"Hope is the joyful anticipation of good. Any area of our lives that doesn't have hope is possessed by a lie."
The first part of this quote by Bill Johnson is probably the best definition of hope that I've ever heard, and the second part is something that has encouraged me, and at the same time I have questioned if its really true. But by what the Bible says and my own experience, Its been proven that this is quite true. If there is anything in my life that I do not look at with joyful anticipation, then I am believing a lie.
Earlier today, I had very little hope at all. There was no real love in my heart for most of the people I was around, I didn't want to change the world, I didn't want to love people, and all I wanted to do were things that would make me feel comfortable. This was the result of not continually renewing my mind. All of these things show that I didn't have hope, and that I was believing lies. The Bible says that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as our self [Matt 22:39]. We can not do this without hope. I was remembering earlier today when I looked at a person, I did not look at them with joyful anticipation of good. I did not look at them with hope. My mindset at that time was possessed by a lie that people don't really matter, and I am powerless to help them, and what will happen in their lives will happen. It said, whatever problems they have I'm probably right in there with them. Those are the lies that took away my hope for people and for myself. This is just one example.
I once heard my friend, Dennis Bontrager say, "Everyone wants hope. That's why Obama is president." and as I took a look at the Bible, I soon realized that the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is hope. Over and over again in the gospels hope is encouraged, and in many cases the word "hope" is even used in the place of "Jesus":
"And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews."~ Acts 26:6-7 [emphasis added]
Hope, rejoicing and 'looking forward' to what is to come is continually encouraged throughout the New Testament. I think I've often looked at this as simply 'encouragement', and never realized that to the authors of those books, 'hope' was quite tangible. Hope isn't just to think better about your rotten circumstances, but it is an actually reality. We can joyfully anticipate good in every area of our lives because "anything is possible for him who believes," [Mark 9:23], and as Paul so clearly puts it,
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." [Acts 15:13] [emphasis added]
We should have joyful anticipation of good wherever we go, whatever we do, and whomever we encounter. If we don't we are believing a lie and need to renew our minds.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Its been said many time by Christians everywhere, "Lord, I want to know you more." Let me tell you you will not know him more by telling him such things. If you truly desire to know the heart of God, then get out into the places where un-churched people are, because according to the Bible, and my own experience, this is where the heart of God is.
It is continuously recorded that Jesus hung out with the "tax collectors and sinners". Let me just tell you straight up that he wouldn't of hung out
there if he didn't like it. In fact when Jesus was questioned why he did this he said, "Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick" [Matt 9:12] Jesus obviously loved to go out of his way, and even ruin his own reputation to love on those who had not known love: those rejected by any of the "righteous" of the day. Who knew that righteousness was actually love and grace to those who don't deserve it?
The people that Jesus died for look very different from each other.
They are of all different races and religions. Their skin could be any color. They are far from perfect people. You see them on the street corner, or at the grocery store. They are hotel managers, landlords, alcoholics, and abusive fathers. They are CEOs, and slum dogs. They are the people you see in the magazines, and even your own family. They are every person. Even you and I.
That is where you will find the heart of God.
This is where all his passions and desires are. Every hope and dream is for those people. Every thought he has, every decision he makes, every act he does is for them. He even allowed his own son to die that they might live. All of his dreams are for them. And WE are his dreams!!
It all started with a sneeze. In the household I live in it has been realized that we are already blessed since Jesus died for us, and that saying "bless you" will not make you more blessed. Rather we declare into each other's lives specific blessings. Usually money. So with this sneeze, It was declared that I'd be given $15,000. I responded that I if I was given $15,000 I would have no idea what I'd do with so much money, and quickly realized that that was probably why I wasn't given it. With the help of a friend, I soon realized I didn't know what I'd do with even $10. The first things that came to my mind was the ticket I need to go to India for my sister's wedding, and the ticket to go to South Africa for a missions trip, and the rest I'd just put in the bank for my living expenses.
When I asked other people what they would do with $15,000, some knew exactly what they would do, and others were not quite so sure, but all of them would use it for the good of other people. I was ashamed as my selfishness was disclosed. I had always thought that if God gave you money that it was for yourself. However, now I understand that I am a dream of God, and God dreams for the good of people. So if you have a need and God gives you money, than use it for the need first. That is okay. But then take the leftovers and fulfill a dream of God with it! Weather that means paying someone's car payment, or building an orphanage to transform hundreds of lives, use the money you have to help other people.
This is also necessary in EVERY area of our lives. I began to realize throughout my day how much I hold back from people, and how much I'd rather give to myself. Jesus said, "greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." [John 15:13] He also said, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it."[Matt 10:39]
2.purpose or end
If you lay down your life for your friends you will actually find your life because Jesus' cause, purpose, and end is love.
As 1Cor 13 so clearly states, you can do plenty of good deeds and good works, but if your motivation isnt love, than its pointless. You can disciple people, heal people, hug people, pray etc. but if you are only doing it to make yourself look good, or make yourself famous, then its meaningless. You must do it for the good of other people.
From now on I am dedicating my life to live for other people before myself. I live to make other people great. I live to make other people happy. I live to get other people to dream, and to dream big, because anything is possible with love, and He lives inside me.