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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/30/20

The Faith of Hope

hope

STORY: God’s Promise

Rainbows grab my attention because they are so magnificent and so rare. I’ll never forget the expansive rainbow I experienced across the Florida coastline. As the rain lifted, the sun shone through the clouds. A prism of vivid colors splashed the surface of the water. I could scarcely keep my eyes from staring at the glorious sight. Each time I tried to focus on another aspect around me, my eyes were drawn back to the rainbow. It reminded me of God’s promise after the flood—how the bow in the sky was a sign to the people that this promise will be kept for the rest of time. It was as if God’s arms reached down from the heavens and arched to caress the earth.

God must have invented Technicolor way before the cinemas discovered it. Color defines objects in a way black and white cannot achieve. Color adds life. The first rainbow ever must have been an amazing sight. Do we take it for granted now, all these years later? When we see a rainbow, it is the perfect time to refocus our thoughts on what God has designed for us. Is the rainbow a comfort during the storms of life? Is it a promise of a bright future? It is what you make of it.

Recently, I’ve had some storms in my life. But the hope that keeps me hanging on is the knowledge that Jesus is with me through the trials. He has a way of saying, “Peace, be still” to the crashing waves and the roaring winds. My joy isn’t diminished due to circumstances, because I know just around the bend is my personal rainbow—one God intends especially for me. God keeps His promise; when I trust in Him, He will be “a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NLT)

Just as the rainbow comes when the storms cease, the winds calm, and the sun appears, the storms in our lives seem to calm when the SON appears. (And He doesn’t wait for the storm to be over before He shows up!) Jesus is an ever-present source of peace and hope in your life as you place your faith in Him.

STUDY: A hope-filled faith is a faith-fueled hope

Get the Fix—Fix Your Thoughts!
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

•    God is the peacekeeper. To whom does He provide a peace that is perfect?
•    What does it mean to trust in God?
•    How can we fix our thoughts on God when our minds are distracted by the stuff of life?

Faith Builds Hope
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

•    Faith is the very reason we can have hope even when we don’t have answers. We don’t have to see the future to know we can trust God for it.
•    Faith seems unreal because it’s not based on evidence we can see, but this Scripture says faith shows what?
•    Human nature looks for evidence. What is the evidence that our hope in the unseen is based on truth?

The Power of the Resurrection Fuels our Trust
Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. (1 Peter 1:21 NLT)

•    It is because of the power of the resurrection that we can t____ God for our current situations and anything yet to come.
•    Trusting God means we place our f____ and hope in Him.
•    If Jesus is powerful enough to come back to life after being crucified, He is powerful enough to take care of whatever our concerns might be. As big as the situation seems, it’s never going to be as big as anything He’s ever faced before!

Enduring Love Builds our Faith
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT)

•    There seems to be a direct correlation between faith, love and hope.
•    How can you endure every situation?

STEPS: Learn to Truly Trust in Order to Truly Hope

•    Create a trust statement. Think of the areas in which you have trouble trusting God. Either it feels like He’s not helping or you could handle it better yourself. Make a list. Then for each one, write a statement of why you will trust God anyway. And if you can’t just yet, ask God to make you willing to be willing.
•    Lasso those thoughts! It’s easy for our thoughts to go wild. Be on the lookout for times when your mind escapes the fence. Go after the wandering (and wondering) thoughts. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)
•    Switch your focus. Swap out any imagination based on lies using this biblical formula: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

“Hope means planting seeds of faith and expecting orchards of blessings.” –Jackie M. Johnson in Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times: Finding Hope When You Need It Most

Copyright 2016 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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