Have you ever prayed for things to happen a certain way, only for them to go completely different? Has that ever made you lose a little bit of confidence in God or feel that He just isn’t listening to your prayers? That happened to me recently, only instead of diminishing my confidence, it restored it. I prayed very specifically for something, but in the end, what I was praying for turned out completely different than what I expected. God showed up in a mighty way and answered my prayers! I saw this verse and realized something. I should never allow myself to lose my confidence in God just because He doesn’t answer my prayers exactly the way I want Him to. He hears us, He also sees things we don’t see, and He knows what is ultimately best for us
Contentment is a quality seen in very few people today. Our society is always offering new items, gadgets, upgrades, and conveniences that promise pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction. But no material goods ever live up to that promise long-term. Yet many people keep falling for lies instead of being content with what they have.
The book of Hebrews was written to people who were experiencing discouragement and persecution for their faith in Christ. Those believers faced many hardships, including public reproach, imprisonment, and property Heb10:32-34. Yet in Heb19:35_36 , the writer urges them to endure because they have a better and eternal possession awaiting them in heaven. They may not have had tangible wealth or comforts, but in the Lord, they had all they needed—and He promised never to leave or forsake them, no matter what men did to them on earth.
Most of us today have much more material wealth and security than those early believers did, but contentment is largely still elusive. That’s because the problem has to do with the heart. We love money and all that it provides. So while the Lord richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1Tim6:17), true enjoyment is possible only when our heart is set on Him rather than on worldly things. He alone is our hope
A Reasonable Response
We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19
Some people imagine the God of the Old Testament as harsh and mean, while the God of the New Testament is loving and kind. But that is nonsense. There is only one God of both the Old and New Testaments, and He is a God of love.
He is a God who is gracious and a God who is full of mercy. But He is also a holy God and a righteous God. And He gives us absolutes to live by.
We find those absolutes in the Ten Commandments. And when God gave these commandments to the people of Israel, He also gave the motive for keeping them: I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery(Exodus 20:2 NLT).
Notice the Lord didn’t begin by threatening or scaring them. He started by reminding them of what kind of God He is: a loving, caring God who delivered them from their misery.
God was saying, loosely paraphrased, Hey, I took care of you guys. I delivered you from your bondage in Egypt. You were a slave there.
We might think, Well, that’s nice, but I’m not an Israelite who was delivered from bondage in Egypt.
Yes, that’s true, but if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then you were a sinner who was delivered from the bondage of your sin, were you not?
Think about all that God has done for you. Because of that, you should want to reciprocate. You should want to honor Him in the way that you live. The apostle John reminds us, We love Him because He first loved us(1 John 4:19 NKJV).
He has certain expectations of us. Our love for God should be a response to His love for us
I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:17-18 NASB
God didn’t promise insignificant blessings. Jesus Himself said He came to bring us life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Think about all God promised Israel. He promised to teach them to benefit,to direct them and give them overwhelming peace. They would experience a wave of righteousness. Their families would be blessed. They would have an intimate relationship with Him.
But there was a condition: They had to pay attention to His commands, know and obey His Word, and follow Him. He reminded them that “there is no peace for the wicked (v. 22). Ungodly people may seem to enjoy pleasures and rewards, but they never can have His peace.
God warned His people not to listen to or follow those who promised false rewards. They were to flee these influences. When they remembered all that God had done for them, they were to be filled with joy. They would realize the many ways He had provided for them, guided them, and protected them. Even when everything seemed hopeless, He was with them.
God promises these same rewards for you – that same peace and joy. He will guide you in the way you should go,and teach you how to profit. Do not follow the false gods and deceptive promises in the world. Instead, seek to know God. Obey Him. Follow Him. Trust Him. Seek first His Kingdom. Be confident that He will give you His peace.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The world describes hope as wishful thinking, which is very weak. There is no guarantee behind what people hope for. For example, I hope it will be a sunny day for the picnic.Or, I hope Susan will be at the party! Even, I really hope my boss gives me a raise this year. There’s no power behind that type of hope. It is simply wishing that an event might happen. This kind of hope implies that everything is just up to chance, or good luck.
However, the biblical definition of hope is a confident expectation of good. As a believer, you now have, Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). This type of hope has power! It is a hope grounded in the promises found in the Word of God. We can have a confident expectation of good because God inside of us loves us and plans for good.
