Romans 8:24-25: “For in hope, we were saved.”
There is no better time than now during this season of Christ’s birth to talk about hope. Look where we are today – those of us with and those of us without hope.
For those who are seeing little reason to hope in some area of life, I would like to share some true stories with you. I am sure someone who reads this message today is in this situation. I know someone is, because I know how God works. I know about Divine appointments; they are ready to receive the help of God in this direct form of encouragement.
After his first screen test in 1933, Fred Astaire saw this memo from the casting director: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little, but not too well.” Fred Astaire kept that memo over his fireplace for the rest of his life.
Think about that. Have you ever had someone say something about you that just wasn’t true?
There are two types of people, and both of these types are within each of us.
First, there is the type of person who would read that memo, throw up their hands and say, “What’s the use? It’s not worth it. I tried, but I failed.” The other type of person is one who holds onto hope, knows God, and with a smile says: “This is not true. I’m going to allow the spiritual miracle to come through me.” And it does.
It is perhaps the saddest thing in the world; there are the millions of people in our world who have allowed some untruth to stop their lives. But there are also millions and millions who have laughed in the face of adversity, and through their hope they were saved. Nothing stopped them.
An expert once said of Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Louisa May Alcott (the author of the book Little Women) was encouraged to find work as a servant or a seamstress by her family. They told her she could not write, but she held on. There are hundreds of stories just like this in our history.
There is a spiritual spark inside each of us. God is with you and each of us NOW. When your awareness of God is fully within you, you and God can do the impossible.
God needs you. You don’t often think about that, do you?
You think you need God, especially when you are facing some adversity. You think, “Oh God, if you would only come close and help me through this, I could make it.” But in your greatest need, your greatest hour of desperation, God needs you.
For God to produce a miracle through you, God has to come through you. Through your free-will, you have to say, “Dear, wonderful God, I’m ready. I consent. I am willing to have You come through and work Your power in me and through me.”
When you do this, everything changes. First there is a change in your attitude. It may be subtle at first, but you begin to realize that you are uplifted a bit. You begin to realize you are not quite as desperate or depressed as you were. You begin to see things that you did not see before. A wonderful spiritual magic is working through you and in you, because God is with you.
Depending on how far down you are, it may take a little time, but as you persist, you begin to have hope. You begin to see the light of day—the light in the darkness—and everything begins to change wonderfully.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri. They told him he could not write or draw. Walt Disney went bankrupt three times.
What was different in Walt Disney? Why didn’t he give up? He could have said, “I’ve gone bankrupt three times while trying to make this idea work. Now I’m going to work as a plumber.” Why did he keep on going? What was the spiritual spark in Walt Disney that is different from the common person?
Could it be God? Yes, IT IS God. Could it be hope? Yes, IT IS hope. A human’s hope + God = success!
Could it be that the center of every thought inside of him knew that he was going to produce wonderful things? He had a God-given power to go past the discouragement—he kept on going. Through his persistence, he produced miracles in his life. You must also.
Louis Pasteur was a mediocre pupil at best. He was ranked 15th out of 22 in chemistry. He was failing. But something inside of him told him that greatness could come through him.
Isaac Newton did very poorly in school, but something gave him a hope he held onto. He knew he could produce wonderful miracles.
Henry Ford failed and went broke five different times, but he held onto hope.
Hope, inside of you, is a spiritual, and wonderful asset. We have to ask ourselves what are we seeing with our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. What do we see about a certain situation this in our own lives? Can we bring God into it? Are we willing to accept God and consent to God’s good in this situation?
When we are looking for trouble, we see only trouble. We have to broaden our vision by opening up our awareness of God, and accepting the very best for us. When we do this, the very best will come.
The other day someone said, “I was driving to work today and I noticed a monster in my rear-view mirror. Then I noticed it was me.” If there are monsters in our lives, we have to assume the responsibilities for those monsters, and ask God’s help to bring good into our lives again.
It is an inner responsibly of ours.
There once was a man who wandered throughout the world, seeking his deepest desire. He wandered from one city to another, from one realm to another, looking for fulfillment and happiness. But in all his wanderings, he never reached it.
Finally, one day, he was tired of his search, so he sat down under a great tree at the foot of a mountain. What he did not know was, that this was the great “Wish-Fulfilling Tree.” Whatever one wishes for when seated underneath it, will immediately become so.
As he rested in his weariness, he thought to himself: “What a beautiful spot this is. I wish I had a home here.” Instantly, before his eyes, a beautiful home appeared. Surprised and delighted, he thought further: “If only I had a partner to be here with me, my happiness would then be complete.” In a moment, a beautiful partner appeared calling him husband.
He thought, “First, I am hungry. I wish there was food to eat.” Immediately a banquet table appeared, covered with every kind of food and drink. The man sat down and began to feast. But part way through the meal, still feeling quite tired, he thought: “I wish I had help to serve me the rest of this food.” Immediately, a waiter appeared. Finishing the meal, the man sat back to lean against this wonderful tree.
