Hope – a feeling of expectation and the desire for a certain thing to happen. That’s the definition, but what is the true life meaning for each of us who know Christ? We live expectantly. We are truly waiting for the Lord Jesus to come at any time. How many times have you thought or had some Christian say to you, “I believe Jesus could come back at any time.”? Probably more times than you can count. That is because we are living expectantly…. We expect Him to come, and He will!! Jesus Himself said in Revelation 22:7, “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Keep in mind that is the Son of God who is speaking there and His Words give us one thing, Expectant Hope! If you are more impressed with this world you live in than the coming glory of heaven, you may not hope for Him to come because you want to have heaven on earth. It aint gonna be heaven on earth. Any hope in earthly treasures is fleeting at best and the whole thing will burn anyway. Once again, Jesus reminds us of the Hope-filled attitude of living a Christian Life in Matthew 6:20 where He says, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do no break in and steal.” Hope in heaven is real and it does not disappoint, but propels us through the life we live here on earth. It is the hope of things to come. Expectant living enables us to handle the toughest times, as well as, the best of times with a steady way of thinking and reacting. Hope in the coming of Jesus gives us strength for NOW! Sometimes I get really low and my feeling of hope starts to wain some, and I renew my interest in the hope I have in Christ and the gloomy clouds will clear and my prospects look so much better. Now that’s the kind of hope that satisfies the soul. If I didn’t have that hope I would just curl up and fade away. REALLY!!!
Another hope is found in the belief that God is going to do something great. That expectant hope is the one we truly don’t understand and many times misread. Like many people, through the years I have been thrown many curves I didn’t hope for and those curves have been life-changing, whether financial or other. As a minister of the gospel I believe I am bound to go where God leads for the cause of Christ, not the cause of myself and that all-out attitude about following God has it’s downfalls materially. Many times I can’t even explain it in human terms that make sense when telling someone the “why” of my moves. My hope is that God is leading me to a place where I can serve Him most effectively. That place many times is not the most appealing place, but it is God’s place for me and that is the best at the time. My family through the years has had to adjust in a huge way for me to follow what I believe is God’s Plan for where I serve. Thankfully it was always in the United States, although I would have gone to a foreign land if He led me there. All of this was generated through HOPE. Hope that God would do a great work and I would get to be a part of it. These travels put me in places that were sometimes fun and friendly, and sometimes mean and miserable. The main thing wasn’t necessarily being happy, but more being faithful…..no matter what! I’m not patting myself on the back here, but I tried to go “wherever” as best as possible. Even when Andra was going “what are we doing” and my kids had to start another new school, I felt that I was called to do whatever it took and live wherever He put me. Through the years I have felt both the joy of success and the misery of failure in front of my wife and kids and neither have been lasting or balanced. Success in following His Call has not translated into success financially or positionally. I haven’t been the guy who wanted to climb up the ladder of success in ministerial circles, because I didn’t believe God looked at it that way. Praise God He has always refreshed my vision wherever I landed and gave me a desire to equip the Lord’s church and believe for revival in a dry land, and I have done it motivated by HOPE, not anything else. I was always looking for God to do a great work and when it didn’t happen, I still had my hope.
As I look back on 2013 and the other years of my life in ministry, I can’t help but think about the hope that has “kept me alive” for all these years and propelled me forward in my walk with the Lord. If you were to look at all we have had to deal with through the many years of ministry you might say, “how can you keep on hoping?” To which I would have to say, “I don’t have anything else, but my hope in God.” I knew a young man who was going through some financial woes in his life who just kept believing that God was going to come through for him. His hope was fresh and real and not presumptuous at all. His wife told me one day that she didn’t understand how this young man could keep believing that God was just going to help him one day and all would be well. In a world where everyone needed help, God was just going to pick him out and help him. That young man had the hope I am writing about today. He had the misunderstood hope that sometimes can’t be qualified or understood by human reasoning. He had the hope of God and that is the hope that keeps us all going. In the same way that we hope for the coming of our Lord, we hope for Him to take care of us in our daily lives, and even though it boggles the human reasoning of most, we don’t give up our hope. Peter wrote in his second letter about his reasoning for the hope of Jesus coming again, verse 16 “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” My hope is that I have, through the power of God, impacted in a positive way some lives along the way, starting with my family. I know it has been my hope to do just that, and the very desire to do that has come from the hope I have in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am an eyewitness to His power in changing lives. He is the beginning and the end of all things….REALLY!!
In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 1 verse 19 he writes, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? It it not you?” It is my hope that I have impacted some in a positive way to live a real faith that touches others in a positive way and leads them to Christ. It has been my desire to do that for the past 39 years and the hope in Christ continuing to do that through my life, is just as fresh today as before. I’m living proof that God keeps that hope alive through all the good and the bad, and that his hope is something you can count on. I Live In A Place Called Hope. This next year is one of hope as well, and I believe, like that young man, that God is going to do something great through my life as I live for Him. I don’t deserve anything He does for me, but my worthiness has never been an issue for a God who sent His Son to die for the sins of the world. He does what He does out of a great love for His Children, and praise God I am one of His Children. So, I’m not moving out of this place called hope. I’m gonna continue to have residence here and continue believing God will always come through as I live each day of my life. If all around me should give up hope and my population get to just one, at least there will still be one. Why? Because I live in a Place Called Hope. I want to be called a true follower and be able to say like Paul, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus, our hope!”
The Pilgrimage continues….