Posts Tagged ‘hope’

I hope in your words

November 29, 2017

This new day, November 30, 2017, begins words from the Psalmist who proclaims his hope in God:

Psalm 119:147 (New King James Version)

I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.

The New Living Translation put it this way:

Psalm 119:147 (NLT)

I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

Hope has been defined as “the expectation of a future good.” Jeremiah 29:11, one of the most often referenced verses of our times, speaks of God’s desire for Israel to give them “hope and a future.” As Christian believers, we go to the Word of God and find that God is our hope. We are to be totally grounded in our confidence and expectation of God’s goodness and providential care, even in the face of trouble and anguish.

Throughout the Psalms, especially in Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, every verse makes reference to the Word of God, the place where our hope abides, as these three verses remind us:

Psalm 119:74:

May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.

Psalm 119:43
Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.

Psalm 119:114

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.

Elsewhere in the Bible, we are also encouraged to place our hope in the Word of God, as Romans 12:12 (NLT) offers this reminder

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) encourages us:

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Psalm 71:5 offers this marvelous reminder:

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

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. 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

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock,” a “vintage hymn,” which resounds with “hope.”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Chorus:

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

In the midst of 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, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12:12 (NLT)

And we now truly know God is able to do
Exceedingly and abundantly above all
That our finite minds can ask or could even think.
He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.
Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.
Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:
God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.
When life begins to unravel, we may ask why
The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.
All those who call on Him, He will never deny.
We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.
Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.
Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,
We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

The Maranatha Singers offer a moving rendition of the timeless hymn that has come to mean even more to me over the years.

The best is yet to come

September 23, 2017

Verse of the Day for September 23, 2017 comes from Romans 5:3-5(NKJV):

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

The Message Bible puts it this way:

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

This particular passage from Romans leads us to hope, a topic of considerable importance today.  A previous post speaks of “Hope: the antidote for despair”:

In the midst of tumultuous times that flood our souls as tribulation abounds on every hand, it is easy to see how persistent discouragement can lead to despair which is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope; to despair means to lose or be without hope. Once despair sets in, this mental state is perpetuated by prevailing unbelief. The downward spiral plummets into the depths of despair, a living hell with the welcome banner: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

To overcome a toxic emotion such as despair, we must move in the opposite spirit or in the opposite direction.  We find that “hope” is the antidote for despair. Hope is the expectation of a future good. Again, as Christian believers go to the Word of God, they will find out that God is our hope

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

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

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. 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

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of his victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally. So often believers are shackled to the past, as old wounds, previous hurts, and disappointments continually surface to cloud our future which ever unfolds with glorious expectation that our best days are ever on the horizon. In thinking about hope as our expectation of a future good, we recognize that “the best is always yet to come,” but we must remember

To Soar on Wings of Hope

The best is yet to come. . .

song composed by Cy Coleman,

with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh.

                

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung

Lonnell E. Johnson

 

At times we seek to capture the fleeting what never was;

While the distant past seeks to satisfy, it never does.

Whittier’s poignant lines “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,”

Cause us to consider “The saddest these: it might have been.”

But wasted efforts seek to recapture things left behind:

Fragments of those distant memories, vestiges of the mind.

Though our lives may not have unfolded as we thought they would,

Now we know that all things have worked together for the good.

Each glorious triumph and disaster, we choose to forget.

As we savor the goodness of God, we have no regret.

We must leave behind all of the hurt of the past somehow,

For all life crescendos into the ever-present now.

Although the past attempts to sway us from our destiny,

We rise to soar on wings of hope: the best is yet to be.

 

We close our entry with Bishop Paul S. Morton proclaiming “The Best is Yet to Come”:

Hope and a future

February 24, 2017

Jeremiah-29-11

From Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV) comes the Verse of the Day for February 24, 2017:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11, the first verse of this celebrated passage, was listed as second of the Top 10 most popular verses accessed through Biblegate.com in 2015. I recall hearing this verse for the first time in the New International Version of the Bible more than 20 years ago:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

To more fully understand the magnitude of God’s declaration, take a look at the following video that graphically illustrates the context of the verse taken from Jeremiah 29:11-14

The New Living Testament renders Jeremiah 29:11-13 in this way:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.

