Devotional

God’s Hope Does Not Disappoint

HOPE series part 3 of 3

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 NKJV

Do we hope in God?

Consider how great God’s love is for us. His love is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. His love is so deep that God wanted us to be reconciled to Him.

Perhaps you have a loved one cut off from you or your family that you desperately want to reconnect with. Maybe that person is you. That separation cuts like a sharp knife. I know my heart breaks by division between some of my loved ones, and also by those who have chosen to walk away from God. The cost is high when any relationship falls apart.

Division breaks God’s heart, too. As sinners, all have been separated from God. That hurt God so much that His only Son, Jesus Christ, paid our death sentence for sin. God’s righteousness is accredited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. By faith, we are justified, or made righteous in the sight of God. (Romans, chapters three and four) I hope that you have come to God, through faith in Jesus Christ. If not, I pray that you will start there in your journey of hope.

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We have hope because of the reconciliation God made available for us. Jesus’ loving gift of his death and resurrection for us bridged the chasm between us and God that was made by sin.

In addition to hope, we have so much more! Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV, emphasis mine)

This hope is not just for our eternity. We have hope now! God gave us the Holy Spirit as a promise of our reconnection to Him. The Holy Spirit lives within us to guide us in the truth, assist us in obedience to God, and help us to become more like Jesus. Paul wrote, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that all suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3,4 RSV) While I struggle with rejoicing in suffering, it is helpful to know that the Holy Spirit is with me through it, and that it will help me build endurance, or patience.  It in turn develops a tried character and hope.

Let’s hold on to the hope we have in Jesus for the now as well as for the future. God’s hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5) Like Simeon, we can have hope that is based on God’s word and that is certain of fulfillment. (Luke 2, Hope –part 1) Like Abraham, we can grow strong in our faith, fully convinced that God is able to do what He promised. (Romans 4: 20-22, Hope-part 2,) May we always remember the love God has for us and the Holy Spirit we have within us as believers in Christ. We have access by faith into God’s grace in which we stand.

Thank you, God, for the certain hope I have in You. Thank you for making my reconciliation with You possible through faith in Christ Jesus, who died and rose again for me to have life. Thank you for the hope I have because of Your love poured out in me by Your Holy Spirit within me.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

HOPE – Part 2 of 3

Hope for the New Year

 [Abraham], contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” …He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:18, 20-22 NKJV

It’s a new year. How can we get through the year ahead? We don’t know the future. Perhaps this time will be smooth sailing for us; but maybe a health issue looms, a loved one may die, or a job is either unstable or lost. Will worry consume us? Will we give room for the doubts and fear? It’s easy for me to say God will come through on something, but to later doubt it while waiting for it to happen. But I don’t want the despair of unbelief. You probably don’t either. Will we face this year with hope?

Look at Abraham. He certainly had reason to question the future, and to wonder how God was going to fulfill His promises. Before God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, God had told him, “…all the land which you see I give to you and to your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:14-17) Years later, Abraham still was childless. To make it more hopeless, he was about 100 years old, his body as good as dead regarding fathering a child. His wife, Sarah, was 90 years old and now past her barren child bearing years. Without even one child together, how were they to become the father and mother of nations?

His wife’s earlier scheme of having his child through her maid servant had resulted in the birth of Ishmael when Abraham was 86 years old. Fourteen years later, God told Abraham that while Ishmael would begin a nation, he was not the child of promise. The LORD’s everlasting covenant would be through Isaac, whom Sarah would deliver a year later. (Genesis 16 & 17)

Abraham in hope believed God, even when all seemed against his hopes of the promises coming true.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. How was he able to praise God? How was Abraham able to believe the impossible would happen?

Abraham was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Abraham had learned over time to believe God. He had seen Him be faithful and trustworthy.  Abraham’s belief in God’s promise was accounted to him for righteousness.

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Are we truly convinced that the Lord is able to do what He says He will do?

Let’s think back to all of the times God has been faithful and kept His word. Let’s write down what God has done for us and in us. If you journal, a look into past journals will help jog the memory of God’s care for you.

In reviewing what God has done, may we be strengthened in our faith. Let’s not waver in believing the many promises God has made to us, but claim His promises for us with the expectant hope that God will fulfill them. Then, like Abraham, let’s give glory to God.  

Dear Lord, thank you for Your care for me. Thank you for the times You have delivered me from situations beyond my endurance, and carried me through times of difficulty. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned from Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. Help me to remember Your faithfulness when I am overwhelmed so that I may believe without wavering. Strengthen my faith, God. I give You the glory. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are available on my website for your convenience. I pray 2022 will be a year of growth in Jesus for you and for me.

Devotional

HOPE – Part 1 of 3

Hope Came on Christmas

[Simeon] took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  Luke 2:28-32 NLT

HOPE. It seems that the Christmas season is full of hope. Perhaps it is to get the gift we want, or that we may get a Christmas bonus this year. Sometimes, we use the word ‘hope’ like it’s a wish because of the uncertainty of it. Our hope may be a deeper anticipation. Will we get a new job? Will we get together with family and friends? If we do spend time with them, will everyone get along? We can’t live without hope. A person who is hopeless soon gives up or falls to depression.  

