Monday, April 8, 2013

Hope and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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There have been times in my life where I have been drowning in despair, desperately flailing my arms in the stormy sea, gasping for breath and searching for something which will save me.  My body has been fatigued by the constant treading of water and hope has been scarce as I can see no land on which to rest.

But, friends, I was deceived.  

The deception lies in the fact that I thought I was hopeless, but the truth is, I had been drinking in hope from a tainted source.  Better yet, I had been given a substitute for hope, but I didn't know it.  Water and bleach can look awfully similar, but while one gives life and vibrancy, the other leaves life colorless. One is not a substitute for the other, even though they look the same on the outside. 

The world tells us that we can find hope within the confines of the earth.  We can have hope when we get good test results.  We can have hope when we receive acclamation.  We can have hope when we get the job.  We can have hope when our savings reach a certain level.  We can have hope when we get the contract.  We can have hope when our children are safe.  We can have hope when our schedule clears, when our spouse listens, when the sun comes out.  We can have hope when...

But what if these things never happen?  Does that mean that our life is devoid of hope?  If we believe this, we have been deceived.

Romans 15:13 says this:
"I pray that God, the SOURCE of HOPE, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with CONFIDENT HOPE through the power of the Holy Spirit."
I asked my bible study how many of them overflowed with confident hope.  No one, not even me, raised her hand.

We have been deceived, ladies.  We have believed that our hope is contingent on the patterns of this world.  But if we allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds, we will find that no matter what the circumstances of our lives, God is the source of our hope.  He is the wellspring that never runs dry.

Just think, sisters:  God can fill us with joy and peace IF we will trust Him.  We can then overflow...

I want to overflow with things such as joy and peace and hope, even though my world is not perfect...not even close to perfect.  I want to trust God so much that my the circumstances of my life always pale in comparison to the power of God.

After a long week with deadlines and a sick child, I woke up this morning, desperate for a few minutes alone with God and read this:
"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel says: 'Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength.  But you would have none of it.'"  Isaiah 30:15
How many times have I been drowning and I have tried to save myself?  How many times have I been desperate for new life, for a breath of fresh air, and grabbed hold of whatever I found?  How many times have you?

He is the Life Preserver that saves us from drowning.

Returning + Rest = Refuge 

It's a biblical formula, not a worldly one.  But I am willing to bet that it works.  

T.R.U.S.T. Question:  Where do you routinely place your hope?  In what have you put your hope in the past?  What things hold power over you that make you feel hopeless or that you have lost hope?

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19 comments :

  1. Jen, this is the second time today when I've been reminded of the real hope that is in Christ. My heart has been heavy over the past few days, reAding news and posts about mental illness. And I've been wrestling with this question of hope. Thank you for this, my friend.

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  2. This is so good, Jen. And so true, unfortunately. I definitely wouldn't consider myself as one who overflows with hope either. Maybe I do for the grand finale, but not in the everyday situations. I'd love to change in that, too, and learn how to more effectively--not just theoretically--keep my hope levels consistently high, because I know God is consistent and so faithful. I'm farther along than I used to be, but not where I want to be.

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    1. You mean, like how to hope in the everyday? I think that would be a great blog post. Thinking now about how to make hope...tangible.

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  3. "Drinking in hope from a tainted source." (sad face) And I've often shook my head over that verse: "And they would have none of it." Oh, I don't what that to be said of me!

    Back to Him and His word. That is all that keeps me from deceiving myself that what I DO will bring hope. Apart from Him, what I DO is worth nothing.

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  4. Overflowing with hope....Wow! What a promise!

    I love what you shared, Jen. In our group, we agreed that often we struggled with self sufficiency...

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  5. Bulls-eye with your words, Jen...yes..it is only when I go to Him can I find what my soul most needs...in years past, I used to think if "x" happens, then...now I know that is a lie...of course, being human, I forget, but not for long..or too long :) Blessings to you and hugs :)

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    1. Right! That was the conclusion I came to when I wrote my FMF post about after. I think "after this, then..." and I put my hope and sustenance in the future not in the present.

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  6. I will NOW raise my hand. Although, I am sure I will get weary again and may need an Aaron and Hur to help hold it up during difficult times though, reminding me of the Hope we do have in His Word and The Word.
    Thank you Jen.

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  7. Hey Jen, Love that thought about a 'confident hope' - a hope that is sure, determined and unwavering. So good to find rest and refuge in an overflowing wellspring of bubbling hope - Beautiful :)

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  8. A thoughtful post and beautiful reminder as always, Jen.

    I used to hope in the power of only me, that I alone held the power to give myself hope.
    It really hit home with me when we joined Financial Peace University, and began to understand how we had been mismanaging our money. When we learned how to be stewards, to hold on loosely, and to give joyfully, it transformed our lives and we felt hopeful again.

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  9. "I want to trust God so much that my the circumstances of my life always pale in comparison to the power of God." My desire, too. Life will always be messy in this fallen world. My trust can be the sun that shines on difficulties, knowing God is with me through it.

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  10. I've made the mistake in the past, and still sometimes now, of thinking when this week is over, then I'll be at peace or when this situation has been dealt with, then things will return to normal. I like end results and don't always enjoy the journey before me, and so much can be learned in the journey. Good thought's here, gives me lots to think on.

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  11. This is my first time on your blog- what a great post on our hope. It is easy for me to say my hope is in the Lord, but life sometimes gives me away. I put hope in healing that did not come for my beloved brother. That somehow if God healed him then his testimony would be so much greater, but it was in how he faced his death that lives were changed by the Lord. I would never have imagined what God would do in his memorial service as people stood up and shared how the way he lived his last months on this earth impacted them for eternity- his wife was just one who became a believer through it all. I cannot put my hope in having things turn out the way I want them, it leads me down all kinds of slippery slopes, only in the power of the cross is my hope found.
    Blessings to you!

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  12. Amen!! Great post--encouraging and hope filled!

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  13. Praise God for the blessed hope and the lively hope we have in Him! Thanks for hosting & God bless!

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  14. That verse that God used to "call you back" is one of my favorites.. I can still remember memorizing it in third grade Vacation Bible School and then my teacher giving it to me on a little purple plaque with lilacs that hung in my room until I moved out for college. Thanks for the reminder. As far as hope goes... I put my hope in far too many things besides Jesus... in accomplishments and tasks and good health and great church stuff.. and... well, you get the picture. I WANT Him to be my HOPE ALONE.

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  15. He is the "Life Preserver", the "Source of Hope", our "Confident Hope"...oh how these Truths touch me tonight, Jen. I am thankful to have read this for hope is what I need this day. In Him we have our all.
    Amen.

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  16. This part got me: "What if those things never happen?" That is an important thing for me to remember - that God doesn't promise us a perfect, worry-free life here on Earth . . . and yet, I can still have hope in Him. It makes me think of the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, and the part that goes: The things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

    It's when I shift my focus - then I can have real, true, lasting hope.

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