What is the Christian’s hope?

I often write about living a joyful life filled with hope, in spite of painful or devastating circumstances. So, what exactly is hope—the kind of hope Christians have? Here is a great answer to this question from GotQuestions?, one of my favorite sites.

Question: “What is the Christian’s hope?”

Answer: Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown (Romans 8:24-25;Hebrews 11:1,7). Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18;Job 7:6) and in death there is no hope (Isaiah 38:18;Job 17:15). The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped (Psalm 28:7), and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed (Isaiah 49:23). The righteous, who have this trustful hope in God, have a general confidence in God’s protection and help (Jeremiah 29:11) and are free from fear and anxiety (Psalm 46:2-3).

The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises (Matthew 12:21,1 Peter 1:3). Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ (Galatians 5:5). Hope of Christians is brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit (Romans 8:24-25). It is the future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), the promises given to Israel (Acts 26:6-7), the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), eternal glory (Colossians 1:27), eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Titus 3:5-7), the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-14), transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2-3), the salvation of God (1 Timothy 4:10) or simply Christ Himself (1 Timothy 1:1).

Read more here.

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Within the Bud

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Within the Bud

by Patricia Knight

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Flower buds are a mystery.  Within their protective sheath resides concealed potential; invisible flower power packed into a compact package, prepared to explode with new life and beauty at the opportune moment.  Until the swollen bud unfurls tight petals to reveal its inner features, we can only speculate about its impending characteristics of size, color, and fragrance.

Similar to a confined, insipid flower bud, our Christian capabilities were once concealed beneath an exterior layer of unbelief.  When we humbly accepted Christ’s forgiveness and redeeming grace, we became a new creation.  We “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).  Our hearts jubilantly responded like a newly exposed flower bud, revealing a thriving uniqueness, shining brightly with the light of Jesus, and salting the world with the intense fragrance of His goodness and love.  No longer held captive by an inexorable bud with no expression of beauty or power, we magnified Christ as we learned to spiritually bloom where we were planted.

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Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

A branch out of contact with the vine is deprived of life, just as a flower bud’s vital resources are terminated when it is severed from the parent plant.  Only when we are anchored to our sovereign Source of energy does our life consistently exhibit loveliness and value.

We become a catalyst to God’s love under the nourishment of the Son, flourishing with the strength He supplies.  As a flower bud opens from the center to reveal a delightful bloom, our hearts display the central focus of our spiritual life, where Jesus’ love grows and disperses joy.

Though the flower bud maintains a blind physical attachment to the parent plant, we express free will, nurturing trust and following our Lord with eager obedience.  “Those who look to him are radiant” (Psalm 34:5) with joy as we align ourselves with our Savior, leading a “thy will be done” walk with Jesus.

God surrounds us with myriad expressions of His presence in nature.  If we seek to appreciate the proliferation of His creation, we learn more about our personal relationship to our Lord.  Just as the flower bud’s true potential is revealed as its protective exterior sheath peels away to unfold an extraordinary flower within, Christ living in our hearts promises a unique positional status as a child of the King and heir with the Son of God for all eternity.

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Bloom with confident obedience! —Patricia Knight

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Changing Things Up

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A couple of months ago I wrote this post about having to scale back and only post here three times a week because of my health issues. And my nemesis—aka our monsoon season —is back again, so you’d think I’d have to take a complete break for a couple of months since I always feel worse during these times.

So how come I’ve increased the frequency of my posting to almost every day? 

I am so thankful to find many, many great articles and posts from other sites and blogs that I can share with you! It is a slight change in direction for this blog but is still in line with my vision for it:

  • how God is working in our lives no matter what else is going on
  • how to live a joyful and hopeful life with the Lord at the helm
  • learning to recognize the many blessings in our lives and be thankful for them

Having said all that, if I miss a day or two (or more), it’s probably because I didn’t feel well enough to work up and schedule some posts ahead of time. I’ll do my best to stay current here while I also fit in my writing assignments for the other blogs to which I contribute.

Remember: Thanks living always leads to thanks giving!

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Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.
—1 Chronicles 16:9

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Happy Father’s Day to the “Really” Fathers

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Father’s Day can be joyful and full of love and happy memories. You probably had a father who showed his love for you in many ways, every single day. These are the fathers who selflessly spent time with us and encouraged us.

Some of us may have grown up without a father, or a series of events took our father away from us. Possibly we had a father who caused us harm or didn’t love us.

And then there are those of us who were adopted by “really” fathers. That’s what this sweet Father’s Day video is about. In it Levi and Lia tell the story of their journey from fatherless to fatherfull.

Beloved, there is a Father who cares for and loves each one of us with a love that cannot be understood. This is so difficult for us to believe, and yet it is true. God loves us with an unending love that never fades. Hold onto that when you’re tempted to feel “less than” or down about your upbringing.

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Being Thankful for What We Do NOT Have

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Rejoice always;
praying without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lately I’ve been pondering the concept of thankfulness. Often when I thank God for all the blessings in my life, I have also thanked Him for what He has not given me or allowed in my life. Have you ever prayed like this?

Okaaay, I can hear most of you saying. The rest are thinking, wait … what? are you serious?

Yes, I am very serious. I thank God for things I don’t have, that He has not allowed in my life. I’m not just talking about more serious illnesses than those I live with every day or cataclysmic events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. I’m referring to things like more money, maybe more (and more stylish) clothes or a bigger house. How about straight hair instead of the naturally curly mop I was born with? Or writing talent so spectacular that publishers come after me instead of the other way around?

It seems to me that the more we want, well… the more we want, like some vicious cycle. Contentment with what we have now is admittedly difficult because human nature always yearns for more. And yet, I’m wondering if allowing ourselves to feel this kind of contentment will result in that inner peace that is so illusive.

