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Only Hope - A Devotion

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Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)
God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Is hope enough? Does it bear the weight of our burdens? Is it evident enough to lead us to our destination? Has it materialized from a notion to a natural response to the supernatural in our life? Is it too deep to move into so we wade along the edge trying not to get in over our head? What happens when all that you have is that realm of impossible? What is the outcome when He is our only hope? I am standing in that place as I write these words to you today. I am cannot see far enough to ensure my next step but I have come too far to turn back now. The Spirit says come closer and the world pities me but cannot take their eyes off the spectacle of my life. Like a tightrope walker talking one tiny step at a time, I move closer to the edge of the unknown marked impossible and take a deep breath before I dare to take another. I am not accustom to such slow progress. I am a mover and a shaker. I am anxious to get on with it. But in my spirit I hear Him say, “Wait!” None of it makes sense to me when I put it all together implying that a greater plan is being worked out that I am not aware of. I do not like the unknown but am learning to put my trust in the One who I do know. It is not a journey for the weak at heart but requires total weakness. In my personal solitude and isolation, I can feel the Presence of the One who longs to carry this heavy burden and is waiting for me to lose control. Surrender is not the nature of a survivor who fights their way into another day but my future requires releasing my past and putting all of my expectation in the future. God has made me a promise. He has given me His Son to ensure that His Spirit is my guarantee. The question is do I believe it? His Word says that it is impossible for the Lord to change his mind or lie, but it is human nature to know better. God gave me a measure of faith (Romans 12:3) because He is the Source of my hope (Romans 15:14) and wants me to have it. As much as I want it, what will I do when I have only hope? The Lord has promised that hope is the anchor of my soul that will keep me behind the curtain in God’s Inner Sanctuary so that I may live in the Presence of God both now and forever more. My faith is the confidence I have that hope is real. It is the assurance that everything I hope for will become a reality. In this moment, I have come to realize that all I have is hope.

Job 4:3-6 (NLT)
“In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees. But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?”

Have you encouraged other people to have hope? Have you helped those who were weak to develop faith? Have you supported those who were falling? Have you lifted those with shaky knees? The good news is that these are all characteristic of those striving for righteousness living faithfully loving others as Jesus would have them to do. However, the bad news is this is probably why the devil hates you and wants to take you out! So now it’s you who are being challenged in this life. Will you lose heart? Are you afraid? Where is your confidence? Is it still in God? Where is your hope? Job’s friends aggravate me to the point I struggle when reading this book in the Bible. At some point, your compassion for the man under attack makes you want to yell “shut up” at them. However, God put this specific people around His Man for many reasons. The people who the Lord has surrounded you with in the midst of trials or testing are always strategic. They are there to encourage you or you are there to encourage them. Yes, even in the midst of pain and pressure those who have hope – real hope will be a witness to those around them. Authentic and genuine faith will produce confident hope. (2 Corinthians 13:5; I Peter 1:7) But you will never know the integrity of your hope unless hope is the only thing that you have and it has the power to hold you.

Job 13:13-16 (NLT)
“Be silent now and leave me alone. Let me speak, and I will face the consequences. Yes, I will take my life in my hands and say what I really think. God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him. But this is what will save me—I am not godless. If I were, I could not stand before him.”

The birthing process of hope seems to be affliction. Because in the moment when the test is the hardest, trial the longest or temptation the greatest, the Lord comes like a flood to those who refuse to give up, keep on going, and stand their ground. When Job was done trying to convince his friends of his innocence, he decided to go to the Source of His Hope. He says, “I am not godless.” This is true of all of us. As a Child of the Living God covered in the Blood of Jesus Christ which allows us to step into right standing with God, we can take our case straight to Him. Instead of trying to convince everyone else that we have done nothing wrong, have genuine faith or confident hope – we can stand before our Father and tell Him directly. We will come back to this in a minute because there is more. We must always remember that the best place to validate our hope is in the Presence of God who is faithful.

Job 29:18-20 (NLT)
“I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life. For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me and my strength is continually renewed.’”

When things do not turn out the way that we expected them to, it means that God has something better in store for us. I believe this completely. However, without faith and trust that has become confidently hopeful in the Lord, there is no certainty or assurance. We say that we trust the Lord and proclaim to have faith but then insist on our own way. Job said, “I am like a tree whose roots reach water whose branches are refreshed with dew.” Psalm 1:3 tells us this is someone who knows the Word of God which are His Promises and meditate on His Commandments knowing that it produces such things in a righteous person’s life. Job expected the promise so when he achieved wealth, influence and a thriving family – he assumed that he had it already. Then tragedy after tragedy rocked his life followed by a diseased body wracked with pain and suffering, so Job tells God what he thought. However, even though his mind may have been perplexed his heart was sure that “new honors are constantly bestowed on me and my strength continually renewed.” In the midst of great hardship God’s Word and His Promises are sure. We are created with a plan and purpose that is good containing a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) We are warned that His Thoughts are higher and His Ways as well, but sometimes we forget this in our journey when personal satisfaction and comfort overtake our passion for His Promises and pursuit of His Presence.

