Looking to 2021 with Hope

Here we are again, facing a new year. Most people are bidding “good riddance” to 2020 and looking to the new year with hope. Somehow I don’t think 12:00 am of January 1 is going to suddenly make everything better. Yet, it’s a beautiful word: HOPE.

I mean, I get it. We look at a new year and we see its potential and possibilities and we hope to finally get it right. Whatever it is.

Yet we know that hope outside of the Lord is shallow and fleeting. Our only true hope, our blessed hope, is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this hope that will carry us through whatever the new year may bring. It is what carried many of us through 2020. Hope in the Lord is what brings the peace that surpasses all understanding. You see, this hope is not wishful thinking, rather it is the blessed assurance of to Whom we belong. For the child of God, those who are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, we know that whatever may come- His will be done- and we rest safely within His shadow. This is not to say that we will not have difficult times, for that is the human experience, but we look to Him for help and strength and He has His hands upon us. It is then when He carries us.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5 NKJV

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NKJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
I Peter 1:3 NKJV

There are dozens more verses offering hope.

Perhaps this is the year our blessed hope is realized and we see Him face to face. Until then, trust Him, be watchful, and occupy.

Maranatha

You Are Not Enslaved to Your Past- John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/you-are-not-enslaved-to-your-past

Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tender-hearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person no matter what your background has been.

The Bible assumes that God is the decisive factor in making us what we should be. With wonderful bluntness the Bible says, “Put away malice and be tenderhearted.” It does not say, “If you can . . . ” Or: “If your parents were tender-hearted to you . . . ” Or: “If you weren’t terribly wronged or abused . . . ” It says, “Be tender-hearted.”

This is wonderfully freeing. It frees us from the terrible fatalism that says change is impossible. It frees us from mechanistic views that make our backgrounds our destinies.

If I were in prison and Jesus walked into my cell and said, “Leave this place tonight,” I might be stunned, but if I trusted his goodness and power, I would feel a rush of hope that freedom is possible. If he commands it, he can accomplish it.

If it is night and the storm is raging and the waves are breaking high over the pier, and the Lord comes to me and says, “Set sail tomorrow morning,” there is a burst of hope in the dark. He is God. He knows what he is doing. His commands are not throw-away words.

His commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other [that’s the command], just as God in Christ also has forgiven you [that’s the life-changing truth]. Therefore be imitators of God [command], as beloved children [life-changing truth]; and walk in love [command], just as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma [life-changing truth]” (Ephesians 4:32–5:2).

There is life-changing power in the truths of this text. Ponder them with me as you pray for that power to change you.

1. God adopted us as his children.

We have a new Father and a new family. This breaks the fatalistic forces of our “family of origin.” “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, he who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).

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