Monday Morning Devotion-January 11, 2021
Reasons to Hope
So, I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
We made it! Yes, thanks be to God that we survived 2020--- a year filled with an overflow of problems unlike any before. No matter what we did there was always the threat of the coronavirus hanging over our heads. That is not to say that COVID19 automatically disappeared when we rang in the new year. It didn't. It's still there.
But now there is hope. When the days seemed darkest the Lord answered the many prayers for an antidote to be discovered. And as the most brilliant minds labored day in and day out to solve this complex puzzle at last a vaccine was developed. In fact, two vaccines were created and are now being made available. These appear to be the answer to this multifaceted problem. Time will tell, but our faith is strong.
Perhaps the main thing that I am able to bring into 2021 with me is 365 reasons to hope. Say what? Say this: As I have shared with you before, the way I start my day either just before or immediately after my morning prayer walk is with SOAP. No, not the hand-washing kind, although I have used lots of that in adhering to the pandemic protocol. I'm referring to my morning devotional time.
To refresh your memory SOAP differs from soap in that its initials serve as a devotional guide. First a scripture is located to study for the day. You read through it and that is the "S" part. Then you go back over it and "O"bjectively determine how this particular scripture speaks to you.
After that you determine how you can apply - "A-" the message to your life that day. Finally, a very important part is to pray "P" about it.
I've been blessed to be able to think further about it by immediately going on my morning walk thereafter. In fact, today I completed my 214th consecutive walk, which means among other things, that the Lord has blessed me with a lot of good-weather days suitable for walking.
Now here's why I gained 365 more reasons to hope in 2020. As a devotional guide each day I used the remarkable book; "Jesus, Our Perfect Hope: 365 Devotions" by the incomparable Dr. Charles Stanley (author of 60 books°boy do I envy that accomplishment).
At the end of each devotion Dr. Stanley would share these words:
"My hope is in Jesus because°." And every day he gave a different reason.
Thinking about that I started looking back at some of these "hope reasons" and I will share a few. Going back to the first one I recorded in January 2020 in a morning devotion that gave the title: "Deflecting Responsibility". Stanley shared:
"My hope is in Jesus because He addresses my issues in life for my good." Great start huh!
Here are a few others and the titles of the devotions under which they appeared including the scripture they are based on. Under the title: "Twinkling of an Eye" (Psalm 30:5) we have:
"My hope is in Jesus because He can change everything in the twinkling of an eye."
Jeremiah 35:17 prompted the title "Hearing Him" and:
"My hope is in Jesus because He has never let me down."
On my birthday, February 24th the title "Nothing Can Separate" from Romans 8:38-39: "My hope is in Jesus because His love is perfect and permanent."
Based on 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 and devotion title "The Shining Light" comes:
"My hope is in Jesus because He gives my life power and purpose."
On the Lovely Susette's birthday we find "All We Need" based on Psalm 54:4:
"My hope is in Jesus because He never leaves me."
In checking out the devotion on granddaughter Ellee's birthday under the appropriate title- "What are You Thinking" from Philippians 4:8:
"My hope is in Jesus because He is worthy of my full attention."
To put a capper on these we look back to "Using Everything for Good" from Romans 8:28.
"My hope is in Jesus because He uses everything for my good."
Maybe you are having a very difficult time right now. I certainly understand so let me also share these thoughts that may help: They come from an internet article by a teacher, Lori Lynn Smith. The title is "How to Find Hope When you are Really Depressed:"
She starts out with this quote from author Barbara Kingsolver: "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."
Then Smith suggests these hope strategies for the deeply distressed:
1) Consider all the amazing things you have done in your life. Remember these and know you are entirely capable of working through it.
2) Surround yourself with optimism. Find those folks who always seem to see the sunny side of every situation and spend time with them.
3) Allow inspiration in. Your faith is a great source of inspiration.
4) Spend time in nature. Enjoy nature's beauty°flowers, butterflies, beaches, mountains. When you see what's possible in God's creation you know you are capable of remarkable things too since you are his handiwork.
5) Be courageous. To cultivate hope you must have the courage to take that first step. Give yourself a chance to find your way through challenges.
Using all these strategies, combined with all the hope Jesus provides you as outlined in Dr. Stanley's book, will give you the ammunition needed to win in every phase of your life.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the hope we are blessed with in knowing that you are always there for us in every situation. Amen!