Archive for March, 2017

Christ, our Passover Lamb

March 31, 2017

Isaiah 53-5

Verse of the Day for March 31, 2017 comes from Isaiah 53, the Old Testament passage that describes the Suffering Servant, the Messiah, who would be born to redeem Israel, as a just payment for the sins of all humanity:

Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT):

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

As the month of April begins to unfold, Christians across the globe will be moving toward “Holy Week” and the commemoration of events associated with the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. Beginning with Palm Sunday, believers recall Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem leading up to his crucifixion, death, burial, and ultimate resurrection celebrated on the following Sunday.

During this same period, Jews around the world will be preparing for the start of Passover. The 8-day festival begins this year at Sundown on Monday, April 10 and ends on the evening of Tuesday, April 18. Passover, also known as Pesach,  commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt, as families traditionally gather for a Seder dinner, where they retell the story of the escape from slavery, through the plagues, and to the parting of the Red Sea.

The passage from Isaiah 53, also brings to mind a reference to the Passover Lamb found in the latter part of 1 Corinthians 5:7 (AMP)

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.

Jesus Christ appears as a type, a foreshadowing of events to come, throughout the Old Testament, as in the case of the Passover Lamb and other aspects of the Seder, the traditional meal served as part of the observance of Passover. Comments regarding 2 Corinthians 5:7, posted on the home page of Logos Bible Software, remind us that Jesus Christ died at the precise time that the Passover Lamb was slain.

The celebrated passage from Isaiah 53 and its connection to 1 Corinthians 5:7 also bring to mind a most memorable intersection of Good Friday and  the Passover which occurred in 1998 as I was partaking of Holy Communion at that time. That particular experience inspired the following:

Christ, our Passover Lamb

Isaiah 53

“For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.

2 Corinthians 5:7b          

 

Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.

The suffering servant bartered for a price,

Battered and bruised for our iniquity.

Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,

Offered once, Jesus Christ, our Passover.

Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should

Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,

Lay on Him the chastisement of our peace.

From His side flowed water and sinless blood,

A new covenant established that we might cease

From dead works by a new and living way.

God’s good pleasure no longer concealed:

Man of sorrows, with His stripes we are healed.

Abiding in the presence of the Great I Am,

We are cleansed and made whole by the blood of the Lamb.

Isaiah 53 also brings to mind the reality of the covenant God made with the Children of Israel so expressed in Exodus 15:26:

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

This verse was the inspiration behind the Don Moen song of worship: “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” a most appropriate way to close today’s entry.

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As ambassadors

March 29, 2017

 

The Verse of the Day for March 29, 2017 comes from 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV):

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As the culminating verse of the familiar passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, this section helps us to comprehend more fully our rights, privileges, and responsibilities as “Ambassadors for Christ.” This revealing metaphor speaks of our responsibility to mediate terms of agreement between two opposing forces. In the same way that we have been reconnected to God through Jesus Christ, we are to stand in the place of Christ, the original reconciler or mediator between God and humanity, described in this way:

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In this celebrated passage the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation” appear five times, the number of grace. The verb means to change or exchange something. The basic meaning of the noun is “a change on the part of one party only, induced by some action on the part of another.”

Biblegateway.com notes:

Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the noun katallage (reconciliation) and verb katallasso (to reconcile). The basic idea is to change or make otherwise. In Paul’s writings, God is always the reconciler. Those in need of reconciliation are hostile human beings (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:10-11).

God, who initiates the relationship, changes a relationship of enmity to one of friendship. William F. Beck translated 2 Corinthians 5:18 in the following way:

“But God has done it all. When we were His enemies, through Christ He made us His friends and gave us the work of making friends of enemies.”

Once we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we then stand in his place, and reconcile others, in light of the truth that God has committed to every born-again believer the ministry of reconciliation. The reconciled become the reconcilers, and so the exchange goes on. Our designation as “ambassadors for Christ” inspired this poem:

As Ambassadors

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first
and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him
who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, uhe sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.

Luke 14:31-32

As Christ, the Lord, implores and calls each soul to be reconciled,
So we beseech you in mercy and stand in his stead,
That mankind might reconnect–no longer exiled.
Just as a great king will send an entourage ahead
Of his army and offer terms of agreement,
Expressing his desire to redeem and restore
With a covenant that shall forever cement
And make known his will, even in times of war,
We see that behind every plan unfolds a process,
Conceived in wisdom long before the world began.
From God’s gracious right hand that shall forever bless
Flows loving favor, expressing His divine plan.
The day is forthcoming when all conflict shall cease,
As ambassadors offer final conditions of peace.

We conclude with The Reconciliation Song from Promise Keepers of 1998:

Watching, waiting, seeking

March 27, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 27, 2017 is taken from Psalm 62:7 in the New International Version:

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Three other versions of the Bible provide additional insight into the Verse of the Day:
Amplified Bible:

On God my salvation and my glory rest; He is my rock of [unyielding] strength, my refuge is in God.

