Tag: hope

Hope is a Who

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This article originally appeared on the blog for the Be Love Revolution, which you can view here.

Many Decembers ago, in a small dorm room at the University of Michigan, a miracle happened. The God of the Universe broke into my selfish and sinful heart. That night after months of searching, my unnamed longing was revealed to me in the person of Jesus the Messiah, and through my feeble YES, faith—as new as the baby Jesus—was born in my heart.

Now as a disciple of Jesus I’m trying to help others, especially young women, to know, love, and follow Him too. My idea of a great week is Pine Hills Girls Camp, being on mission in the garbage dump in Mexico City, an early Tuesday morning bible study at the local coffee shop, and being with my grandchildren.

Yet despite all the good things and God things in my life, I am prone to discouragement, and at times I struggle with HOPE. After many years of following Jesus, I have faced great joy and great pain, triumphs and disappointments, answered prayers and ones that seem to fall on deaf ears. But during the season of Advent there is a truth that has helped me cling to and grow in hope. Hope is a Who. I know this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book title, but hear me out…

When I was pregnant with each of my children I was filled with such expectant hope because I was preparing to giving birth to a real person, not a theory or a concept, but a real, living person with a name (Sarah, Michael, Joshua, Rachel), a face, an identity, a personality, and a purpose. I couldn’t wait to welcome that little person into our life.

Advent helps me remember that God who really exists—not as an idea, a philosophy, or theory—was born into our world as a human person, with a name (Jesus), an identity, a personality, and a purpose. Hope is a Who. My hope is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ and the certainty of what God has promised in Him. My hope isn’t based on my feelings or circumstances which change constantly, or in material things which break and wear out. My hope in others can bring disappointment, and hope in myself incites self-reliance and often ends in failure.

What fills me with hope is Jesus’ unbreakable promise: “I am with you always.” The name Emmanuel, God-with-us, reminds me that I am never alone, that he came to earth to set up his dwelling within me; that he will never leave me or forsake me. True hope isn’t anchored in my word, on wishful thinking or what I want, but on what the sovereign, loving God knows I need, revealed to me in the Word made flesh, and the rock-solid truth of the Scriptures.

Hope has a name and His Name is JESUS. When the light of hope fades within you, like it does in me sometimes, I challenge you to speak, proclaim, and praise the name of Jesus with the confidence of a trusted friend. Let your hope grow—not in what is to come or in what may be, but in Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah who has come to make His home in us. This Christmas, may Jesus, the Hope of the world, find a welcome place in our hearts.

Is There Any Hope for Me?

Millions are asking, sometimes in groans too deep for words, is there any hope for me? Will my life ever be a success? Will I ever find real love, or ever love others truly? Is there really, after all this disappointment, sorrow, and tragedy, any hope of everything working out okay in the end?

There are certainly enough false hopes, wishful thinking, and ill-founded optimism to go around. If we place our hopes in money, relationships, prestige, self-help techniques, or earthly security of any kind, we are ultimately bound to be disappointed—most often sooner rather than later. Is there any solidly founded hope not dependent on personality type or worldly circumstances that is actually accessible to the average person—to you and me?

I am very excited about what I have to tell you! In the midst of all this, no matter what, no matter how many, no matter how long, no matter how apparently hopeless your problems are, I know how real and genuine hope can be yours—today and always.

The really good news is that there is hope—for you—a hope that’s born and nourished through faith in Jesus. This hope is not based on wishful thinking or restricted to certain positive personality types; nor is it the outcome of psychological techniques or theological double-talk. It’s born only as we’re reborn, through faith and baptism, in union with Jesus. And once it’s born, it can grow and grow and grow until it reaches its completion as what is hoped for comes to pass.

Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a birth to an imperishable inheritance, incapable of fading or defilement, which is kept in heaven for you who are guarded with God’s power through faith; a birth to a salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days. There is cause for rejoicing here (1 Peter 1:3–6).

There really is cause for rejoicing here. The hope that’s born through faith in Christ is based on the real and awesome deeds and words of Jesus, demonstrated most strikingly in his resurrection from the dead. As we profess our faith in Jesus we become heirs to the promise of our own glorious resurrection from the dead, and that, in the end, is the only thing that can make it all worthwhile.

Sometimes the circumstances of our lives can seem completely overwhelming. That’s usually because we’ve never realized, or have forgotten, some of the most significant circumstances of our lives. Namely, that Jesus has offered up his life for us; he has risen from the dead for us; he is right now preparing a great heavenly inheritance for us; and he is interceding right now, for us, in the midst of all the circumstances of our lives.