13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

In reflecting on this familiar passage from the Old Testament, I thought of the first time that I heard Jeremiah 29:11 which occurred as I was embarking upon a new assignment in my career as well as in my ministry. Two decades later I find myself in a similar position of transition, having returned to the same place where I was at that time. “Oh, the Providence of God!”

Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:

Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

Hope has been defined as “the expectation of a future good.” In thinking about our eternal hope, I remember lines from one of Emily Dickinson’s poems that described hope in a particularly intriguing way, as the opening lines serve as the title and epigraph for this poem:

“Hope is the thing with feathers. . . “

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul

And sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

 

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Romans 8:24-25 [New Living Translation]

 

As a rare exotic bird, arrayed in brilliant plumes,

Hope rises as a phoenix, a many-feathered thing:

As a lark ascending at sunrise sings on the wing

A melody that fades but then suddenly resumes,

So Hope conveys a message without a single word.

This glorious song of Hope will take us to the place where

Golden notes provide escape from any fowler’s snare:

The tune lingers to remind us that we, too, have heard

Heavenly harmonies in our innermost ear.

Perched in the depths of our soul, Hope has found a new home.

The songbird prepares our heart to receive what is to come.

While we wait in patience, God’s presence is ever near.

In these times of darkness and despair we will recall

And listen to hear Hope’s song that never stops at all.

Although the prophetic word from Jeremiah is specifically addressed to Israel, those words of comfort and hope can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel.

As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).  Jeremiah 29:11-13 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song) a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11

Great Expectations: More than a novel

November 4, 2016

great-expectations

Once again, we look at the Quote of the Day for November 4, 2016:

“Sharpen your expectancy, so when you ask, expect to receive it.”

In thinking about the word “expectancy,” I recall a definition of “hope,” a related concept: Hope is the expectation of a future good.

As Christian believers, we go to the Word of God where we find out that God is our hope, and our hope is in God with whom we have great expectations, which is more than the title of a novel by Charles Dickens.  Hope is a joyful and confident expectation.

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

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

Romans 8:24-25 [New Living Translation] also encourages us:

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

The Book of Acts records not just the “acts of the apostles” but provides numerous accounts of the “acts of the Holy Spirit,” as the Church was established and made in its life-transforming global impact, beginning “in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” One such account occurred in Acts Chapter 3 where we find an illustration where great expectations yielded exceedingly great results. I recall this statement by Pastor Rod Parsley: “The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.” This quotation provides the introduction to the lyrics of a song that depicts the account rendered in Acts 3:1-10 and relates it to the Body of Christ today:

The Atmosphere of Expectancy Is the Breeding Ground for Miracles

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

Here in this hallowed place you can sense the presence of the Lord.

Here is where the will of heaven reaches to touch the earth.

In the purifying presence of God’s mercy, love and grace,

In this sacred atmosphere mighty miracles take place.

For more than forty years they carried the crippled man

To the place called Beautiful, outside the Temple gate

To beg of those who came to worship and to pray.

Like all other times, it seemed an ordinary day.

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

But at that appointed time, two men of God were passing by;

He sat there asking alms, for he had such great need.

More than wealth, he begged for health, for he had never walked.

They fixed their eyes on him and told him, “Look on us!”

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

“We have no gold but Jesus Christ can surely make you whole.

This we give and in his name rise up and start to walk.”

He heard their words and in his heart he gave them heed.

He looked on them and believed, expecting to receive.

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

The crippled man received great strength and then stood up to walk.

He entered the Temple, walking, leaping and praising God.

All the people marveled at this mighty sign they saw,

As Peter told them of the saving power of Jesus Christ.

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

Just like the crippled man, begging outside the Temple gate,

We were watching and waiting, expecting to receive,

Then we gave heed to the Word and by faith we believed.

Now we’re walking in the fullness of the power of Christ.

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

 

The atmosphere of expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.

Here in this hallowed place you can sense the presence of the Lord.

Here is where the will of heaven reaches to touch the earth.

In the purifying presence of God’s mercy, love and grace,

In this sacred atmosphere mighty miracles take place.

This account is depicted in this video:

Though we are confronted with great challenges on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have  “Great Expectations.”

Ever-living hope in the ever-living God

October 3, 2015

1 Peter-1-3The Verse of the Day for October 3, 2015 comes from 1 Peter 1: 3 (KJV) and brings to mind the concept of hope, which should be the bedrock of our lives as Christians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The Amplified Bible offers a more detailed explanation:

1 Peter 1:3:

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

This verse speaks of “a lively hope” which is rendered “a living hope” in other translations, while the New Living Translation states that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Now we live with great expectation.” For believers our “great expectations” involve more than a novel by Charles Dickens. Indeed, “the expectation of a future good” is one definition of hope.

