Title: Abound In Hope
Date: March 8, 2022
Sadly, we begin another chaotic week on the world scene. As we watch what’s unfolding, it’s so easy to become discouraged, frightened and at times confused. We experience mixed emotions as we observe so many people hurting and many lives directly and indirectly affected by the war in Ukraine. We feel utterly and completely helpless.
It almost seems unfair as we go through our normal days here in the west, while those in other parts of the world are living their worst nightmare. Here in Southern California we have our problems, however I plan to plant flowers and go to the grocery store today. How easily we take our liberties for granted!
For the first time in our country’s history, we face losing those God-given liberties, which sounds so discouraging. But I want to encourage you to recognize the grand privilege our God has given us. He has individually hand-picked you for a particular ministry. No matter what that ministry is, we are in a spiritual battle and we must hold fast to remembering that the war is always eventually won by somebody. And I place my bet on my mighty and just Father winning this one!
Hope is the universal word that puts everything into perspective. Without it we can so easily be overtaken by all we are experiencing these days. Our anxieties and discouragement may make it seem as if there is no end in sight. This is why Romans 15:13 is such a favorite to so many: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Notice how the verse begins…. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace…” The verse doesn’t read, “Now God will fill you with joy and peace.” The word “may” leads us to understand that it is partially our responsibility to attain such hope and peace, and it then goes on to say what that responsibility is: BELIEVING! This is not to say we live in a fantasy world and believe all will work out how we please. It is fully surrendering and believing that God will work His plan for our best interests and we trust Him with that plan! The verse goes on to say we will then ABOUND in hope by His power, regardless of what is going on in our lives. Hope always waits and expects God to answer, and we believe in our heart that the answer is flawless.
The biblical definition for the word “abound” is providing a great and plentiful and overflowing quantity or supply. Wow, who would refuse that? Well, if we are really honest with ourselves, we all do at times. We do it through the very human act of doubt and fear. And I would be the very first one to raise my hand and admit….Been there, done that! That’s why this reminder is so good for us. It’s not that these are principles of which we’re unaware, they are principles we need to keep in check! If we start feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, we need to get our thoughts back in alignment with God who loves us beyond measure and wants to so freely give us His peace.
As I was reading in the Founders Bible, I was really captivated by some facts I had never heard before. The feature was titled “Under the Watchful Eye.” Here’s a portion of it:
“After God delivered his people and brought them through the desert on their way to the promised land, they would periodically stop for prolonged periods and set up an encampment. On those occasions, God gave clear instructions as to how the 12 tribes were to arrange themselves; three tribes each were to set up their camps north, south, east, and west of the holy temple. In order that four groups of three would know where to locate, specific banners were raised at each compass point around the temple, displaying a specific emblem or seal for the tribes for that location, as God instructed Moses in the book of Numbers 2:2.
Throughout the Bible, banners, that is flags containing specific recognizable emblems were raised and used to identify the Lord’s people. It’s fascinating to note when one accounts for the numbers listed for each tribe the arrangement of Israel’s encampment would actually form the shape of a CROSS when viewed from above, with the temple and the ark of His presence in the mercy seat in the midst. Coincidence? Or perhaps the mystery of the gospel and God’s purpose hidden in plain sight until it’s appointed time (1 Corinthians 2:7)?”
This got me thinking. We are living in some very important times. We are part of a pivotal generation. I love the picture the placement of the tribes paints, arranging themselves as God instructed, seeing the scenery from above that it describes… the vantage point from heaven, if you will, in the form of a CROSS! Perhaps as we link hearts and minds in prayer over the issues our Heavenly Father is so aware of and hurt by…As we identify ourselves as His people and have arranged ourselves as God has called us, perhaps He and His heavenly host see that very same cross like a beautiful banner over us!
What a privilege! What an honor! That gives me great hope and comfort. It stirs me to pray with more vigilance. It causes me to forget I’m just me sitting here by myself praying. It’s much more than that! It’s about my all-powerful God using me in desperate times to link with others creating a beautiful cross over every situation! Our banner of prayers is being heard and is a covering over a future that has victory in store for it! Like Moses we may not ever see all the roads these past years of prayers have paved, but one thing’s for sure…God placed us here for such a time as this. May God fill you with all joy and peace as you fulfill His calling for your life and fully trust all His outcomes! Amen!
I wait for you, O Lord, you will answer, O Lord my God.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.
Had I cherished evil in my heart the Lord would not have heard, but God did hear and listened to my voice in prayer.
I suppose it boils down to this question…Is our hope greater than the hopelessness we are observing around us? That answer should be a definite yes! Continuing to choose hope is at times extremely difficult. We all know that hope can be really hard. That is when we must decide to make it a deliberate decision and action on our part. The Lord then meets us right when we need it, and our spirits are renewed and refreshed!
I will leave you with this Psalm. I have probably shared it many times, but with every passing day it seems to become more relevant, and fills me with encouragement to trust God’s plan.
You are my king O God, command victories for Jacob. Through you we will push back our adversaries, through your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow nor will my sword save me. But you have saved us from our adversaries and you have put to shame those who hate us, and God we have boasted all day long, and we will give thanks to your name forever.
Delighting in safe pasture,