For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 MEV
God has planned something good for your life! He has planned for you to prosper, to walk in health, and to live a long, fulfilled life. He hasn’t made these good plans for your life without providing everything you will need to walk them out. We have a supernatural deposit on the inside of us of power, authority, ability, and strength. Notice that He has made plans for peace, which is the Hebrew word shalom. This word means completeness, wholeness, soundness, welfare, prosperity, safety, well-being, and security! Even in the darkest of times, Christians should be the most hopeful people on the planet!
Our future is secure as long as we put our hope in the Lord.
The LORD God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint … Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. Surely the LORD God will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me? Isaiah 50:7-9
Those who don’t trust in God go through life without an anchor. They can be prone to feel uncertain and shaken by circumstances. They can be intimidated or paralyzed by fear and doubt. They can become timid and worried, distracted, and easily sidetracked.
However, when we completely trust in God, everything changes. We have the confidence to believe that He is standing by our side in every situation. As the Bible promises, He is with us to give us His peace and direct our steps, reassure us, calm our fears, and give us hope, peace, and security.
Even if we trust in God, we can be impacted by our human weaknesses, nagging doubts, and questions. These are reasons, as the Bible tells us, to set [our] face like a flint in every situation. This means concentrating on God, being guided by His Word, and focusing our energies on what He has called us to do. It means not being distracted by the comments or opinions of others.
Ask God to give you this confidence and focus. Set [your] face like a flint to know Him and serve Him. Focus on the tasks to which you have been called. Be a good steward of the resources He has given you.
Do not drift off course or lose your focus. And don’t let rumors or speculation distract you. Have faith that God will be your help right now!
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? – Matthew 16:13
Imagine if you lived in the time of Jesus and a very close friend asked you, Who do you say I Am? Being close friends, you can easily describe this person. Now imagine Jesus asking the same question of you right now. I wonder how we would answer Him. Do we know Him personally? Do we intentionally seek Him in our life? Do we have a superficial relationship with Him? Just like knowing a friend, knowing Jesus means spending quality time with Him and including Him in your schedule. You talk to Him through praying and you listen to Him through the Word. You are vulnerable and honest before Him because He accepts you for who you are. He reaches out to you because He wants you to know Him. We also need to do our part and respond to His call so if we’re ever asked, Who do you people say is the Son of Man? we’ll be able to answer it confidently, knowing who Jesus really is in our life.
If you’ve lost hope and can’t find a reason to ever hope again, here are 9 Reasons to Have Hope—No Matter What!
I hope I get this new job.
I hope I will be healed soon.
I hope my children will follow the Lord.
Maybe you’ve uttered words like these without really believing they will come to pass. So often, expressions of hope are laced with discouragement and doubt, especially in the face of overwhelming loss, repeated failures and betrayals of trust.
No matter how serious your circumstances, they are subject to change, and you can have hope. If you are going through hard times financially, in desperate need to move to a safer neighborhood, or needing a miracle in your marriage, it can all turn around—you can have hope.
If you have become weary and need a fresh Word from heaven, here are nine powerful reasons to have hope—no matter what.
Hope Is a Force That Overcomes
Every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. –1 John 5: 4-5
At this very moment, if you’ve been born again, you have residing on the inside of you three of the greatest forces ever created. These forces have the power to help you overcome any circumstance and change anything in your life.
What are these three forces? Faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
These forces are inseparable, and together they have the power to put you on top. But getting your hopes up is the key to putting faith and love to work in your life. To put it simply: If you’ll get your hopes up, everything can get better. Faith, hope and love are the answers you need today for anything you’re facing. Don’t be afraid—get your hopes up!
Hope Is Already in You
At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. –Ephesians 2:12, NKJV
Most people understand how crucial faith and love are, but few understand the importance of hope. They’ve never realized that faith and love can’t function effectively without hope.
Regardless of what you feel hopeless about, the truth remains: You do have hope if you have God! So, don’t go by what you feel. Go by what God says about you and your situation in His Word. Then, by faith say, Thank God, I have hope.
Hopelessness is not caused by a lack of education, a lack of money or a lack of opportunity. Hopelessness comes from being without hope and without God in the world. So, if you have God, you have hope. But, like anything else, you have to feed your hope with the Word of God.
Hope Isn’t a Wish
According to my earnest expectation and my hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. –Philippians 1:20, NKJV
Real Bible hope is not wishing.That’s worldly hope. People in the world say, I hope I get a raise at work, when what they mean is, I want a raise. I don’t think I’ll get it…but it would be nice if I did.”
