Hope Holds On

Romans 8:24 ~ CEB

“We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see?”

As I was doing my devotions and read this verse, I knew I had to share it today. There was just something about it that jumped out at me and I knew I had to share it. In the midst of the last days before Christmas, things can seem extremely dark. Hope may be one of the last things on people’s minds this Christmas season. Many studies have shown that people often feel down this time of year, that is why hope is such a necessary thing during the Christmas season.

People felt hopeless in the Bible too, our generation isn’t the first to experience this. Take Mary as an example, she was young and engaged and PREGNANT which was completely unacceptable in her culture. Yet, Mary did not become hopeless and dejected, she held on to the hope that the angel had given with the message. That is true hope, even when she had no proof that her child was the Messiah, she believed anyway, that this baby would be just who God said. She put her hope and trust in God that He would do what He said.

Hope is a very high commodity in heaven. There is no shortage of hope among heavenly forces. The news we receive from God and the experiences we have on earth aren’t always good, but there is always a promise of something greater waiting for all who choose to grasp it. We may not – and probably won’t – understand everything that God has in-store for us, but we can always trust and believe that it will work out towards the greater purpose of His plan. There’s always hope.

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Lose the Labels

Luke 1:36-37 ~ CEB

“Look even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ”unable to conceive” is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”

Society seems to love labeling people. We have labels for things we understand, things we are trying to understand, and things we just don’t care to understand. These labels are often very quickly assigned and rarely easily removed. When things start going wrong, out come the labels. Before people even get a chance to defend themselves, out come the labels. That’s just what we do, we try to explain things and find a system. We do it almost without thinking.

This was done in the Bible as well. Obviously, Elizabeth was labeled, that’s what the verse says, but there were many people just like her. David was labeled as too young and too weak to be of any use to the army in battle, just look how that turned out, he ended up killing Goliath. Everybody probably thought Noah was some crazy old fool who had absolutely no idea what he was doing, but he ended up being the only one alive when the flood came. There are dozens and dozens of these people, labeling is not a new custom.

With a society so quick to assign labels, it is not uncommon that people are labeled incorrectly. Almost all people have been labeled as something that they are not at least once in their lifetime. The good news for those who have been incorrectly labeled is, the only opinion we need to concern ourselves with is God’s. He knows truths about us that we may not even know about ourselves, and He holds the plan for our entire lives. So let them talk. They think you’re crazy? That’s okay, at the end of this you’re gonna have a boat. They think you’re too pathetic to ever amount to anything? Prove them wrong! God has a plan and a purpose that was specifically made for you and no label is strong enough to hold back the fire God placed in your heart for your life. So live it, who cares what they say? Nothing can stop God’s plan, they’ll get used to it.

Perspective in the Presence

Psalm 76:26 ~ NLT

“My health my fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.”

 

In the beginning of this chapter, the psalmist tells of all the terrible things that have been happening in recent times. It seemed that his enemies had been conquering on every side and nothing was going right for him. The chapter reaches a turnaround in verse 17, however. Until Asaph went to the temple and got in the Presence of God, he didn’t understand what was going on and why God was allowing it to happen. As soon as he got in the Presence, his perspective changed because he was able to see the situation through God’s eyes, instead of his own.

When we go through hard times, it is of vital importance that we make sure we are giving ourselves plenty of time to get in the Presence of God and draw our focus from Him. I’m not talking about just “a verse a day to keep the devil away”. A quick Jesus fix while you’re standing in line at Starbucks isn’t going to get you through the storm. Daily communication with God is essential to maintaining a firm foundation in the middle of trials.

The important thing to remember is when we get in the Presence of God, our perspective changes. When we get our focus off of the storm and on to God, we start to see the way He sees, we see that the battle has already been won for us. You may be on the retreat right now, but hold on, God is setting up an ambush for your enemies. Hold on to God, He’s got a plan and it is far better than anything the enemy could draw up against you.