Friday, April 26, 2019

Hope without Action is Wishful Thinking

             Someone much wiser than I stated recently that hope is an action verb. In reality, hope can be used as a noun or a verb. But most often I think we see it used as a verb as in, “I hope you’re calling with good news.” No action is required here on the part of the one doing the hoping; it’s just wishful thinking...

 But biblical hope requires some action on the part of the individual doing the hoping. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:13 ESV). Christian hope is a bold hope that looks back to the resurrected Savior that one might look forward. I love the words of the late J. Hampton Keathley III, a pastor for 28 years:
In the Bible hope is never a static or passive thing. It is dynamic, active, directive and life-sustaining. In other words, hope is not an escape from reality or problems. It doesn’t leave us just rocking on the front porch. If our hope is biblical and based on God’s promises, it will put us in gear.

To illustrate this point I want us to look at a story recorded in Mark 2:1-5, 10b-11:
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”…Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.

Did this man and his friends hope that this man could be healed? Of course, they did. They could have simply hoped that someday, someway the man would be cured. What do you think the chances of that happening were? They could even have heard that Jesus was a healer and brought him to where Jesus was and have just hoped that Jesus would notice that the man was lying paralyzed on a mat and have pity on him and heal him. But, they even went beyond that. They pushed through a crowd and devised a clever way to place him directly in front of Jesus. Now that’s hope as an active verb! And Jesus rewarded their hope with a healing and even went beyond their expectations and forgave him of his sins. There are many examples in the Bible of people who made hope an action verb to accomplish what was a passion of theirs and had their efforts rewarded.

I’d like to give you a present-day example of hope in action. This ministry,   Now
God may choose to raise up another capable widow to oversee all of this, but the point is, Dotti’s hope developed into a passionate prayer resulting in positive action. This ministry could go on for years without her or me being personally involved. Dotti has done her part and it is now in God’s hands. The blog alone has been seen by over 50,000 individuals and hundreds more women have been impacted through the monthly meetings and newsletters. Only eternity will tell the whole story.

Friends Needing Friends, was born over thirty-one years ago out of a heart of compassion for widows by Dotti Israel Ackerman, herself a widow. Dotti is now also 31 years older and doesn’t know when, for health reasons or even death, she may no longer be able to carry on this ministry. It has been her greatest hope that this ministry not die, even if she should. She has expressed that to me several times over the last several years. Dotti, with the help of a gifted friend, Cherie has so designed this website that the blog you are reading can be accessed by anyone with even the most cursory computer knowledge, the site includes instructions on how to start a FNF chapter, a G-mail account is available for asking questions or making comments, numerous brochures are here for download, and over 200 Bible studies are available right here on this website.

There’s not a woman reading this who doesn’t harbor some deep hope within her heart. I encourage you not to lose heart. Tell God what it is you hope for and ask for His wisdom in “putting legs to that hope” and then trust Him with the results. Some people waste their whole lives just hoping and hoping and hoping but never pursuing avenues of resourcefulness in facilitating their hopes into becoming a reality. If God has put a desire in your heart for something – and your hopes line up with His Word - then look for ways to see that hope become a reality. Don’t just sit around watching those hopes evaporate into pipe dreams! Tim Calcara of the University of Northwestern recently stated, “In the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” It’s amazing what God can do when we are willing to be used by Him.

If your hope is for joy and peace in your life and you have yet to place your trust in Christ’s death and resurrection to forgive your sins and give you eternal life, I invite you to do so now. Simply ask Christ to forgive you of your sins and ask Him to become Lord of your life.  Hope produces joy and peace in believers through the power of the Spirit (Romans 12:12; 15:13).

Message by Sheri Hervold 

"Love In Any Language" by Sandi Patty. Please listen to the wonderful words of this special song. Our FNF blog is sent to all the widows in the many countries that are reading our blog. We send our love and pray that God gives you many years of favor full of His unending love.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us... Psalm 90:17a