The kind of hope described in the Word of God is much stronger than that because it’s not based on wishing or wanting. It is based on your covenant with God and the anointing He has provided to carry out that covenant in your life.
Hope Is Always at Work
But if we HOPE for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.–Romans 8:25, NIV
The powerful force of hope is a supernatural expectancy. But, keep in mind, you can expect something good or bad. Either way, you’re operating in the powerful force of hope. When you expect something good, you’re operating in hope that comes from the truth of God’s Word. When you are expecting something bad or negative, you’re operating in natural hope or even evil hope.
Supernatural hope knows what God has provided and expects it with eager confidence.
Gospel Hope Always Wins
Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham KEPT HOPING. –Romans 4:18
God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations when Abraham was 100 years old and childless. All the hope he could see in the natural realm was negative. It was working against him. At his age, the only hope he had was of dying. He likely faced thoughts of doubt and natural opposition to God’s idea. But he combated those thoughts, and made a decision to operate in gospel hope instead. He had to choose between natural hope and gospel hope. He knew that gospel hope always wins—and it did!
Gospel Hope Is NOW
NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for…. –Hebrews 11:1, KJV
How do you know if you’re operating in gospel hope? Listen to your words. If you’re facing financial struggles, natural hope says, “I hope I’ll be able to pay my bills, but supernatural gospel hope says, My bills are paid, glory to God, because God’s Word says all my needs are met according to His riches in glory!(Philippians 4:19).
Natural hope is always in the future. It’s always tomorrow or the next day: Well, I know God will heal me if He wants to. But supernatural hope is always right now: I’m already healed because by His stripes I was healed! That’s faith.
Faith always says, Now. If faith is now, when is hope? Hope is now, too.
Hope Is the Blueprint of Faith
Faith is the substance of things Hoped for…. –Hebrews 11:1, KJV
Just as the Bible is the blueprint for Christian living, hope is the blueprint of faith. Faith has to have hope to work. Hope has to have faith to produce.
Hope gives you the picture of what God wants for you through the Word of God. Then, faith takes that idea and goes after it. That is how hope and faith work together. Hope is the plan that faith sets out to accomplish. It’s the goal setter.
Hope Always Sees
…the evidence of things not seen. –Hebrews 11:1, KJV
The unseen things mentioned in Hebrews 11:1 are things seen with the eyes of hope. Hope always sees before the natural eye can. Some people have trouble focusing on those unseen things. They’re hung up on what their natural eyes see instead. After all, they reason, that’s reality.
How can you see through the eyes of hope? By renewing your mind—read, study and meditate on the Word of God. Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit. That is how we get ourselves out of the natural realm and step into the supernatural, where truth resides.
Hope Anchors Your Life
This HOPE is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. —Hebrews 6:19
When a ship is tossed about by the waves and wind of the sea, it relies on one thing—the anchor. An anchor keeps the ship steady—firmly in place. That’s what hope does for you while you’re standing in faith. Maybe you’re believing for something, but the circumstances of life leave you feeling tossed about. Hope is your anchor.
You can’t drift around in hopelessness and live in victory. You have to get in the place of faith and stay there. You have to be stable in hope.
In conclusion, you already have everything you need to have real Bible hope. When you face struggles or disappointments, remember that hope is a force that is already in you, it isn’t a wish, it always works, it always wins, it’s now, it’s your blueprint, it always sees and it is an anchor. Hope will fuel your faith and take you to a place of victory through Christ Jesus. His promises are His will for YOU. So, no matter what, don’t give up—get your hopes up
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
When you’re running a race and coming toward the end, you’re exhausted. You don’t feel as though you could go on another moment. But you realize that you’re almost at the end and have to finish the race you’ve begun.
I had a new pair of running shoes in the trunk of the car, just in case the rumor was true. And sure enough, it was. I put on my shoes, went to the starting line, and started sizing up my competition. And then the starter pistol went off.
Suddenly older guys were passing me; I couldn’t believe how fast they were. I was pouring it on, but about halfway into the race, I realized that not only was I going to lose, but I was going to lose horribly. So I just walked off the track.
Writing to the believers in Philippi, the apostle Paul said, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NKJV).
He also made this statement in 2 Timothy: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (4:7 NKJV). Paul used the Greek word agōn for fight,which translates to struggle or struggling.
This reminds us that we need to keep going and finish our race, even when it gets difficult.
How are you doing as a follower of Jesus? How are you doing in the race of life? Are you winning or losing? Are you gaining ground, or are you losing ground?
Press on. Keep running