God’s Word

The Word of God – light and hope – establishes our relationship with Jesus.  The Word of God establishes His promises and invites us to live so that we might experience eternal life.

Just as the Israelites experienced the need to rely on God’s word when it came time to receive and collect manna, so is our lives established when we engage with His word.  When we do not meditate on the Bible each day, we reject His gift and fall into the same sin as the Israelites who struggles so much as they refused to listen and trust God. Not feeding on God’s Word keeps us in the desert – hungry without hope.

God’s Word becomes security and assurance to fulfilled promises. Even if the heavens and earth were to pass away, God’s Word would not.  God does not lie or change His mind. As Abraham lead with a strong and unshakable faith, we too can stand even in what may seem as a hopeless situation.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.  The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “  Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,  saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ “  Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;  and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ “  Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. – Matthew 4:1-11

Pope at Audience: ‘Christian hope born of trust in God’s word, not idols’

Hope

 

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Eternal hope

Those who are not followers of Christ find themselves always hoping for something better.  The line up buying lottery tickets in the hope of wealth and they seek positions that will give them increased power  At the end, death robs them and their hopes die with them.

What a contrast between the salvation offered by Christ and the destruction that is the end of those who reject Him. There are those who are justified by faith and have eternal hope and the others who have no hope other than what is offered in this world.

Yet it is still amazing that while they are living in this world, those who have rejected Christ keep up an air of confident expectation of a certain happiness.  Not sure what that means – is it more hypocritical or is not a form of denial and they are caught up in a web of lies that have entangled them to believe it all to be true. Money has always been the greatest expectation that they hope will ease their lives and increase their happiness.  Imagine their disappointment when they find that the absolute truth of death separates them from their imagined hope.

The concept of wealth and power in themselves are simple concepts of emptiness and as Ecclesiastes puts it – vanity.

He once flattered himself that though he lived in wickedness—that he would not die in it. He adopted many resolutions to amend, and forsake his wickedness toward the close of life, or upon a death-bed. But Oh! how sorely is he disappointed! After all his promising purposes and hopes—he died as he lived—in wickedness! – (Samuel Davies, “The Objects, Grounds, and Evidences of the HOPE of the Righteous”)

When the wicked die, their hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to nothing. – Proverbs 11:7

Eternal Hope – Put Your Hope In God

Eternal Hope and Judgment

 

Ends in gladness

Such are the paths of all who forget God;
    the hope of the godless shall perish. – Job 8:13

As one commentary puts it, we have the incredible pleasure of exercising the grace of hope when it comes to the future – for the future is where hope resides. By putting our joy in the hope that is found in the glory of God, we find our strength to stay firm in our faith – our foundation – until the end.  Hope is our entrance into God’s joy.  We are not ashamed of our hope now and will not be disappointed in the hereafter either.

Unfortunately for the one who puts their hope in something else – wealth, honour, pleasure, long life, pursuit of happiness or possibly even in something that would help them escape God or the ideal of being eternally punished – these are based on the wrong foundations and all of these will just make one more frustrated.

A wicked man is always imposing on himself by the hope of God’s mercy and final happiness; and he continues hoping, till he dies without receiving that mercy which alone would entitle him to that glory. – Adam Clarke

Our hope ends in gladness.  Just to be clear one more time – what is our hope?  It is a hope placed in God and that He is true to His Word.  Our salvation is true because God has done what was necessary to pay for our sins.  The Old Testament revealed what was necessary for that to take place and Jesus Christ fulfilled and gave the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, when He died on the cross and paid the price for sin – forever.  Because of what God has done, and in whom we believe, we have gladness. Our joy is in receiving God’s grace found in Jesus Christ. Our gladness is the gift of salvation found only in Jesus.

The expressions in the Bible on hope indicate that hope is a sure fact, it will happen, written for eternity. So our gladness is assured for eternity.