New Living Translation:

My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

The Message Bible

My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.

The foundation for the confident expression of strength that believers receive from God who is our refuge is established from the very beginning of Psalm 62 which makes this declaration:

Psalm 62:1-2 (NIV):

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

These various versions of the Verse of the Day all remind us that we are not just waiting, but we are waiting silently, quietly in a state of rest. In such a tranquil state of assurance we see the power of three verbs: Watching, waiting, seeking. . . All are expressed in the present tense, continuous action, over and over. The intersection of these three verbs also  bring to mind the words of John Milton, 17th Century British statesman and poet, who said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” His word are incorporated into this poem:

Watching, Waiting, Seeking

You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress,
Psalm 59:9 (NIV)

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
Psalm 39:7 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence].
1 Chronicles 16:11 (AMP)

We are strengthened by the words of the bard gone blind,
Who said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
We look into the mirror of God’s word and find
That God has been ever faithful and never late.
We trust in the Lord, as the Word of God extols.
Like Job we wait until at last our change shall come,
Assured that in patience we now anchor our souls.
May we not faint and fall by the wayside as some
But follow in Christ’s steps, as we quickly obey
And bear up under and yield fruit of endurance.
We must walk in God’s love, the more excellent way
And through faith and patience claim our inheritance.
In these perilous times we are yielded and still,
Watching, waiting, seeking to fulfill all God’s will.

Aaron Keyes offers a musical rendering of Psalm 62: Praise Song (My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone)

Meditating on Psalm 62:7 the Verse of the Day, is great way to start the day, as we are watching, waiting, and seeking.

To know Christ

March 26, 2017

Philippians-1-29

The Verse of the Day for March 26, 2017 comes from Philippians 1:29 (NIV):

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

This verse also brings to mind this passage from Philippians 3:10-11

God desires that each individual believer might know Christ, that is, have a personal knowledge of who he is, to know him. This kind of knowing corresponds to the Greek word ginosko, translated “to know” in the New Testament.  Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger in his Critical Greek Concordance and Lexicon translates the verb:

To perceive, observe, obtain knowledge of or insight into.  It denotes a personal and true relationship between the person knowing and the object known, i.e. to be influenced by one’s knowledge of the object, to suffer one’s self to be determined thereby (p. 485).

Once an individual knows God on such an intimate, experiential level, that person “knows for himself or herself,” and that individual is forever changed.

God also desires that we know him, as He expresses His deep desire for intimacy on a very personal level. We come to know God through the Word of God. As we establish and maintain our relationship with him, we also experience not only the power of his resurrection but also the fellowship of sufferings, knowing that if we suffer with him we will also be glorified with him, as Romans 8:18 makes known:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

As we move into the season preceding the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we take comfort in knowing that as we partake of his suffering, we shall also be partakers or those who share fully in the glory of his resurrection.

About four years ago, a dear friend was sharing some of the trying circumstances that he was going through at the time. While I was not living under identical conditions that generated great stress, I remarked, “I know what you mean.” He looked up at me and smiled, as he fought back the tears, recognizing that I understood at a deeper level the anguish that he was enduring at the time that we were speaking.

In a similar way, we express our desire to know Christ on such an intimate level.  We thus become “seekers of God’s heart.” We close our discussion with in this moving song by Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris, and Steve Green:

If we confess, God is faithful to forgive

March 25, 2017

Revised and re-posted is the Verse of the Day for March 25, 2017 which is taken from 1 John 1:9 (NIV):

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The context for 1 John chapter 1 is fellowship with God and with fellow believers. Translated from the Greek word koinonia, fellowship involves communion or oneness, harmony. In Acts the believers of the early Church were said to be “of one heart and one mind.” Having this close fellowship with God and with one another is God’s desire for His people expressed in 1 John 1:3-10:

3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Verses 6-10 begin with the conditional clause “if we” followed by a verb: “If we say…, if we walk…, if we say…, if we confess…, if we say….” These expressions establish the conditions which if met on our part, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part. These two parts of the conditional sentences are especially noted in 1 John 1:9. If we do our part, which is confess our sins, our faithful and just God will do His part, which is “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

What does it mean to confess our sins to him? The phrase is also translated . . .”to confess our trespasses . . . our offenses . . . our sins.” To confess is to say with one’s mouth. With our mouths we acknowledge our shortcomings, our misdeeds, our sins of omission and sins of commission. We acknowledge that in far too many instances we have missed the mark and fallen short. I John 1:9 in the Amplified Bible assures us that:

9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

If we confess, God will forgive. . . . To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor).

