Hope has grown thin these days, and men and women who minister are no strangers to disappointed expectations, conflict, and depression. How are you doing with hope? Behind closed doors do you sense any bitterness or regrets? Have you engaged in too much scoffing lately? Time for a check-up. Let these things go too far, and you’ll start behaving unlike yourself. How is your hope? This little exercise will help you take your spiritual pulse and ends with a chance for you to offer your deeper prayers to God.
(This devotional will take 15-30 minutes; take it gently. I’ll lead you though it)
1. Take five minutes of silence if you can. Let your mind and heart be calmed. If you struggle with this, repeat to your self “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10)
2. When we think of Hope, we might be tempted to think of it too shallowly, as if it hope were something like a wish upon a star that heaven might someday be our home. Paul calls this an ignorant human hope whose mantra is “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (I Cor 15.32). Paul says that he wouldn’t have gone on his missionary journeys if that were his hope. The real thing is something much more powerful. It is more like a muscle than it is wish, and Paul’s vision of it is this: One man was resurrected in the middle of history, and the same thing is going to happen in the future, in the twinkling of an eye. In fact, it has already begun, and our job is to resurrect what we can now. Christian hope gains its strength from this conviction: eternity has begun, and I am waking up. God invites you to anchor yourself in this hope.
For Paul, his mantra (rather than that of human hope) is something like this: “Therefore beloved brothers and sisters, let us be steadfast, immovable, abounding in the work of the Lord always, knowing that your work is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor 15.58).
Question: What disappoints you the most today, about your past or the situation you are in? What dreams did you have that can’t seem to come true?
3. What do you sense God is saying to you today about hope, or anything else?
4. Watch this video and meditate on it (you are invited to offer your hopes and prayers up to God during the video and to pray for our world if a commercial comes up on youtube):
5. Finish by Praying Psalm 95 and offering up to Him something He showed you.
Psa. 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
6. Give thanks to God today for what he has shown you, give thanks that he will continue the good work he has begun in you, and offer him your day. Take a deep breath and (re)enter your day.
7. If so led, you are invited below to leave a comment about what God spoke to you.