Hope is God’s gift to us. It is also a distinctively Christian resource for you to use in living. Hope is one of the many qualities of a relationship put right with God through Christ Jesus. It is therefore, the birth right of every Christian.
(Hebrews 6:11, 12)
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make you sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Hope keeps the Christian from becoming lazy or feeling bored. Like an athlete, train hard and run well, remembering the reward that lies ahead.
Hope can be a powerful force in people’s lives. Especially in this age, an age characterized as hopeless” and “full of despair,” the hope you have to share with the world is a tragically neglected aspect of Christianity. Lets use this course to remind ourselves of our distinctive hope, and seek ways we can effectively engender hope in our life and them lives of those we care for and touch.
Share an experience you had in which Hope played or could have played and important part.?
J. Heightened Consciousness of God’s Presence.
God’s presence helps us handle change
:Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.”
Those who travel, move, of face new challenges know what it is to be uprooted. Life is full of changes, and few things remain stable. The Israelites were constantly moving through the desert. They were able to handle change only because God’s presence in the tabernacle was always with them. The portable tabernacles signified God and his people moving together. For us, stability does not mean lack of change, but moving with God in every circumstance.
God desires fellowship with human beings. That’s a remarkable thought! Some how he seems so complete and self-sufficient that it’s incredible He would desire anything at all. But God desires an intimate relationship with each of us.
Pride and God’s presence are incompatible.
“He says to himself, “God has forgotten: he covers his face and never sees.”.
There is an incompatibility between blind arrogance and the presence of God in our hearts. The proud person depends on himself rather than on God. This causes God’s guiding influences to leave his life. When God’s presence is welcome, there is no room for pride because he makes us aware of our true selves.
Brother Lawrence a 17th-century monk, worked in the kitchen of a monastery in southern France. In the midst of the simplest, most routine tasks he learned to “practice the presence of Good..”
Desire to be in God’s presence
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I May dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
David may have used the word temple to mean “the presence of the Lord.” His greatest desire was to live in God’s presence each day of his life. Sadly, this is not the greatest desire of many who claim to be believers. But those who desire to live in God’s presence each day will be able to enjoy that relationship forever.
God is present in your life, whether you take note of him or not, but a heightened consciousness of God’s presence can cultivate in you, His child, and attitude of trust in God.
God’s presence in problems
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;”
God delivers those who persevere in their faith.
You may have heard it said that a person does not really know who his friends are until the bottom drops out. I think there is great truth to that. All of us have experienced the pain of discovering that people we though would be faithful – no matter what – were simply “fair-weather friends.” You know, friends whose loyalty hinges upon the climate or circumstances. As long as the relationship is enjoyable, they are with you all the way. But when it begins to demand some sacrifice on their part, they are hard to find. The ultimate measure of friends is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy. That being the case, apart from adversity of some kind, we would never know who our faithful friends really are.
In the same way, we will never know in a personal way the faithfulness of Christ apart from adversity. As a result, our faith in Him would never increase. It would remain static. One of the primary reasons God allows us to face adversity is so that He can demonstrate His faithfulness and in turn increase our faith. If you are a believer, you have made a decision to trust Christ with your eternal destiny. But you will not experience His faithfulness in that particular area until you die. God wants more from you and for you than simple intellectual acknowledgement of His faithfulness. It is will that you experience it now.
If our lives are free from pain, turmoil, and sorrow, our knowledge of God will remain purely academic. Our relationship with Him could be compared with that of a great-great-grandfather about whom we have heard stories, yet never met personally. We would have great admiration, but no intimacy, no fellowship. There would always be a sense of distance and mystery.
That is not the kind of relationship God wants with His children. Through the death of Christ, God has opened the way for us to have direct access to Him. he went to great lengths to clear the way so that nothing stands between Him and His children. There is potential now for intimacy between us and our Creator….
God is in the process of engineering circumstances through which He can reveal Himself to each of us. And both history as well as our personal testimonies bear witness to the fact that it is in times of adversity that we come to a greater realization of God’s incredible faithfulness to us.
(From How to Handle Adversity by Charles Stanley)
Can you remember a time when you were in desperate circumstances? What was the cry of your heart? When you have the opportunity, do as David did – praise God. Tell someone else what you learned. Memorize verses 17-22.
We often wish we could escape troubles-the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure; or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be “close to the brokenhearted,” to be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, helping us through our problems. When trouble strikes, don’t get frustrated with God. Instead, admit that you need God’s help and thank him for being by your side.
Someone asked Karl Barth to sum up the message of his books on Christian theology. He unhesitatingly replied; Jesus loves me – this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Barths reply goes to the heart of the matter : Love of Children by a Father and the Love due to the Father by the children. But if we love one another and love God, as God loves us, we will know God and become one with; “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” the infinite self-renewing ultimate source and resource.
God never leaves us
“I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.”
