A Living Hope

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Many of the hopes and dreams that we have in this life are fleeting. But when we anchor our hope in Christ, we are altogether secure. Today, R.C. Sproul describes the character of Christian hope.

The Source of Our Hope

Romans 15:13

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope is usually defined as a desire for something, accompanied by the anticipation of receiving it. If our expectation isn’t fulfilled, it’s easy to become discouraged. We have an enemy who wants to steal our hope. As the father of lies, Satan tries to keep us focused on our circumstances so we will doubt God’s love and care for us.

So at times we may feel desperate and abandoned, but emotions are not reliable. As children of the heavenly Father, we’re never in hopeless circumstances because He promises to work everything for our good (And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Rom. 8:28). But His concept of “good” doesn’t always match ours. Too often we set our hopes on the things of this world, whereas God prioritizes our spiritual well-being.

Disappointment and discouragement are the result of setting our hopes on the wrong aspiration. This doesn’t mean we can’t have dreams and expectations. But we should hold them loosely, with an attitude of submission to God and trust that He’s still working for our good when they don’t come to fruition.  Our expectations for this life are temporary, but we have a living hope in Christ that’s unfailing and eternal.

The Anchor of Hope

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.
Romans 15:13

Thanks to technology, we see the joy and celebrations of life that occur all over the world, but we also see the heartbreak and despair—most recently during the 2022 war in Ukraine. Cities were demolished; thousands were killed; millions fled for safety. And we see the images daily. It is easy to be discouraged and disheartened by such events. Such struggles threaten to tear us loose from our moorings in God whom we know to be good and just.
But we have an anchor that keeps us in place regardless of how strongly the winds of trouble blow: hope. This is not “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow” hope. Rather, it is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). It is a better hope than any other, brought through Christ (Hebrews 7:19), offered to all (Hebrews 6:18), based on God’s faithfulness (Hebrews 10:23), and mediated by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

As disheartening as life can be at times, hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5). In this ever-changing world, let your hope remain fixed on the never-changing God.

[Hope] is an anchor that is cast upon the rock, the Rock of ages.
Matthew Henry

  • David Jeremiah

No Longer Hopeless

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Ephesians 2:1
Think of the most hopeless situation you can imagine—being stranded, alone, in the middle of Antarctica, the most foreboding continent on earth. Antarctica is approximately 5.5 million square miles of ice, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. It is an island continent, surrounded by icy, gale-whipped oceans on all sides. What if, by some horrible circumstance, you were stranded there alone? Wouldn’t you call that hopeless?
It would not be as hopeless as the situation of someone living apart from God. At least in Antarctica you would be alive. Apart from God, Paul says, you are “dead in trespasses and sins…Having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:1, 12). Sounds like being stranded in Antarctica, but worse. Being apart from God not only means no hope in this world but in the next, eternal world as well. Thankfully, we are not without hope: “But God, who is rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Don’t be lost, without hope in this world or the next. Accept God’s gift of mercy and grace and new life in Christ.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
Edward Mote

  • David Jeremiah

Christian Hope Changes Everything

https://www.crossway.org/articles/christian-hope-changes-everything/

Looking Beyond Disappointment

We’ve all felt disappointed by God at some point, but the key is to remember His ways are better than ours.

John 11:1-15

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in the town of Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the Mary who put perfume on the Lord and dried His feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, your friend is sick!” When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. It has happened so that it will bring honor to God. And the Son of God will be honored by it also.”

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. But when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. Then He said to His followers, “Let us go into the country of Judea again.” The followers said to Him, “Teacher, the Jews tried to throw stones at You to kill You not long ago. Are You going there again?” Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walks during the day, he will not fall. He sees the light of this world. 10 If a man walks during the night, he will fall. The light is not in him.”

11 After Jesus had said this, He spoke again and said, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping. I will go and wake him up.” 12 The followers said to Him, “If he is sleeping, he will get well.” 13 But Jesus meant Lazarus was dead. They thought He meant Lazarus was resting in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them, “Lazarus is dead. 15 Because of you I am glad I was not there so that you may believe. Come, let us go to him.”

 

Disappointment is an emotional response to dashed hopes, goals, and desires. Sometimes it’s the result of circumstances beyond our control, but when others are involved, it’s easy to blame them for the situation. We might even lose faith in the person we think let us down.

Martha and Mary could relate. The gospel of John tells us that Jesus loved Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus (John 11:5). Because of this, they expected He would come immediately after learning that Lazarus was sick. But Jesus didn’t come until after Lazarus had died.

We’re often like Martha and Mary. We pray for God to intervene in a situation the way that we desire. But if He doesn’t, we’re confused and disappointed in Him. Now, maybe we don’t voice these feelings, but we’ve all felt let down.

Today’s passage reminds us that the Lord has higher purposes than we can perceive. Don’t let your disappointment shape your view of God. Instead, rely on what you know to be true about Him—that His love for you never fails, and He orchestrates all the events in your life for His glory and your ultimate good. When you’re feeling disappointed, the best response is simply to trust Him.

Love Always Hopes

 

“…It (Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes…”1 1 Corinthians 13:7 

We’ve heard the phrase “Hope for the best but expect the worst”. I’ve never liked that saying. Why would I expect something I don’t want? Wouldn’t it be better if I expected what I was hoping for? I understand the concept behind the phrase though; be prepared for anything.

