Definition: The quality of living with certainty in the work of God despite the present circumstances.
Psalm 147:11: “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.”
1 Peter 1:39,3:15 NLT—Praise to God for a Living Hope
(Read the passage slowly a couple of times, taking note of parts that stand out to you personally, and re-read these parts again prayerfully, asking God to speak to you. With whom do you identify in this passage and what message do you sense God has for you? Take time to pray and then re-read the passage, repeating this pattern over and over thoughtfully. Take these thoughts with you throughout the day(s) and look for God at work in you. A more detailed description of this is provided in the introduction of this journal.)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls … Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Consider the Text
(You don’t have to do all the questions. Pick what resonates with you.)
1. What parts of these passages spoke to you?
2. What is meant by the phrase “living hope?”
3. What comes to mind when you think of an inheritance for you in heaven?
4. How is faith related to hope?
5. What are some ways that hope can be present during trials?
6. Do you consider your faith more valuable than gold (or money or whatever)?
7. Describe the hope that comes from having Christ live inside of you.
8. What reasons would you give for the hope that is in you?
9. In what ways are you shielded by God’s power?
10. How can our hope be seen by others? How does it speak to them?
Journal My Response
1. In the Bible hope is spoken of most commonly in the context of trials. Specific trials and afflictions in my life where I need hope are …
2. Some parts of my life where I naturally have hope are …
3. What specific goals would help me achieve a hope-filled life on a consistent basis? What is the first step I should take?
4. Consider something you hoped for in the past. Did it happen? If not, what did you do?
5. How do gratitude and joy (from the previous weeks) influence hope for me?
6. Everyone feels hopelessness at times; how can I rely on Christ living in me to give hope?
7. How can I harness the support of others to make hope more consistent in my life?
8. How can this “inheritance that can never perish, spoil, and fade” bring hope to my life today?
9. How would I describe this hope to others?
10. Dear God, give me hope that comes from you living within me in the following ways…
2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 15:4
- Book: Hope Again (When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade), by Charles R. Swindoll (Call No. 248.86)
- Book: Holy Wild, by Mark Buchanan (Call No. 234.2)
- Book: Choosing To See, by Mary Beth Chapman (Call No. 920.73)
- Movie: Soul Surfer – The Incredible True Story of Bethany Hamilton (Westheights Library, DVD. Note: rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material)
- Movie: Faith Like Potatoes (Westheights Library, DVD. Note: rated PG for thematic material, an accident scene, language)
- Movie: Shawshank Redemption. (Note: rated R)
- Song: My Hope, by Matt Redman (see video on our blog)
- Song: Jesus Saves, by Tim Hughes (see video on our blog)
- Consider visiting a House Church. To connect with a leader, see the listing in the Westheights Weekly Sunday bulletin.
When Hope Needs a Boost
(What’s needed: a small gift bag, note paper and a 4-hole button for each family member, a Bible, a can of clear pop, a glass tumbler)
I hope the Giants win. I hope I can land this job. I hope I get an iPad for my birthday. I hope that’s packing snow! All day long we live in anticipation…We hope!…We expect that a good thing might be right around the corner, even though it’s quite possible that it may not.
(Give each family member a sheet of note paper and have him/her write or draw about one thing that he/she hopes for. “I hope….” It can be anything, big or small. Give each person a turn to tell about what he/she wrote or drew, and drop the paper into the gift bag.)
Hope is like a present from God to all of us…He’s made us to see what’s possible, and to look forward to it. Your favourite team just might win. You might get the job. You might even get an iPad. Run outside! It might be packing snow…
And here’s what’s really exciting: As we trust God, who knows everything and can do anything, the gift—hope—gets even better! Have you ever noticed that we mostly base our hopes on what will probably happen, or at the very least, on what could possibly happen?…Jesus, in His usual style, takes things to a whole new level. Now what’s in the gift bag is not just natural, regular, human hope, but a supernatural hope. It’s a hope that happens when you know a good thing probably isn’t going to happen. In fact, maybe things are so bad that a good thing is really just impossible. I mean really impossible. Like, not possible at all.
(Read any or all of the following Bible stories together. (For children under 10, use an NIrV or paraphrased Bible, if you have one.) In each story, what bad thing has happened? Is it possible for the people to fix the bad thing and make it right? What impossible thing does God do?
2 Kings 6:8-19, Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 27:57-60, 28:1-10)
And what about our own stories? When do things seem impossible to fix? Our friends, co-workers or classmates gang up on us, our work seems way too hard, our parents aren’t getting along, we make embarrassing mistakes, we don’t have the money for things we need, we or someone we love gets sick…
We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us lose hope. Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) Because we have hope…Hope in Jesus, who knows what we’re going through…Jesus knows what it feels like to have “had enough”! He was completely overwhelmed as He thought about how He would suffer; he cried when he saw others suffer. He even knows what it’s like to feel like things are so bad that God must have left Him alone…
Our gift is a superHope that there is a plan that we don’t always understand, that God is in control and He’s doing something really big—something we can’t see right now—and that God has the power to do something amazing at the perfect moment. SuperHope comes when we remind ourselves of who God is and what God has done. We read our Bibles, as you just did. We hear true stories of God doing the impossible. (Do you have any to tell each other? Go ahead!)
(Pour a clear, carbonated beverage into a cup. Have family members each drop a button into the pop. Watch closely as the bubbles attach themselves to the buttons…And as the buttons rise to the surface! Tap the cup to dislodge the gas bubbles so the buttons will sink, and rise again.)
When bad things—impossible things—get us down, we feel like we’re sinking…Reminding ourselves and each other about who God is and what He can do is like giving ourselves a bubble boost! SuperHope rises up in us, and we see things in a new way…