Abundant Life Episode 32
In this episode Saso and Ben discuss the topic of hope. What do you place your hope in?
“A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. hopediffers from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. hopetherefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.
A well founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of ineffable happiness.”
We live in a world that gives us anything but hope. We have been guilty of putting our hope in our favorite sports team, our favorite stock, our back accounts, our residency in America and our religious freedoms. We have seen things bubbling in our world whether that be racial divide, countries at war, and even our country divided behind political lines. The news is not full of hope nor is it full of truth. One does not watch the news and walk away with an outlook of hope. As Christians, our hope is in the Lord, and He is still our strength no matter the headline or news breaking story
We were told of the world not being a peaceful place and it has not been a peaceful place for a long time. We sometimes forget that they crucified our Lord, and the world is not a place we can take refuge in or find peace in. That is the bad news, but the good news is that our God has overcome this world, and there is ultimate peace found in Him. Chin up!
Complacency is a really dangerous place to be, because its like being in a false state of satisfaction. But that’s exactly where we were just a few years after 911. We went through the horrific tragedy and then we just got emerged in life, business, daily routines and such. Then we had somewhat of an awakening in 2008 with the housing market crash and high inflation, but then we were back to our old ways. We were living pretty comfortable from 2010 till March of 2020 when the world was overtaken by Covid.
As churches shut down, business sent employees home, students were sent home and we were sort of left in this state of the unknown. Grocery stores were low on stock, there was no toilet paper, having to social distance and wear uncomfortable masks, it was a sort of a stressful time of uncertainty.
But something interesting happened that hadn’t happened in quite some time. We begin to look up. God was allowing this pandemic trial to happen and we were confronted face to face with our faith. Where was our faith? Was it in the CDC, was it in Dr. Fauci, was in the hope for a coming vaccine or was it in the one who spoke the world into existence?
Fast forward a little to our current day, and we are currently in another point in history where we are entering the unknown. Russia has just invaded the people of Ukraine and news analysts are trying to determine what’s coming next. The people in Ukraine are under attack, and the rest of the world is watching and waiting for the next tyrant to attack. And again we are face to face with our faith.
1 Peter 1:6-7
God Cares for you
There are going to be times in the present world where we will feel alone, where we will feel defeated, and we will feel without strength. Our strength is not found in anything but the Lord our God. He is the One who upholds us, and He is the One who says, “Fear not!” It does not take much watching of the news to feel fearful of what is going on, and to lose sight that our God is still on the throne
We are told again here not to fear as the Lord our God is the One who holds our hand, and He is the One who will help and sustain us. We often get fearful by what we see and hear but our hope is always in God as He is our help and He is the One who holds our hand.
These crazy times can make you feel hopeless at times. Fear of the unknown future can lead to stress and anxiety but God cares for us, even our emotions.
I Peter 5:6-7
I have to point out that this verse does have a pre-requisite. Humility is so foundational to the Christian life. Humility is the ingredient that helps to kill the old man so that we can daily die to ourselves.
The world is currently looking for peace, but the reality is that peace will never happen, at least not till Jesus comes back, but the beautiful thing is that I can have peace for my soul. These are some of the most comforting verse that I’ve turned to during trials and testing. Jesus speaking at the sermon on the mount tells the people that he will give them rest.
Often times we don’t take our burdens to Jesus and yet, he tells us to do so and he will give our souls rest.
We must care for others
With everything going on in Ukraine there are lots of brothers and sisters in the faith that are facing trials, we should pray for them, we should also pray for the unsaved, and the people of Russia who are not in agreement with these actions. And yes, we should pray for Putin, he is obviously being empowered by Satan, but the reality is that even he needs Christ.
The bible tells us that we should be caring for each other and looking out for others, putting others first. I love seeing what Poland and Romania are doing taking in millions of Ukraines people who are fleeing.
Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Just like the parable of the Good Samaritan. It would seem that people we are so desensitized to suffering and pain that we don’t have compassion and empathy for people anymore.
We should walk through trials with our brothers and sisters.
- Galatians 6:2
- Romans 12:15
Would you love on your neighbor just as Jesus would?
The Lord knows our pains and struggles.
Sometimes we feel as though we are the only one going through a trial and we feel as nobody understands. And it is true, we don’t understand what some people go through because we’ve not endured the same trials. But there is one who has endured and knows your pain, and not only does He know your pain, He cares for you.
Psalm 73 speaks about the prosperity of the wicked. Why does it seem that the wicked get a way with everything and they have riches, glory, fame etc…? Its as if we are jealous and covet what the wicked have. But it’s only because we forget God. Notice the pivotal verse in the Psalm.
When the Psalmist Asaph went into the sanctuary of God. He obviously turned his gaze to God rather than focusing on the wicked and he saw their end.
One day in the future, Jesus is going to right every wrong. Nothing goes unnoticed! Jesus will wipe away the tears of the wronged and will remove all pain, suffering and death. What a glorious day!
We have a living hope!
Many of us are guilty of not praying as we should. We worry about things as if we have no God, and we use prayer as “break only in case of an emergency.” Needless to say, the glass is rarely broken, and we lack hope and peace because of it. God wants to hear about our problems and requests, and making things know to Him via prayer will give us hope beyond our understanding and will keep our hearts and minds.
If we are to have hope, we are to seek the Lord in prayer and in our Bible reading. There will be times when we feel hopeless, and in these times we are to cry out to our God where He hears us. I think of those times in my own life where God delivered me, and in Him I found hope. This is where we get to the know the goodness of our God. We will blessed if we put our trust and hope in Him.
Time and time again in the Bible we see instances where things seemed dire and hopeless, but God had a plan. The book of Esther, Ruth and Genesis with Joseph. The crucifixion of our Lord seemed hopeless as well, but that worked together for good.
Joshua was taking over for the greatest leader in that time, and he was leading a great nation. A nation with promise, and he would be leading this great group into the wilderness.
Do you remember when the shelves of the grocery store were empty of items? Some people lived like this every day, but we are quite spoiled here in the USA. I know for some, it brought great worry as we run out of item we were used to obtaining. God is the God of tomorrow as He not bound by time, and He is the One who is our hope as He is the One who meets and takes care of our needs.
Have you ever gone without food? How about without clean water? Has worrying about it every change anything for you? Nope, but it does rob you of peace, joy and hope.
Trust our all knowing, all powerful God.
Pray, and keep your sin account short with God.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Know that you have the greatest treasure known to mankind, you have salvation, you are heirs with Jesus.
1 Peter 1:3-5
Jesus is coming back!
May we abound in hope!
I Peter 1:3
We have hope upon hope, as death has lost its sting, and Satan has been defeated. We can have the hope of victory over sin, over death, and hope in our present day. Our God is unchangeable, and our hope is not rooted in the circumstances of events, but it rooted in our resurrected Lord.
What are you pointing your hope in today? Where is your hope: The next President, the stock market, the Suns winning the championship?
May God help us to not lose sight of where our hope lies even when things wax worse and worse. Even Peter lost focus even when Jesus was within a few feet from Him, but when we lose our focus, may we be quick to cry unto Him and be quick to put our hope in His hand. I hope you are encouraged by this episode and may you spread the hope of our Lord and Savior with the world.