Ministerial message: Hope or wishful thinking?

What do you hope for? What gives you hope in your life?

What is hope? Our common use of the word ‘hope’ is in reference to something that we either want or do not want to happen, such as glibly saying, “Hope it doesn’t rain,” or “I hope the Riders win another Grey Cup.”

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The Bible does not use the word ‘hope’ in this way. There are two words used in the New Testament that are translated as ‘hope’ in English. One has to do with trust, usually in a person. But the one most used in the New Testament has to do with an expectation, or anticipation, and is usually associated with pleasure.

So, what is it today that you have as an expectation or anticipation? Do you have a hope for the future or for your family that rests in someone or something? Do you have hope or wishful thinking?

It does not take a scientist to see that there is far more fear and hopelessness in this world than there is hope. People are looking everywhere to find something to hang onto for hope: good health, jobs, relationships, feel-good time, retirement etc. But it seems the more we get of all of that, the more hopeless we feel.

What is something lasting that we can hold onto? 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” This order is not accidental; we need to first have faith and then we can have hope. Love is a natural outflowing of our faith and hope.

What is the source of your faith so you have some reason to have hope?

We could put faith and hope in ourselves by planning and working hard. If we make enough money, hang out with the right people, and everything goes just right ‘hopefully’ our future will be okay.

We could instead put our trust in the Living Hope. 1 Timothy 4:10 says: “This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.”

It often seems too simplistic to say that Jesus is the answer, but it is true. Jesus is our hope because He is our living hope. Jesus Christ is alive today, and if you have made Him Lord of your life He is alive in you. All of our hope hinges on who Jesus is; all our hope hinges on what Jesus has said. We need nothing else but Jesus. You can gauge the level of hope in your life by how honestly you can say, “It is well with my soul.”

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” — Heb. 6:19

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