The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing. – Proverbs 10:28

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness

Built on nothing more and upon nothing less

God with us – the most assuring and comforting truth to sustain when called upon to serve, to come out of every trial and able to defend for every assault. Jesus, the Son of God, has atoned for us, saved us and will bring us safely home.  Our hope is built on nothing more and upon nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness.  He is our only foundation. When I stand before the judgement seat of God, it will not be with my own strength, but in the faith of Jesus Christ. At one time I was dying, I was sinking, but somehow the Spirit of God found me, caused me to look at Jesus as my crucified Saviour. Then called to follow and live for Him, He took me out of my sin, my pit, my miry clay and gave me forgiveness, peace and hope.

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” – Matthew 1:18-23

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

Everlasting

Jesus Christ – the same tomorrow as He was yesterday and today.  Our hope for everlasting joy rests on this relationship.

Our promised redemption on oath and absolute certainty, ratified by blood on the cross, and now we place our entire faith and hope on Him.

Unchanging – a Saviour only to sinners – those lost, those farthest away from God and hope – inspiring them through the Holy Spirit.

Our faith and hope and knowledge all ultimately depend on a person who is infinitely worthy of trust – because he is absolutely and eternally unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises. – Grudem

We all experience those moments in life when the only consolation we have is to hold on to that unchanging hand of God.  As much as change can be exciting and maybe even desirable at times, it also can be accompanied by failure, loss of health, death of loved ones, and old age.  The soul of a person can find no better haven of rest than in the unchanging Jesus.  He is the north star in the heavens, shining the brightest in the darkness, an unchanging hope in a world of troubles.

The unchanging character of Jesus also means that everything surrounding Him is also changeless.  The gospel, the plan of redemption, His relationship with the Church – it’s government, doctrine, purpose and hope – all are changeless.  His purposes, great love, assurance of resurrection and eternal life – all the same.

So we give Jesus our total commitment – we place our hope completely on Him and His grace.

Jesus, our unchanging rock, immutable hope, firm foundation – the one whom we place our trust, forever.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Brian Doerksen, Everlasting

Endurance

 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:25

Every Bible character is a testimony and witness to us as we walk on our faith journey.  They each hold our their wounds, their joys, their experiences and their own relationships with God.  Each of them giving these to us so that our faith may be strong enough to finish well.  Each of them laying down their own sins, showing us a better way, showing us the power of hoping in not what is but will be. The message is a simple one, ‘I did it, it can be done, now run!’

How powerful our Old Testament was to our New Testament believers.  That’s all they had for their encouragement.  If they found encouragement there for their faith journey, imagine what those men and women of God could bless us with —

 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4

Our encouragement is to run the race and do it well.

I think we are no different from any other person in a race – there are so many temptations to quit the race before we even finish.  Endurance is what is needed to finish well. The Greek word for endurance is hupomone which means: “to remain under pressure or trials”, it means continuing even when everything inside you wants to quit. From our cloud of witness, endurance comes from hope of the future.

Ultimately, Jesus is our greatest hope. Our struggles in no way compares with His. And the hope He gives us is not only for this life but also for the life to come.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

The Fruit of Hope: Endurance

ENDURANCE OF HOPE

Hope for Depression

Endurance and hope

Suffering, Endurance, Character, Hope

 

Living in hope

The world considers that the righteous are not worthy to live in the world, and God declares the world is not worthy of them. Though the righteous and the worldlings widely differ in their judgment, they agree in this, it is not fit that good men should have their rest in this world. Therefore God receives them out of it. The apostle tells the Hebrews, that God had provided some better things for them, therefore they might be sure that he expected as good things from them. As our advantages, with the better things God has provided for us, are so much beyond theirs, so should our obedience of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love, be greater. And unless we get true faith as these believers had, they will rise up to condemn us at the last day. Let us then pray continually for the increase of our faith, that we may follow these bright examples, and be, with them, at length made perfect in holiness and happiness, and shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father for evermore. – Matthew Henry

What is the object of this patient hope, our Christian hope – it centres on the promise of entering the presence of God in His heavenly realm – the fulfillment of a life given to following God in obedience – it is the promise to all believers of an unshakable eschatological Kingdom.

