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HOPE

October 23, 2015

Text: “Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”  Psalms 119:49-50

Hope is a word which is a great energizer to the believer.  It appears with two other great words in a famous Bible chapter. “So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13  These three words are both food for our souls and energy for our good deeds. Cherish these three important words. Never forget or neglect them! This week’s article, however, is about hope.

Indispensable is the word “hope” in the Christian’s life and eternal expectations. Peter begins his  first epistle by telling his readers that God has caused us “…to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” I Peter 1:3 This world was in a hopeless condition when Jesus entered it.  Great poverty existed in their society. Life was a never-ending struggle just to feed families.  Life was cheap. Death by disease, famine, and war were terrifying realities. They still are! We face the same threats as they; we just have hoarded goods and technology to buffer us some from them and await the inevitable. However, these material things are deceptive; they can neither hedge us from harm nor comfort us in our trials. Christians cannot live without hope!

When we abandon hope we are at the mercy of Satan!  The Devil has a large array of weapons to break our spirits and destroy our hopes. Some of them seem merciless and endless. Once he has weaned us from hope he has us in a quagmire of despair.  Satan knows that if he can wangle us into despair then he can undermine our faith.

We must not let hope ebb from our hearts.  If we want to survive we must revive our hope.  God offers us hope. He it is  who directs us to the refuge of our souls. He knows our despair and  gives us direction out of our hopelessness. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of  the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13  God makes hope availbable to us, but we must grasp it and secure it for ourselves. Though we apprehend it and are gifted with its benefits, never the less trouble, illness, and setbacks can cause it to diminish and/or evade us. Certainly we want it to return and bless us again. However, we ourselves are responsible to rebuild our own hope.

At such times as our hearts are disconsolate we need comfort.  Our sorrows, our woes, and our disappointments can be assuaged by two helpers: God’s Holy Spirit and fellow saints.  The Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead. He was sent on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 as a surrogate for Jesus and was called by the title of “The Comforter” by Jesus in John 14:26  “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,  he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.” (ASV)  A passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us one of the Holy Spirit’s functions is a helper to Christians. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Romans 8:26a  Since another of  the Holy Spirit’s functions is the inspiration of the biblical writers and the proclamation of the gospel, read God’s word for comfort.

We should depend upon our fellow saints for solace and healing.  Christians live in a community of people who should care for and help relieve the hurts of their fellows. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 Paul, taking his cue from Jesus, said it slightly differently: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘  Galatians 5;14  As an example of consolation we can turn our focus to Barnabas, the companion of Paul on his first missionary journey.  “Thus Joseph, who was also called by  the apostles Barnabas  (which means son of encouragement) a Levite, a native of  Cyprus…” Acts 4:34  So when your hope begins to waver,  find yourself a brother or sister in the church who spreads encouragement and uplifts your soul.

Remember God’s promises and be steadfast by keeping your sights on the blessings he has pledged us. Read your Bible and notice all the promises God has made to man. He has kept every one of them! God will deliver on what he has assured!  “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keeps his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9 

Embrace hope with all your heart and keep the flame burning.

“We always thank God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard  of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have  for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” Colossians  1:3-5a

 

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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