Many times in thinking of confessing personal sins to God, my Father, the lyrics to this song come to mind:

Please Forgive Me

For each careless word and each thoughtless deed,
For each time I failed to follow your lead,
Each time I ignored you and went astray.
And let go your hand and walked my own way.

Please forgive me. Please forgive me.
Please forgive me. Please forgive me.
Please forgive me this time.
Please forgive me each time.
Please forgive me.

When we confess our sins, God forgives our sins, and in essence, God does more than wipe the slate clean. The words of the Psalmist reveal what really transpires

Psalm 103:12:

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

The lyrics to the chorus of the familiar Gospel song also remind us:

My sins are blotted out, I know! (I know!)
My sins are blotted out, I know! (I know!)
They are buried in the depths of the deepest sea:
My sins are blotted out, I know! (I know!)

We conclude our discussion, as Morgan Cryar offers a musical rendering of 1 John 1:9 in “What Sin?”

Faith and the presence of God

March 24, 2017

Psalm 91--1 new

In keeping with the recent series of the Quote of the Day, here is another quote related to faith for March 24, 2017:

“Wherever faith is, God’s presence is there.”

In reflecting on this statement, Psalm 91 came to mind, as to where believers desire to remain and ever abide:

Psalm 91 (NKJV)

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Our desire to ever remain in the presence of God is also expressed this way:

To Abide in God’s Presence

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

Psalm 16:11

To abide in God’s presence is our utmost desire.

So moved by compassion, we marvel and admire

This passion to pursue the Lord, in whom we delight,

Bringing such joy and peace to comfort us through the night.

Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ burns as a fire.

Clothed in righteousness, garments of praise are our attire.

We seek to do God’s will and all that He may require.

We meditate on the Word of God both day and night

To abide God’s presence.

Touched by the Master’s hand, we are whole and entire.

We have learned to trust God who is our sole supplier.

Challenges confront those who seek to do what is right,

But beyond the dark is the golden edge of daylight.

The dawning of each new day reveals our desire

To abide in God’s presence.

Esther Mui offers this moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

Beyond the crowns

March 23, 2017

James-1 12

Revised and re-posted from a previous entry, the Verse of the Day for March 23, 2017 makes reference to “the crown of life” one of five different crowns mentioned in the New Testament.

Translated from the Greek word stephanos, the word crown relates to the symbol of victory given to athletes in the Greek games, such as the Olympics or other contests, where winners are honored or crowned with laurel leaves or olive branches.

1 Corinthians 9:25 mentions an “incorruptible crown” awaiting those who discipline themselves and compete lawfully, those who “run their best race and win it”:

25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.

And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

A “crown of joy” is spoken of in terms of leading others to Christ.  1 Thessalonians 2:19:

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

2 Timothy 4:8 speaks of a “crown of righteousness” for living righteously in this world.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

A “crown of life” awaits the individual who endures trials while carrying out the purposes of God’s plan, as James 1:12 states:

Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1 Peter 5:4 speaks of a “crown of glory” awaiting those who fulfill their calling and finish the work that has been set before them:

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that does not fades away.

In reflecting upon the various aspects of crowns as they relate to athletic endeavors, we also think of what motivates us beyond the desire to receive rewards at the bema or the judgment seat of Christ, in that we are striving to hear something that will make all the time, energy and effort put into living our lives for Christ worthwhile. Our deepest yearning is expressed in the poem

Much More

His lord said to him, “Well done,

good and faithful servant;

you have been faithful over a few things,

I will make you ruler over many things:

enter into the joy of your lord.”

Matthew 25:23

 

More than mere status or the embrace of the crown

Around the head or glory, honor or renown;

More than medals of gold or laurels that fade

With the thundering applause and ceaseless accolade;

More than any crowning achievement or success

Or the rarest prizes eyes could ever witness;

More than the taste of victory every time you try:

Such alluring sweetness can never satisfy.

So much more are these words when the race is finally won,

When we finish the course and cross the finish line,

And stand upon the bema where we shall incline

Our ears to hear God say, “Good and faithful servant, well done.”

We shall bask in ultimate ecstasy of victory

And savor the goodness of God for all eternity.

The essence of the message is embodied in “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant”—featuring Roger Hoffman

Faith is a learned habit

March 22, 2017
Faith

Faith: We are encouraged to be established and built up in our faith.

Within the past week or two, a number of Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith, including the Quote of the Day for March 22, 2017:

“Faith is a learned habit. Be sure to practice it.”

In reflecting on faith, my mind goes back to a previous entry which included the following comments and poem:

In reading, occasionally one may encounter a double entendre or a figure of speech whereby an expression can have two meanings. Such is the case with “Faith as a Habit,” meaning that a “habit” can be a behavioral pattern that is practiced repeatedly; “habit” can also refer to apparel or clothing that is worn, a garment or costume. As you read and reflect upon the poem and its accompanying scripture, what does “Faith as a Habit” mean and how does apply to you at this time?

