I wrote the first post is my blog category “Fear Not Is A Command” nearly two years ago back in November 2015. I’ve written a number of post since then on the subject of fear and how to combat it by trusting God. Not much has changed in the last two years. There are still plenty of things that that can cause fear, anxiety and worry so I’ll continue to write because, as I wrote in November two years ago, “Fear Not Is a Command”.
This post is about how biblical hope cancels out fear.
First let’s look at the difference in faith and biblical hope which is based on faith?
Faith is a complete trust or confidence in something. Faith involves intellectual assent to a set of facts and trust in those facts. For example, we have faith in Jesus Christ. This means we completely trust Jesus for our eternal destiny. We give intellectual assent to the facts of His substitutionary death and bodily resurrection, and we then trust in His death and resurrection for our salvation.
Biblical hope is built on faith. Hope is the earnest anticipation that comes with believing something good. Hope is a confident expectation that naturally stems from faith. Hope is a peaceful assurance that something that hasn’t happened yet will indeed happen.
Romans 8:24-25 (NKJV) 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV)11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Anne Graham Lotz defines hope: “Biblical hope is absolute confidence in something you haven’t seen or received yet, but you’re absolutely confident that whatever God has said is going to come to pass.”
She also declares that “Jesus is your hope for the future. One day Jesus Christ will come back, and He will set all of the wrong right. Good will triumph over the bad. Love will triumph over hate. Righteousness will triumph over evil. He’s going to make it all right, and you can have absolute confidence that that’s going to take place. That’s your hope.”
In this post I am sharing something written by Franklin Graham, Dr. Charles Stanley, and one of the devotions that I read recently from a YouVersion Reading Plan, Living For Heaven. While I disagree with Franklin Graham in his support of our current President, and many of the policies of his administration, I do agree with his assessment that our nation is in trouble, and his admonition that we pray in hope.
As Psalm 3:11 asks; If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?
They can pray.
I believe our nation is in trouble today, probably more than I've seen in my lifetime. We are contending with issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble. Our moral and spiritual roots are eroding, the economy is misleading, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at unprecedented odds. There seem to be very few leaders who will take a stand for God and for His Word.
It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return. While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God, nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him. Seasons of distress and uncertainty and hardship call for faithful, fervent prayer by God's people and remind us of our responsibility to humble ourselves before Almighty God. We cannot expect healing to come to our nation apart from obedience to God through His Holy Word.
God longs for His people to humble themselves and to seek forgiveness and pray for guidance. God's Word says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 33:12). The Bible commands that we repent of our sins and turn to Almighty God. And because we are confident that we serve a God of mercy and compassion, we know that He stands ready to respond to our cries out of the abundance of His divine wisdom.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
It is a crucial time for us to individually and collectively seek God's divine intervention for the challenges facing us. We need to pray not only for our nation, but we need to pray for our leaders, for all those who govern us, that they will turn to God with humble hearts and follow Him. Our military leaders need our prayers as we have dedicated men and women serving on battlefields and sacrificing their blood to protect our nation and many innocent people around the world. God is faithful to bless those who turn to Him.Pray that as a nation we would return to God. As we call on God, let us do so by genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers. God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died. We need spiritual renewal, we need a revival in America, and we need each and everyone to pray. Lord, Hear Our Cry! —Franklin Graham (2 Chronicles 4:14 Mine)
Life in Hope
(Fom Craig Denison and First15 )
Scripture: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
The world is a fearful and unsatisfying place without the hope of eternal life with Jesus. Apart from the expectation that comes from the hope of heaven, our world is without cause for peace, celebration, or joy. There is life in hope. There is joy in hope. There is purpose in hope. Hope is to be at the foundation of all our decisions, emotions, and pursuits. Hope fills us with joy in the midst of trial and perseverance in the midst of failure. Hope guides us to abundant life.
Romans 8:24-25 says, “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” We have the promise of eternal life in perfect, unveiled relationship with our Creator and Sustainer. The King of kings and Lord of lords waits patiently for the final redemption and restoration of all things (Revelation 21:1). He longs for the day when all pain, tears, disappointment, separation, and sin will end for good (Revelation 21:4). And he longs to fill us with the same hope and expectation he has within himself.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Our heavenly Father longs to make us a people of hope. He longs for his followers to live a lifestyle that declares to the world, “This life is not all there is.” He longs to fill us with a heavenly perspective that we might throw off pursuits of worldly pleasure and live for eternity with him.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The hope of eternal life with our Father is to be the guiding light set ever before us. Where have you set your hope? Where do the treasures of your heart lie? Placing our hope in heaven secures the treasures of our hearts with our heavenly Father for all of eternity. In contrast, when we treasure the things of the world, that which we accumulate will pass away as quickly as it came.
Take time in guided prayer to allow the Lord to fill you with a fresh hope for the age that is to come. Allow your perspectives to shift in light of the glory of an eternity spent in total communion with the Creator. May the hope of heaven guide you to a lifestyle of storing up your treasures, and therefore your heart, with your heavenly Father.
Where have you placed your hope in the things of the world? What have you been looking to in order to satisfy your longings that is fleeting and temporary?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Ask the Lord to help you place your hope in heaven alone. Choose to live your life for your heavenly Father instead of seeking worldly success and satisfaction. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you ways in which you can rid yourself of the world and receive the hope of heaven. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5
Choosing Faith over Fear
(From InTouch Ministries Daily Devotions with Dr. Charles Stanley)
Isaiah 41:8-13 (NKJV) 8 "But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'11 "Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.12 You shall seek them and not find them-- Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
These days, there are plenty of reasons to fear. Our world seems to be in a continuous state of war and crisis. The jobs market is dismal, natural disasters wreak havoc, and stories of crime dominate the headlines. As Christians, we know that fear should have no place in our lives, but how can we ignore what's going on around us?
Basically, there are two paths you can walk: faith or fear. It's impossible to simultaneously trust God and not trust God. Another way of saying this is that you cannot both obey and disobey Him--partial obedience is disobedience. So, which road are you traveling?
Some people who read the Bible and believe in God nevertheless choose to live with fear. Seeing others experience hardship, they start wondering if it could happen to them: Someone at my office lost his job; will I be next? Someone died in an accident--I could die too. But this kind of "logic" places your circumstances above your relationship to God.
If Satan can get you to think like this, he has won the battle for your mind. But when you focus on God rather than your circumstances, whatever the situation is, you win. The Bible tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (2 Tim. 1:7).
Our heavenly Father understands our disappointment, suffering, pain, fear, and doubt. He is always there to encourage our hearts and help us understand that He's sufficient for all of our needs. When I accepted this as an absolute truth in my life, I found that my worrying stopped.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.