HOPE–An Anchor for the Soul

img_4415It’s been said that people can live for up to 70 days without food, 10 days without water, and 6 minutes without air. But they can’t live without hope.

In order to stay afloat through the changing ocean tides of life, one needs an anchor for the soul that’s both sure and steadfast (Heb. 6:19). That anchor for the Christian is hope.

The word hope defined by Noah Webster is: a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.

Where or what one places his or her hope in can make all the difference. Is one’s hope placed in fallible, unpredictable man’s ways or in some realm of this fallen world? Or is one’s hope placed in (what the Scriptures testify to) an immutable (unchanging) God, Who doesn’t have in His nature to lie (Heb. 6:18, Tit. 1:2)?

David’s hope (or expectation) was from God, “My soul, wait silently for God alone; For my expectation is from Him…Trust in Him at all times…Do not trust in oppression, nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them” (Psalm 62:5, 8, 10). David’s confident trust in the Lord is reflected also in Psalm 56:3-4, “Whenever I’m afraid I will trust in You. In God I will praise His word, In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me…” Notice his use of “In God I have put my trust”.

Not surprisingly as America has distanced itself away from “in God we trust” as a nation and toward dependence on the ever-changing & unreliable ways of man, there’s been a rise in anxiety, depression, and related disorders resulting in a reliance on an array of prescription drugs (which sadly many times, in the long run only worsen things). Not trying to negate or minimize the truly devastating effects of life in a fallen world, and the legitimate need for some to be dependent on medication/s, but stress, hardships and troubles are a reality for all in this present life (albeit, some more than others). There’s a real need in society today for more encouragement toward its citizens to have a faith in a loving God, and our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, that transcends self. It’s only there that the believer will find an object of hope that’s glorious, eternal & will not disappoint (Titus 2:13, Rom. 5:5, Phil. 3:20).

FAITH IS THE NECESSARY LINK TO HAVING HOPE as it’s the outworking of trust in God and the proof of BELIEVING IN THINGS NOT SEEN. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…” (Hebrews 11:1); “…hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what it sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom. 8:24-25).

Faith is the crucial channel that leads to hope as one is saved through it (Eph. 2:8), and without it one cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Having faith may seem easy at first (especially when times are good and the living is easy). Sadly the moment when challenging circumstances arise, it’s in human nature to dwell on the seen trials rather than on an unseen God. Even the disciple Peter began to (literally) sink when he took his eyes off Jesus and was thus rebuked, “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:24-33).

Those who have faith (as those in chapter 11 of Hebrews) are prime examples of the Romans 5:25 chain that connects tribulations (afflictions) to perseverance (patience) and perseverance to character (experience) which leads to hope. Their hope made it possible to endure hardships as they focused and relied on the invisible God and His promises (Heb. 11:27). We too, today need to look for our blessed hope, not here on earth, but where it’s laid up for us in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-4, Phil. 3:20-21, Titus 2:13).

Nothing worthwhile is easy, but one must suffer evil as a good soldier (2 Tim. 2:4), especially in a world with its allures of instant fixes and gratification.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).

Laura

EVICTION TO RECLAMATION

EvictedA Story of Hope

                Theirs was the perfect country residency. It was really quite the set up–fully loaded with everything they could possibly need. All that was required of them was to make sure that it was taken care of and preserved. The only stipulation that the Architect/LandLORD had been adamant about was for them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. If they did they would forfeit their security (of life) deposit (Genesis 2:15-17).

                They were unaware that a potential, conniving squatter had snuck in and was planning on scamming them into breaking their contract with the LandLORD. In his corrupted, scheming heart it was a ‘no brainer’. All he had to do was make them question what the LandLORD had said & knew they’d forget about the stipulation—and of course that’s exactly what happened (Gen. 3:1-6).

                The LandLORD became aware immediately and the penalties were swift for the tenants (Gen. 3:16-19). They not only were evicted from their home of paradise but forfeited their security (of life) deposit as warned (Gen. 3:22-24) and were sent out–homeless–to live their remaining sentence, with the stain of sin & death on their record, in a very different dark & fallen environment that was filled with toil, sweat and pain. Sadly the fate of their poor choice was even more far reaching–extending to every generation to come (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22). The usurper would be held accountable as well for his part and suffer total destruction in due time (Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). Until then he would be allowed to continue to tempt and deceive mankind (John 8:44, Heb. 2:14, 2 Cor. 4:4).