Yet there is a certain hope, which is based on facts. It is an expectant hope, because the One filling it is trustworthy to come through and fulfill the desire. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines hope: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

In Luke, chapter two, Simeon realized a certain hope. Living in Jerusalem before Jesus was born, Simeon was righteous and devout, eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel, also known as the Consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah, or Christ. Simeon believed God, knowing that whatever God said was true, and so he could hope with the certainty of having it come to pass.

The day that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple as the Law required, the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. Why was it so important to Simeon to see the Messiah? His hope was based on faith in God’s Word. God would be revealed to the nations! The promised and long awaited Messiah would come to Israel. How excited he must have been when the Holy Spirit revealed that this couple carried the Messiah with them into the Temple! The Savior had come at last!

Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Joseph and Mary marveled at the things Simeon told them about Jesus.

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Do we marvel at the hope we have in Jesus? He revealed God the Father to us in human flesh, while being God Himself. He bridged the gap so we could have the relationship with God that sin had broken. Do we trust Jesus with our future?

Let’s read verses every day that will remind us of who Jesus is. Here are a few to start with, if you like: Matthew 1:18-25, especially verses 20, 21, 23; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:36-40.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for the hope we have in You. We don’t have to go through life alone, for You, Immanuel, are God with us. May we never take You for granted. Amen.  

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you throughout the New Year!

Devotional

How Do You Picture God? – Part 3 of 3. Know Who God Really Is, and Thank Him

And the LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6 NKJV (Emphasis mine)

Happy Thanksgiving! As we know who God really is, we find He is so worthy of our gratitude and praise!

Moses wanted to see the LORD. The LORD said Moses couldn’t see Him face to face, but He honored the request and hid Moses in the cleft of a rock so he could see the LORD pass by him. The LORD proclaimed to Moses, and us, some of His character traits: merciful; gracious; longsuffering; abounding in goodness and truth; forgiving; just, as He doesn’t clear the guilty except through the blood of Christ.

Merciful. The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. Psalm 103:8 NLT

Patience, longsuffering. Jesus patiently corrected His disciples when they didn’t understand or were distracted by other things like their own position. He didn’t give up, even knowing that one would betray Him. The Lord dealt with Israel’s disobedience and lack of trust as the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. He still patiently and lovingly cared for them and protected them. God knew before He ever saved them from slavery that they would be unfaithful, just as He knows we will fail and fall into sin. God is long-suffering and doesn’t quit on us, either. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5 NKJV

Forgiving. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. Daniel 9:9 NLT

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Jesus showed that He had the power to forgive sins. A paralytic’s friends wanted Jesus to heal their companion. With no room to get through a crowd to Jesus, they tore up part of the roof and let the man down through the hole they had made. When Jesus saw their faith, He told the paralytic, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and Pharisees questioned, “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins but God only?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, Jesus said, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the man that was paralyzed- “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home.” Immediately the man was healed. He picked up his bed and went home glorifying God. Luke 5:17-26 RSV

Righteous. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:21-22 NIV 

Photo of Sunflowers by Kathryn Hughes

There is so much to know about the Lord. The more we know Him, the closer we will be to Him, and the more thankful we will be. Let’s list the things we are thankful for, starting with the character traits of God Himself. Thank God for each item on our list. If each petal on a sunflower represents something we are thankful for, how full will our sunflowers be?

What are you thankful for? Please share. I’d love to see a long list on the comment section of my blog.

Thank you, Lord God, for being You. Thank you for being the God of mercy, love, forgiveness, righteousness, and patience. Thank you for abounding in goodness and truth. I can trust You in all things. May I be quick to give You thanks and praise. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.

Devotional

How Do You Picture God? Part 2 of 3

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22, 23 RSV

How do you picture God? What is He like?

In How Do You Picture God? Part 1 of 3 (below this devotional), I listed some of the attributes of God, as revealed by His Son, Jesus Christ. In our challenge to find character traits of God in Scripture, what did you find out about God?

Let me share some of the Lord’s attributes and character traits that I discovered.

The character of God is revealed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are exhibited in the believer who is following after the Holy Spirit and not following the flesh. It’s not something we go out and get like we were at a market, but it comes from within as we are yielded to God.

Fruit of the Spirit by Kathryn Hughes

Jesus was and is God, and wholly yielded to His Heavenly Father. Jesus produced the fruit of the Spirit in His life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Love. Jesus’ love for us brought Him to earth and to the cross to pay our penalty for sin. It was the Father’s love for us that had Him give Jesus for us.

Joy. Jesus wants us to share His joy in our lives. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11 NKJV

Peace. Jesus had peace, even when He was dealing with difficult people. He desires peace for us. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

Kindness. Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His kindness… Psalm 31:21 NKJV

Faithfulness. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly. Psalm 40:10 NKJV

Gentleness. Consider the gentleness that Jesus showed to the woman caught in adultery. She expected to be stoned to death, according to the Law.  Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. He told her accusers “He that is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Scripture doesn’t say what Jesus wrote. I wonder if it was a list of their sins, for her accusers left from oldest to youngest. Jesus asked her where her accusers were. “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:3-11 ESV

There is so much more about God we can learn. May we know God better every day.

How do you picture God? Has your image of Him changed by looking at His Word? What additional traits have you discovered? I would love hear from you in the comment section.

Dear LORD, Please show me who You really are. Reveal Yourself to me as I search Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.