Monday, May 23, 2016

Called to Hope

Graphic from Jeremie Claey
Ephesians 1:17-18 (NEV):

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Paul is praying that the Ephesians would increase in their understanding and wisdom of the hope of their calling. Scripture repeatedly shows me this theme of hoping in God:                  

Psalm 42:5 (NASB):
Why are you in despair, o my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.                                                                

Proverbs 3:5-7 (MSG):
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;  don't try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!     
Jeremiah 17:7 (TLB):
But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence.

I appreciate these thoughts of John Piper's on hope: "Hoping in God does not come naturally for sinners like us. We must preach it to ourselves, and preach diligently and forcefully, or we will give way to a downcast and disquieted spirit." 

This is so true.  Left to my own, I'll become ungrateful and discontented.  I'll get discouraged by circumstances.  I need God's Hope.  I'm not a baby Christian any more. Babies need to be fed, but adults feed themselves.  I need to feed, or as Piper puts it, preach, hope to myself.
I'm sitting here thinking about areas of my life where I'm hope-challenged:
  •  Being able to really make things better at work
  • Things ever being right for my mentally ill sister
  • Having the kind of romantic life I'd like to with my husband
  • Being able to lose weight and be more healthy  
 I'm trying to think of practical ways I can preach hope to myself in daily life. The things that come to my mind are replacing lies with truth, engaging in an attitude of gratitude, and listening to hope filled messages.

I need to pray that I would become aware of the hope-destroying  lies in my head.  I need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within me and let Him act like a lie detector for me.  When I recognize the lie, I need to replace it with the truth.  As I'm reading the word,  I need to write down those verses that are truths for areas where I struggle.  Oh Father, help me receive Your Rhema word.  Thank You that You, the God of the universe, are willing to speak to me.  May I take the time to come before You so I can listen and learn.

I need to live my life with an attitude of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells me that this is how God wants His people to live:
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.  
In Philippians 4:8-9 direction is given on what to think about:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Oh Father, help me focus on all that is good in my life and constantly be thanking You.  Help me not have such a negative radar where I'm always discontent because things didn't go my way.  Please empower me to have an appreciative heart for all that is good in my life.

I'm blessed with so many resources.  I drive an easy 40-minute drive to work and it provides me with an opportunity is my car to listen to Christian music and messages.  Having those messages on in the car puts my mind in the right place.

I'm actually feeling really grateful right now.  What a thing to be called to - Hope.  I'm not primarily called to financial genius, fame, beauty, or war; I'm called to Hope.    

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