As Christian believers, we go to the Word of God where we discover what God says about hope. Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

In 1 Peter 3:15 we find a related verse:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

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

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock, I Stand,” a “vintage hymn,” resounding with “hope”:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

In the midst of the 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, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, 

and keep on praying.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

 

And we now truly know God is able to do

Exceedingly and abundantly above all

That our finite minds can ask or could even think.

He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.

Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.

Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:

God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.

When life begins to unravel, we may ask why

The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.

All those who call on Him, He will never deny.

We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.

Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.

Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,

We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

The Book of Romans concludes with this final benediction, an appropriate ending to this discussion:

Romans 15:13 (Amplified Bible):

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

The musical group, Avalon, offers a moving rendition of “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, ” the timeless hymn that has come to mean even more to me over the years.

My hope is built: The bedrock of our lives

March 18, 2015

The Verse of the Day for March 18, 2015 comes from Romans 15:13 (NIV):

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As part of the magnificent benediction appearing at the end of the Book of Romans, this particular verse draws our attention to the concept of hope which should be the bedrock of our lives as Christians:

The following blog entry which takes a closer look hope has been revised and modified and is re-posted below:

The times in which we are living can be so oppressive and troubling. As the Scriptures reveal, “perilous times” or “times difficult to deal with” shall come. Indeed, these dark and difficult days are here. As we confront the darkness and overwhelming despair, we must position ourselves to move in the opposite spirit or go in the opposite direction. To counter the toxic effects of the deadly element of despair, we must take a double dose of our antidote which is hope. An important scripture touching upon this topic is found in 1 Peter 3: 15 (NIV) which reminds us:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

I Peter 1:3 speaks of “a lively hope” which is rendered “a living hope” in other translations, while the New Living Translation states that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Now we live with great expectation.” Indeed, “the expectation of a future good” is one definition of hope. As Christian believers we go to the Word of God where we discover what God says about hope.

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. 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

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock,” a “vintage hymn,” which resounds with “hope.” The Maranatha Singers offer a moving rendition of the timeless hymn that has come to mean even more to me over the years.

In the midst of 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, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble,

and keep on praying.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

 

And now we truly know God is able to do

Exceedingly and abundantly above all

That our finite minds can ask or could even think.

He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.

Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.

Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:

God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.

When life begins to unravel, we may ask why

The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.

All those who call on Him, He will never deny.

We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.

Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.

Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,

We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

To close out this blog entry here is a contemporary Christian song expressing great hope, “There Will be a Day” performed by Jeremy Camp.

 

I know that my redeemer liveth

April 29, 2014

Job 19.25-26

Taken from Job 19:25, the Verse of the Day for April 29, 2014 is an expression of hope, the foundation stone upon which the Book of Job is built. The verse relates to hope, not in the broad, general sense as defined as “an expectation of a future good,” but it alludes to “the Hope,” defined as the return of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. This belief continues to be an imminent possibility that energizes believers. Indeed, the hope of Christ’s return continues to be a theme that runs through much of my poetry, as Titus 2:13 reveals:

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Despite previous disappointments when I had anticipated that the Lord would return and he did not, when I wavered in my trust in God when He did not deliver me at a precise moment that I thought, I remain resolute that Christ shall return, as expressed in the lyrics of the song “He Shall Return”:

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up toward the Eastern sky.

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up; your redemption is drawing nigh.

 

He shall return.

He shall return.

He shall return.

 

No, I am not disappointed, for my soul remains anchored in hope, the essence of the message of the following poem:

 Anchored in Hope

[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor  

of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under

whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther

and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil,

Hebrews 6:19 [Amplified Bible]

 

With deepest gratitude for all that I have learned:

That God is so good, as far as I am concerned.

My heart remains fixed; I continue to seek God’s face,

Striving to please Him, to be faithful to the end.

Despite life’s trials, I press on to reach this place:

No longer a bondslave but esteemed as a friend.

In this time between Passover and Pentecost

We look up, as the fullness of time shall reveal

The King of Glory, before whom all souls shall kneel,

The Kinsman Redeemer sent to redeem the lost.

