy, peace, and knowing that one day we will spend eternity with Jesus. The unbeliever has no such hope. There is only death, destruction and an eternity of torment. We all have a hope of resurrection; the question is, which resurrection will it be?

My Hope is in God

Today I’m working on two passages as we continue our look at choosing hope. The first Scripture comes from II Corinthians 1:10, “Who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” (NASB) The second verse is from Psalm 146: 5, “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (NASB) As I was thinking about these verses, the song, “The Solid Rock” came to mind. This is an old hymn that I’ve sung since I was a little girl.

The first stanza of the song says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” The chorus continues in a declaration, “On Christ, the solid rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.” Jesus not only is a rock for us to stand upon, but He is also our hope! Psalm 146 echoes this…our hope is in God! It is He in whom we can depend, it is from Him that all good things come, it is Jesus who delivers us, it is His great love that holds us together.

When I think of hope in God, it brings to me feelings of peace, a quiet confidence in knowing that there is nothing I can’t bring to Him, there is nothing that can happen to me of which He is unaware. He holds me in the palm of His hand, and I am engraved into His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

The second stanza of the song says, “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In ev’ry high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.” He is our rock, our anchor. He is our shelter in the midst of storms. That is also part of our hope…knowing that He will keep us sheltered through the greatest difficulties of our lives. Psalm 146 tells us that God is our help. He brings us salvation, encouragement, strength, peace, and life everlasting.

Stanza three says, “His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” He keeps His oath and covenant to us through the blood He shed on the cross, and He supports us and is our hope!

The last stanza of the song says, “When he shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found; Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.” This to me, is the greatest hope we have in Jesus. We who have asked Jesus to save us from our sins, live in our hearts and are endeavoring to live for Him, have a future! We have the hope of seeing Him one day. We have the hope of being called to meet Him in the air in one great rapture of the church. We have the hope of eternal life with Him, and to reign with Him during the Millennial Reign. We have a bright future with Jesus!

Psalm 146:5 says that we are blessed. “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (NASB) Blessing follows those who hope in Christ. Where is your hope placed? Is it in the things of this world, the “sinking sand” if you will, or is your hope placed in God, who is your rock, your firm foundation, and your anchor?

Hope that Brings Confidence

This month as we look at hope, we have discovered that our hope comes from God alone. Today, we see how that hope brings us confidence and security. Job 11:18 says, “Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely.” (NASB). This chapter in Job is Zophar’s response to Job as he laments the circumstances in which he finds himself. For background on Job, he was a righteous man, very wealthy, with a large family. Satan complains to God that the only reason Job is following God is because of all the good things God has given him. Satan then tells God that if all of that were taken away, Job would curse God, and Satan asks permission from the Lord to prove his claims. God agrees, and says that Satan can throw anything at Job, but the one thing he can’t do is kill him. In the process, Job loses his sons and daughters when a big storm demolishes the house they were in, his livestock killed, all his wealth was gone, and he lost his health when he was covered in boils. Job was being attacked from every direction by Satan.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are “friends” of Job, who decided to come and cheer Job up, with their words of “wisdom”. However, their words were not of encouragement but of condemnation, telling Job that what has happened was because of something he did, or said, or an attitude, or sin, and that God was punishing him. Zophar condemned Job by telling him that there must be some wickedness in his life to bring such calamity. He says that if Job would turn his heart to God, and not let wickedness dwell in his household, then he could approach God without “moral defect” (Job 11:15 NASB), and life would be better, and then he says in verse 18, “then you would trust because there is hope…” Although Job had been righteous in God’s eyes, he still had to endure an attack of the enemy. Zophar says if Job would do these things, he would find hope by trusting in God.

This hope is not a wish that things will be better, it is a confidence that God will do as He promised, and as such then security is also found. By trusting in God and relying on His Word, our hope (confidence) comes in knowing that we can believe what God says, we can take His promises “to the bank” and make a faith deposit. There is security in knowing that we can trust God to work in our behalf and for our good.

Placing our faith and trust in God gives us an assurance that we will not be left alone, that God is with us through every situation. That hope strengthens our faith and we grow in our walk with the Lord, getting stronger each step we take in walking this pathway of faith.

The result of gaining hope in Christ is shown in the result of Job’s situation. Once Satan found out that Job would not renounce God, but instead, kept his faith in God, then God showered Job with blessings for his faithfulness and gave him double what he had before.

Satan also saw how God dealt with Job’s friends. God was angry because they didn’t speak of God in truth. They said that God was punishing Job, and they portrayed the Lord as a vindictive God. Satan saw that those who speak evil of God will themselves be punished. When we are being assaulted by those, unbeliever and Believer alike, with the idea that we have done something to deserve what we are going through, God will defend us. Those who don’t speak the true character of God will themselves be faced with God’s wrath, just as Job’s friends did, and repentance is required. We can have that hope that God will fight for us. We can rest in security and confidence, knowing God is Who He says He is, and will do as He has promised.