What Does Your HOPE Look Like?

  One of the most fundamental questions in life is - Is there Hope?  This question surfaces in life in different ways: in the eyes of a family at a funeral; in the voice of a parent whose child is in the hospital; in the mind of a man who has just lost his job, or in the heart of a person who just received a bad report from the doctor.

  We can go 40 days without food; three days without water; a few minutes without air; but we can't survive without hope. What situation are you facing today in which you need hope?

  Hebrews 11:1 says, " Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for; the evidence of things not seen." 1 Cor 15:19 says, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."  1 Cor. 13:13 says, "...faith, hope and love."

   WHY is hope so IMPORTANT?  Without it, we lose our motivation for life, family and ministry. Without hope we tend to go backward, instead of forward. Without hope we retreat from Godly Vision and follow the flesh, instead of the spirit. Without hope we have no target for our faith to aim at; no direction for our faith to work toward.  Faith is NOW, but hope is FUTURE.

   The hope I'm referring to is not the natural hope of society. That hope is merely wishing.  Hoping for a change in the weather, or hoping to catch the big one when fishing, etc.  Biblical hope means the CONFIDENT expectation of good things and it involves patience.  Do you remember Oral Robert saying years ago, "Something good is going to happen to you!" If you can’t see God wanting to Bless you with confident expectation, then you’ve lost your hope.  HE wants to Bless you so that you can Bless others!

  I hope my neighbors, friends and workmates will be saved.  My faith works toward that target. I pray for my neighbors; build relationships with them; show unconditional love to them and look for ways to talk to them about Jesus.  Do you remember the story in Mark 2 when Jesus was teaching inside a house?  Some men had a paralyzed friend on a mat or a stretcher. They were carrying him to Jesus. Jesus was their HOPE, but their FAITH could be seen as they carried their friend.  When they came near the house, they saw a crowd so large that they couldn't get inside the house.  They went up on the roof and found a way to lower their friend down to where Jesus was.  Faith had a TARGET to work towards.  Hope was FUTURE.  Faith was NOW and Faith was Action.

The Christian with Hope Is Never Hopeless!

  Karen and I have pictures of our two grandsons around the house.  We often look at their picture as we pray for them.  Our hope is for God's BLESSING on Lucas and David.  Our hope finds faith in prayer.
 
  Do you have a TARGET for your faith to work toward?  If not, your faith has probably become dormant and ineffective. The Holy Spirit not only wants us to have hope, but to be dispensers of hope to people in hopeless situations. That hope is in the Lord! Paul says our hope distinguishes us from the unbeliever who has no hope beyond this world. (1 Thess. 4:13 – 14)

  I'm reminded of the story of a teacher in a large school district whose assignment was to visit children in the hospital. One day a request came for her to visit a particular eight-year old boy. She jotted down his name and called his regular teacher.  She was to assist the boy with nouns and adverbs, so that he wouldn’t fall too far behind.  It wasn't until the teacher went to the hospital that she learned the little boy was in the burn unit.  No one had prepared her for what she would see. The child had been badly burned and was in great pain. She felt awkward as she saw him and stammered, "I'm the hospital teacher and your teacher has asked me to help you with your nouns and adverbs." The next day when she returned to the burn unit, she was stopped by the nurse caring for the child. "What did you say to that boy yesterday?", asked the nurse.  Before the teacher could respond, the nurse said, "we've been so concerned about him, because of his depression. But since you were here, his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back. He has hope that he never had before." Later they discovered his hope. The little boy explained, "they wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a boy who was going to die - would they?"

  What does your hope look like? Find your hope so that you can go forward, not backward. Focus on your Biblical Hope so that your faith can have a target to aim toward. Rediscover your hope so that you can go pursue your God-given purpose and be a Blessing to others.

Let your hope, not your hurts, shape your future…..   Robert Schuller

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