When I think of the word "hope", I think of the word: maybe." Why, because the word hope paints the desire for something wished for, but may not happen. My dictionary defines the word hope as; "to want or wish for something with a feeling of confident expectation." Synonyms for the word hope are expectation, optimism. All of the words give me a slight negative connotation, like "maybe".
Do you see what I mean? When I think of the word hope, I think of an expectation of something that may happen, but may not. Which brings me back to the word maybe. Maybes synonyms include the words feasibly, perchance, and possibly. All of these words give me the feeling of a 50-50 chance, or a 25-75 chance etc. If I were a betting man, which I am not, those kinds of odds dont exactly leave me with a feeling confident of expectancy. These odds are like the weather forecast often. The weather report may say there is a 50 or maybe a 45 % chance of rain. Well, if I am planning on going fishing with my nephew, I dont care for those odds, no more than I would like a 50-50 chance of winning the lottery.
So why do I bring this up? The Bible uses the word hope a lot. In connection with things of the Lord. For example, in Acts 23:6 Paul says to the council and high priest; "of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question (King James Version). Here Paul is telling these folks that he is placing a high expectation, that Jesus promise of the resurrection of the dead will be met.
Upon looking closer, and looking up the word hope in a concordance, it changes my understanding of what the word hope means and gives a more positive outlook when I think of hope. The Greek Dictionary of New Testament describes the word hope as: "to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation, or confident faith."
I now look at the word hope with a better outlook. In the context of Biblical Scripture it gives me a more sure fire expectation that what is hoped for is a certainty, and not a "maybe.
In our English language another dictionary gives the word the following description: "a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by expectation." Joseph Stowell says that in this description, it does not necessarily mean that the hope, the expectancy is necessarily grounded in reality. For example, and this is a laugh for Canadians. Bob may hope that the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey team will the Stanley Cup this year. That really is a laugh because they are so far behind in the standings, they would pretty much have to win every game from here to the end, into the playoffs and finally win the last game. GIGGLE! (pardon me if I stepped on some Leaf fans toes)
In another context I may hope that the weather will be sunny next weekend, so that when my nephew and niece come out to visit, they will be able to play outside some. That is a hope, but not necessarily a reality, for we know that the weather is rather unpredictable, you just never know for sure what is going to happen. Hope here is a desire, not necessarily a real expectation, or a reality.
Turning back to Biblical hope, these hopes are a trusted reality, that we not only desire, but that we may know for sure that a hope in the Bible is a certainty, that it will come to pass. We can know that these hopes will come to pass because the Words in the Bible are inspired and inscribed by God Himself. And since we know that God cannot lie, (Titus 1:2) we can know for a certainty that what God has promised will come to pass.
Some of these hopes in the Bible which we can be assured of are; we can hope in a new heaven and a new earth, in a heaven beyond which we look forward to and the fact that Jesus said that He would come back again to take the redeemed home with Him before mankind completely destroys himself.
The greatest hope we have is found in the fact of the empty tomb, of whom He promised that the grave would not hold Him. He also promised that He would rise from the grave in three days. These truths have been corroborated by many witness and written of by some who were not necessarily believers in a Messiah. If not for His resurrection, we would have no hope of eternity in heaven with Him. For as the apostle Paul wrote; "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen; then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain," 1 Cor. 15:12-14 (King James Version). Please read the entire section [up to verse 26].
Take a few minutes if you will and have a closer look at the many promises and even prophecies that are written in this section. For example it was written in ages past that Christ would be raised from the dead. This section also tells us that all power and authority will be given unto Him And it tells us that as His last feat He will defeat death, for death will forever be put to rest. In eternity no one will ever die. What an awesome promise is that?
Knowing that Christ was raised from the dead, it also gives us the hope, the promise as He has said that we to will all be raised from the dead and be with Him in heaven. Now, that is a promise I want to hold on to. If God has promised to redeem us and to raise us with new glorified bodies fit for heaven, do you think that He will? For sure! So we can also hope and trust that, that will happen indeed.
Another word we could use in exchange for the word hope and trust is faith. Faith is putting our trust, our hope in something that we cannot see. For example, at the top of the CN tower in Niagara Falls Ontario, is a section of thick clear glass which is several feet thick. When you go up there you will see that there is no barrier around the glass at all. Therefore it must be deemed to be safe. Yet, some will venture to walk on it, while others will not. Those who walk on it are showing that they have faith that they will be supported to walk on it. When you step out onto the front steps of your house, you are placing faith that these steps will support you.
Here is a statement of faith which I believe we can place our faith on, hope in, trust in, believe in with all of our hearts. Paul wrote; "Being confident in this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6 (King James Version).
What is Paul saying here? He is saying that God has begun the redemptive work of changing us, who are believers. Once we were lost in our sins, walking about daily in sin, with no thought or concern for the things of God. But once you told God that you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins on the cross, God then begins a cleansing process that lasts for your whole life time here on earth. This is a process that will continue until Jesus takes us home to be with Him in heaven. God is working on you daily, changing you, molding you, more and more daily in the very image of His Son.
In this Paul says we can be confident, hoping, trusting that the cleansing work that God has begun in you will continue, and not stop until the fullness of time is come when Jesus will shout and call us home to be with Him. 1 Thess. 4:16-18
That is an awesome promise He has given us. It is something which we can put our hope, trust and faith in. We can know for a certainty that the work which He has begun in us will be completed one day.
Hebrews says; "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1. King James Version).
The 11th chapter of Hebrews is a listing of many men and women who gave their hope, their faith, believing that the things which God had promised would come to pass. Even though many did not see with their physical eye these promises come to pass, they still kept the faith, believing that what had He had promised would eventually be brought to pass.