Watching, waiting, in my heart I have prepared room,

Assured by the promise of the faithful bridegroom.

Looking to see far beyond my limited scope,

I am steadfast– my soul remains anchored in hope.

 

The verse from Job brings to mind George Friedrich Handel’s “Messiah,” the renowned oratorio based on texts from the King James Version of the Bible. One of the most well known selections from this frequently performed musical composition is based Job 19:25-26: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”

A living hope: Great expectations

October 3, 2013

The Verse of the Day for March 18, 2014 comes from Romans 15:13 in the King James Version:

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

While reflecting on this verse which focuses on hope, I thought of a previous blog entry that also examines hope more closely, and I am re-posting it here:

The times in which we are living can be so oppressive and troubling. As the Scriptures reveal, “perilous times” or “times difficult to deal with” shall come. Indeed, these dark and difficult days are here. As we confront the darkness and overwhelming despair, we must position ourselves to move in the opposite spirit or go in the opposite direction. To counter the toxic effects of the deadly element of despair, we must take a double dose of our antidote which is hope. The Verse of the Day for October 3, 2013 reminds us:

1_Peter_1-3

“A lively hope” is rendered “a living hope” in other translations, while the New Living Translation states that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Now we live with great expectation.” Indeed, “the expectation of a future good” is one definition of hope. As Christian believers we go to the Word of God where we discover what God says about hope.

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

 Psalm 71:5

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

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. 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

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock,” a “vintage hymn,” which resounds with “hope.” The Maranatha Singers offer a moving rendition the timeless hymn that has come to mean even more to me over the years.

In the midst of 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, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble,

and keep on praying.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

 

And we now truly know God is able to do

Exceedingly and abundantly above all

That our finite minds can ask or could even think.

He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.

Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.

Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:

God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.

When life begins to unravel, we may ask why

The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.

All those who call on Him, He will never deny.

We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.

Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.

Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,

We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

To close out this blog entry here is a contemporary Christian song expressing great hope, “There Will be a Day” performed by Jeremy Camp.

Ephesians 5:1-2: Imitate God and walk in love

September 17, 2013

Ephesians_5-1

As is so often the case, the Verse of the Day becomes a springboard for a wonderful unfolding of scriptures that launch us into a glorious new day. Today, September 17, the opening verse is taken from Ephesians 5:1 in the King James Version:

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

Verse 2 continues with the exhortation:

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

In comparing various versions, I many times prefer the Amplified Bible, especially in this case:

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].

And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.

The Lord desires that as believers we become followers, imitators or mimics of Him, as we continue to walk in the love of God. We should let love lead the way, in that “Love moves first.” Walking in love is the more excellent way, as expressed in this poem by John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives

And while it stands with open hands it lives,

For this is love’s prerogative–

To give, and give, and give.

The last line of the poem repeats the verb “give” three times; however, in actuality, you could extend the repetition “And give and give, and give, and give. . .  (ad infinitum), for true love is giving endlessly.

I Corinthians 13 also reminds us that Love never fails:  Jim Brickman/Amy Sky also reinforce this message in the following video:

When we walk in love, we cannot lose . . . when we fail to walk in love, we cannot win.

Love beareth

I Corinthians 13 concludes with a reference to three quintessential aspects of our lives: “Faith, hope, love . . .” the inspiration for:

These Three

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:13 (New King James Version)

 

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love,

and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ

in the sight of our God and Father,        

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (New King James Version)

 

As Abraham lived by faith, trusted and obeyed,

So we walk by faith and follow his example,

For God is faithful and through His Word conveyed

That the blessings of the Lord are more than ample.

Despite the storms of life, we are anchored in hope.

As Kingdom citizens with their minds set above,

We view heavenly bodies as through a telescope

And soar beyond the world on wings of a dove.

We seek to follow after Christ, the more excellent way,

To walk in love and simply follow his command.

Renewing our minds in all that we do and say,

We seek not be understood but to understand.

Live by faith, rejoice in hope, walk in love and see

Faith, hope and love: Love is the greatest of these three.

The opening lyrics learned in my childhood from a song written by Dale Evans Rogers speak of these three essential aspects of the Christian walk:

Have faith, hope and charity,
That’s the way to live successfully.
How do I know? The Bible tells me so.

Indeed the Scriptures remind us to “live by faith,” “rejoice in hope,” and “walk in love.”