The month of January lay before us as a blank slate, its days yearning for purpose, for direction, and for hope in the new year.
My online Bible Study group, Hello Mornings, kept the month as a 31 day challenge.
Life brings challenges and demands which often require more of us than we think we are capable. We can often wonder how far we will stretch before we break.Yet we find ourselves, holding on and hoping.
This month in our online group, we are studying the topic of “Hope” using the 31 day devotional journal, 31 Days of Hope by Susan Chamberlain Shipe.
Our first week of study brought these five observations on the topic of hope:
- We can overflow with hope. God is the source of hope in us. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit”
(Romans 5:13, NLT). We cannot muster up or produce hope on our own. It is the product of the Holy Spirit and is done in His power at work in us. He fills us with a joy and peace resulting in a trust, and we overflow with confident hope.
- God has a plan for our lives and nothing takes Him off guard. “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord.”
(Jeremiah 29: 13-14a, NLT). We are to seek Him wholeheartedly, not placing our hope in others, position, possessions, or money. God wants us to be devoted to Him at all times, in all circumstances.
- The love of God and His love towards us keeps hope alive in us. His love deposits hope into our hearts, enabling us to endure every circumstance in life. This hope gives us all we need to not only get through every situation but gives us all we need to love those difficult people in our lives. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT).
- God is coming to us. God is coming to be with us, wherever we find ourselves today. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says, ‘O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again” (Ezekiel 37:12, NLT). He’s coming to meet us right where we are and to redeem our lives and situations.
- We are to praise God. Isaiah made quite the observation – those already dead cannot praise God. “For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise … Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next” (Isaiah 38:18-19, NLT). Hopefully, we all make the observation that we are yet living and breathing and are FULLY ABLE to praise Him. As long as we have and can praise Him, God’s hope will fill us up because He is ever faithful. Our hope is in the faithfulness of our God. Our responsibility is to praise God for it is the way the next generation will know of His faithfulness.
Over the next three Tuesdays, I will be sharing the lessons learned from this devotional each week. I hope you will return next week for more on this topic. And in the meantime, you can read more about the book on the author’s website HERE.