Many of these folks were martyred for what the believed in, dying horrible cruel deaths, because they would not give up believing in faith the promises of God. Please read this chapter carefully and see how strong was their hope, their faith. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the "Faith" chapter for good reason. Read and see for yourselves why.
Biblical faith seen here gives substance to that which we hope for. It is a faith that we can bank on, a faith so strong that we can place our hope in a certain future event so completely that it preoccupies our entire perception of life and radically alters our behavior in the process. Do you have that kind of life altering faith in a hope of things not yet seen?
Biblical hope should stir your heart to help you keep focussed on the goal, of the hope, the promise of Christ's eventual return, and of our eternal home with Him in heaven. Paul writes, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doeth he yet hope for? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Rom. 8:24-25 (King James Version)
Hoping, placing our faith in something unseen , Paul writes should create within us an eagerness for its consumation, that we should perservere, hold out, waiting expectantly for the fulfillment of that hope which is unseen.
The Greek word used here for perserverance in this context is made up of the two words upo and meno. Upo means "under" and meno means "remain." This word paints the picture of remaing firm in our hope, in our faith, never giving up hope, holding out, holding on with a strong grasp awaiting the consumation of the thing hoped for.
As Peter was looking forward, with perserverance, he shouts out in praise for the hope which we have in the promise of an undefiled, incorruptible reservation in heaven. 1 Pet. 1:3-5 In fact, looking closer at this chapter, I see that it is a chapter of hope. I would perhaps have called it the Hope Chapter. Read and see if you would not also agree. Read the entire chapter of 1 Pet. 1:1-25. Does not this chapter also cause you to shout out and praise God?
We are told that the Holy Spirit is working in the background of our souls prompting us to continue in hope, in trust for the promise of our salvation, in which He seals this promise. Eph. 1:3 This means that the promise of our salvation is secure, it is sealed, and unbreakable. God when He makes a promise, you can bet the His promises are eternally secure and sealed. Nothing but nothing in heaven, hell or earth can cause God to break His promises. Now, does that not want to make you jump up for joy shouting praises to Him? Jesus Himself confirmed the promise of our salvation, of our eternal security when He said to His disciples, "Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God; believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" John 14:1-3 (King James Version)
Does that not sound like a promise, a hope that we can trust and count on?
God has put that hope within our hearts, promting us to look forward with great anticipation to a better place than this earth. If we did not have this hope within us, with nothing to look forward to beyond the here and now, we would likely all be filled with dispair. For there would be nothing to get excited about, not to look forward to, nothing to hold on to, nothing to hope for, to trust in. Hope is the chain, our link to a greater beyond, to a bigger and better world. Perhaps that is why this world is in such a mess. Because the majority of the world's population does not believe in our God. Therfore they have no view of what the Lord has promised us beyond the grave. Therefore they have no hope for nothing past the grave and nothing to look forward to. There is nothing to hold out for in anticipation. How sad that must be.
Anchoring our hope in God eternal, and the glorious future He has promised for us, expands our souls to hold out for and to keep looking forward in expectation of a marvelous beyond.Everytime I look up and marvel at God's craetion, I am reminded that He does exist, that His promise are sure, that the hope I have in His promises for me are eternal and not a blind hope. But a hope, a trust a faith that is rock solid. It causes me to get excited and to look forward to what He has in store for me.
1 Cor. 2:9 tells us; "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. (King James Version)
We cannot imagine in our finite minds the marvel of what is awaiting us in heave. It would blow our minds if we were to see it today in these mortal, sinful bodies. This gives an even greater, desire, an even stronger reason to hold out in faith, and await what He has in store for me.
Is there anything that can separate us from the love of God, from the things He has prepared for us? Paul answers that for us in Rom. 8:35-39. Read for yourselves this passage and see id you do not agree.
The time for our reward is drawing near when He shall shout and call us home to Him. I pray that you also are as excited as I am, looking forward to the promises He has in store for us in the other side of eternity. I pray you are longing as I long every day to go home to be with Him.
Where is your hope, your faith, your trust? Is it in the here and now on earth that you have placed all your faith in, where mouth and rust can eat and destroy? Or is in in the the eternal where neither moth nor rust cannot destroy?
Shout for joy and lift up your heads for our redemption draweth nigh !
Recently a brother said that he was feeling lonely. In this world, if we lean and expect our needs to be met by family and friends, we will often be disappointed.
Because we are born into the world, and because we are born in the similitude of Adam, we to are also sinners. Therefore, we should not expect others to always be there for us to meet our needs, to be a shoulder to lean on when trials come our way, or when we are feeling lonely. People unfortunately let us down. We cannot rely on people 100 % of the time.
However, there is one whom we can rely on 100 % of the time. Jesus, who is God has given us in His Word promises that He is always present for us not matter what the time day or night, no matter where we are.
These following verses should, I hope encourage you and lift you up. And, should you get to feeling lonely, go back and read and study these verses and ask God to come closer to you. Ask Him to make His presence known to you. May these verses be of great comfort to you.
Read on and be blessed.
Heb 13:5 "for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Isa 54:10 "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
1 Jn 1:3 "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Pro 18:24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
Rev 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Jas 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
Psa 16:8 "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
Exo 33:14 "And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
Jer 31:3 "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
Psa 94:14 "For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance."
Isa 42:6 "I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee (...)"
Psa 37:28 "For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off."
Joh 10:10 "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Psa 27:10 "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."
Joh 14:18-21 "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
(All Bible verses taken from the King James Version)
You are greatly loved by God. His promises are sure. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Heb. 13:5
Take rest and comfort in these promises my brothers.