Welcome Grace

Break Cycles, Embrace Grace

The Hope Series: How to Stand Firm From a Position of Hope

The Hope Series: Trust and hope grow side by side. As trust grows so does hope. As we declare hope, trust grows. Both find their root in God’s love. How well do you receive God’s love? Do you receive it with arms wide open or do you feel you have to bring something to him first?

 

When we turn to our own efforts to earn God’s love, we cheapen grace. And when we live from a place of cheap grace, we have flimsy hope. This is what it means to look at God’s love through the lens of our own brokenness. But what if we exchanged our broken lens for God’s lens?

 

When I view God’s love through my brokenness, I see warped love. But when I view God’s love through His lens: I see a perfect love that casts out fear. I see a love that watched His son bleed a violent death so that I might know Him intimately as Father, Hope, Light and Life. I see a love that gave all so that I might know a hope and peace that defies all human explanation.

 

When I base my understanding on God’s love by what He does or does not do for me, I am doomed to struggle. But when I base my understanding on God’s love on His character and His word, I am unshakable.

 

Unshakable. Who wouldn’t love that? Who can really, truly understand that? Nothing in our finite world is unshakable. Buildings collapse. People disappoint. Jobs fail. Governments corrode.

 

But God is faithful. He is unmovable, unwavering, resolute, constant, and devoted.

 

When we get hit with bad news and our world is shaken. We equate God’s hope with peaceful, pleasant lives. But Psalm 23 says that God will prepare a table in the presence of our enemies. We’re invited to taste and see that the Lord is good even when the enemy of our soul surrounds us.

 

Can you sit peacefully and hopefully in God’s presence in the midst of devastating circumstances? Is your focus laser beamed on God’s good heart for you? Can you withhold from judging God based on how good or bad your life is?

 

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

 

Step One

Hold fast to hope. Confess hope to yourself. Turn down the voice in your head that tells you it’s hopeless. Focus on God’s faithfulness and center your hope there.

 

Step Two

 

Stir one another to love. Love spreads. It’s the best kind of contagion. It’s the kind that spreads hope and gets passed around to one another.

 

Reach out to one another. That phone call you’ve been feeling nudged to make? Call that friend or co-worker and tell them you appreciate their kindness or dedication. Spread encouragement and watch hope blossom.

 

Step Three

 

Hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ and bestowed on us when we believe in our hearts and confess with out mouth that Jesus is Lord. Hope becomes our heritage and inheritance and it never disappoints. Stand in the hope Jesus provides. Don’t fight for hope, fight from a position of hope.

 

Application

Read Hebrews 10:19-25

Choose someone to text, email, or send a card in order to encourage them to hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hope Series: Where there is Faith, There is Hope.

hope

 

“Where there is life, there is hope,” is an old Roman adage. But it’s not a certainty. It’s not a guarantee that just because you’re alive, you have hope. Hope is so much more than being alive–it’s nebulous and concrete–it can’t always be explained, but must be experienced.

 

Hope makes a way for us to touch life with tenderness, taste life with delight, view life with optimism, and hear the song of life. It’s in our most devastating moments that we can experience the highest hope. But how?

 

How do we transition from devastation to hope and furthermore to a lifestyle of hope? Is it possible to make hope our first reaction instead of our second or third or last?

 

The words Peter writes in 1 Peter, resound with the sound of hope in my ears. It’s a guidebook for living hopeful in this devastating world. Peter walks us through the definition, the defining nature, and the determination of hope.

 

Peter defines our living hope as the resurrection of Jesus and the future glory of his return. He shows us to live defined by hope by getting rid of the things that hinder it, and how to be determined in hope.

 

As believers we live future minded. Our present choices and actions are governed by the expectation of seeing Jesus face to face. There are three things that we can do in the here and now that will grow our hope.

 

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 ESV

 

A disciplined mind.

 

Have you seen those toy sticky hands? My kids will occasionally get these plastic, gelatinous hands with a stretchy string attached and they slap it on the windows, the doors, and the sofas, and as it gets used it picks up dirt, debris, cat hair, and crumbs. And pretty soon it’s filthy. Sometimes walking through life can be like that hand. We’re reaching and touching lives and getting a little dirty. Things start sticking to us and pretty soon we’ve lost our hope. If you can center your thoughts on the return of Christ and live accordingly, then you will be effective in the world, spreading hope wherever you go. Outlook affects outcome and attitude determines action.