And isn’t that something to be utterly thankful for?

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Peace, mercy and love be yours in abundance. —Jude 1:2

Peace. Mercy. Love. These are what can be ours in abundance. And from personal experience, reminding myself that I have these things usually leads to my feeling happy and contented with what I have in the here and now.

Beloved, how about you? Have you learned to be thankful for certain things you do not have?

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Mortal Meets Immortal

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Envision that you are standing in the very presence of Jesus when He walked this earth, so close you could reach out to touch the Savior as He healed all manner of illness and disability. Most diseases in Jesus’ day had no cure. Imagine celebrating exuberantly with those individuals who, within seconds, were transformed from a life of physical or mental misery into complete health. Those who formerly depended on others to provide their most basic bodily needs were suddenly transformed to wellness and independent living by a mere word from Jesus.

A desperate woman who had suffered a hemorrhagic affliction for twelve years, had exhausted her finances consulting numerous physicians, with no relief. Her life was limited; constant bleeding rendered her unclean, preventing her from worshiping in the temple. She had heard that the Healer was in town, so she devised a plan. Her most critical aspiration was jostling through the tightly congested crowd pressing against Jesus. She was convinced that a slight touch of Jesus’ flowing outer cloak would be sufficient to transfer Jesus’ healing powers to her ravaged body. Whether the diseased woman’s scheme was pre-meditated or if she acted on impulse, we will never know. Of one fact we can be sure—she needed her plan to succeed.

“‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked.” (Luke 8:45).

Being exposed wasn’t part of the woman’s plan. She commingled with the crowd engulfing Jesus, intending to quickly touch Jesus’ clothing, discreetly slipping away healed and unnoticed. It isn’t Jesus’ method to perform healings on demand. He came to earth as the Son of God to accomplish the will of His Father in heaven, to obey Him explicitly, and to bring glory to His name. Jesus wouldn’t permit the woman to recede into the crowd before He announced her healing and she made a public profession of faith.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Photo credit: Wikimedia

“Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me’” (Luke 5:46).

With crowds of people encircling Jesus, it was inevitable that several in the group casually brushed His clothing or unintentionally bumped against Him. Jesus knew the one who contacted Him hadn’t brushed His clothing accidentally. The woman’s touch was different and distinct; light but intentional. She probably stretched her arm to its maximum length from as far away as possible, believing that a delicate touch of Jesus’ garment would harbor sufficient strength that would transfer to her body.

When Jesus inquired about the person in the crowd who had touched Him, the disciples were incredulous. Peter addressed the peculiar question for all of them. “‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you’” (Luke 8:46b). The disciples thought it futile to seek out one elusive person among a massive crowd of admirers.

“Then the woman seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling at his feet. In the presence of all the people she told why she had touched him, and how she had been instantly healed” (Luke 5:47). Mortals cannot touch the immortal without phenomenal results occurring. The mortal is always empowered or energized; changes occur like fireworks illuminating a pitch black sky.

Jesus didn’t touch the woman; she reached out to touch Jesus, resulting in an instant healing.

“Then he said to her, ’Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 5:47-48). In the Gospel accounts this woman is the only individual Jesus addressed as daughter, a tender, loving term Jesus used to express compassion for her and praise for her faith.

When we approach Jesus in prayer, is it with a believing heart overflowing with trust? Or do we, like some in the crowd, doubt a brush with Jesus will have lasting consequences? We are commanded to exemplify a solid belief in Jesus, reflecting faith, convinced that Jesus has an ultimate purpose for our individual lives. “Confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).

The woman touched Jesus with intent, convinced that when she boldly reached out to Him, Jesus would respond with healing powers. Jesus never disappoints! Let us react in prayer like the suffering woman Jesus commended for her faith, unlike the crowds of complacent curiosity seekers who knew not the depth of love and power in their midst.

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“For God didn’t give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

We may not physically stand in the presence of Jesus today, but He is ever-present in our lives, encouraging us to commune with him through prayer. Like the woman who was determined to touch Jesus’ garment, our outreach may be vague, even tentative, but with boldness and confidence we are privileged to call on Almighty God, knowing He answers each of our prayers. Jesus is just as accessible to us in prayer as His physical presence was real to the suffering woman. She approached Jesus with confidence and courage, the methods with which we are commanded to pray. The difference is that the woman walked toward Jesus physically trembling in fear. We are not to fear Jesus, but to reverence Him with a prayerful attitude of boldness and strength.

Jesus-Spotlight-50--AMPWithout a doubt, Jesus performs healing miracles in our current age. Jesus is more available to us today than He was to the people who solicited His attention centuries ago. We need not push through crowds to reach Him; our faint call of Jesus’ name alerts Him to our needs immediately, assuring us of His undivided attention. He then responds from His throne in heaven, adjusting His responses to conform to His sovereign plans for our individual hearts.

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Your Marriage is Not a Hollywood Romance

I’ve been writing a column titled “The Marriage Triangle” for The Relevant Christian Magazine (TRC). I like to share articles I find about marriage in between publication of The Marriage Triangle articles. This is a good one from The Intentional Life

Your Marriage is Not a Hollywood Romance

It may seem a paradox, but marriage is more important than love. Why? Because marriage is the normal situation out of which true and abiding love arises. The popular notion, championed by fiction and motion pictures, is that love is primary, and marriage is nothing more than a dull anticlimax. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve found that real love hardly exists outside the context of marriage. How could it? Real love is a slow growth coming from unity of life and purpose. Love is a product. It is the thing to be created by mutual service and sacrifice.

Read more here.

Please check out the The Marriage Triangle tab here to read more articles about marriage.

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