Category Archives: hope
Once again I’d like to share with you a special devotional written by my friend and mentor, Patricia Knight. This is another of the devotionals in her book, REJOICE! and it is not a coincidence that I decided to share yet another post with you about God’s extreme love for us.
How Many Cows
A story was told me about a love story in a primitive culture a very long time ago. Amerigo was one of the brightest, most ruggedly handsome young men in the village. He was enamored with a young maiden named Maria. She was plain, shy, and self-conscious. In spite of Maria’s apparent flaws, Amerigo loved her.
In their culture, fathers demanded payment for their daughters in the form of cows. Two or three cows would buy an above-average wife; four or five cows for an exceptionally beautiful wife. When Amerigo was prepared to bargain with Maria’s father for her hand in marriage, Amerigo strode proudly into his tent, grasped her father’s hand and unequivocally announced, “Father of Maria, I offer eight cows for your daughter.”
The villagers were incredulous when they heard the news, not expecting Maria to earn many cows. Amerigo had offered the highest price ever paid for a bride, even one of extraordinary beauty. Amerigo’s word was honorable and he promptly produced the eight cows as his bride’s dowry. The wedding ceremony was then conducted that evening.
Within months Maria evolved into a new person. She gained new confidence, her eyes sparkled and she developed grace and poise. She had become a beautiful woman.
Later Amerigo was asked the reason for his high payment for his wife. If he was such a shrewd trader, why would he offer eight cows for a woman he could easily have had for three? He wanted Maria to be happy, but more than that, Amerigo recognized that the way a woman thinks about herself can bring about changes. “Before I came into her life, Maria believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any woman in the village is. I wanted to marry Maria. I loved her and no other woman.” He paused and smiled. “But, I wanted an eight-cow wife.”
We were nothing by ourselves before Christ purchased us with His blood. God loved us, His creation, so much that “He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God purchased a pauper with a king. There was nothing we could do to make ourselves more attractive, more honest, or more loving. When the unblemished Lamb of God purchased us, we were transformed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Notice that God did not require that we first become pure and demonstrate our abilities before He would begin to work in us. He accepted us as we were, presented us with His Son, the greatest gift of all time, and promised His very presence and His gift of eternal life. This was accomplished by divine grace, not by human merit.
We can walk a little straighter, talk more positively, and live more joyously because through Jesus “we have access to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). The God of the whole universe is approachable. He allows us to pray to Him and he hears and answers every one of our prayers. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
God is alive. His Word is alive. No other long-established religion in the world has the benefit of worshiping a living person, one who has experienced everything we do in our live. When Jesus walked the earth, He was exposed to every temptation known to man so that when we find ourselves in a bind, when we need delivery from a problem, Jesus knows what we are feeling. That is why He can answer instantly and appropriately whenever we call on Him.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
We had a price on our head and now it has been fully paid. We have been freed, redeemed, justified. Christ paid the price for our sins, creating salvation for all who believe.
I know so little about the supreme love that sent Jesus to the cross for my redemption. But, this one thing I know—I am free! Jesus saved me from a life of servitude to sin, shame, and sadness. All of my previous transgressions are sealed in God’s possession, forgiven and forgotten by a righteous God.
Maria was purchased with cows so that she and Amerigo could form a union. We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus so that we could be united with Him on earth where we do His work, knowing that one day we will live with Him eternally in heaven.
Maria changed drastically after being complimented by a high purchase price. We too are transformed people. The old has passed away. The new is constantly evolving. God compliments us and elevates us by purchasing us with an extremely high price, the highest gift anyone could give. Jesus gave His life to redeem us.
Maria knew the reason for her new confidence. If her countenance and performance were changed by trust placed in her by Amerigo, how much more we can change, bloom, and evolve into a child of God. Our heavenly Father loves us beyond measure! Even when we mess up He is right nearby to clean up and set us back on our feet. There is no limit to His love for us; He gave His son as proof of that indistinguishable love.
Today’s mishmash is brought to you by the word HOPE:
- to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
- to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory
The God of Hope
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. —Romans 15:13
I was working as the coordinator between homeowners and subcontractors for a residential construction company. One day I was told that they needed to cut back their spending so they had to let me go. However, they allowed me to work for them an additional two weeks while looking for a new job. I was my sole source of support at the time so I was understandably concerned about how I would be able to support myself.
A few days later I was praying about this situation as I was driving to work. I suddenly felt the Lord telling me, Don’t worry, child. I’m going to provide you with all that you need and even more! I smiled and immediately sent up a prayer of thanks. I couldn’t wait to see what He had waiting for me.
As I walked into work and picked up my telephone messages, the receptionist had trouble making eye contact with me as she said how sorry she was that I was being let go. I smiled and told her I wasn’t worried about it at all because God had already given me a peace about the whole thing and already had a job lined up for me!
Several minutes later, I heard one of the subcontractors ask how I was doing. In reply, our receptionist excitedly told him exactly what I had related to her.
Later that morning I was driving to a meeting and one of the homeowners waved me down. He and I knew each other well because I had helped him coordinate various additions and changes to his home before he moved in. Not surprisingly he had heard my job was ending and that I was looking for new employment. I nodded at his words and the next thing he did was offer me a job with his company—right there on the spot! The salary would be exactly what I needed plus I wouldn’t have to move. To say I was amazed and excited by God’s quick timing would be stating it mildly!
When I returned to the office after my meeting, I shared my good news with the receptionist who looked shocked. I don’t remember what she said to me, but I know that she was not a believer so this little episode gave me a chance to share my hope in Christ with her.
There are many Scripture passages about hope, so I believe God thinks it is very important to us. Among the many definitions of hope, here are just a few:
- to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment;
- a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life—in other words, believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary;
- to place trust in; to rely on.
This is all well and good, but what is this thing called hope really all about?
What Hope IS
First of all, hope is a choice! God has given us the freedom to choose to have hope or not.
That receptionist all those years ago saw the hope I had in the Lord for the good job He promised me, true. But our ultimate hope comes from and is in God:
- Psalm 33:20: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
- Psalm 39:7: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
- Psalm 62:5: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
- Psalm 71:5-6: “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.”
Jesus Christ is the actual object of our hope because it is in His second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled:
- Colossians 1:27: “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
No matter what is happening in our lives, we can rest assured that God is in charge and has everything under control, so:
- Psalm 71:14: “[we] will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
There are many mornings when it is very difficult to get going. Chronic pain illness sometimes seems to rule my life, but I try to remember Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I will admit, though, that sometimes it is difficult for me to remember to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” —Romans 12:12
What Hope is NOT
Most obviously, hope is not discouragement. The Word of God tells us that there is no hopeless situation, no hopeless illness, no hopeless marriage. As I said before, it is up to us to choose to have hope.
Hope is not unhappiness or a feeling of gloom and doom. No matter what is going on in our lives, how can we be unhappy with Jesus as our hope?
Psalm 16:9-11 says: “So I rejoice and am glad. Even my body has hope, because you will not leave me in the grave. You will not let your holy one rot. You will teach me how to live a holy life. Being with you will fill me with joy; at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”
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Here are a few more words of hope for you:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. —Proverbs 13:12
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to
give you a future and a hope. —Jeremiah 29:11
Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’ —Alexandre Dumas
There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow. —Orison Swett Marden