 

A sober mind.

 

Sober doesn’t mean serious. It means a calm, steady, and controlled mind by weighing the things you watch and listen to by God’s word and being secure in it. It stays aware that satan is on the prowl and staying alert to his tricks. Our cat is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We call him Sunny, but he is anything but sunny. He purrs and then bites. He prowls and then attacks. And when we forget his tendencies, we become prey to his tricks. He jumps at us and our hearts race and we remember his nature. Satan is like that. He prowls around attempting to distract us with despair, disappointment, and discouragement. But you have no reason to fear: Christ is coming! And for that reason alone, your mind can stay calm and secure.

 

An optimistic mind.

 

Positivity comes easy for some people. It’s like they ooze glitter and sparkles. It’s easy to look at that type of person and wonder if they understand that pain exists. As a positive person myself, let me assure you: I’m aware of pain. Pain has stolen my breath and turned my world dark. But I’m also aware that God is in all and over all and that he has my back. His heart is good and trustworthy. When the outlook is gloomy, have an up-look.

 

I took a hike along the Northshore of Lake Superior this fall. The beginning of the hike deceptively hid the strenuous middle. At one point I faced 275 stairs. In a row. I have a funny knee that doesn’t laugh at stairs. I knew the view at trail’s end would provide me with a beautiful reward, but I needed to stop in the middle to catch up and to look up. To pause and take in the beauty of the forest, the curling birch bark, and the way the clouds skidded along the mountain. Life is like that trail. It’s starts out innocent enough and then morphs into difficult challenges and the only way through is through. Look beyond your circumstances and see God. He’s there.

 

A disciplined, sober, and optimistic mind creates a spiritual mind-set that allows us to experience the grace and hope of God in the day to day grind of life. We have the assurance of seeing Jesus face to face at his second coming, but we have the ability to see evidence of him in our todays as we fix our minds on him.

 

The Secret of The Hope Series

the hope series

The Hope Series

 

Our hope lies in the living God. He is living. He’s not dead or far off, but near and close. He draws us to himself and as we respond he draws us closer to him. You find joy in bringing him praise. You bring him praise when you choose hope over despair.

 

Life can be despairing and difficult. Circumstances surprise us. Situations shake and seem to overtake us.

 

But.

 

Can you stand unafraid when your earth gives way? Can you trust God to open the doors that are meant to open? Can you trust him so that you stand unmoved? When hopelessness persecutes, can you stand on the solid rock and say, “I stand with God and I will not be moved.”

The Secret

 

One secret in times of hopelessness is the truth that we win. Whether in life or death, when our lives are secure in Christ’s salvation, we win. It’s not about praying for victory, but it’s about praising God for the victory.

 

That doesn’t mean that your circumstances are going to magically change because you’re standing in the victory of Jesus. It means that your spirit is secure in him, no matter what it is you’re suffering.

 

Can you give all for love’s true name? When faced with desperation, we automatically lean toward running from the difficulty. But as new creatures in Christ, our minds are in the process of renewal. Our default of hiding during difficult times transforms into standing firm on the Solid Rock, with our eyes fixed securely on the One who leads us on and through and upward and forwards.

Come What May

 

Always guiding us, always with us, always loving us. Always providing rest when we need it. Giving us the tools we need to stand firm in the face of the storm. Faith to believe that he doesn’t leave us floundering, but gives us the wherewithal to stand. Stand in him. Stand with him. Suffer for him. Suffer because of him.

 

Our joy and hope is found in him. He is our everything. Come what may. Will you obey? Will you find your joy in bringing him praise?

 

You do this when you fix your confident hope on the living God. Turn to, rely on, and trust in God. Say yes to him more than you say no. Stop fighting your difficulties and ask God to redeem your pain into beauty.

 

He may not calm your external storm, but when you fix your hope on God, he does calm the storm that rages within you.

 

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”  1 Timothy 4:8-10 (ESV)

Application for The Hope Series

Listen to Come What May

Think of a situation that is drowning you.

Meditate on 1 Timothy 4:8-10

 

Let's be friends!

I write to encourage you that you can experience a vibrant, transformative relationship with God even if your past or your shame tells you otherwise. God invites you upward and onward, will you join me? You'll receive weekly devotionals straight to your inbox. By subscribing you'll receive my 7-Day Devotional, Kicking Perfect, as a thank-you gift from me!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This