Category Archives: Hope

Growing In Difficulties

Nobody should stay in abusive situations. We should not allow ourselves to be subjected to abuse.

Interestingly enough, we should not allow ourselves to go to the opposite extreme either.

Coming out of abuse can fling us into a place that we make absolutely sure that we do not get ourselves back into difficult circumstances again. It is VERY easy to reject all circumstances that take on the flavor or smell of abuse. The end result is that we reject some things that are in our lives that are for our good. Difficult people and difficult circumstances help us grow. How do we get in balance? By allowing those borderline cases into our lives!

We have to remember that every difficulty is not from the devil. Some of our frustrations are God’s polishing agent in our lives. Those irritants are there for us to learn to run back to our loving Father to get more help!

A good example is the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:2-3. Jesus, part of the creation trinity, came in body form, and had fasted 40 days. The devil tempted him to make stones into bread. Why shouldn’t He make stones into bread? He could; He changed water into wine. He deserved it; He had gone without food for 40 days. (Think about this, as God, Jesus had probably never felt those kinds of pains before!) But Jesus did not turn the stones into bread, not because it would have been wrong, but because there was greater good in going without! Is it possible that God called irritating or uncomfortable circumstances in our lives because there is greater good to come of it?

How do we know if we are to welcome or reject circumstances that irritate us?

Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus HUMBLED himself and became obedient (this in itself is amazing). This is the “attitude” (v.5) that we should have in our lives. Whether my circumstances are fabulous or frustrating we should have the attitude that we know that, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Philippians 2:9-11 continues, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB)

Jesus went the lowest place, and therefore was exalted above all. When we are humble, God will use even the worst of circumstances in our lives to shine His Glory through.

Be at peace.

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Hope: The Quiet Expectation of Good Things

There are several words for “hope” in the Old Testament.  One of the root words for hope is “kaw-vaw.”  It is usually translated as “wait.”  “Hope” is a nice word.  “Wait” is not, especially in western society.  For us, it seems life should be done at great speed and everything done with maximum gain in mind.  So waiting is always bad.

How good are we at waiting in the doctor’s office, at a traffic light, in line at the bank, etc?  Do we get bored, frustrated, impatient?  How does this word, “kaw-vaw” connect to hope?  It also means “to expect” or “look eagerly”.  Wouldn’t it be great if anytime we had to wait, that we would turn our hearts to God and listen?  Hope then, can be defined as “the quiet expectation of good things that God wants to do in us and through us.”

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness.
Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.  Psalm 33:18, 20-22

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Hope: Confidence in God’s Best

Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

To say “I hope so” means you strongly desire a particular event to happen. This is very different from the biblical definition of hope.  The biblical definition could be described as confidence in God’s favor or God’s best.

Are we confident that God’s best is going to happen in our lives?

Many have little hope.

  • Are we resolved to failure in some area of our lives — that we will never break some bad habit, or maybe that we will never get into good physical shape?
  • Are we settling for disappointment — that we will never have an intimate relationship with our spouse, or never have a good job?
  • Are we lowering our expectations of God’s blessings — that we will never be out of debt, or our ministry hopes will never happen?

Jeremiah 29:11 (above) declares that God wants to give us confidence that his best is coming to us.
In 1Samuel 30, David and his army returned from battle and came to their city to find it burned, and all of their family members and possessions  taken captive. “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep” (v.4). To make matters worse, there was talk of stoning David (v.6).
But David does something remarkable. “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”  That is a good example of hope. Instead of focusing on his circumstances, the loss of his family and the threats to his life, he focused on the promises of his God. David went on to recapture all of the family members and all of their stolen goods.

Can hope be dangerous? Yes. Hope can lead to more disappointment if we put our hope in the wrong thing. If we put our hope in people (including ourselves) or circumstances, we will be disappointed. The only thing we can put our hope in is God alone. He is the only one that is able to keep promises without faltering. We even must be careful to not put our hopes in the blessings that God gives us.  It must be in God alone. We can have confidence that anything that is taken away from us is only for our good. Even good things can be taken away – but will always replaced by far better things.

Keep hope!

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