Sunday, February 26, 2012



“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

Life is hardly perfect, is it? Families are torn apart by all sorts of tragedies.  People lose their jobs. And the list goes on. In the seemingly wild and fast paced world you probably live in, sometimes you might wonder, is there any hope?

Maybe things in your life are going pretty well right now.  Your parents are seemingly great, your children are turning out even better than you planned; but you have this deep-seeded feeling that something is missing.  You can't put your finger on it, but it is just an emptiness that never goes away.  Do you ever wonder if there is any hope or meaning in this life?

Hope.  It's a little word but with big meaning.  It can make all the difference in the world about your life.  What is hope anyway?  Maybe it is an expectancy of something better that's going to happen.  Maybe it is a longing for a new day or a way out or even a way through.  No matter how you view hope, God knows and understands.  No matter what kind of hope you need, God already knows that too.

Hope.  It's what God wants you to know that you can have.  He tells you in Jeremiah 29:11-13 (written above) that not only does His plan give hope; but that God is hope.  Read these verses above.  Then, look at it piece by piece and see if you can figure out what God is trying to say to you.

God's plan gives hope
God made you and has a plan for your life
Can you even believe it?  God has a plan for your life.  It is not a plan that is the same for everyone.  It is a separate plan that He designed for you alone.  Oh, the plan that God has starts out with some basics, but each plan has a little different twist to it.  Think about it this way, most of your neighbors probably go to the same few grocery stores.  They will likely all come home with food in the basic food groups.  Yet, if you were to look in each pantry, you'd see lots of different stuff.  It's the same way with God's plan.  There are some basics but it looks a little different and God knows the recipe that each one needs to make it a perfect plan for that person.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God says that He knows the plans he has for you!  Wow!  To think that God has a plan for you might be a whole new thought!  And, to make it even better, God says that His plan is to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.  So, throw out all those thoughts you may have had about God that make you think that He is out to get you.  This verse clearly states that God wants the best for you.  He wants you to do well.  Now "prosper" can be a little confusing if you are thinking in physical terms because God is thinking in spiritual ones.  Of course, He wants you to do well but this is not saying that He wants you to be rich.  He knows there are much more important things in life than having things or lots of money.  No, God desires that you have the best that He offers and does not want anyone or anything to harm you…His precious creation!  He wants you to have hope!  And what's more, He wants you to know that you have a future here on earth as well as in heaven.  Not only does God love you, but He also adores you enough to help you with your life on a daily basis.  Look at these verses in Psalms 139:13-16.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:13-16

Read that last line again.  God has your days all planned out for you.  That means that you still have choices with your life but that He has a direction planned out.  He even knew you before you were born because He decided just how He would fashion you.  So, it is no wonder that there is hope for you …the Creator of the universe not only made you but also knows what will make you happy and desires that you have a wonderful hope-filled life.

Hope is found in God

Hope can come from a lot of different places.  Hope can come from just anticipating an event or even from something much more important like finding hope in what your job will be.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is your refuge. Selah."  Psalm 62:5-8

When you acknowledge Him alone as your salvation, the Word of God says that He will be your hope and that you cannot be shaken.  Oh, you may feel shaken and bounced around a bit, but the good news is that it won't have a lasting effect.  You can depend on Him as your secure and mighty rock, your very foundation for all that this life on earth holds, as well as the life to come.  The Bible says to pour out your heart to Him and trust in Him.  When you do, He is your refuge and you can hide in Him.

Trust in Christ brings assurance

When you give Him your heart and your trust, then you do have that assurance to know that He will always be there for you.

Trust in God brings hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

How do you trust in God, you say?  You do this by placing your life in His hands.  It means that you trust Him enough to be the boss of your life, as well as save you.  Think of it this way, it's just like a little girl who jumps in a pool and trusts Daddy to catch her.  She knows he will and won't let her drown.  God wants you to trust Him.  He knows what the best plan for your life is.  It would be harder for an adult to jump in the pool and believe that someone would catch her.  That's why the Bible says to come as little children.

"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 18:3

Most of you still want to hold on.  God tells you that He is the God of hope.  When you trust in Him, He fills you with joy and peace.  When He does, you then overflow with hope because of the Holy Spirit that is now living inside of you.  Yes, trust in God brings hope to life.

Hope leads you to Christ

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through your Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2

When you hope in God, He shows you what His Son, Jesus Christ, did for you on the cross.   God sent Jesus to die for everything you ever did or will do wrong.  He was the perfect sacrifice for your sins.  And because of Christ, you can now come to God because you have been made right or clean or holy.  Now that is hope!  You can then have the peace and hope that is offered.  And you can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God your Father in heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christ brings assurance

And this is the testimony: God has given you eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  1 John 5:11-13

What an incredible passage this is that is found in 1 John.  Because of Jesus, you have eternal life.  That means that when you die you will go to heaven and live forever.  You can have everlasting life because of Christ.  The writer, John, wants you to know that if you believe in the name of Jesus, you can have this assurance.  Basically, if you really trust Him, then you never have to doubt your salvation.  And certainly this gives you hope in life!

Call on Him

The real hope begins when you call on God through Christ.  You call to God by talking or praying to Him.  Look at what God says in the verse following:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

Wow, what a promise.  God wants you to call on Him by praying and seeking Him.  And when you do this, God hears your prayers.

Call on His personal name

Your God is a personal God.  You call to Him by praying to the Father and through the Son.  In other words, you pray to God and in the name of Jesus Christ.  You see, God sent His personal Son to die on the cross for you and He has a personal plan for your life.  Your name is important to you and to God.  He wants you to call on His personal name.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."  Acts 4:12

Only in the name of Jesus is salvation found.  No other name is the right name.  Some have trouble understanding this but God's Word is clear.  God sent Jesus to die on the cross, not someone else.  And Jesus is still alive.  Christ is the only way you can get to God.

Pray and talk to Him

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."  Jeremiah 33:3

Why do you have hope?  You have hope because the God and Father of all desires to commune with you.  He is waiting for you to call Him.  His line is never busy, He never puts you on hold, the voice mail never picks up, and He is never out of the office.  Not only is He always available, but when you take the time to call, He tells you great and mighty things that you would not know any other way.  He gives you secrets to survival in this life.  And my friend, that is hope!