HOPE HAS A NAME

Standard

I love the word Hope. It’s such a powerful word; pregnant with promise. I don’t think people can live without hope. And the God of the universe, the God who created us and knows us so intimately, knew this. He is a God of hope and He longs to fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to literally overflow with hope?

There was a time in my life when I felt like I had NO HOPE. Even having grown up in a Christian home, and knowing a lot about Jesus, I had never encountered Him in a personal way. I knew my baby faith had something to do with a “personal relationship with Jesus”, I just didn’t quite get the “personal” part. I did not KNOW HOPE.

I believe that there are many people that know a lot about doctrine… maybe even a lot about the man, Jesus, but they don’t really know Him.

And that was me in my early twenties… searching for something to hold on to… something to anchor me as the waves of life buffeted my soul. It was a very dark, fearful time. I searched for hope in relationships.  I searched for hope in a bottle and pills. But the waves of life continued to toss me deeper and deeper into that miry pit of despair.

Have you ever been there? If you have, you know what an unpleasant season it is, and you know that without hope, it’s nearly impossible to keep going.

BUT GOD… the God of Hope… is a relentless pursuer of His children, and He knew how much I needed Hope, and He knows how much YOU need Hope, so He sent Hope down! You see, Hope is a person, and Hope’s name is JESUS.

Just like God sent the beautiful star of Bethlehem to guide the Magi and the shepherds to encounter Jesus, God sent beautiful people into my life to guide me back to Hope.

My heart’s desire became to know Him better.  Yes, to know the reality of His presence within me. I committed to pray Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 as my own personal prayer.

 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know him better. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which he has called me…

Did you catch what is said? “Know the hope…” Not NO HOPE, but KNOW HOPE!!! Yes, His desire is that we would KNOW HIM, our Hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

Do you KNOW HIM?

If you do know Him, He may be calling you to know Him in a deeper way. He wants you to KNOW HIM as your HOPE. Scripture says in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Jesus is the answer to whatever “seemingly hopeless” situation you may find yourself in. Let HOPE ARISE! Let’s Speak Life into our circumstances!

  • If you are feeling weak, hear HOPE declaring, “My grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in your weakness!”
  • If you’re feeling disconnected, hear HOPE calling to you, “ABIDE INTIMATELY in Me, your True Vine. Cling to me for I have chosen you …”
  • If you’re feeling bound in sin, hear HOPE saying, “I AM your DELIVERER! I have come to set you free!”
  • If you are feeling lonely, hear HOPE saying, “I AM your Friend that sticks closer than a brother. I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!”
  • If you’re feeling unsure… uncertain about life’s path, hear HOPE saying, “I AM your Good Shepherd leading and guiding you along paths of righteousness.”
  • If you are feeling fearful and anxious, hear HOPE saying, “FEAR NOT! My perfect love for you casts out all fear!”
  • If you are feeling sick in your body or mind, hear HOPE saying, “I AM Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals you.

Yes… Hope is a person. His name is JESUS!

Last Sunday we were blessed by an amazing Christmas production at Painesville Assembly. It was all about Hope; JESUS coming down to save us from our sins. Pastor Aaron challenged us to look at the lyrics of the popular Christmas Carol, O Holy Night.

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn…”

This Christmas season may you rejoice in the fact that Jesus, our Hope, like an anchor for our souls, is holding on to you and longing for you to reach out to Him as He reaches out to you. He came down… for you.

Jenny Gallion

Advertisements

Not Such A Wonderful Life: Hope for those Who Battle Regret

Standard

Message Recap | 12.14.2014
Speaker: Aaron Taylor, Lead Pastor

In our series, Not Such A Wonderful Life, we talked about the hope that Jesus provides for those who are struggling with loneliness and broken hopes and dreams.  Back in 1990, I had just completed my 20th year with the McDonald’s Corporation.  I was an area supervisor of a franchise that included 6 restaurants, 30 management people, and about 500 employees.  I had an incredible career.  I started out as a grill man at age 16 working for $1.65 an hour and had worked myself up in the ranks to supervisor.  I thought I had it all.  I was earning a good wage that enabled me to have my own home and support my family.  Then things changed one day.  I was told I was no longer needed.  I was out of work.  I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me.  My hope for a continued great future was crushed.  You see, this whole scenario started with me standing up for the truth.  My regret was the truth wasn’t necessarily what the owners wanted to hear.  After I was fired I wondered if I should have kept my mouth shut.  I regretted challenging their decisions.  I wasn’t the boss.  I had made a mistake that cost me my livelihood.

You know, I think that some of us are pretty good at beating up on ourselves when we make mistakes.  In fact, I think that often times forgiving ourselves for past mistakes can be even more difficult for some of us than forgiving others.  In fact, the inability to receive God’s grace and forgive ourselves can actually leave us trapped and in a pattern of causing continual pain either to ourselves or to others that we love.

This week we are going to look at forgiving ourselves, or moving beyond the hurt that we’ve experienced in our own lives as we receive forgiveness from God.  Christmas, and the story of Christ’s birth, is a wonderful reminder for those who are struggling with regret and guilt.  Join me in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 1, verses 19-21.

Matthew 1:19-21 (NKJV): “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Mary had been told that she was going to have a child conceived by the Holy Spirit even though she was a virgin.  To complicate matters, she was engaged to be married to Joseph.  How do you explain that?  The Bible tells us that Joseph was struggling with these things when an Angel of the Lord appeared to Him in a dream.

If you want to learn more about Mary and the meaning of “Jesus” as found in God’s Word, as well as hope for those Who Battle Regret, listen to our podcast at http://painesvilleag.com/notsuchawonderfullife  for the complete message.

Friend, the past cannot be changed, but the meaning of the past can be changed.  We can never change what happened, but God can change the meaning of the past, if we will allow Him.  What is God saying?  Do something new, something different, don’t dwell on the past.  Let it go.  There’s a new day.  As a new year approaches, grab it with a spiritual new birth of the risen Christ, who says, “I forgive, and I give second chances.”  Spend some time in prayer this week seeking God and begin to receive His gift of grace that only Jesus Christ can give.

Lead Blogger,
George Leonhardt