Rejoice in Hope
"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer." Romans 12:12
God's Word equips us to be overcomers (Romans 8:37). The apostle Paul describes ways of living above our circumstances... joy is found in Jesus, patience is from Jesus, tribulation is with Jesus, constant prayer is through Jesus to God. Even during difficult times, no matter what we may be facing, there is always a brighter future because our hope is based on Jesus Christ.
The Bible says we are stewards of hope (Romans 15:13). A steward is one who cares for the property of another; they take the job seriously and you can count on them. Christian stewardship is a way of living in which we recognize that everything belongs to God. We have been entrusted with our minds and bodies, our relationships, our time and talents, our hopes, our dreams and desires and the environment, yet we own nothing. Everything we have is a gift from God. As faithful stewards, we are able to take care of our gifts and use them in ways consistent with God's purposes. The hope of God is to be experienced; it is confident expectation of what we know is sure to come to pass based on His finished work. True hope is a discipline, a determination to believe God's power and what He says in His Word, even when the world seems to be crashing down around us. The key to surviving any challenge is hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Take all we ask or think and surrender it to the Lord.
Rejoicing in hope is an attitude; a statement of our innermost being, knowing that God is in perfect control and all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We are to rejoice always, not allowing circumstances to cause rejoicing to cease. When we choose an attitude of rejoicing, it affects our outlook, disposition and our relationship with others. Rejoicing helps us to ignore challenging times, knowing they are not permanent, but designed for trusting the Lord and for new doors of opportunity to unfold (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Loss of hope without faith changes our lives. We'll shift from living a life of joy and creativeness to living a life of sensual pleasures... over indulgence of food or alcoholic beverages, misusage of smoking or prescription medications, over spending, excess entertainment, excess spending. Seeds of anger, disappointment, hurt, discouragement, frustration, bitterness or resentment need to be released to the Lord. When we bury destructive seeds and allow them to control our lives, they chip away at our hope, create more difficulties and eventually become physical pain. "It's too hard and big for you", "You'll never see it happen", "I don't know what to do", and "I never have enough money" are destructive voices that shut down the glorious life in Jesus Christ. Allow the Lord to restore to joy of your salvation (Psalm 51:12).
Obeying Romans 12:12 is possible when we have the revelation it is by God's abundant mercy that He causes us to live again by a lively hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:3). Lively-living hope is the choice to believe in Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit. Lively-living hope is the awareness of the Holy Spirit as our helper; causing our expectations to live in hope. Lively-living hope is not something that happens by outer circumstances, but it is releasing the Holy Spirit to be our constant source of hope. What a miraculous way to expect God's help and to experience a lively-living hope!
Stewards of Hope
1. Release every disappointment to the Lord through your words. When I experience a surprise change that causes disappointment, I release it to the Lord by saying so. I give thanks to Him for the situation and I declare for every 'no' there is a bigger yes!
2. Become so motivated with the law of casting that it becomes a natural lifestyle. Connect I Peter 5:7 and Psalm 138:8. "Lord Jesus Christ, I cast my cares upon you for You care for me." A care/concern is anything that rises up to cause. The care of another person causes judgment. The care of an event causes anxiety. Lord, I cast this care upon You so that You perfect that which concerns me. Casting our cares/concerns upon the Lord calls forth the power of Philippians 4:6-7. The challenge is to consistently practice casting our cares to the Lord. Because we have been human for so long, when the human emotion of 'concern' comes up, it can be so strong that we forget to cast it upon the Lord. The closer the thing or the person is to us, the more challenging it is to ''let it go'. We hinder the Spirit if we do not cast our cares upon the Lord. The battle belongs to Him!
3. Use the power of prayer. Prayer is talking with God, listening to God and enjoying His presence. Become familiar with the prayer given to Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20:15. "...be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's." Read II Chronicles 20:17 when something comes up in life that causes fear; it is fitting for life. "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: settle yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you... fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you." These words fitly spoken keeps hope alive and well!