Hoping for more from CNY Wesleyan Women Ladies Retreat 2016? Here you go… because we all need to remember that hope is not a feeling.
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.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often feel like hope abounds in my life. Peace and joy? No. Fatigue, futility, and chaos better sum it up.
I’m glad you’ve taken a moment to pause with me here, and I hope you make daily time for quiet to refresh, recharge, and, most important, refocus.
There will never be a shortage of things distracting us from God. There will always be circumstances that tempt us to doubt His love, His character, His power. There will always be another task, another chore, another demand on our time to steal priority over time with God.
And we wonder why we feel depleted. Why we lack joy. Why our hope withers. Why peace is in short supply.
Here’s the Truth: regardless of how we feel, for the believer, hope abounds.
Take a moment to read Romans 5:1-11…
This is hope that holds, anchored in God’s glory, not our strength. It doesn’t rely on what we do, but is secure in what Christ did. It doesn’t promise a life without suffering, but transforms our troubles into opportunities to grow and better comprehend our hope in a broken world.
Yet I struggle. Too often I identify with Solomon in the time of his life when he wrote Ecclesiastes. All is meaningless… All is vanity…
But how I feel doesn’t change who God is, or the reality of His Promises.
Society tells us to pursue happiness by following our hearts. The Bible tells us to pursue holiness by following Christ.
Buying one more bauble or toy, eating one more bite, jumping into the next relationship… They sound more appealing than picking up and carrying a cross, don’t they? But under which burden – the hunger for more, or the thirst for God – will you find fulfillment and true hope for the future?
Don’t get caught up in the feeling. Rely on the HOPE.
Do you lack hope? Are you afraid you’ll never get it back? Maybe this verse of peace and joy and hope abounding leaves you feeling a little lost. Inadequate. When you go to church do all those smiling faces of filled-up people make you wonder why your tank is still low? Remember when you go to church, there are others struggling just as hard as you, maybe even harder. A smile doesn’t necessarily equal joy, peace, or hope. There are few who master the art of living the full joy, peace, and hope that life in Christ can provide. Too often it seems we’ll never have it all together enough to live in the fullness of what God promises His children during life on this earth.
We need to stop relying on our efforts, and rest in Him.
Sometimes it’s easy. Mountaintop experiences are great, but we don’t live on the mountaintop. Before the wonderful feelings that come with them can work all through our depths, fear creeps in. The day-to-day takes its toll. How can such joy, peace, and hope survive, let alone thrive? No matter how easy things are today, we know the natural trials and trauma of life will crash into our fragile hearts.
But we can have joy, peace, and hope despite our circumstances…
Let me let you in on a not-so-secret secret. Paul, the guy who wrote the 2016 retreat theme verse about the Source of joy, peace and hope, also told us where to look for, and find, hope.
In the Bible.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction,
so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4, NASB
Things break. People let us down. Trouble, pain, and loss come to all of us.
If we want to experience abundant joy, peace, and hope, we need to be in the Word. It’s our Living Water. Our daily food. Life.
If you don’t yet have a time of day set aside to read and study your Bible, I encourage you to commit to a time. Don’t think of it as a chore, but as spending time with the One who loves you most. Show up.
Faith isn’t a matter of checklists, but if we just throw structure out the window, we’re left at the mercy of our changeable feelings, whims, and moods. If we only seek God in His Word and in prayer when we feel like it, how often will we just end up doing something else instead? Like watching Netflix, or scrolling through Facebook, or wiling away our time on Pinterest…
Hope is always there; we need to make time to let God remind us.
Let’s be intentional about being in God’s Word, and let Him give us hearts full of joy, peace, and hope, that see beyond our circumstances.
Adapted from CNY Wesleyan Women Ladies Retreat 2016 devotionals by Melinda VanRy
Coming soon… CNY Wesleyan Women Prayer Walk devo ebook!!!!
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How about you?
I’m loving the time I’m spending in Romans, preparing for Ladies Retreat and as my pastor preaches through it. Do you have favorite Scripture passages you turn to when you long for hope? Are there particular verses you turn to for peace? Or to restore your joy? I’d love for you to share them here with me and each other, because encouraging each other with Scripture is one of the best things we can do!
Hope is not a feeling; it’s the reality of our present and future in Christ.
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