May 14, 2021

Suggested Reading: Romans 15:1-13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing., so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.—Romans 15:13

Why is being hopeful such a courageous, extravagant way to live life? Consider how pervasive and massive despair and hopelessness is in the world. It is both far way and uncomfortably close to us. We can see hopelessness taking over like the weeds that take over when the elements are just right. Hopelessness starts at one point, entering through one event or situation, with one individual, and then slowly, or quickly spreads like wildfire until it invades mor and more mind sets and consumes more and more people. Hopelessness is a spiritual disease that will leave us stripped and barren; lifeless. A black hole that has no bottom or end.

I love how Paul prays for us by asking that the God of hope fill us with all joy and give us peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope. First, God will fill us with his joyful attitude, then give us peace through faith in Jesus and then by the power of the Holy Spirit we will abound in hope; in that way we will be more like him.

Once Paul belonged to Jesus, his entire life and ministry was based upon hope. At times he hoped for success in witnessing to the Gentiles and convincing them of Christ, in this letter he hoped to be able to make a return trip to the Church in Rome. Hope became his companion no matter what he was going through. Paul always solidified the hope he had by reacting in faith and obedience to God.   

Because we too belong to Christ we have been called to hope. Hope through Jesus will be like a well springing up within us, like a springboard that we can operate from. The hope of Jesus now becomes our hope. We will be like those who see “glass-half-full” instead of the other way around. We can look at a hopeless situation and be hopeful because we can know God is able and must be at work right there.     

Paul says we who are strong (full of hope) have an obligation to bear witness (hope) to others; we cannot do that without Christ living in us. We have an obligation to endure and to live together in harmony with one another, we certainly cannot do these without hope. If we have hope we have life and strength but the minute we lose hope we lose purpose, confidence, and the motivation to continue. When we hope in the God of hope we have strength, joy and peace. When we possess hope we can look at life and situations from a fresh perspective and make plans that are pleasing to the Lord.     

When our children were growing up and I would ask them a question about a need or something coming up, if they responded by saying “they were hoping” I would remind them that hope alone is not a plan, but from hope and with hope we can plan and move out on faith!

Hope is an internal attitude, which in Christ becomes a spiritual attribute, resulting in an external response or activity. It is proof of our faith in the God who is big enough, powerful enough, loving enough, and simply enough to cause all things to work for good for those who love, hope in him, and trust him.

I am reminded here what Paul said in I Corinthians 13 concerning the things/ attitudes that would remain after everything else is gone. He wrote, “So now faith, hope, and love abide.” No matter what else we lose in life, whatever else we may be lacking, may we hold on to these because they will take us the full way. Let’s Pray

O God our hope who can make hope abound in us, we praise you for supplying the hope that we have so we in turn, can respond in hope amid a hopeless world and generation. Grant that we always look to you as the source and foundation of our hope so that we can become an encouraging example for others who may not know you in this way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Courageous Living: How does knowing God is the God of hope, and gives you hope, encourage you to live courageously and enjoy extravagant hope?   

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