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Friday: Further Thought ~ Indestructible Hope — 8 Comments

  1. Wayne Hooper's hymn, "We Have This Hope" was written as a theme anthem for a General Conference Session in the 1960s. I remember it was introduced to the church with a bit of fanfare at that time and I still remember the duplicated handouts that we were given (We did not have data projectors then) so that we could sing it. It was a catchy tune and I remember the student congregation sang it rather well.

    But it is 2022 now and as I pause to think about it. A lot of the students have moved on from "The blessed hope" and the "hope that burns within us". Many of us have wrinkled skin and white hair (if indeed we have any hair at all). Some of us are dead, Aging is inevitable for us mortals and with ageing, we gather the baggage of experience. Some of us have lost loved ones; others have broken marriages, rebellious children, harsh work conditions, civil unrest, and war to contend with.

    One of the effects of my ageing is that I can no longer sing. I open my mouth and noise comes out like the croak of a panicking scared Egret. Carmel nudges me and yells, "Keep in tune!" but to no avail. I have simply lost my singing voice. I can no longer sing, "We have this hope!" as we did in 1965.

    I wonder if our spiritual voice of hope has waned like my physical voice; an out-of-tune shadow of things as they were half a century ago. A croak of a spiritual experience that nobody wants to listen to.

    The challenge of time on our vision of hope is something we really need to think about. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    Hope is not a longing for an event; a peak of life experience, rather it is a way of living that has its own reward in the present. Above all hope is not self-centred. It is a shareable experience and the more we share it, the stronger it becomes.

    In that respect, I have to thank all those folk in my life who encouraged me. When I failed in my education program back in the 1960s there were lecturers and parents, who supported me and encouraged me. Even when I was working in a concrete pipe factory, well away from what I really wanted to do there were those who gave me the "this too shall pass" encouragement that I needed at the time. Hope for me was as much about the present situation as it was about something in the future.

    We have sung the hymn, "We have this hope" with the notion of keeping alive the hope we have of Jesus soon return. But if there is anything I have learned from singing that hymn for 50 years it is this:

    Hope is not a prophetic moment. It is a way of living and sharing now.

    • "Hope is not a prophetic moment. It is a way of living and sharing now"

      I hear you, Paul's message he got from Jesus.
      Christ #in You# the hope of glory. That's the eternal gospel, none other !

      Colossians 1:26-27
      Galatians 1:6-10

  2. Study ask:
    If someone is willing, ask that person to recount a time that despair and trials caused him or her to lose hope and faith. What turned that person around?

    I was with an endtime salvation group (not SDA), many, many years ago, who based their salvation on endtime date setting. All dates failed.

    Here are the scriptures that turned me around:

    Jesus said he is the rock, the foundation to build on, not on end time date setting.

    Matthew 7:24-27
    24“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
    26“But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

    End time salvation based on Date Setting is a house of sand!

    Shalom, 🙏
    Keep on trucking (meme)

  3. How comforting it is to know that the LORD and His angels walk with us through our good and bad times. Isa 43:2
    Jesus spent 3.5 years physically with the disciples and He promised to send the Holy Spirit through which He would be with them always. Matt 28:18-20
    Jesus also said: In this world you will have trouble but I have overcome this world and the devil who claims to be its ruler. John 16:33, 11
    My goal in life is to be transformed into His likeness and to bring glory and praise to His name and eventually to live in the world made new with Him. Rom 12:2, Eph 1:4-6,12-14, 2Peter 3:13, Rev 21:3-4
    Eph 1:14NLT The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

    Ellen White tells us - Not until the providences of God are seen in the light of eternity shall we understand what we owe to the care and interposition of His angels. Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men, in the garb of wayfarers. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes; they have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They have thwarted the spoiler's purpose and turned aside the stroke of the destroyer. Ed 304.4 Though the rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked upon them. Human ears have listened to their appeals. In the council hall the court of justice, heavenly messengers have pleaded the cause of the persecuted and oppressed. They have defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have brought wrong and suffering to God's children. To the students in the heavenly school, all this will be unfolded. Ed 305.1 Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angel who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning—what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly co-operation in every work for humanity! Ed 305.2 All the perplexities of life's experience will then be made plain. Where to us have appeared only confusion and disappointment, broken purposes and thwarted plans, will be seen a grand, overruling, victorious purpose, a divine harmony. Ed 305.3
    Education pg 304

  4. Maurice, Larry, Shirley: thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comments for today and not only today. and also sharing precious inspiring scriptures and EGW references.