Faith as a Habit

And all who have been united with Christ in baptism
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism
have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

Galatians 3:26

We put on faith as a habit, worn as a garment.
We walk by faith, constantly renewing our mind
With the Word, prospering wherever we are sent.
In serving, we ask to receive–we seek and find
That faithfulness always yields promises fulfilled,
For God is not a man that He should ever lie.
We pray the prayer of faith–with his stripes we are healed,
Being assured that every need God will supply.
Praying in the Spirit or with words we understand,
Crafting prayers to petition or express our praise,
We submit our will and embrace what He has planned,
Mindful of His goodness, as we consider our ways.
We long to listen to hear that we might obey
And trust His heart and act in faith each time we pray.

The opening phrase of the last line of the poem brought to mind a song that has come to mean a great deal, particularly of late, when more than ever we are continuing to learn to “Trust His Heart.” This video provides the lyrics to this most meaningful song:

From milk to solid food: in pursuit

March 20, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 20, 2017 comes from 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV):

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Seven months ago our older daughter and her husband became proud parents of our first grandson, who clearly made them aware of two situations that disturbed his otherwise pleasant disposition: first of all, the need to be fed and secondly, the need to be changed. “For crying out loud,” the baby’s vocal gymnastics was a signal to the mother and to whoever was nearby that “I’m hungry,” and it is time to be fed.

In a similar manner to that of a newborn who expresses a need for nourishment in the natural, so we as believers also desire the “sincere milk of the word” whereby we may grow spiritually. Once an infant is hungry, he or she will make known the need for sustenance and cry out until that hunger is satisfied. The word translated “desire” is translated from the verb meaning to yearn or long for.

As we mature and grow up, having tasted the goodness of the Lord, we find that our appetite changes, or so it should. Hebrews 5:12-14 remind us of the change in diet that should take place:

12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Such is the case with our grandson, who now has teeth and whose diet is changing, as he is now learning to eat solid foods. He is even learning to feed himself as well. Similarly, as mature followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we demonstrate our desire for more of the life-sustaining Word of God, as we pursue spiritual matters and yearn to know the Word of God on a deeper level. The following poem also personalizes our yearning for more of God:

The Proof of Desire

I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
Psalm 119:32 (NLT)

The proof of desire is pursuit.
Mike Murdock

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,
As we follow after God and seek His favor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

This passion to please is our relentless pursuit,
As we seek to taste His goodness and to savor.
In each new season may our lives abound with fruit.

As a seasoned tree is strengthened from leaf to root,
We flow with fullness of joy as we labor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

Though we may seek as silver His wisdom and truth,
This life swiftly passes, fleeting as a vapor.
In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

We have yearned for God’s presence, even as a youth
And now forsake all to scale the heights of Mount Tabor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

That we seek to know God’s will no one can dispute,
To follow in the steps of Jesus, our Savior.
In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

In reflecting upon the pursuit of spiritual matters, I thought of the lyrics of the Don Moen song “My Soul Follows Hard after Thee”

Now anchored in hope

March 18, 2017

The Verse of the Day provides a comforting reminder of God, our Father’s desire for His people:

Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This benediction closes the Book of Romans on a hopeful note, but we find that hope abounds throughout the Scriptures where we find out that God is our hope; indeed, He is the God of hope.

Psalm 42 verses 5 and 11 offer this marvelous reminder as to what to do when we encounter situation where we may be “feeling low”:

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.

Indeed, God is the center of the hope of our lives, as revealed in 1 Peter 1:20-21:

It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you.

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.

Once again the Psalmist reiterates the source of hope for the world:

Psalm 65:5 (NLT):

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

Psalm 71:5:

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.

Psalm 119:116:

Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live; and let me not be put to shame in my hope!

Psalm 130:5-6:

I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.

I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning.

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation, so defined in the Amplified Bible in a number of different verses. Though we are confronted with challenges on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have hope:

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.

[For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and \save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself],

In the midst of our most difficult situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love, as we rejoice in hope

With our Souls Anchored in Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Hebrews 6:19

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear
A second time, apart from sin and for salvation.
We know that where sin once reigned there shall not be any.
We look up, knowing that our redemption is drawing near
When Christ shall be Lord over every kindred, tribe and nation.
Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed,
As the signs of his coming continue to abound.
We look to the Eastern skies, waiting for the sunrise.
The time of reaping draws near, for we are not deceived.
To those with eyes to see, end-time signs are all around.
When the bridegroom comes, he will not take us by surprise.
Though fiery trials oppress us, and it seems we cannot cope,
We watch and patiently wait with our souls anchored in hope.

One of my all-time favorite hymns is “On Christ the Solid Rock.” I recall that as a youngster I narrated the words while the Junior Choir sang the song. The following recording contains a medley of that treasured hymn along with “In Christ Alone”: