hope


Spend some time today and reflect on what God’s hope has meant in your life. Here are a few ideas you might consider:

  • Reflect on the way God has offered you hope in the past. Consider making some sort of monument in your home to remind you of them (a pile of rocks, a set of keys, a special Christmas ornament . . .)
  • Write down your expectations for this Christmas, the New Year, or your life in general and consider whether or not they are reasonable.
  • Meditate on the hope God offers you today (start small if you have to!) and spend some time praising Him for it.
  • If you’re struggling to find your hope in Him, pick a couple Bible verses to read and/or memorize.

Lord, remind me of the ways you have offered me hope, and help me to find my hope in You during this busy season and throughout the coming year.

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. . Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . . . 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Truthfully, I felt a bit hopeless when called upon to write a devotional about “hope.” The word looks small, but the task of explaining it seems enormous. So I’ll resort to what writers do when they can’t fully explain something with a succinct answer: I’ll tell stories.

When I was six years old, I woke up in the middle of one night and found my dad on the couch getting a shot from our pastor’s wife who was a nurse. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived and took my dad to the local hospital. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what was happening then, and neither did anybody else. (more…)

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But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah 5:2 (NIV)

At eight years old, all I wanted for Christmas was a boy’s BMX bike. I was very detailed in my request, and I was sure that everyone involved was aware of my desire for this bike. My big sister, on the other hand, wanted a very girly ten-speed bike. On Christmas Eve, I lay in my bed with unbridled expectation, picturing myself riding through the neighborhood—the envy of all my friends. After a few hours of restlessness, I sprang to my feet to see what awaited me in the living room. My sister was already old enough that she cared more about sleeping than seeing what Santa had left, so I ventured out alone. (more…)

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Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 (NIV)

During Christmas, “hope” is a very popular word. Whimsical signs with elegant lettering spell it out across hallways and front doors. People sprinkle it around like confetti at a surprise party. Throughout this magical season, all you have to do is hope, they say, and everything will turn out all right.

We all hope for things. We hope that the car repair isn’t too expensive. We hope our team wins on Sunday. We hope that the sippy cup that’s been under the couch for a week contains water and not a stinky, solid mass that used to be milk. (more…)

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So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 1: 16-19 (NIV)

Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Christ. I mean if you can get around all the Santas, lights, parties, and packages. Just a few years ago, I gave birth to a son. I took a packed bag, received an epidural, and I think the hospital room even had cable, although I never thought to turn it on. I had an abundance of doctors, nurses, pillows, and morphine. All my friends and family showed up. A few friends even waited all night behind the door for that first cry. Afterwards, I received flowers, presents, ice chips, and of course, a beautiful little boy swaddled tightly in his hospital blanket. (more…)

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For I have put my hope in your Word. . . may your unfailing love be my comfort. Ps 119:74, 76 (NIV)

What do you do with all those Christmas cards once the holidays are over? In my dining room sits a nice little stack of candy-cane, holly-and-berry, and Baby-Jesus-in-a-manger cards with photos of smiling families wearing coordinating red-and-white snowflake sweaters. We enjoy them for the season, but what to do with them come January? As expensive and gorgeous as they are, I can part with the cards. I appreciate them for a few weeks, and then into the trash they go. But the photos. . . unbearable to throw them away, even for this minimalist. I can just imagine all the effort behind getting the dog to smile, much less the two squirming kids.

A few years ago I came up with a plan. (more…)

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And then he told the People of Israel, “In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’

“Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always.” Joshua 4:21-24 (The Message)

As he sat half-listening to the group chatting on the doorstep, his eyes inadvertently drifted to The Path as it wound its way out of the encampment. Weary from traveling, he had stopped at this encampment to rest . . . how long ago? He hadn’t intended on staying there for long, but the appeal of routine and knowing what to expect each day had held him there for quite some time. Although he tried to ignore it, he couldn’t shake the longing deep in his heart to resume his journey down The Path. While it scared him to face the unknown, remembering the amazing sights he had seen and things he had experienced began to shake him from complacency. He could resist the tug on his heart no longer. He would go. (more…)