Devotional Thought: How does "hope" grow?
Romans 5:3-4 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character;and character, hope."(NIV)
We often have "hope" when starting new adventures - a new school year, job, relationship, or activity. We hope the new adventure will lead to happiness and fulfillment. While we may begin new adventures with hope, disappointments often lead to a loss of hopeful expectation. Often, to regain a sense of hope, we often seek a change in circumstances rather than persevere and mature in character through them. When disappointed or frustrated, we may look for a new job, school, relationship, church, spouse, etc. This cycle leads to a "hope" dependant upon circumstances. This cycle diminishes "hope" over time rather than grows & matures it.
The Bible teaches that “hope”, like other virtues, develops and matures not by on-going change of circumstances, but through perseverance in hardship. Some people think if they find just the right person, then they'll experience real love. But Jesus taught us to love our enemies. He said anyone can love people who love them. Love matures through hardships. Faith is another virtue that needs to be tested through hardships to mature.
In the Bible, the word "hope" is often connected to circumstances where having hope is difficult. "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed (God's promise), and so became the father of many nations" (Romans 4:18). God doesn't want hope to be grounded in circumstances, but in Him. Thus, much of Scripture encourage us to “hope in the Lord” - especially in the midst of disappointing or hopeless situations.
I used to look at a small church like ours and think "there isn't much hope for that church." My "hope" for a church was often tied to the number of people or programs. Some might visit our church like and think our name "Hope Alive" doesn't fit. It does fit, IF our hope is in the "God of hope" (Romans 15:13). Our hope needs to be in Him.
Do you want to grow in hope? Rather than change your circumstances, ask what is presently determining your sense of hope. Is it your circumstances, or is it God? Rather than change your circumstances, seek to change yourself and put your hope in the Lord – His person, promises, & power.
Read Mark 6:1 through 8:26
Published: Sep 21, 2017
After a day of ministry, Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go to Bethsaida, while He went up onto a mountain to pray. Later that night, a storm arose and the disciples had a hard time crossing the lake because of the wind. Jesus went to them, walking on the water. They mistook Him for a ghost and were terrified. But Jesus spoke to them to calm their fear.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50).
Christians often face storms in their lives that cause them to be afraid. No matter how hard they fight against the winds of adversity, they can’t steer their lives to safety. They sometimes feel they are by themselves. Just when they think all is lost, Jesus climbs into the boat with them and says, “Take courage. Don’t be afraid.” Suddenly, the water is calm and the winds cease. All is calm and peaceful because Jesus walked onto the scene.
Prayer for Today: Lord, calm the storm in my life today and help me steer my life in faith.
Quicklook: Mark 6:47–56
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