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I’ve heard people quote first part of Proverbs 13:12 and leave out the last.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” But quoting the first part just states the obvious. It is the last part, “a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” that brings hope. The only One that can fulfill the longings of life is Jesus. He alone can bring life abundantly. Jesus brings hope! Here’s hope:  Jesus desires relationship with us when all our other relationships fall apart. Jesus’ cross brings hope our sins are forgiven and there is no condemnation in Him! Jesus’ tomb brings hope Jesus conquered sin, death, and the grave. In Him, we too can conquer whatever we face.  Jesus’ birth brings hope for the long awaited Messiah. It’s interesting to me how people waited for hundreds of years for the greatest gift of all and my kids can hardly wait 2 days for Christmas presents. Biblical hope is not wishing or guessing. It is not maybe or might. The English language, and probably our lack of faith, has done the Biblical meaning of hope much damage. Many times when people say, “I hope so” it is with little confidence it will work out.  Biblical hope is synonymous with the word “trust”.  It contains no uncertainty whatsoever!  In the New Testament, the word elpis, the Greek word for hope (used 10 times), is also the word used many times (18) for “trust”.  One definition for hope is:  To look forward to with confidence or expectation.  Scripture brings hope when it says, “I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalms 27:13).   What is interesting is the use of the word hope for “confident expectation” does not appear in the Gospels. Probably because of Jesus’ constant, reassuring presence throughout them!

Here are five principles with Scripture on how true hope comes.  First, hope comes from God’s Word.  “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).  “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.” (Colossians 1:5-6)  Secondly, hope comes from God’s grace towards us.  “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace”  (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

Thirdly, hope comes from a Spirit-filled life. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).  “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).  Fourthly, hope gives us confidence.  “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).  And lastly, hope comes from Christ’s saving power.  “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:24-25).  Christ is our blessed hope! (Titus 2:13, 3:7)

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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