October 2016 Assignment:
Prompts come in many different forms. Sometimes, a single word is all you need. Here are six:
Select one word from this list as your post inspiration.
Hope is something I’ve thought about and written on before today. Yet, of all the words listed above, it retains its important position in my life. I’m glad to see it at the top of this list.
So what I’m going to do is link what I’m going to share with you to my other WordPress site. The following is an excerpt of my book there.
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” —1 Thessalonians 5:8
I believe it’s true that Hope in action equals Faith. Without Hope, where would your Faith be?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” —Hebrews 11:1
Other translations put it this way:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.”
How many of you knew that? Substance and evidence are pretty strong words and these come from the Apostle Paul, who God had to get physical with before he believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who had come into the world as God with us. (Read Acts chapter 9 for the reason “Paul” became a believer in Jesus Christ.) Substance and evidence are words heard in courtrooms. They are meant to convict or hold innocent. Substance and evidence are not hearsay.
Countless times I’ve heard someone say, “I will not believe in God till I see him with my own eyes,” and “No one can prove God exists,” and “Christianity is based upon myths and fables.” Maybe you are one of those people. If not, it’s a safe bet you know one or two.
Perhaps you are one who’s had some trouble explaining your faith to someone else. You might tell someone. “All you have to do is have faith and believe,” while being clueless as to what you’re actually saying or really expecting them to do. Is it any wonder your listeners think you’re loony for not being able to know and express why you believe what you say you do?
Perhaps you take a lot for granted because you suppose that if someone you respect has told you it is so, then it must be so. I, of course, cannot explain your faith for you. But I recommend you get it straight. Jesus Christ is a personal Savior and you can’t base your relationship with Him upon someone else’s and expect anyone to buy your “plagiarized testimony” as credible. Remember: A.S.K. (ask, seek, knock)
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” —Philippians 2:12
Or maybe you yourself don’t get what believing consists of. You only think you believe because it is something you were told you have to do and you’re trying to do it by mere words and not your mind and heart.
Believing in Jesus Christ as God with us (Matthew 1:23) begins with Hope. By Hope, we reach out, look around, ask questions, listen and learn. Examine yourself. Be able to relate why you believe what you do. Give examples of your relationship with Jesus Christ. What have you two done together? What have you invited Him to do with you?
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” —John 6:44
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” —John 12:32
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” —James 4:8
Have patience with others as they explore and question. Help them Hope in God. Hope is the seed that’s planted by the Word of God. (Mark 4) Didn’t you realize that?
“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” —Psalm 130:5
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.” —Proverbs 13:12
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” —Romans 4:18
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” —1Peter 3:15-22
Peter also advises us to be ready to share some of our experiences as to why we believe Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and our Lord and Savior. But we shouldn’t force ourselves upon someone who doesn’t want to hear us.
Spend some time writing a few of your memories down. Doing this will help you sort out your reasoning and enable you to better verbalize yourself later. The bottom line is this, again, help others hope.
So not only is Hope the first thing stirring within us of the three things that last, it is also the last thing.
It’s been my experience that when there is no more time for love, and no more time for faith, when death is imminent, there is only time for one thing in our spirit-heart-thoughts and that is Hope.
Think about all the times you should have died. Perhaps you were even pronounced dead. What was the very last thing that crossed your mind? Mine’s been, “Oh God . . .” Within those thought-words, there was Hope.
Hope is a powerfully important piece of warfare equipment. As our helmet, it protects (anchors) our mind, our sanity, our will. Wear it well and multiply it just like Jesus did with the fishes and bread.