  5. Jer.29:11 ” 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 a hope and a future.”
    If I place the power of hope in my ability to have hope, I will be weak and easily disappointed when things do not go the way I hoped. But when I place the power of hope in the Word(s) of God and His Faithfulness, I place my hope into His faithful right hand, and He will do according to His unsearchable wisdom.

    In my understanding, because faith and hope are spiritually based, the believer’s hope and faith are operative in the Creator Father’s spirit to mold and direct them to manifest in our life that which is most beneficial for us.
    As I see it, it is not ‘our’ hope and faith which brings about that which we hope for or believe in, but rather the loving, caring, disposition of our heavenly Father to hear us and to meet our needs. He admonishes us to remain faithful in that He is Faithful! Doubt about God’s loving, caring preeminence is what we need to keep at bay at all cost.

    We are in Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus is in the Father; being in Him, our spiritual existence is in the Father as well. Coming to this understanding, we - who believe and follow this path of faith that God’s Word will remain forever - have His assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us, that His plans are for our good. Deut.31:6; Heb.13:5.

    Jesus’ words tell us: Matt.24:35 - ”My words are always true and always here with you. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." (Voice)
    This Truth needs to become firmly rooted in our conscious awareness! Should we feel as if abandoned or forsaken, we hurry back to stay close to the Father’s side, waiting for the fury of the tempest to subside.

  6. There is something of vital importance and significance about the focus of today's lesson that also has very practical application. What do I mean? The thoughts expressed in today's Ellen White quotation are typically rarely talked about or acknowledged within Christian circles - often resulting in those who experience such to feel that somehow they are in the minority and that everyone else has their lives together. And thus the isolation that can be felt at such times is amplified.

    "Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement — days when ... death seems preferable to life."

    Elijah and Job would certainly attest to that. Is there an antidote to this that can be vitally important at those times. Yes, but like anything important in life, it requires practice and training. As the quote goes on to say...

    "...Could we at such times discern with spiritual insight..."

    This is speaking of cultivating something that is not our natural tendency - going beyond what we can see to what is there, but we can't see with our natural and severely limited sight or feel with our 'natural' feelings. What does this cultivation involve?

    1) Personally knowing there is a God who is only ever for you and never against you. This is absolutely vital. As Roman's 8:31 emphasises, if God is for us (which He is and always will be), who can be against us (certainly not God). We have the freedom to be against God, but God will never be against us. God will rather try to 'woo'/draw (but not coerce) us to Him. However, ultimately, God will respect our decision and freedom to depart from Him who alone is the source of life (John 14:6; Matthew 27:37; Romans 1:24,26,28). We can never fall too low for God to reject us - it's not possible. But we can mistakenly/falsely assume that this is the case. And Satan, the masterful liar, deceiver and accuser, will definitely suggest and reinforce those thoughts/feelings to you in your weakest and darkest moments (1 Peter 5:8).

    2) Practicing (frequently) reminding yourself that because God is for us and not against us, God will only ever allow us to experience that which, if we could see what God sees, we would freely choose to experience. I hope you can see what is being suggested...

    "God never leads His children otherwise than they would (freely and authentically) choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory (awesomeness) of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him." (Ministry of Healing 479.2: bracketed amplification mine)

    If you can reflect carefully upon and see what is being suggested, imagine for a moment if, in our communities, we were able to sensitively and responsibly acknowledge and reinforce these principles ongoingly?


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