He started to reflect. “How amazing it is,” he thought, “that everything I wish has come true. There is some mysterious force about this tree. I wonder if there is a demon who lives in it.” No sooner than he thought about this, a great demon appeared. “Oh my,” he thought, “this demon will probably eat me up.” And that is exactly what happened.
How fickle we, as a human race, are. We start with a belief that is to give hope to humanity. Then, sometime, someplace (probably forgotten now) WE create things to worry about in our lives. We think all this is just too good; there has to be something wrong in this good. We create for ourselves worry and fear to bring an imagined bad into our lives.
Then we pray in a strange way. We pray as if God is separate and far from us, and the thing we are worrying about is always close to us, waiting to get us when we are not looking. Then, we manifest those through our own wrong thinking.
If you are dwelling on bad things, what you fear the most may come upon you. In a way the worrier attracts it, with the worry of being the dominant thought in the mind the worrier literally becomes the worry.
If we are using our faith in the right way, we are bringing the best of God’s good into our daily life.
A negative person might say. . . I’m positive that my business is at a dead end. There is no way we can possibly make this work.” They are actually thinking, wishing, and praying that there is NO WAY good can come about, and that disaster is inevitable.
How much better to think: “Wait. I’m not alone. God is not far off; God’s help is available to me at this moment. I have the ability to hope for the best.”
This is not a blind hope or a crazy imagining. The other is blind and a crazy imagining. I have the power because God gives the power in and through me to hope for the best. No matter how tangled the situation is now, I have the ability of hope because I have God. The very best of religion is centered on one word: hope.
Hope stands for: Human Optimistic Positive Empowerment!
God the good is present in every area of your life, and in all the situations you face this day.
As we embark on this adventure, called your life journey, it is right that we have hope first as the foundation for our belief; that we know without a doubt that God is going to work in and through our lives.
“For in hope we are saved. Now hope is that seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” [Romans 8:24-25].
Hope and faith are brothers and sisters. We are hoping for that which we do not see in our lives right now. Although we cannot see it with our eyes, we are hoping that our life led by Jesus Christ and God will be better very soon. Because of our foundation of faith, we know that a better life WILL constantly be manifesting in and through us. Hope has a magnetic spiritual quality to attract to us what we are hoping for.
I’d like to share a quote with you from Julian Huxley:
“I recall the story of the philosopher and the theologian. The two were engaged in a dispute, and the theologian used an old quip about a philosopher resembling a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that wasn’t there. “That may be,” said the philosopher, “but a theologian would have found it.”
With our human mind using the philosophy of our own lives, we often think there is no way it can be found; that what we are hoping for is craziness because we’ve tried and tried before, and didn’t succeed. How can it happen now? I’ll tell you how something miraculous can happen now, because if you are with God in your full awareness – everything has changed!
As we get older in mind, we get wiser in human mind, as we connect
ourselves with God, we realize that which we see with human eyes is but limited human vision.
We pray in the Jesus Christ way – knowing, firmly grounded in hope, that we can have that for which we are praying. When we are starting to receive our good, we do not bring worry and fear into it. We do not think, “Things have changed, but it won’t last. That is not true.
Wonders upon God’s wonders will happen. But in order for it to happen, you and I have to see it in faith and hope. Do you know why? Because we have changed. This world is a projection of our concept of our life. It is what we are holding inside. We can change. And when we do change, we create a change in every aspect of our life.
I want to share the following words, which were written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey in 1100 A.D.
“When I was young and free, my imagination had no limits. I dreamed of changing the world.
“As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sight somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable.
“As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family – those closest to me. But, alas, they would have none of it.
“And now, as I lie here on my deathbed, I suddenly realize if only I had changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would have then been able to better my country. And who knows, I might even have changed the world.”
It all begins with you. In this moment of time in your life, what are you hoping for? What do you believe about you? What can you accomplish with your life?
There are reasons for hope, because any reasoning person can find faith in something bigger than themselves, and in that, through their spirituality, find God.
Let us pray:
Dear God, I may not know the way to pray for this, but I know You know every need of mine. I know You feel my willingness. I am very willing to become a hopeful, God-centered, faith-filled person. I am willing to see the best and desire the best. I have a Divine prayer today that You will manifest in my life, and You will help cleanse my mind and heart of old patterns of thinking that have kept me from my good. I pray that you open my mind and help me feel anew Your hand taking my hand and pulling me through. I have hope because I have You, and You are the answer to my hope because You have me.
Together we are a team, dear God.
Together we are victory, dear God.
Together we are accomplishment, dear God.
Together we are all that a good life is.
Hope, be reborn in me this day. Thank You, dear God.
In Jesus Christ’s name . . . Amen.