In Mark Chapter 5, we meet a woman who, I am certain, had heard this phrase many times. You see, she had suffered with a bleeding condition for the last twelve years. She was desperate and was losing all hope of ever feeling well again. She had spent all of her money on doctors who would give her medicine and treatments and basically say, “Well Ma’am, hope for the best, but expect the worst”. And even though she hoped for the best with all her heart, she did indeed get the worst. In fact, Scripture says that her condition worsened instead of getting any better. This woman was losing all hope of ever being healed, and to deepen her despair, she had to suffer alone because her culture deemed her unclean. But she still had a lingering thread of hope. She had heard of a Man named Jesus and how he had miraculously healed people. She hoped that she could see this man and this time she didn’t expect the worst. She had heard of His love for the people and began to think that if she could only touch the hem of his robe, then she too would be healed. Her hope began to grow and then one day she hears a commotion on the street below: Jesus was coming! She gathered all of her strength, and disregarding the glares and whispers, she pushes through the crowd and reaches out. Falling to the ground, she touches the hem of His robe and instantly feels her body healing!

Her hope in the Lord not only healed her body that day but also her soul. Jesus didn’t criticize her for being out in public, nor did He call her out for having touched Him. He simply looked at her in love and said, “Your suffering is over”! She had expected a possibility, and instead received the BEST!

When we put our hope in the Lord, great things happen. God is Love, and Love ALWAYS HOPES!

– Daily Encounter

Our Source of Hope

Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we can have hope for the future.

Titus 2:11-14

11 God’s free gift of being saved is being given to everyone. 12 We are taught to have nothing to do with that which is against God. We are to have nothing to do with the desires of this world. We are to be wise and to be right with God. We are to live God-like lives in this world. 13 We are to be looking for the great hope and the coming of our great God and the One Who saves, Christ Jesus. 14 He gave Himself for us. He did this by buying us with His blood and making us free from all sin. He gave Himself so His people could be clean and want to do good.

 

Some people believe ethical behavior and moral character will get them to heaven. Others think a self-improvement plan is the way to get there. And sadly, there are those who assume they’ll be barred because of their past mistakes.

 

The truth is that character and deeds do not determine our eternal state. Rather, the barrier between us and holy God is our sinful nature. Adam and Eve’s sin caused all mankind to begin life spiritually dead and under a sentence of judgment (This is what happened: Sin came into the world by one man, Adam. Sin brought death with it. Death spread to all men because all have sinned. Rom. 5:12). No amount of good works or moral behavior can change our unholy nature—nor do bad choices make our nature worse.

 

Without direct help from the Lord, the entrance to heaven would be closed to everyone, and we’d all face an eternity of separation from God. But the Father had a plan so we could live with Him forever: He sent His Son Jesus to take our sins upon Himself and receive the punishment we deserved. What we were helpless to do, Christ accomplished for us. Through faith in Him, we receive a brand-new nature and get to live in God’s presence forever.

 

We don’t have to worry about earning our place in heaven. Because of Jesus, we can be confident of our future there, which gives our life on earth hope and meaning.

Why We Desperately Need the Message of Revelation

https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-we-desperately-need-the-message-of-revelation/?utm_source=Crossway+Marketing&utm_campaign=155aac6b95-20211129+-+Theology+-+We+Need+Revelation&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0275bcaa4b-155aac6b95-301651869

8 Thoughts that Help Me Trust God when I Don’t Understand

By Chuck Lawless

I don’t always understand what God is doing in my life. I struggle sometimes when He takes His time answering my prayer—or when His answer isn’t what I wanted or expected. At other times, He just seems strangely silent. In all these times, I turn to thoughts like these:

  1. His ways are not my ways (Isa 55:8). That means I shouldn’t be surprised when I don’t fully grasp what He’s up to. Sometimes He answers differently than I wanted to remind me that He’s God—and I’m to trust and follow Him.
  2. I have never seen Him forsake His people. The psalmist reached that conclusion long before I did—”I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread” (Psa 37:25)—but I cling to that reality when I don’t understand.
  3. His calendar doesn’t always fit my calendar. His plans are not limited to my plans, and He seldom responds exactly according to my ideas of what He should do. Or when He should do it.
  4. My seeming emergency is not His emergency.  I’m the one who gets stressed by apparent crisis. He’s not . . . at all. You don’t have to operate in crisis mode when you control eternity.
  5. He always knows what’s best for me, and I can only think I do. God knows exactly where He is in the process of conforming me to His image (Rom 8:29). He knows where I still need to grow—and He knows the best way to get me there.
  6. He sees the whole picture when I can see only in part. And, I, like so many others, tend to see only what I want to see. I see the struggle, and He sees how the struggle will grow me.
  7. Occasionally, God gives me no details of what He’s doing, but I later learn He was protecting me from something. That’s the kind of lesson I usually learn only after time has passed, when I’ve had time to reflect. Until that time comes, though, I need to trust the One who has always guided me perfectly in the past.
  8. If what I don’t understand keeps me weak, that’s a good place to be. That’s because His strength becomes most real in me when I’m weak (2 Cor 12:6-9). The problem is that I often fight against my weakness with all my might—and I miss the point of what God is doing.

What would you add? What helpful thoughts do you have when you don’t understand?

Comment at: http://chucklawless.com/2021/10/8-thoughts-that-help-me-trust-god-when-i-dont-understand/