I Believe In Prayer

Praying for Branch County and Beyond

Archive for the tag “hope”

Make Hope Your Focus

1 Peter 1:6-7

When athletes enters a sporting event they want to do well; they do not enter their event hoping to lose. As appealing as it may be just to enter an event and win, in reality, it is just not enough to enter the event. It requires them to develop their abilities and participate.

How are abilities developed? They are developed by training THROUGH resistance. If we want to develop stronger muscle it requires us to work the muscle THROUGH resistance.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we all want to finish well. Like an athlete, our faith needs to be trained like an athlete’s muscle. Today’s Scripture, speaks of troubles, which can come in the form of trials or temptations. They are necessary for the refinement of our faith. These troubles are a part of the spiritual training that develops our faith, just as physical training strengthens muscles.

So why does the athlete endure training? For the joy of victory! How do they endure? They make the joy their focus! They endure through the pains of training, so when they enter their event they will have the best opportunity to hear the cheers. So why do we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, endure the spiritual training of our faith? For the living HOPE of the resurrection that awaits us (v.3). How do we endure? By making this HOPE, in all its forms, our focus!

Most are not fond of physical training. Neither are they fond of spiritual training which come in the forms of trouble. If we look upon them for the result God intends for us in our life; rather than, the momentary discomfort they bring. Like an athlete we can rejoice through them knowing that they are refining and proving us to be genuine.

It is the genuineness of our faith, refined by the troubles of this life, that will bring about praise, glory and honor when our Jesus returns. This HOPE my friends is the focus that will cause our FAITH to endure. So rejoice not in your troubles, but through them, because you know they are making you a genuine disciples of Jesus. God Bless you in this Hope!

T. H.


The God of Hope

Here are 2 links to messages that were preached on February 2, 2014.

Shane Looper – Lockwood Community Church


Jeff Bream – Northview Christian Church


Hope Alive

1 Peter 1:3-5

Our Bold Faith theme this year – LIVING HOPE comes from this text in 1 Peter. Here Peter reminds us that our hope is personified in Jesus Christ, who resurrected from the dead and is alive forevermore. As long as we fix our hope on him, we will always have hope. And that’s great news for us because Jesus Christ is the “Living One” (Rev. 1:18), our permanent priest who “always lives to intercede for us” (Heb. 7:24 – 25). That means that there is never a time or situation on earth where we can’t find hope (future certainty, confident expectation) in God through the Savior Jesus Christ.

But, take a second look at the 1 Peter text. Our hope in God is not only relevant to our earthly lives and circumstances, it counts for all eternity as well. Peter reminds us that by God’s mercy, our faith has secured for us an eternal inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. And notice, you are not even responsible for keeping this inheritance safe, God is! And because God never fails, we have great hope (expectation) for our future with him in heaven.

How do we experience this kind of hope? It starts with the new birth that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. From there, we must choose to daily exercise our faith as we discover who God is and what he promises for us.  Faith, like a shield, protects our minds from the doubts and fears that naturally arise with the uncertain circumstances of life in a fallen world. And because Christ is alive, our hope is too. We have a “living hope” not just for life on earth, but throughout eternity. So we too, join the Apostle Peter’s doxology – Praise be to God!

J. E.

The Blessing Cycle

Hebrews 11:1

It takes a living hope to inspire a bold faith. St. Paul makes that clear when he tells the Colossians that hope is the spring from which faith and love flow. Faith cannot grow in the soil of despair or distraction. If hope is leeched away, faith will wither.

But if hope issues in faith, faith also stimulates hope. They are symbionts – each mutually benefiting the other. This is clear from Paul’s blessing to the Roman Christians: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope leads to faith, which leads to hope, which leads to greater faith, which leads to more certain hope. People who get caught up in this “blessing cycle” experience a richness of peace and joy that otherscan only imagine.

Hope is clearly critical to the Christian life, but what is it? Is it a feeling – a soft, ephemeral “thing with feathers” as Emily Dickenson put it? Or is it something else, something hard and solid, like the “anchor” described by the author of Hebrews (Hebrews 6:19)?

We often use the word “hope” in ways the biblical writers never would. We say, “I hope I get that promotion,”or “I hope, I hope, I hope the doctor doesn’t say it is cancer.” But these are wishes, not hopes. It is not the
strength of a desire that makes it hope; it is the source from which it originates.

A wish proceeds from us; a hope comes to us, through a word or promise spoken by a trustworthy person. When God is the one speaking that word, hope is kindled in our souls. As such, hope is never merely in a desired outcome (that would be a wish) but in a trusted person – in God.

Many people have no hope; they only have wishes. And wishes, no matter how strongly held, will not sustain the spiritual life or enrich one’s faith. That takes hope. Where do you find hope? A good place to start is with the Scriptures – God’s hope-giving gift to the world (Romans 15:4). Spend some time there. Let God speak to you. Discover hope.

S. L.

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