Dear Hopeful One,
Twenty centuries ago this month, GOD was very pumped! Why? Because, about 4000 years into His plan of redeeming mankind to live with Him forever in Paradise, the Creator of the universe was about to reach His intermediate goal of…THE BABY!!!—His precious Son, mankind’s only HOPE. How? By keeping the greatest promise He ever made (Gen. 3:15), putting a perfect sperm into the womb of a virgin and having a Son untainted by the sinful nature plaguing all other human beings.
At that time, after about 400 years of spiritual darkness—and virtual silence from the throne of God, perhaps only a handful of spiritually tuned-in believers like Joseph and Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna were aware of how close they were to seeing their hopes fulfilled in the promise of the Messiah’s birth. Their faith was rewarded. God did His job, and then it was up to His unique Son, as the lynchpin of the salvation process, to carry out the blueprint set before him, all the way through the Cross.
Without HOPE, life is pointless, and little more than existence. Here’s a current dictionary definition: (Noun) “The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best;” (Verb) “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.” Biblically, the Greek word elpis (no, I didn’t see him at 7-11) basically means, “an expectation of good.” Obviously, such an expectation must be based upon something remotely realistic, like a weather forecast. But when you say, “I hope I win the lottery” or “I hope I’m the first 75-year-old rookie to play in the NBA,” notice how your voice trails off as you realize that the odds of that are slim and none…
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 holy spirit.
Our God is the God of Hope. In the above verse, it looks to me as if hope, joy, peace, trust, and then overflowing hope are connected. What does it look like to be “overflowing with HOPE”? No doubt something like how your 6-year-old looked last Christmas morning when he/she/it first spied the pile of presents under the tree. What would it be like to live daily with that kind of expectation? We can, because our Father, the One True God, is THE GOD OF HOPE. He is also THE GOD OF PROMISE. That makes sense, because all our godly hopes are based upon the promises God makes to us. Consider these fabulous verses:
2 Peter 1:2-4
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and preciouspromises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Here’s an excellent definition of promise, which I think came from the Shearson Lehman company: A declaration, either written or verbal, that binds the promisor to the promisee and gives the promisee the right to expect either the performance or the forbearance of the deed.
your promises Promise is the basis of every successful relationship, the quality of which is directly proportional to promises made and kept. How do you know whether someone loves you? For one thing, he keeps his word to you. GOD keeps His WORD, which is made up of w-o-r-d-s. God does not lie like people do. In fact, Titus 1;2 says that He “cannot” lie (Titus 1:2). Nor does He speak without making sense, as people do. Nor is He silent, as people often are. You might want to stop and think about your closest relationships, and how your promises are factoring into them.
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”
A promise is worthless unless the Promisor has both the ability and the willingness to keep it. It is also worthless if the Promisee (you) don’t know it or forgets it. LOVE is at the root of all God’s promises. God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son.
A promise, and the corresponding hope of its fulfillment, depends upon the goodness, the integrity, and the resources of the Promiser. Please go ahead and SPEAK IN TONGUES for a few seconds right now. Do you realize that you just proved that God has kept His greatest promises? Yes, Jesus (Gen. 3:15), the Resurrection (Ps. 16:8-11), the New Birth (1 Pet. 1:23), and that you can speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:6). And He WILL KEEP all His other promises to YOU, the greatest of which is everlasting life. In that vein, ya gotta have these following verses in your quiver, which show that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was God’s confirmation that he was who he said he was—the Son of God. Btw, if you’ve never spoken in tongues, please email me and I can show you why and how to do so.
For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4and who through the spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in powerby his resurrection from the dead:Jesus Christ our Lord.
So what do you expect when you awaken each morning and go through your one-of-a-kind day? Contained within our HUGEST HOPE of living for all time (chronos) are countless “kairos moments” of hope during each day we live now. Because God’s greatest promise is true, so are all His “lesser” promises. Think about that—you could raise someone from the dead/heal someone/receive millions from a long lost uncle/get invited to speak at the President’s Prayer Breakfast! How about being the answer to someone else’s prayer? Who knows what our Lord has in store for us as we look to him and obey his loving guidance?
When it comes to promise, the following are some of my favorite verses, showing that all the promises of God are wrapped up in the gift of His marvelous Son, The Man who died for us.
2 Corinthians 1:18-20
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “YES” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity [kairos=a key moment in time], because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
As we conclude this communiqué, Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“ Most Christians who quote this popular greeting card verse seem unaware that in its context it has nothing to do with Christianity, but instead relates to God’s future plan regarding Israel. If we follow the bouncing pronouns, this is clear from the first verse of the chapter (“This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon”) and also from verse 10 (“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place”).
Nonetheless, God says, in essence, the same thing to you and me, whose future destiny is guaranteed, and this glorious promise is the bottom line of Christianity, God’s piece de resistance. As you read the following verses, please think about them, and realize that this, the last of God’s promises to us in this current chapter of our lives, is absolutely going to occur—and it could take place before you finish reading this sentence. Still here? Me too. So shine on until the Lord comes for us and permanently plugs us in forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
JESUS is the bottom line of HOPE.
Dear Hopeful One,