                “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

                All was not lost as a Savior from on high entered into the fallen world and took on flesh & blood so that through His sacrificial death, He could destroy the devil (the usurper, who was allowed the power of death) and thus deliver mankind, who’d been subject to bondage all this time and make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Though as sinners they were undeserving of this merciful grace—He still died for them.) (Luke 1:30-32, 35, 78-79, 2:11; Heb. 2:14-17; Phil. 2:5-8; Eph. 2:3-5). This Savior/Mediator, though sinless, gave Himself as ransom for all, through His blood so that those who received this offer would become in good standing (as their debt was forgiven) once again with the LandLORD (Col. 1:12, 14, 20, 2:14; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 3:5).

                A promise of a new residence & citizenship in heaven was given to all who believed & received the offer–and once it was received this security (of life) deposit could not be taken away (John 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14, 2:19; 2 Cor. 5:5; Phil. 3:20-21). They received direction & guidance (including ways to protect themselves in their present environment) from a living handbook (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 6:10-18). These new citizens of heaven know that when their earthly house (their tent), is destroyed, they’ll have a building from God. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For this they groan as they earnestly desire to be clothed with their heavenly habitation while still being burdened as they wait for mortality to be swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Their sights have been readjusted on things above, making it bearable for them to walk with endurance & victory in the present fallen world where they walk by faith (Col. 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:7-11, 16-18, 5:8).

                So if you haven’t already joined them, consider it so you too can have the hope of a new change of wardrobe from a corrupt outdated body of humiliation to a timeless & gloriously fashioned one like the body of His glory.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that’s written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor. 15:42-49, 54). Hallelujah!

Laura

 

Where’s My Hope?

Things Above Colossians 3 2
“Things Above” by Laura Kestly

HIGH HOPES

Having an Outlook that’s Positively Eternal

 March is the month that includes the last phase of winter & also the official beginning of spring. For us in the northern Midwest especially, it’s the long awaited glimmer of hope of warmer temperatures and the bright & beautiful colors of creation reawakening–replacing the frozen snow-covered, brown & barren ground.

THE HOPE OF SPRING ENABLES US TO ENDURE THE REMAINING DAYS OF WINTER.

I often tell people (especially after discussing current events or other circumstances that may be out of my control), that I’m so thankful that I have ‘a Hope’. I don’t mean the kind of hope that has a trace of doubt in it—like, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow” or “I hope he remembers to bring the mail in”. That’s an “I’m not so sure if it will happen, but I have my fingers crossed” kind of hope—it’s possible but… The “Hope” that keeps me ‘keeping’ on’ and focusing upward is the capital “H” type of Hope defined by “confident expectancy”—as in the fulfillment of a promise. It’s a certain hope (where there’s no trace of doubt) (Heb. 6:19, 10:23; Titus 1:2)!

Martin Luther King Jr. said this, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Finite means having limits or bounds/fixed. Contrarily, infinite means limitless/unable to measure. This type of hope can only come from the Divine. It’s a HIGH Hope placed in a God Who, though He was on High, was brought low so that those (like me) who were low could have a hope on High (Phil. 2:6-9, 3:20; Rom. 3:23, 5:6-11)!

  • IT’S a PRECIOUS & BLESSED HOPE that was BOUGHT with a PRICE. A Hope, through Christ Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, for those who were alienated, to have peace with God & citizenship in heaven upon its reception (Eph. 2:12-13; Phil. 3:20).
  • IT’S a HOPE that came by GRACE & through FAITH is received (2 Thess. 2:16, Eph. 2:8).
  • IT’S a SAVING & ETERNAL HOPE (Rom. 8:24, 1 Thess. 5:8, Titus 1:2, & Eph. 2:8).
  • IT’S A HOPE that focuses on the BIG PICTURE—the FOREST (not just the trees). This Hope comes from God’s perspective & doesn’t focus on earthly circumstances that will pass –but on the eternal unseen things that will last (2 Cor. 4:18).
  • IT’S A GLORIOUS HOPE THAT CAUSES ONE TO REJOICE (not be disappointed) even through hard circumstances the future glory outweighs the present afflictions (Rom. 5:2, 5; Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 4:8-10, 17).    
  • IT’S SUBSTANCE CONSISTS of FAITH/UNSEEN with the NAKED EYE. Through tribulation, perseverance & character it’s produced & must be eagerly waited for with perseverance (Hebrews 11:1, Rom. 5:3-4, 8:24-25).
  • IT’S ENERGIZING: One can endure & abound in this hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word (Rom 15:4, 13; 2 Cor. 4:16).

THE HOPE OF ETERNITY ENABLES US TO ENDURE OUR REMAINING TIME ON EARTH.

Want the shadows to fall behind you? Keep your mind’s eye toward the Son and the things above where HIGH HOPE can be found (Col. 3:1-4, Heb. 12:1-2, Titus 2:13).

Laura