Think about those faithful men and women of God who lived during the OT – they could not receive this promise.  They had to wait until we received it as well. That promise was fulfilled when Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice providing the atonement necessary for our sin.  It was His blood that set us free. Today we are filled with His Holy Spirit, and have the privileges of communion with God and are sustained by the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of our own bodies ending with our final entry into the Kingdom of God.

So while faith is the object of a chapter in Hebrews, all those named therein may seem to have one thing in common – faith – true, but they lived in hope. That was the basis of their trust – looking to God to one day redeem them and in some cases they knew He was going to reward them. Faith was not about immediate fulfillment, it was the fulfillment of a promise. Here faith is tested most – where it matters most.

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,  since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

– Hebrews 11:39-40

Joshua Price – Living Hope – Live

Living in Hope

Living in Hope

 

Assurance

I am enjoying my discovery of Hebrews as a book on hope – setting hope up as the foundation of a life of radical, risk-taking, sacrificial love.

When I look at the examples that fall into chapter eleven, I clearly see that the future outlook, which included a reward of joy, was what made the difference.  It was moving in a deeper confidence of God’s promises so that we had the desire to turn from those sins that easily tripped us up and allowing us to live out that radical kind of love that comes from having my hope in God.

While verse one is a definition of faith – doesn’t it have all the components of the three – faith, love, and hope?  It all starts with faith – the foundation.  It has the future which ultimately points to what faith accomplishes and it speaks of radical life of love for God which is how our present lives should be lived out today.  Yes, faith is the very beginning of everything that really matters spiritually.

When I read these stories of people of faith, love and hope – it confirms what I already know – following Jesus is hard work.  I am so convinced of what God has promised is true that my actions will prove them to be so.

Faith itself becomes the proof of an unseen power – it cannot be generated – it comes from God. So the invisible God gives evidence of Himself through faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

The Full Assurance of Hope

The Hope of Assurance

 

Confession, without wavering

In the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began— Titus 1:2

Confidence of faith is not just about knowing things, but being sure of those things. Faith is not something that arouses from the head, it is personal, a confession coming from the heart.  It is truth found from within. So now the Word of God is expressed as a truth of myself and is something I know personally.  God is my Father and as my Father, looks for my good. I know it, experience it and am sure of it.  The Bible says my heart is full of evil and my life of sin – I believe it.  When it says that Jesus came to save sinners, I believe He came for me.  I am certain He is my Lord, my saviour, the one who paid the price for my sin.  I am certain and find in these truths all my comfort, peace, joy and hope.

I shall call your attention, first, to this point—what we have. We have faith, and according to the second rendering, which is adopted by the revisers, we have hope. Then, secondly, what we have done. We have made a profession of that faith—a confession of that hope. Then, thirdly, what we are now to do—to hold fast that profession of faith and hope, and if you ask me, in the fourth place, why we are to do it? I shall in closing give you this reason—because “He is faithful that promised.” If God is faithful, let us be faithful too. Since until now He has proven Himself most true, let us pray that we may be true also. – Charles Spurgeon

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:19-25

Good Friday

Final sacrifice

Sacrifices of the law – even if we talk about the Day of Atonement which is the highest sacrificial act of the law – do not remove sins but they do remind us of our sin. Hebrews does a great job in nullifying the work of ongoing sacrifices and encourages us to put our hope and trust in the final sacrifice by Jesus Christ.

By believing that a sacrifice needs to be made over and over again pours contempt on the finished work of God when He raised Jesus from the dead and giving Him glory so that our faith and hope might be in Him.

I am not too sure why we like things we can touch and do to earn our way into heaven.  Why would we want to reject Christ’s sacrifice as sufficient for our sins and go back to a way that depends and relies on law for our salvation?  Our hope is in the life, death, resurrection and High Priestly ministry of Jesus.

When Jesus appears for the second time, He will not be coming to take care of sin, He will be coming for those who eagerly wait for Him and to welcome them into His presence for all eternity – that is our blessed hope!

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”  and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.”  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”  Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. – Hebrews 10:12-18

The Truth of the Crucifixion