Job knew God in a way that his friends did not. Job was not godless but he was a righteous man who lived to serve God. This did not exempt him from trials or attack from the enemy, but it did position him to receive the Promises of God in full for his life. Faith in God develops hope that anchors us in His Presence when all hell breaks loose in our life. Others would flee, but in our perplexity we must pursue our God and figure out what went wrong. What you will find is that He is lining you up for more than you could think to ask for. Job’s friends were certain that God was punishing him. But Job knew in his own heart that God’s Unfailing Love would reach him at some point if he could just hold on!

Matthew 12:18-21 (NLT)
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world.”

If this terrible thing called cancer had come into our life more than fifteen years ago, I would have accepted the fact that God was punishing me for my life of rebellion and disobedience. I did not know the Unfailing Love of my father given to me by His Son, Jesus whose name is the hope of all the world. I did not know His Word and all the promises that it contained for my life including the fact that my sins (including all of my past) were as far as the east is from the west. I did not know that He was turning every sordid detail out for my good. I did not know that He was ready to heal me (or my children). I did not know that He is perfecting all that concerns me. But now I do.

Psalm 33:21-22 (NLT)
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.

When faced with tests in life, generally all other options are removed and we are left to decide if we trust the Lord. With no other options, we must decide if He is our only hope. In that moment, it becomes evident if there is a foundation of faith born of a close relationship with the Lord or we will sink as if standing in quicksand. Jesus Christ gave us hope. (Romans 8:24-25) Did you do anything with it? Hope has an identity. It is specific and not random. We must embrace hope by developing a relationship with Jesus Christ that is real and tangible. Rather than just being a good person who encourages others, helps the weak, supports the falling and lifts those with “shaky” knees, we must discover the integrity of our heart. Hope is not for now but eternity. God will use situations in the now so that you can determine the solidity of your faith and the level of confidence in your hope. God has given us hope so that we will turn around and give it to God so He can decide the outcomes in our life. (Psalm 25:1-5) We will give our heart to every other thing imaginable until faced with the impossible. When all you have is hope, it is best placed in Jesus who is our only hope. (Psalm 31:23-24; Psalm 33:20-21) Hope is not something that is needed for today. God has planned your life. It is for eternity. When the Lord is your only hope, you will follow Him. (Psalm 37:34) In the heartbreaking hardships of life, we allow God to surround us in His Unfailing Love in our brokenness. In that moment, the Lord becomes our only god. (Psalm 33:21-22; Lamentations 3:20-24) What does that mean? We have other gods in our life. Many times, we do not even realize that they are there until everything falls apart. When money cannot solve the problem. When people cannot ease your pain. When the future seems limited and time ticks by. It is in such moments that we seek our God – the One True God. He will answer you! He opens the door to His Presence and it becomes our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8) As we step back into right standing, our heart is flooded with three eternal things – faith, hope and love. (I Corinthians 13:13) Hope becomes freedom. Freedom is found by the Spirit and God’s Word. Paired together, there is no such thing as impossible as faith turns to confident hope. His Word becomes a decree in our life endorsed by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that will open the door to every good thing God has planned for you and me. (Psalm 119:41-45) The Word makes our hope valid. His Spirit is our guaranteed. The word “impossible” no longer should be in our vocabulary by the order of our King! You will have all that you need because you are now dependent on Jesus and not the world for provision releasing every burden physically, emotionally and spiritually! (Psalm 145:14-16)

Psalm 147:10-11 (NLT)
He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Why hope? Why is God so insistent that people put all their faith, hope and love in Him? Many think it is because He is a big bully, but nothing could be further from the truth. God did not allow the enemy to attack Job to harm His Beloved and Faithful Servant because he had done anything wrong or to make him some religious martyr or even a living sacrifice. God wanted more for Job than Job wanted for himself. When the man had no strength, and overcome by weakness, his faith was still strong. When his friends did not understand and offered no comfort, Job was surrounded by God’s Unfailing Love. When God became his only hope, once again the Source of Hope only proved that He was more than enough. Why? Why go through all this? The Lord’s Delight in this man’s faith, hope and love produced a double blessing in his life as God’s Unfailing Love overflowed from the supernatural to the natural because the Lord became his only hope!

Job 42:10-17 (NLT)
When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.

Everything rides on hope now, everything rides on faith somehow, when this world has broken me down, Your Love sets me free… Hope Now – Addison Road

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