The prayers of Jesus are powerful and effective. If Elijah stopped the rains in Israel for three and a half years as a result of his prayers, and if the prayers of a righteous person are powerful in their effects (James 5:16–18), just think how powerful Jesus’ prayers are, now, for us!

Jesus has not only shown us the way to eternal happiness; he himself is that way. He not only reveals to us the truth; he himself is that truth. He not only has come to give us life and life in greater abundance; he himself is that life. He is not only with us, but in us, and for us. He not only died on the cross so our sin and guilt can be washed away, but rose from the dead so all our tears can be wiped away, and sent us his Holy Spirit so our joy could be full. He is with us even now, no matter what we may be facing or experiencing. He not only has come to bring peace, but he himself is our peace. He not only founded a Church, which sometimes meets in buildings, but he founded a Church which is his very own body, his very own bride, a family of brothers and sisters bound for glory.

He is so powerful, so good, so loving and so wise that even our mistakes, sins and failures, even all the catastrophes and tragedies, can be used by him for our great good.

The mighty sacrifice of his life is powerful in what it has opened up for us. Right now, through baptism and faith, God is pouring his love and life into our hearts, through the Holy Spirit. And this is just the down payment of what he is preparing for us in heaven, when we join him, where he is, at our deaths or his second coming.

Let us hold unswervingly to our profession which gives us hope, for he who made the promise deserves our trust (Hebrews 10:23).

There is a profound link between faith, hope and love. Faith can be compared to the roots of a plant, hope to the stem, and love to the fruits.

Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God. But not only that—we even boast of our afflictions! We know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:1–5).

It is in the spirit that we eagerly await the justification we hope for, and only faith can yield it. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only faith, which expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:5–6).

In the last analysis the only thing that really matters in life is that we come to faith in Jesus, so hope can be born, grow and express itself in daily love.

 


This article is an excerpt from Ralph Martin’s booklet Is There Any Hope for Me?. In this booklet Ralph uses the promises of God found in the Scriptures to impart hope to you and those you love. He invites you to be renewed in your faith and live with imperishable hope founded on the resurrection of Christ and His Word.

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Never Lose Hope

The following article originally appeared in the newsletter of Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinators Don and Pat Turbitt. Their daughter, Lisa Turbitt Cunha, passed away at age fifty-four on April 1, after a three-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer. She is survived by her parents, her husband, and her three children. Our prayers are with Lisa and her family. 


“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer,

I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


There are few sadder sights on earth than the sight of a person who has lost all hope. But if you place your faith in God, you need never lose hope. God is so good and His love endures forever. He has promised us who believe in the the gift of eternal life and He always keeps His promises. This is exactly what we experienced in the passing of our precious daughter, Lisa, early on Easter Sunday morning. We always kept the door of hope open until she breathed her last breath.

If you find yourself falling into worry and discouragement, consider the words of Jesus. He said, “I have overcome the world.” Our world is indeed a place of trials and tribulations, but if we put our trust in God, we can become more and more secure in Him. The Lord Jesus Christ brings us peace and joy. Let us ask for the grace to receive these gifts more abundantly.

We can receive these gifts today and never lose hope. Our God is faithful to bring His word to pass. For those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one, remember this, God alone controls the passageways of death!

Amen!


The following meditation was found in Lisa’s journal:

Meditation

Jesus,

When I see you, the world stops.

Love enters my world and it stops.

All that exists for me is You and my eyes staring at You.

No noise.

No other people.

No thoughts or worries.

No yesterday.

No tomorrow.

The world just stops and it is a beautiful place.

And there’s only You.

When You’re gone, the world starts again and

I don’t like it much.

I can live in it, but I don’t like it.

I just walk around in it,

And wait to see You again

And wait

For it to stop again.

I love it when it stops.

It’s the best thing

I’ve ever known or ever felt,

The best thing, and that is

Why I stare at You.


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What if Today is the Last Day of Your Life?

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Debbie Herbeck recently wrote about how coming to know Christ transformed her thoughts about mortality from ones of fear into ones filled with hope. We pray her recount of her journey will bring you comfort and peace, and help you also to confront death with faith.

What if today is the last day of your life? What if today is the last day in someone else’s life that you love? What if today is the day the world ends and Jesus returns?

These are challenging questions to ponder. No one wants to think about anything good coming to an end, especially our own lives. I distinctly remember when I was ten years old, lying in my bed late at night having just received the news of my grandfather’s death. That night, for the first time in the dark of night, I also realized that one day I too would close my eyes and never awaken. I know it sounds like a morbid thought, especially coming from a ten-year-old, but it’s a reality we all must face. It was the first time someone close to me had passed away, and little did I know then, that five years later another even more painful parting would shroud our family.

Continue reading here.