To whom can the poor turn when they are persecuted? They lack the money to get professional help; they bay be unable to defend themselves. But there is always someone on their side-the Lord will stand by them and ultimately bring about justice. This should be a comfort for us all. No matter what our situation may be, the Lord is with us. But this truth should also call us to responsibility. As God’s People, we are required to defend the rights of the powerless.
“The way to the love of God is foolishness to the world, but wisdom to god’s children. When the world sees such love-fire in God’s children, it says they are foolish; but to the children of God, this is the greatest treasure, for no life can express, nor can mouth describe, the fire of the inflaming love of God that is whiter than the sun, sweeter than any honey, more powerful than any food or drink, and lovelier than all the joys of this world. he who reaches this is richer than any king on earth, nobler than any emperor can be, and stronger than all might” (Jacob Boehme, The Way to Christ).
Christian hope is both in the present and for the future. The source of Christian hope is the knowledge that Jesus is with each Christian training might display deep-hearted trust in Christ’s continuing presence and his return by positive attitudes and expectations.
When you base your life as a Child of God, you have a firmer foundation than any other. As a favorite hymn declares, “on Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand,” God alone is the foundation for holistic stability in your life.
God Centered Self-Image
When the person with whom you are joined in Christian training truly believes that he or she is a child of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit, that person is going to have a much healthier ego and a realistic self-image. This is not haughtiness or conceit; it is a good feeling about oneself because Jesus Christ is alive and well within.
As a result of Christian training, a person might come to experience peace. Such peace is not merely the absence of hostility or a state of inner contentment; rather, it is the peace connoted by the Hebrew word shalom. As people experience Christian peace, their relationships become whole and complete – with others, with God, and with themselves.
Perspective on Results
This list certainly does not include every distinctively Christian result. Nor does it include all those results of training that are important, but are not specifically Christian in character – for example, the ability to express one’s feelings, greater honesty with oneself and others, overcoming depression, or reducing one’s anxiety level.
Another result of Christian training accrues to you the trainer, and it has to do with the strengthening of your own training, and it has to do with the strengthening of your own personal faith and Christian life. The more you use the tools of your trade, the better you get, especially when you consider that use implies keeping them in good repair.
Results are great, but they belong to God, who chooses to let you share is the pleasure of them. Don’t stalk them; let God send them to you. Desire them, but don’t lust after them. Expect results, but don’t concentrate on them. Evaluate them, but don’t count on them. Be glad when they come, but don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make them come. Count on the certainty that the Lord’s sense of timing and purpose is better than yours and better than that of the training receiver. Rely on the promise of the Lord in Rev. 21:5 “I make all things new.” Now that’s what I call results!
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. –1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Despite what our culture tells us, worldly success is temporary…and it will never bring about complete satisfaction. The number of people who have come to ruin after experiencing the world’s idea of fame and fortune is astonishing. Here are just a few:
- Multimillionaire George Vanderbilt killed himself by jumping from a hotel window.
- Lester Hunt, two-time governor of Wyoming and soon-to-be U.S. Senator, ended his own life.
- Actress Marilyn Monroe, writer Ernest Hemingway, and athlete Tony Lazzeri represent a group of popular people who were dissatisfied and took their own lives.
Solomon warned those who strived for success without God: “The hopes of the wicked come to nothing” (Proverbs 10:28). According to biblical accounts, God didn’t generally use successful and popular people to accomplish His work. Instead, he used everyday people like Paul, Nehemiah, Rahab, Mary, Jonah, Joshua…and the list goes on.
What’s wonderful is God doesn’t require us to be “big shots” to make an impact for Him. The fact is He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His Kingdom even today. And the greatest success you’ll ever achieve will come one day when you meet Him in heaven!
PRAYER CHALLENGE: Submit yourself to the will of the Lord and ask Him to use you for the work of His kingdom
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” –Zechariah 7:9
In 1935, Fiorello LaGuardia, the mayor of New York, arrived at night court in the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench. Brought before him was a disheveled older woman charged with stealing a loaf of bread.
She defended herself saying, “My daughter’s husband has left her. She is sick, and her children are starving.”
The shopkeeper from which she stole refused to drop the charges saying, “It’s a bad neighborhood, your honor, and she’s got to be punished to teach other people a lesson.”
LaGuardia pronounced to the woman, “I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Your sentence is a ten-dollar fine or ten days in jail.”
However, he immediately pulled from his pocket a ten dollar bill, threw it into his hat, and said, “Here’s payment for the ten-dollar fine. Furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”
The following day, a newspaper reported that $47.50 had been collected from a red-faced storekeeper, 70 petty criminals, and a few New York policemen!
As Christians, it should always be our goal to show mercy to those in need. Jesus once said that those who show mercy to the others will receive mercy in return (see Matt. 5:7).
It may be that you can visit a lonely friend, take baked goods to someone less fortunate, or pick up groceries for a neighbor in need. God was once merciful to you (Eph. 2:4-5), so begin showing the same compassion to others (1 Pet. 2:10).
PRAYER CHALLENGE: Pray that God would give you a merciful heart, so that you can minister to those who are in need of compassion.