May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Read Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 6:25, 1 Peter 5:7.
Before we understand what hope is, let’s take today to understand what it is not. There are “hope” mistakes and misfires. There is a wrong view of hope that will hurt you. And there is misplaced hope. By the end of this week’s devotional you will have a much better understanding of true hope.
Hope is NOT that bad things won’t happen to you, rather hope IS that God will not leave you when they do.
Hope is NOT that you won’t have struggles in your life, rather hope IS that God will be with you in your struggles.
Hope is NOT that you won’t have any reason to worry, rather hope IS that God will take your anxiety and give you peace.
Hope is NOT that you will get everything you need, rather hope IS that Christ will give you the ability to be content, no matter what your circumstances.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:19 and 4:7-9. Putting these passages together, what is your hope? God’s power at work within us allows us to face adversity, overcome fear, and experience his hope.
Pray: God, we are facing a time of great fear and anxiety. Give us your hope—real hope—as we face an uncertain future. Please give us peace and contentment when anxiety surrounds us. We love you God. Amen.
Read Proverbs 13:12; Luke 24:13-35; Ephesians 2:11-13.
Have you ever been hopeless? In the passage that you read from Luke, the disciples on the road to Emmaus were certainly without hope. These two followers of Jesus were experiencing deep sadness. They were confused about what was going on. Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb, but they hadn’t seen him. When they meet this “stranger” walking with them on the road to Emmaus, they tell him their story. And he, in response, gives them hope by reminding them of the promises of God in scripture.
It is never good to be without hope. The human heart needs to have HOPE. When we experience depression and anxiety, we feel it physically in our bodies. True hopelessness can make it feel like it’s impossible to go on.
But Jesus, just like he did on the road to Emmaus, gives us hope. Through the promises of God in scripture, we can have hope that God will walk with us through our present circumstances and give us hope in the future.
Reflect: Think about a time when you have felt most hopeless. What was going on? What happened? What about our current situation with COVID-19? What is your level of hope? How can Jesus show you a way beyond your current hopelessness?
Pray: God of hope and comfort, be with us in our time of need. Help us to look to you, and not our present circumstances. Remind us of your promises, God. Give us your hope. Amen.
Read Proverbs 23:18, Romans 8:22-30, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28.
The passages you read for today speak about a certain future. Because we know that God’s promises are true, our hope isn’t just wishing for the best, our hope is looking forward to realities about what will come to pass. As the passage in Romans reminds us, it would be silly to hope for something we already have. But our hope, in God, is a patient waiting for what we know will come to pass.
Like the song we sing promises, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Last week we celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection and this, truly, is the source of our hope. We have the hope of God’s Spirit at work within us. We have the hope of God’s purposes at work in our life. And, no matter what we face in our present circumstances, we have the hope of eternity before us.
In his powerful book Strength to Love, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a chapter on shattered dreams. King knew about shattered dreams. Just 5 years after writing this book, he would be killed without seeing many of the things he hoped for come to pass. And yet, he knew to have real hope was to place his faith in God and his promises. He wrote, “Genuine faith imbues us with the conviction that beyond time is a divine Spirit and beyond life is Life. However dismal and catastrophic may be the present circumstances, we know we are not alone, for God dwells with us in life’s most confining and oppressive cells. And even if we die there without having received the earthly promise, he shall lead us down that mysterious road called death and at last to that indescribable city he has prepared for us.”
Pray: God, we believe in your future promises, but help our unbelief. Be with us when our faith wavers and doubts threaten us. Help us to look forward with conviction that your promises are true. Strengthen our faith. Amen.
Read Romans 4:18-21.
Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?
Some of us walk around with a sunny, optimistic attitude that everything will be okay. For some of us, we find it more difficult to hope for the best.
In the passage that you read for today, Paul writes about the hope Abraham clung to when God promised him that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham had some very good reasons to lose hope. He and his wife were old. They had been unable to have a child for many years. And yet, he clung to God’s hope.
Even if optimism doesn’t come naturally to you, you can be an optimist when it comes to the promises of God.
Do you need to develop your optimist muscles? Think about scripture meditation as the exercise that grows your faith, hope, trust, and confidence in God.
Reflect: Look back at some of the passages you have read so far this week. Meditating on scripture can help you maintain your hope. Continue to grow in hope.
Pray: God, help us to grow in our trust. Help us to develop the “muscles” to trust you, to hope in your promises, to confidently expect that your promises will come to pass. Amen.
Today, you will read several passages to learn more about real hope. For each passage, read the verse or verses slowly. Read it again. What does this passage tell you about hope? Are there any words that jump out at you? Are there any repeated words? Take a moment to jot down your thoughts on each passage.
Choose one of these passages, write it down, and carry it with you for a few days. Memorize it. Make it the background on your phone screen. Tape it to your refrigerator. What is God telling you about the source of your hope?
· 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
· 1 Timothy 1:1; 4:10
· Galatians 5:5
· Colossians 1:27
· 1 Thessalonians 4:13
· Psalm 33:18, 20, 22; 42:5, 11
“The Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope, for we know, as Paul testified, in life or in death, in Spain or in Rome, ‘that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Pray: God of all hope, fill me with peace and joy. Help me to trust in you so that I will overflow with hope by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
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