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Living for Others

Keep On In Hope

"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." - Romans 15:13 (New International Version - NIV - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society )

God is, among so many other things, the God of hope. He tends to reveal Himself by various descriptive names in order to meet us where we are at our point of challenge.

When you feel like quitting, it is often when you are also feeling most hopeless. There is a remedy. In this short simple verse, Paul describes a Daily Double, a Daily Duty, and a Dependable Dynamic.

The reality that He is, for us, the God of hope cannot help but encourage us if we believe and receive the hope He gives. He comes to us with a Daily Double - two qualities come to us in abundance when we embrace His hope: joy and peace.

There is no joy for a hopeless person. There is no reason to arise in the morning. Their is no bounce in his step, no light in his eyes, and no lift in his voice. His heart is heavy because he sees a dark, dim, dreary road ahead for years to come.

He is not hopeless; he just thinks he is because he does not yet know the God of hope.

There is hope for your future, hope for your family, hope for your business, hope for your ministry because there is a God of hope who has never relinquished His position as Lord of the universe. He is not the universe; He is its designer and master. He governs the principles that govern us and He is decreed that where He is, there is hope!

He is the grand deal-breaker when circumstances add up against you. Hopelessness does not stand a chance. If there is a vacuum  in your life where there ought to be joy, trust God.

In today's Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 5-6, we are admonished, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall bring it to pass."

Jump for joy! Do it on faith. You are about to be filled to overflowing with giddy, grateful joy!

My friend Mahilda just couldn't get it. She scowled and moped all through the day. "I just don't feel any hope," she would complain to any who would listen. Like Paul, her friends started praying that the God of hope would fill her with joy and peace. One day, while reading the Bible, she found this verse, "The God of hope ..."

"If God is the God of hope, and He is present in my life, then I have hope," she thought. And I don't have to feel hopeful to be hopeful. I just have to believe in God. OK! I can do that!"

It made the difference and there was a new bounce, smile, and exuberance in her life and she started to discover opportunities that she had been missing and would have continued to miss. Not only that, her positive attitude made her attractive to people that came into her life and shared her joy, creating a joyful synergy that multiplied.

The second quality that comes to us in abundance when we know the God of hope and He fills our lives with Himself, is peace. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Nor is it the cessation of war. Peace is bigger than that; it is the wholeness and well being of a governed life. For the Christian, it is the life governed by God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is no peace for the hopeless.

There is worry, frustration, distraction, despair, discouragement, and bitterness. When there is no wholeness within, there are factions and frictions that develop. There are broken relationships, broken dreams, and broken hearts. The ungoverned heart is never at peace; the hopeless heart keeps its host awake at night in a constant, thought sometimes low level of anxiety and concern.

But the God of hope fills us with peace. We must know Him and trust Him and release our cares into His care.

When He governs us, He speaks to our hearts as Jesus spoke to the stormy waters, "Peace, be still."

There is Daily Duty - a qualification to receiving these qualities within ourselves. we must trust. It is as we trust in Him, and specifically, in Him as the God of hope, that we are filled.

When we are filled, we receive  the inner resources of joy and peace to resist the urge to quit. We keep on because of something inside us. Paul teaches us that the way we internalize these qualities is by the power of the Holy Spirit, God Himself entering into our hearts and lives as we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

He comes in power and, as Jesus said, as one who walks alongside of us. In us and with us - what a combination!

Like Mahilda, we must learn to take His presence and hopefulness as a matter of faith and begin to act on it.

Trusting God is a daily duty that brings the richest of rewards to our lives.

Finally, there is a Dependable Dynamic that makes it happen, the power of the Holy Spirit. We have already spoken of Him, but this is major.

We can do all the right things all the time, but if there is no power that enforces the spiritual laws and graces that we affirm, there is no hope. We are promised that we will overflow, into other  people's lives and all around, with boundless, bountiful, audacious hope and that the river flowing through us will never run dry.

How does that happen? It happens through the power of the living, ever present, all powerful, presence of God through His Holy Spirit. In Him, we have plugged into the endless source and we never have to economize when we tap into Him.

It takes submission, sincerity, and celebration to fully realize what it means to be filled with Him, but we have a lifetime to learn and now to begin.

Jesus said two things about the coming of the Holy Spirit. One was that in the Spirit, He would not leave us comfortless, but that he would come to us. The second was that because He went to the Father and would send His Spirit, we would do even greater works than He did among us.

If that is not a cause for hope, nothing is - and He is the God of hope. And He sends His Dependable Dynamic, from Himself, to fill us and govern our hearts, setting them free from all despair, defeat, and worry to become great and mighty forces for His good in the world.

You have a bright future because you have God of hope! Don't quit; Keep On!