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There Is Hope

Has your life ever seemed hopeless? Have you ever thought you were cursed, that everything you tried was doomed to unravel and fail? Or do you know someone who feels like that? Then this set of devotions is for you. Here is some gospel hope–God cares for you. Through our dear Savior, Jesus Christ, God is not only going to give you a place with him in heaven, but he is going to help you in your life right now. Everyone who trusts in Christ is absolutely guaranteed a future better than the past!

Here are stories of people like you who struggle and wait but who hope and rejoice. Let God comfort your heart with his comforting words.

Day 1
John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 
 

Hope for the Hopeless: Jesus Won; I Win Too

Every so often, public relations people will do a poll on Americans’ confidence about the future. They check on our level of optimism or pessimism about tomorrow to help investors and marketers decide on whether to advance or pull back.

You know, when people feel like there’s no hope for them, they give up on all kinds of things–their friends, their families, their jobs, their health. They give up on themselves too. Have you ever gone through a bleak stretch in your life?

During times like that it’s great to hear again how Jesus Christ has defeated all the enemies of the human race–sin, sickness, death, and hell. He told the believers in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If your future is guaranteed, you have incentive in the meantime to hang in there and hang on. Jesus won. That makes you a winner too.

Day 2
Jeremiah 29:11
11For 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.
 
 

Hope for the Hopeless: God Is in Your Future

Are you feeling hopeful today or hopeless?

There are far too many things that destroy hope in a human heart–rejection in romance, failing grades, constantly growing debt, chronic pain, career collapse. I’ve got some good news for all of you without hope, those of you who feel that everything in your life is coming apart. God sees what’s going on in your life. God cares about you. And God has placed gifts in your future.

He can do that because he’s already there. Unfettered by time and space, he has already guaranteed a happy ending to our lives.

You see, God isn’t just an observer, just standing by and watching as your hopes and dreams wither. He cares about you. He created you for a purpose, rescued you at the cost of his Son’s life, and is eagerly looking forward to spending eternity enjoying life with you. He is at work right now making plans for your future happiness! God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Day 3
Proverbs 16:31
31Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.
 
 

Hope for the Hopeless: Getting Older Isn’t Bad

If supermarket magazines are any indicator, the aging process is a disaster in every way. Everybody pictured is young and healthy and beautiful, and the stores offer you a thousand products to buy to make you look younger or make you think you look younger. The sad result of this relentless marketing is that people think that their worth and value diminish as they get older.

But the aging process has some real benefits. Along with wrinkles comes wisdom. With age you can see how God works all things together for good for those who love him. You can see his kindly purposes unfolding over the decades. And you can see how he uses people as his partners in making good things happen.

Older people accumulate life wisdom that younger folks ignore at their peril. With age come people sense, money sense, workplace sense, and good manners. Older people usually have figured out what’s important in life and what is just fluff.

Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor.” Do you have “snow on the roof”? Wear it with pride! I’m looking forward to getting older. With God, old is good too!

Day 4
Proverbs 3:33
33The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
 
Proverbs 3:23-24

23Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.

24When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
 
 

Hope for the Hopeless: Expect God’s Blessings

You know, people get down when they feel that all their efforts and hard work are wasted and pointless. They get cynical and say things like, “Virtue is its own punishment” and “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”

Sometimes it does seem as though cheaters really do prosper, crooks get rich, liars avoid trouble, and the small and weak are endlessly victimized by the strong.

But here’s where God really helps his children–he controls the future, and he takes delight in making our lives better. Proverbs 3:33,23,24 says that the Lord “blesses the home of the righteous. . . . You will go on your way in safety. . . . When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” I know God loves me because of what his Son, Jesus, did for me on the cross. I know God loves me because he sent the Spirit to live in me and in the hearts of all believers.

I’ve had some hard days in my life. But my God has always been here for me, and my sleep is sweet. When your head hits the pillow, you can let go of your troubles overnight–God can take over for you. Sleep well!

 

Day 5
Philippians 1:23 
23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
 
 

Hope for the Hopeless: We’re Getting Really Close to Being in Heaven

When I was a little kid, my folks would close off the doors to the living room where the Christmas tree was in mid-December. We could peek but weren’t allowed in there until Christmas Eve. The tree was fully decorated but unlit. In the shadows we could see growing piles of presents. You can only imagine the tension we felt. So close, but yet so far. Time seemed to crawl until Christmas Eve.

Do you dread getting old? Does time crawl for you? Yeah, I know. Some things are hard–the loss of clear vision and hearing, daily pills, and arthritis are not treats. But you know what? Nearing the end of your earthly life only means that you are that much closer to living with Christ in heaven, where it is Christmas all the time.

St. Paul wrote, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). Did you get that? Your future with Christ is better by far than whatever is going on in your life right now.

Don’t think of your senior years as failing years. Listen to the Bibles’ splendid promises of heavenly life. Pretend you’re a little kid peeking at the Christmas tree, knowing that your ultimate Christmas is almost here.

Day 6
Matthew 8:26 
26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
 
 

The World Is Not Out of Control: God Controls Nature

Sometimes the world we live in seems like a beautiful, peaceful place. But our environment can be nasty too–sometimes it seems as though nature itself is trying to destroy the people who live here. Wildfires, hailstorms, typhoons, avalanches, hurricanes, tidal waves, and earthquakes can destroy homes, businesses, and people.

It comes as a great comfort to read in the Bible the stories of the miracles of Jesus and watch him work. He walked on water, commanded fish to swim into nets, manufactured food out of nothing, and turned ordinary water into Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Everyone who as a child trembled during severe thunderstorms will be comforted by hearing what Jesus did during a nautical crisis with his disciples: ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm (Matthew 8:26).

The Christian faith is not merely an interesting philosophy. It is trust and confidence in the One who can generate a huge thunderstorm and then stop it by a word. His word. He loves his children and answers all their prayers with power. His power.

Day 7
Psalm 19:1
1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 
 

The World Is Not Out of Control: God Controls the Heavens

Does your world ever seem out of control? When it does, look up at the night sky. If you live in a city like me, there you will see dozens of stars. When you’re really feeling stressed, get out into the country. City boys like me have been known to pull off to the side of a country road and just gawk at the billions of stars–flaming, fiery, giant gas balls that God placed there to decorate the night sky for rich and poor alike.

“The heavens declare the glory of God,” King David wrote in Psalm 19:1, “the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Sometimes God’s handiwork is subtle. There is nothing subtle about God’s audacious jewels of white light in a country sky.

There’s more. God still retains total control over the heavenly bodies. The Bible tells us that God stopped the rotation of the earth for Joshua and even made it go backward for Hezekiah. This is the God who tells you that nothing, no force in all the universe, can come between you and his love. This is the God who made stars millions of light-years away, but who is near you right now, near enough to see your face and hear your voice.