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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hebrews 6:19

"We Have This Hope"

Message summary: Hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings. God's relationship with us always involves faith, and active faith in Him will always lead to hope. What richness we find in the daily Scripture portion, "We have this hope".

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"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19). 

Today we begin a three-part series based on the daily verse. It has long been a favorite Scripture verse for many but for 2018 we want to make it our
personal theme verse. So our brief consideration of this verse will span the ending of 2017 and usher in the new year of 2018.

I first considered the concept of a personal annual verse shortly after moving to Lancaster County. We recall when Earl Martin, an elderly preacher, stood up in church in early January 2003 and shared his theme verse for the coming year
, "The joy of the Lord is my strength" from Nehemiah 8:9. That's a great spiritual perspective to have in one's youth or senior years, as was the case for Earl.

That summer Earl went to be with the Lord and this verse was a backdrop for the theme of his funeral which, in addition to the inspiration of the written Holy Word, added special personal meaning.

Today let us consider just the four words the text begins with, "We have this hope". For those who may feel they have trouble memorizing we encourage you to just begin with these four words. Throughout the night I mulled this phrase over and over in my mind. It's packed with present factual assurance rather than the usual sense of the word as an optimistic possible outcome (if you understand what I mean).

Let us reflect on three blessings concerning our hope in Christ
(though there are many more):

1) Our hope in Christ is a saving hope. "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). This is expressed in the great hymn classic, "The Solid Rock":

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

2) Our hope in Christ is a constant hope. The Psalmist wrote, "My hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:5). Our spiritual hope in Christ doesn't diminish or fluctuate due to the vagaries of life. "Where morning dawns and evening fades You call forth songs of joy" (Psalm 65:8). This verse is the basis of a Paul Baloche song many of us have sung titled "Your Name".

3) Our hope in Christ is a strength-renewing hope. "Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). This is the great passage that speaks of mounting up with wings like eagles. The struggles and disappointments of life can be wearying and drain us of hope. If we go forth in our own strength we will soon exhaust our source of joyful hope and fail miserably. But when our hearts, filled with hope, are mounted in heaven we will be carried above the difficulties, and be stronger in our faith and in our firm resolve to remain faithful.

Indeed hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings. God's relationship with us always involves faith, and active faith in Him will always lead to hope. When our faith in God is weak, inactive or non-existent we will either have no hope or misplaced hope. Yet what firm assurance we find in the daily Scripture portion, "We have this hope".

Surely some of you today are facing very trying circumstances as this year ends. As we prepare this message we consider those in our own sphere of influence and pray for them. The ending of a year does not wipe out the challenges, trials, and losses experienced over the past 365 days. Some of those circumstances will carry over into the New Year, so we must cling tightly to the hope we have in Christ for that which we've already dealt with and for that which is yet to come in the coming year. 

Today we encourage you to focus on the hope we have in Christ as we conclude our devotional with this thought-provoking saying: "Man's way leads to a hopeless end, but God's way leads to an endless hope." Amen!!!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, our hope is steadfast and sure as we trust in You for everything we have need of, most importantly, our salvation through Christ. We are grateful for Your divine presence and daily provision as we meet the challenges of each new day and each new year. Our hope does not dwindle due to these challenges, for we depend not on our own strength, wisdom, or standing with man. Instead we depend on the One who provides us with hope that is ever secure, constant, and strengthening. In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Some further thoughts on today's text:

1) "We": The writer of Hebrews seems to include his readers in the promises and challenges he issues such as the "let us" expressions found throughout the book. This is so meaningful and does not come across preachy but rather "I am in this with you"; "We are in this together". I tried to preach this way in my pastoral role and now since Brooksyne and I share in writing these messages together you will notice that we continually use "we"! Now that not only means just the two of us, but in most instances it includes you as well.

2) "Have": Not "had" (past tense) or "will have" (future tense) but "have" (present tense)!

3) "This hope": goes back to a phrase in the previous verse which states, "we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged". Thank God for the hope that is set before us!

We encourage our readers to consider having a personal theme verse for 2018!

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Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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Thank you

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Hope Is Built"  Video 
Norton Hall Band

"Your Name"  Video  Phillips, Craig & Dean

"Even If
"  Video  MercyMe

"Oh My Soul"  Video 
Casting Crowns

"Fall On My Knees"  Video  The Browders 

"Open Hands"  Video  Laura Story

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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