NEW SERIES: A HOPE-FILLED YEAR
‘A happy new year’, to all my visitors, old friends and new. Let’s look forward to a year filled with grace-gifts, as we journey together into greater dimensions of rest...
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.'
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.
Isn’t this what we want for 2021: to prosper in a joyful and peace-filled year? To challenge the stress, anxiety and inner disquiet in our lives, and replace it all with rest and internal tranquillity?
In order to do this we have to have hope. In common English, we use the word ‘hope’ in a rather feeble way, as a wish or desire: ‘I hope it will be a nice day’, ‘I hope to visit Canada next year’, or ‘I hope I get a good exam result’. Biblical hope is rather different, and is much more powerful.
Biblical hope is the confident and joyful expectation of good, and it is rooted in our trust in a loving Heavenly Father.
A couple of years ago, I heard this quotation from the book, ‘The Three Battlegrounds’ by Francis Frangipane (see below):
‘Every area of our lives not glistening with hope means we are believing a lie, and that area is a stronghold of the enemy.’
It’s a statement which can be a game-changer for those who take it on board. And right now, at the beginning of a new year, is a good time to do a ‘life-audit’ with this in mind.
Allocate some time to spend with the Lord. Get really quiet inside, turn your focus on Him and ask Him, ‘Which areas in my life are not glistening with hope?’
Then taking each area in turn, ask Him what is stopping you from confidently and joyfully expecting good.
BARRIERS TO HOPE
You may find the blockages include:
Disobedience: ongoing, intentional sin, or disobedience to a specific personal instruction (like Jonah), has an effect on our communion with the Lord, and our faith in His provision for us. Do something about it—seek help if necessary.
Disappointment: the past can stop us looking forward with hope. We can be disappointed with ourselves, because we have missed the mark in some way, (See Missing The Mark for help with this). Other people may have failed us and need to be forgiven; the memories of discouraging circumstances may need to be released; and any disappointment with God needs to be acknowledged, and a choice made to trust Him.
Self-pity: can so easily follow disappointment. The refusal to see ourselves as victims, and the refusal to look for sympathy from others are keys to finding hope in difficult situations.
Fear: Any situation which is not hope-filled, probably has some fear attached—in particular the fear that God won’t show up. Fear is faith in the power of evil, and we need to choose to turn away from this, and believe what God says about Himself. (The core meaning of the Greek word for ‘repentance’ is to change one’s thinking.)
Lies: a lack of ‘glistening hope’ means that at some level we are believing one lie or several—about ourselves, our circumstances, or about God. Ask the Lord to identify them for you; then find out the truth: ask other Christians or search the internet for relevant Bible verses.
Finally, because what comes out of our mouths is so important, begin to declare the truth you have discovered over your life and situation.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
May every aspect of 2021 be glistening with hope for us all!
I haven’t read any of Francis Frangipane’s material, but for those who are interested,
'The Three Battlegrounds' can be purchased from Amazon** by clicking left.
[Photo credits: Ron Smith (hope); Jan Tinneberg (open door); Mimi Thian (computer group) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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