Saturday, December 31, 2011

Joy and Hope


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13, NIV

It just doesn’t seem possible that once again, we’ve found ourselves on the threshold of another brand new year -- 2012. As the years go by, I sometimes feel like I’m in a sci-fi novel when I have to write out or type the latest numbers, like I will be doing shortly: 2012.....what in the world ever happened to 19 whatever!?


Looking back, people may breathe sighs of relief, saying how thankful they are that the year is finally over because of how awful or stressful it was, and how they’re looking forward to a new year; a clean, fresh slate.


I’ve often found myself doing the same, remembering the hard times, trials and difficulties that came my way, peppering my life with sadness and discouragement, yet holding on to hope that better, happier days and times are coming.


However, there are two important things to keep in mind:


(1.) Our joy comes from the Lord. “Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” Philippians 3:1 (NLT)

Did you catch that? WHATEVER happens. Joy comes from within, where the Holy Spirit of the Lord resides. Joy, unlike happiness, is not dependent on our outward circumstances.


(2.) Hope CAN be found the midst of trials. Hope is what we must hold onto, no matter what. There is ALWAYS hope. It’s that joyful expectation of and belief in what God has promised to us, whether we receive those promises in this life or in eternity with Him. It’s believing that He’s in control of our lives and that He makes ALL things work together for our good, even when everything in our lives practically SCREAMS the exact opposite. And that hope, like joy, also comes from the Lord:

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you HOPE and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


As we head into and move through this new year, to whom or what will you look to bring you joy? People, places, things, material posessions?  As 2012 looms on the horizon, what do you need hope for? A rocky marriage? A wayward, prodigal child? A strained relationship with family members or friends? A devastating health diagnosis? An overwhelming financial situation? A stress-filled job or the loss of a job? Unsaved loved ones, friends, coworkers, neighbors?



Will you join me in looking to Jesus, our true source of all hope and joy? He loved us enough to die for us, and we can trust Him with our lives, with every harsh reality, every situation, circumstance or person that threatens to steal our joy and crush our hope.



It’s my prayer that in this brand new year of 2012, trusting in Jesus for these things and more will come easier to you and to me; that we’ll make time to spend with Him in open, honest, sweet conversation and ingesting His Word into our hearts, minds and souls. I’m praying for all of us to be touched and changed by the Master this year, unlike any other year.



Hear the sound of our chains
They come crashing down
There’s freedom in Your name
The cross erased our guilt and shame
The past can’t condemn the ones
Who bear Your name

We found our hope in You

You make all things new, new life found in You
You restore the years that we have wasted
You make all things new, Your love breaking through
There’s healing in Your wake and we are changed ~ 'All Things New,' by Elevation Worship




6 comments:

  1. I will join you, Pam! Yes, our joy is found with Him alone. And there is beauty in the pain, oh it is true. Because He is conforming us, sister to Himself. Lovely words of truth. Looking to Him alongside you in the New Year!

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  2. Thank you, my friend. I've been in a dark place for over a week now, and have just stepped back out into the light, so to speak. I can't see the beauty in the pain very clearly yet, but I am hopeful. Because our God is faithful.

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  3. Yet another refining process!

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  4. Thank you for this beautiful blog. I wish you a life, at the feet of Jesus. He will lead you ... Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, for ever.

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  5. Thanks, Pam. I always look forward to your posts. I pray that throughout the new year, the Lord will be your guide and comfort, through the joy and trials.

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  6. Jedidja and Rebekah,

    Thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad that both of you enjoy reading my blog. Thanks also for your prayers and wishes for me. They are so very appreciated!!!

    God's loving blessings to you both.

    ReplyDelete

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