With all of the negative news everywhere it seems, it is difficult to keep a positive outlook on things. I have spoken with many people who are struggling with depression and anxiety because the perfect storm of world crisis. Covid, the coming election, protests, riots on top of the usual stressors of work, family, parentings, marriage, and money. It can be as overwhelming as a squirrel trapped in the dog pound. Everywhere you turn, life bares its teeth, growling, ready to bite your head off with no place to run. We need some hope.
We must remember the principles of God are not dependent upon our circumstances. When God promises peace, the promise is not conditional to your dilemma. God can and will keep His promises. They are yes and amen in Christ and Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Whether you are living in a 1st world crisis as simple as a getting a flat tire on the highway or a 3rd world food shortage struggling to stay alive, His promises remain. If God has promised it to us, we must not allow the drool from growling teeth to create doubt in our life.
Often, we are waiting for promises that have already been delivered. Too often, it seems that God is withholding His promises from us, but faith, hope, and love remain constant, steadfast. God doesn’t withhold His love. The Bible says faith is a gift from God like a tattoo inked upon our soul (Ephesians 2:8-10). And hope, like love is the essence of God’s presence who never leaves us nor forsakes us. As God is love, He is too the God of hope (Romans 15:13). We need some hope!
But with all of the promises of the Kingdom of Heaven, hope must be grasped tightly with determination. It is in you, but have you taken hold of it?
Hope is different from faith. Faith is a belief that God will do something specific. I have faith that God will protect my son as he travels the world on a Navy ship. Hope has no specifics. Hope is what we have when our situation overwhelms our mind that we can’t even conceive what could be done. Hope simply believes that God can do something. Hope is knowing He is above every situation and able to execute His unseen plan for our good. Do you believe God is able to work things according to His will and our good even in the most overwhelming moments? This is hope. Sometimes, it is all we have. We can’t even imagine what would make the situation more bearable, but we are confident that God does, and if He chooses, He is able to flip our condition from dark to light, from grim to possible, from death to life, from devastating to life-transforming.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Without hope, there is no joy nor peace. We need hope to find the greater blessings of God. And hope is the linchpin of trust. Until we can, at the least, say with confidence that God is able to do something even when we have no idea what that something might be, we will never really trust God. We will never truly experience joy nor peace. Hope holds our hand and walks us to trust who gives the gift of joy and peace.
Whatever overwhelms you, remember that God is able to do whatever He wants to change everything for your good any second. It could be right now, five minutes from now, or five years from now. But rest assured, God knows what we need and He will not leave us here forever. Hope is the belief that God is still in control of the chaos. He still reigns in the madness. There is no storm that can break His peace. There is no demon that can kick Him off the Throne of Heaven. You may not can see anything to have faith in, but take hold of the hope that God is still in control. When you can grip hope with all your might, peace and joy will soon follow.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
I have been sharing excerpts from my new book With All Your Heart. I have appreciated all of the encouragement from folks and I am grateful the Lord is using With All Your Heart to minister to people on a deep level. Today, though I wanted to depart from my book. I want to share some of what I taught recently at a homeless mission, Church Under the Bridge, that our church partners with.
In the book of Nehemiah, we find the nation of Israel obliterated. Babylon has conquered them and as was the custom then, to maintain control, many of the Israelites were relocated to Babylon and many Babylonians were relocated to Israel.
Guard Your Heart
Do you believe God has a beautiful plan for your life? If you don’t, you are denying Scripture and the very words of God. He has said that He has a plan for your life and that plan is beyond comprehension filled with hope, purpose, and prosperity of the soul (Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, Ephesians 2:10). These bring meaning and enjoyment to life. But how do we find this plan? let’s consider this passage:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Have you ever wondered how to find refuge in the Lord?
I love the imagery we get from Proverbs 18:10 when it says the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and they are saved. Clearly, the Lord wants us to see Him as a refuge when times are difficult. When we are hurt, afraid, anxious, or fearful, He is our refuge. But how do we find refuge in the Lord? And this brings us to our Verse of the Day: As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalms 18:30 (NIV)