November 14, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 1

 

“A Heart of Hope”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries      

 

Key Verse:

Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Do you believe that having something to look forward to—to hope for—isn’t “worldly thinking,” but biblical?  As a mom, it’s okay to dream big.  I think we often forget this as our lives become consumed with cleaning, carpools, cooking, and helping provide for our families.  But God designed us to have dreams, and to have them fulfilled.  And, as today’s Key Verse suggests, when our hopes are deferred our hearts can hurt deeply.

 

Think about your life right now. Are you waiting patiently for something you do not yet have? Perhaps it is the hope of having a child. Perhaps it is the hope of physical healing. Perhaps it is the hope of a restored marriage or financial freedom. These are things you can hope for with God’s help.

 

If you have read any of my books or heard me speak, you may already know that my husband and I named our first daughter Hope because of the hope we found in our struggling marriage. We claimed Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”  We believed there was something to look forward to in our life together, something we could not see but desired to have with all of our hearts.  We also knew that this hope was biblically based because marriage was meant to be a blessing and a source of glory to God.

 

Romans 8:24-25 says, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  What other word has a definition similar to that of hope?  Is it faith perhaps?   Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the certainty that our hopes will eventually become our realities.

 

Hope and faith are deeply intertwined. They both require us to trust God for what we can’t see as well as placing complete confidence in His ability to come through on whatever it is that we need.  God knew that Art and I needed a healthy marriage, and as we claimed hope in this area, He began to prove Himself faithful.  Romans 8:28 affirms that we can trust God to “work all things for the good of those that love Him,” even when we can’t see the beautiful tapestry He is weaving from our lives.

 

Hope doesn’t demand a quick fix to our problems.  It provides a sense of joy (Romans 12:12) to sustain us through patient endurance of our circumstances.  God intends for us to hope first and foremost in where we will spend eternity. This can only be done by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  If you have not ever put your hope in Christ for salvation, eternal life and God’s Word, perhaps you are feeling led to do so now. Jesus longs to give you the hope your soul is crying out for. The hope of eternal life will never fail you. You can always cling to His Word. Through salvation, you will always have something to look forward to.

 

I will leave you with Paul’s words from Romans 15:13, “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.”  Take the gift of eternal life He offers today and hope is just around the corner!

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, please restore my hope for the things I desire that are unfulfilled right now.  If it’s a crisis of faith that I am dealing with, increase my faith Lord!  You are my only hope and I cling to this promise found in Your Word.  Amen 

 

Application Steps:

Write down whatever your hope is.  What are you looking forward to in your life on this earth?  In life after death?  If you cannot think of anything to write, pray that God would give you a vision for something to hope for. 

 

Spend some time praising God for giving His Son Jesus Christ to be your first step in having hope for things to come.  Then thank Him for putting God-given desires within your heart.  If they haven’t yet found an outlet, keep hoping.

 

Reflection Points:

Read today’s power verses and answer the following questions:

 

  1. What do these verses say to you about hope?
  2. What part does trust play in hope?
  3. Based on these verses, what should our hope be rooted in?
  4. Have you ever put your hope in these things?

 

Power Verses:

 

1 Corinthians 15:19, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (NIV)

 

Titus 1:2, “Faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (NIV)

 

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV)

 

Psalm 119:147, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” (NIV)

 

Romans 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Do you know Him?

 

Good to Me by LaTonya Mason

 

Hannah’s Hope by Karen Kingsbury