Tag: hope

The Source

In the midst of an ever changing world, the source of my peace is Jesus.

For He Himself is our peace.

In the midst of frightening circumstances, the source of my refuge and trust is Jesus.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in You. 

In the midst of losing loved ones to death, the source of my hope is Jesus.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

In the midst of experiencing aging and its limitations, the source of my strength is Jesus.

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.

In the midst of Satan’s temptations, the source of my escape and salvation is Jesus.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

In the midst of confusion and doubt, the source of my faith is Jesus.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 

In the midst of sadness, the source of my comfort is the Spirit of God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The source of my joy is God’s everlasting love revealed through His Spirit and declared through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

Ephesians 2:14, Psalm 56:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, Habakkuk 3:19, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 11:6, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 15:11

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  © Stephanie B. Blake June 2015

The Faith, Hope and Love of Christmas

Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all people, for today in the city of David there has been born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10).

And now abide faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The birth of Jesus Christ brought the good news the world had been waiting for. We needed a Savior. God had promised He would come. With His coming, the world would never be the same. Now reconciliation with God was possible. Through faith in Him, our sins could be forgiven. His coming brought hope of everlasting life with God. And most importantly, His birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death and His resurrection from the dead spoke volumes about the love of God.

The good news (the gospel) announced to the shepherds on the first Christmas has been celebrated throughout the centuries. Mary was chosen by God to bring the Son of God to the world. An angel told Joseph that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised His disciples that although He was leaving, He would still be with them because His Father would send them the Holy Spirit to help them, teach them and help them remember the things He had said. The Holy Spirit brought gifts with Him to enable Christ’s disciples to carry on His work. There would be specific, individual gifts but the abiding gifts of faith, hope and love would be given to all believers.

Faith

Faith is the revelation of the good news.

Through faith we see God for who He really is. His nature is revealed to us through faith. Faith is not blind. It allows us to see the miracles that God has wrought through His Son. As C.S. Lewis says, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this.”

When you believe in the miracle of the Incarnation and invite the Christ who chose to be born in a manger to take residence in the manger of your heart, you experience the greatest miracle of all – forgiveness of your sins, reconciliation with God and a place in His forever family.

In faith, the servants of God in the Old Testament looked forward to this miracle and the revelation of God’s presence. Disciples in the New Testament and followers of Christ ever since that time have all come to God through abiding faith.

All we need to know about God we see in Jesus. Through faith in Him, we see the nature of God revealed.

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ (Colossians 2:9).

Hope

Hope is the fulfillment of the good news. We hope because of God and God does not disappoint.

God’s word in the Old Testament prophesied of God’s salvation through the coming Messiah. His word in the New Testament recorded that salvation obtained through the miraculous birth, sinless life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the men of old believed God would deliver what He promised, men today look back upon that accomplished fact in history. The Son of God gives all believers the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Like Abraham, our faith is in a God who fulfills His promises. Our hope is not a “hope so,” but “I know He will.” Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance…. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure (Hebrews 6:11-12, 19). Peter calls our hope a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).

Paul said of Abraham: He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:20-25).

Love

The greatest of these is love. Love is the good news.

God does not need faith. Neither does He need hope. We do. He provides what we need so that we might see the love He has for us. We love Him only because He first loved us.

There is no other religion that speaks of a God who loves His people so much that He chose to send His only Son to die on their behalf in order to have a relationship with them.

God is love. It was love that brought Jesus to earth. It was love that enabled Him to endure temptations and shame so that He could be our perfect substitute. It was love that led Him to the cross. It was love that resurrected Him from the dead.

He loved us and wants us to love others the same way – sacrificially. As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love that this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you (John 15:9-14).

The King of kings chose to be born in a stable because of His love for us. There is no greater love. Love is the gospel story.

© Stephanie B. Blake

December 2014

Scripture references are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible

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Rejoicing in Hope

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5 NKJV emphasis mine).

There’s something about the beginning of a new year that causes one to reflect on past accomplishments and failures and future plans and hopes.  Thankfully, believers have good reason to hope. It is promised by God.  Throughout the holiday season, God has been speaking to me about hope.

Hope in a believer’s life is not a “hope so,” “maybe my wish will come true.”  The hope of scripture is promise fulfilled.  For instance, take prayer for salvation of a loved one.

Even before my sons were born, I began praying for their early salvation.  I wanted them to have the resources of God’s Holy Spirit well before their adolescent years.  True to His promise, God drew them to Himself when they were just six and seven years old.  Since I knew of friends who had “walked an aisle” when they were very young only to discover in later years that they had not really given their heart and life to the Lord, I also prayed for confirmation that the decisions my sons made were real.  God also answered that prayer in a remarkable way.  I have been able to give testimony to others about their salvation and the unique confirmation I had for each one from the Lord.

Now I am a grandmother. For years, my husband and I have been praying for the salvation of our three grandsons.  Although they are only six, three and three, we are aware that God is molding their thinking through the teaching and leadership of their godly parents.  Some months back, in a September Sunday service in Berlin, Germany, I was heavily impressed to pray for my oldest grandson and his clear understanding of God’s hand in his life and His invitation to join His family.  Upon returning to our Berlin apartment, my husband voiced another prayer for our grandson and his relationship with our Lord. Wanting that confirmation to come from his family, I waited for the phone call telling me that my grandson had made a decision to invite Christ into his life.  That call did not come, but I continued to feel impressed to pray that he would understand God’s voice clearly when He spoke to him.

This Christmas season, something happened that may not happen again.  All of the family was able to be at our house for Christmas.  What a joy! Our house was full of sons, daughters-in-law and grandsons.  Earlier in 2009, God had spoken to my spirit and given me the hope and anticipation that this would be a reality during this holiday season.  So, even when one of the families could not determine whether they would be able to come or not until just before Christmas (because of job circumstances), I was still believing and hoping that it would come to pass.  And it did.

During  preparation for Christmas dinner, I had the urging to tell my eldest son about my experience in Berlin and our prayers for his son that he would hear God clearly when He called.  After sharing that experience with his wife, she came downstairs and told me about a conversation she had with her son in September – possibly on the same week-end that I was so impressed to pray.  My grandson asked her questions about believing in Christ, she answered, and he prayed his own simple prayer asking Christ to come into his heart.  Since then, she said, she has noticed a difference in him – a stronger realization of wrong and right and his participation in things that might be hurtful to others.  Through our conversation and our tears, we both realized that God had answered my prayer and my hope for my grandson and given us both confirmation that his prayer, with the understanding that he has as a six year old, was real.  My grandson is now my brother in Christ.  My husband and I could not have had a more glorious Christmas present.

1 Corinthians 13:13 states that “now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  Indeed, we know that love is the greatest.  Only love could have led Christ to the cross.  Only love can lead us to serve others on His behalf.  Only love can cause us to pray for others.  But there is also an intertwining in these three as the biblical descriptions sometimes include something of the other.  Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! . . . And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:1, 3).

God deserves our love.  He sent Jesus who gave His all for us when He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and rose as He promised.  God tells us the best way to please Him is to have faith. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). The writer of Hebrews defines faith this way: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

My hope is in Christ Himself. I pray that yours is as well.

. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b NKJV)

© Stephanie B. Blake

January 2010

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