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.
Beware the Fall
Read 2 Chronicles 26:9–23; Isaiah 6:1–13
Published: Jun 29, 2017
Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). This profound proverb teaches a vital truth. Pride will bring you down. Men like Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon Bonaparte were undone by pride.
King Uzziah was only a teenager when the crown and kingdom was thrust upon him. In the early years of his reign, he was humble and walked in the ways of the Lord, and the Lord blessed him in everything he did.
Uzziah won great battles and accomplished many amazing things. News of God’s favor on Uzziah spread, and Uzziah became a very wealthy, powerful, and famous king. Then it all came undone.
But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (2 Chronicles 26:16).
Uzziah let his importance go to his head, and he began to think he was above following God’s commands. From that day forward, Uzziah suffered from leprosy until his death. His pride cost him his influence and kingdom.
Thought for Today: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 26:11–21
Prayer & Praise Resources
How You Can Partner with the National Prayer Center
Start a prayer center in your church!
How may we pray for you?
Submit a prayer request.