Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September 12, 2018

"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” Hebrews 6:19
When the storms of life threaten to wrench everything from us that is solid and secure, hope keeps us solidly grounded. Even amidst the greatest gale force winds of adversity, hope prevents the underpinnings of our life from coming undone when we need it most.
There is no escaping the harsh reality that every person from every time and location has unqualified membership in the universal club of pain and suffering. To varying degrees and levels, all are ultimately affected. Tucked in our personal memories are instances and seasons of suffering; some especially intense. Open, raw pain and suffering might be our experience at the present moment. Past or present, intense or marginal, somewhere on the pain scale, each of us are all too acquainted with suffering.
A fresh flood of pain and suffering make the news every day. There is not a single day on planet earth truly free of tragedy and suffering. We live on a pain continuum. Somewhere in the world, every day and moment, masses of people are undergoing some form of trauma. Such is the condition of this present world. The more we see and know, the greater the potential for hopelessness to pervade. But we must not lose sight of real hope.
Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” 

The Bible is a hope-based collection of books and letters designed to train and encourage us with hope. It draws us to hope, and outlines the process that develops a hope lifestyle. It begins and ends with hope. And this “hope does not disappoint.” I cannot imagine, on resurrection day, suddenly having a new, limitless, immortal body and life, and saying, “this isn’t as good as I thought it would be.” I cannot imagine experiencing new life on a renewed earth - devoid of problems, pollution, and peril - and saying, “I thought it would be better than this”. Rather than disappointing, the realization of hope will far exceed expectation.
Hope calls to us to look up. To stay the course. To cultivate steady character. And to even more intensely focus on hope."
- from the upcoming book, "Hope for Uncertain Times"

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11, 2018

"Discovering and integrating real hope in uncertain times affects everything we do and are. It directs and redirects our talents and abilities, time and priorities, material values and investments. Hope infuses our lives with joy and peace, such as we have never previously known. Knowing how all will ultimately turn out brings peace that the process will take us there.
Our heartfelt discovery of hope protects our emotions and thoughts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Hope provides us with watchful care over our heart, directing life energy towards that which is beneficial. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.” Hope counteracts anxiety, lifts the weight of worry, and refreshes us with gladness. The results of this saturating influence of true hope are well described in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Hope floods our life with godly peace, beyond our ability to truly comprehend, and safeguards our feelings and thoughts.
Hope shines brightest against the darkest backdrop of all: death. When death steals those nearest and dearest to us, hope provides endurance, comfort, and confidence. Hope limits sorrow and tears when overwhelming grief would otherwise result. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 states, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” Hope reminds us that death does not ultimately win! Hope reminds us that there will be a day when death itself will die: “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 Enduring as it now seems, death is temporary. Real hope reminds us that unending life in the coming government of God, to be established on earth, is the ultimate outcome. And, as the saying goes, “this changes everything.” 
- from the upcoming book, "Hope for Uncertain Times"

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

September 5, 2018

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13. Faith is grounded in the past, hope anticipates the future, but love transcends past and future as a present reality. We might say that love is located at the intersection of faith and hope. But, these streets of faith and hope have another interesting connection. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1  Hope is the GOAL, whereas faith is the PATHWAY to the goal. Hope is the destination, whereas faith locks its sights on that destination - never veering from it. Love springs from both the legacy of faith and the prospect of hope. Faith and hope that are real are evidenced by love.
Faith points us to the unseen reality of hope. It visualizes it so clearly that it instills confidence and optimism. It literally rescues us from the hopeless negativism of a broken and dysfunctional world. Our perspective becomes jaded, cynical, and pessimistic without faith pointing us to real hope. As someone has said, true hope is the difference between a hopeless end, and an endless hope."
- from the upcoming book, "Hope for Uncertain Times"

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

September 4, 2018

Dear reader: With today's devotional, I'm introducing some excerpts from an upcoming book, "Hope for Uncertain Times." I trust that these thoughts will be an encouragement and help in your daily walk. I greatly appreciate your feedback and thoughts. Thanks.

"I remember, as a young college student, discovering a Bible verse that spoke to me about hope: “Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely.” Job 11:18. Hope, it said to me, was basis for trust and secure rest. Whatever the uncertain future held, it need not be cause for fear and sleeplessness. Hope offered certainty amidst uncertainty. 

Real hope is to life what water is to a wilted plant in parched soil. Hope refreshes and revives amidst the scorching harshness of life. Hope promises something better when life events and circumstances indicate otherwise. Hope shouts optimism in a gloomy world of pessimism. It gives a glimpse of something unseen hidden from the eyes of those without it. 
Hope stands as a solitary figure against gale force storms winds, not budging or giving up so much as an inch of ground. When all turn tail and run, hope stands and thrives audaciously amidst even the most hopeless circumstances. 
Real hope does not leave us pawns in the hands of circumstances, because true hope transcends circumstances. The ability to survive and thrive amidst uncertain times is solidly based on substantive hope; hope that is far more than wishful thinking and starry-eyed optimism."