How would you define the word “hope”?
In the journey of “deeply rooted 2018”, our word for February is the word “hope”. January was filled with moments of gratitude as we made a practice of being grateful through considering and answering a gratitude question. My friend from work reminded me of a quote to wrap up the month of January,
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness–it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. Brene Brown
We are not leaving gratitude behind, but have made gratitude a practice in our journey towards being deeply rooted in the love of God. Adding to the practice of a gratitude journal, I encourage you to each day, as you lay your head on the pillow at night, to close your eyes and walk through your day and notice where God showed up with discernment, love, kindness, and miracles. Be grateful for His provision and thank Him. This will cause you to remember that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. He receives the glory and praise.
How will we examine the word hope in our lives? I’ve pondered this and realized that the greatest hope can be found in the promises of God.
Scriptures of hope…
So each day, I will read and ponder the meaning and context of the word hope within the scriptures. Using “Words of Life: Hope” from establishedfootsteps.com as my guide. As time permits, I will share insights and God moments within this blog post instead of creating a new post for each scripture.
Let’s get started.
February 1, 2018
Hope is not passive–it is not merely wishing for a better life, but it is active. It involves thinking, planning, and acting on those thoughts and plans to achieve desired outcomes. It is the driving force that keeps us moving despite the adversity and allows us to adapt and to be resilient in the midst of these circumstances. Valerie Maholmes
I wanted to begin the journey with a definition from a wonderful book Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters by Dr. Maholmes.
The key words: thinking, planning, acting, and driving force.
Merely thinking is fantasy, but planning, acting, and examining our driving forces produces resilience and change. We often say, “I hope____________.” Have you listened to the hopes of others or yourself for years, in which, you want to shout, “Stop hoping and do something, anything, just take a step towards your hopes and dreams!”
In fact, God, in His Word defines hope as,
In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation. https://bible.org/article/hope
In my book Called to Create by Jordan Raynor, he shares three steps that moved me in relation to the word hope.
Hustle: Get up. Get going. Take action. Do something different. Get busy. Stop only thinking and talking about it and move to planning and ACTION!
Trust: Trust that God will provide the resources, time, and energy when you give your best. Trust God for the outcomes. Stop being a control freak! Never fret over outcomes. Your efforts may succeed, create mistakes, or struggles, you may find yourself back at step one; but, if you have done your best and trust God for the outcomes, then you will see all of these possibilities as His way. His ways are higher. He has a plan beyond our vision and abilities that we must trust.
Rest: In order to keep hope alive, we must rest. Period. This is not rocket science or anything that’s earth shattering. We know rest is important, but we become off-balance and kid ourselves that we can go 100 miles per hour and never shut down. Give yourself the gift of rest. God rested on the 7th day as a reminder of the importance of practicing rest. Rest is a form of trust. Trust that God will provide when you are not on the clock. Stop pleasing people and be okay with saying, “no, not today…”
Our scripture for the day:
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11
I can put my hope in many things like education, my marriage, children, a hobby, or good health, but ultimately my primary goal is to put my hope in God alone. I’m reminded of the song, “It is Well with My Soul” which was written by a father travelling on a ship to his wife in Europe to meet her and grieve the loss of their daughters.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul. (Spafford)
All the trials of this life pale in comparison to the glory that awaits us–our eternal hope!
February 2, 2018
Praise to God for a Living Hope
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, I Peter 1:3-8
Netflix has a wonderful series called A.D. I was reminded of the trials during that time that Christians had to suffer in order to worship Jesus. Not just a rolling of the eyes and mocking but cruelty and death. They had to hide in fear. I wonder if sometimes faith has become such a pass time, like a country club or entertainment, that we do not realize the depth of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us. He is our living hope in which we place every ounce of our being. Jesus help us to know and desire with all our hearts your living hope. Help us to be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy!
February 3, 2018
As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14
Three days in and I’m reviewing in my mind and heart the importance of active hope, trusting in God for outcomes within our hope, a living hope (God), and the importance of proclaiming that I will build on my hope and trust in God. Each day, Lord, may my hope in you and your plans for my family be strengthened by your Word and promises.
February 4, 2018
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5
Today is our anniversary of 29 years. Our marriage has been a promise to put our hope in God and in His Word. Without His constant direction and protection we would not be where we are today in a marriage that will stay the course! Marriages are a great example of our hope definition in this post. It takes action and planning to bring hope alive in your marriage!
February 5, 6, 2018
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called–his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18
In order to know on a daily basis a confident hope, our hearts must be filled with, no flooded with, His light. He has called us His holy people, and we are his rich and glorious inheritance. Some days I don’t feel to rich, holy, or glorious. It’s hard to imagine that He sees me this way–I’m worthy and filled with His love.
I just left this blog post for 10 minutes to try and find a “random” video clip of one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown. Driving in my car this morning, it popped up as an option–the next video on Facebook. For the life of me, I can’t find this, but, in some ways, this makes me happy, because I know God was using it to speak to me in that moment. The bottom line or message of the video was that I should NEVER negotiate with anyone my worth or sense of belonging. We can negotiate time, contracts, and ideas but never my worth. Most of the time the conversation of worthiness is in our own minds. It is for me. I leave a meeting and there I go judging my performance and worth based on mispronounced words or questions I couldn’t answer correctly. I’m so _____________. We are our worst critics. Tying God’s message to me to release and let go to this hope verse brings greater meaning to me. To know God’s view of me–I am worthy, so worthy because of Him.
February 7, 8, 2018
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
The practice of these three things from the verse will keep us focused on solutions and our hope, not our problems and our feelings. Lord, teach me to rejoice in hope even when I’m feeling hopeless, to know you have a plan higher than my current frustrations, and may I seek you during this time of confusion.
February 12, 2018
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:9
Yesterday in church we sang What a Wonderful Name it Is. As we sang “you have no rival; you have no equal” I was reminded of all the things we put our hope in that does NOT anchor us. Another line in the song speaks to “sin boasting”. It does seem that sin has the boasting factor. It boasts of dependence, a false truth, and captivates. Natural consequences are sometimes evident, but some struggles are insidious, little by little we begin to wonder why we are angry, jealous, frustrated, or insecure. When I feel trapped, it seems that the “thing” that is trapping me is boasting. I’ve given them equal standing when in actuality there is NO WAY it can have this sacred place. So as we sang as a church of standing in a place of total freedom with our Lord, and Jesus as our amazing Father and Friend, I found myself releasing the entrapment of insecurity. I became anchored to my Father who has no equal. The pastor must have been feeling the same message, for after the song he led us into a discussion about the names we place on ourselves that try to take the place of our true identity in Christ. As he read the non-examples and then provided who we really are, I took a hold of this one:
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6
I am seated in heavenly places. I look towards my eternal hope of heaven, but I can be anchored to the hope of RIGHT NOW–I AM SEATED IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS! I’m sorry, but if that doesn’t make you rejoice and sing then you need to really stop and think about this glorious truth. I may be in the most difficult meeting ever, but I’m also seated in the heavenly places. I may be sitting next to a loved one who is sick, but I’m also seated in the heavenly places. I may be watching someone criticize me, but I’m also seated in the heavenly places. I am never, ever alone. God has my back. Well, He actually has all of me.
February 13, 2018
Hope is a construct which closely relates to optimism, although the two are not identical. Rick Snyder, one of the leading specialists in hope, represents it as an ability to conceptualize goals, find pathways to these goals despite obstacles, and have the motivation to use those pathways. To put it more simply, we feel hope if we:
a) know what we want,
b) can think of a range of ways to get there and
c) start and keep on going.
Snyder and his colleagues emphasize a cognitive rather than an emotional approach to hope, claiming that positive emotions are the result of concluding that we are pursuing goals successfully. This means that they see hope as a goal-pursuit thinking that causes emotions. http://positivepsychology.org.uk/optimism-and-hope/
I’m teaching a class this semester on poverty in families and children. One of our books is on the concept of hope and resilience, which led me to study the research on hope. Wanting to be deeply rooted in gratitude and hope, I find the science comforting. There are many thoughts and events that we can find ourselves hopeless about, but I can choose to re-frame. I can, in the midst of the obstacle, acknowledge what I want, work with others and myself on pathways to get there, and vow to keep trying and going when obstacles occur, or choose another pathway to the desired goal.
Biblical Keys for Goal Setting
Faith – We serve a big God who can accomplish the impossible. There is nothing He can’t do. We can believe that He journeys with us and always has our best in mind. He is trustworthy and faithful.
Humility – We never want to be in a position of demanding that things work out or that all our goals are accomplished exactly as we say. The Lord’s will always trumps our own. We need to be sure our attitude is one of humility before our holy and mighty God.
Commitment – We need to commit ourselves to the tasks at hand.
Diligence – Goals often require hard work. We need to be diligent in our effort.
Perseverance – We will face set backs and disappointments, but need to persevere through rough times. Don’t give up!
Alignment with God’s Word and Will – As we mentioned above, are we within the parameters of God’s Word and His character?
Forethought & Planning – Have we done the appropriate homework before starting our task? Have we counted the cost?
Motivation – We need to ask the hard questions. What is our goal and why? Do we have selfish motives or are we operating with a healthy heart.
Bible Verses To Think on When Setting Goals
2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Psalm 37:4-5 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him . . . .”
Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”
February 17, 2018
This morning in my prayer time, God revealed to my heart the word “fretting”. When I looked up the root of the word, I found that the word has a deeper meaning of “consuming, or eating”. The opposite of the word hope for me in this moment is fretting. Instead of placing my faith and hope in a God who can do all things and create peace in the midst of chaos, I choose to fret and worry. This fretting causes me to consume my time and emotional energy on the negative, and the process “eats away” at our well-being.
To fret means to chafe, to be irritated, to be uneasy, to be troubled and bothered. It is just the opposite of peaceful, trustful rest. Jesus has promised us rest to our souls, and we may have this rest. We can not have it, however, if we give place to worrying and fretting. God’s purpose for us is that we shall have calmness and soul-quietness, even in the midst of tribulation. He has said, “My peace I give unto you.” He followed this by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful” (John 14: 27).
From my son-in-law:
Because we have it in our minds how we want it to go and how we think it should go, when the slightest change in that makes us panic or we worry how folks will react to what is being said or taught. I say don’t worry about it, go in there with confidence and your head held high, and If someone doesn’t agree then that’s just good discussion among the class!
Sent from my iPhone
March 3, 2018
My goal is to have a word a month for the year of 2018. As I close out February with the word “hope”, I want to share two words “even if…”
There were three men in the Old Testament who were thrown into the fiery furnace because they worshiped God and not the king and his pagan gods. They had hope that God would rescue them but told the king that “even if…”
“But even if he (God) does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”