In October I wrote an article looking at the living hope we have in Jesus from 1 Peter 1. As we encounter and engage with people in various seasons in their faith and in their lives, God’s mercy and power enables us to speak words of hope. Even if you don’t get time to read Hope-filled Words: Learning to Speak Words of Hope to Others (Part 1). please read 1 Peter 1: 3-7!
If it is true that we cannot take people beyond where we have been, then hope found in Christ needs to be true for ourselves before we will have the reflex to share it with others. Like our families, friends, and neighbours, we are in desperate need of hope. Even as Christian women, pursuing the Lord some days or seasons can be dry of hope wherein we long for just a drop of encouragement to replenish our strength. Certainly reading our Bibles and praying regularly are tools to help us abide in Jesus and remember our hope. Thankfully the extent of our hope is not limited to our own ability to study God’s Word and pray! If that were the case my hope would ebb and flow with the instability of my resolve, emotions, and circumstances as the tide washes away a sandcastle. In all of our attempts to cling to Jesus, may we first respond to His flood of grace freely extended to us. Would it be that we are receptive to the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives and allow the hopeful message of the Gospel to flow in our minds and drench our hearts.
Lord, we need your help to be women of hope!
“Finally, [sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
I would like to give some practical suggestions for how to speak hope into your own heart and mind. To name just three, listening to music, visual cues, and repeating the Gospel have personally encouraged me to fill my bucket with hope.
I am grateful for the many gifted songwriters and musicians who have penned beautiful, hope-filled songs and put Scripture to music. I love turning on music as a way to draw my attention to Christ and glorify God. Check out the artists Andrew Peterson and CityAlight if you are looking for solid, Scripture-based songs.
In our home we have a scattering of visual art or verses that prompt us to think on Jesus. Maybe you are doing this already or can think of phrases or art you could display to focus your attention on hope. Posting Bible verses to encourage or challenge you is a direct way to give yourself the opportunity to meditate on the Lord.
By way of example, God turned something very ordinary in our home into a spiritual inspiration:
A few years ago I bought this little “menu” sign that sits on a shelf above the kitchen table. The slate was blank for the longest time because I would rather have it empty than outdated! This spring, when COVID isolating was widespread, to my surprise, when I was not looking, my husband had written BREAD OF LIFE on the menu sign. Talk about a statement of hope! His writing made us smile because it was punny and it was a sign I would NEVER have to change! That little décor piece encouraged me greatly while my children and I were spending everyday at home. On the mornings when my heart was singing I was reminded to thank God for His provision found in the Son. Still, when I see that plaque in the afternoons when my heart and body are weary or discouraged, God graciously gives me a simple opportunity to turn to Him for strength and joy. Jesus is indeed my daily nourishment and sustenance. I am confident you can be creative to use your home, vehicle, or desk at work as spaces that assist you in speaking hope to yourself and even others.
When I am disheartened, battling sin, or mourning the effects of sin I am learning to discipline my mind to, once again, recount the Gospel to myself. The good news of Jesus is not a new story, but it is powerful. As Scripture itself says, speaking the Word is profitable for “training in righteousness, that the [wo]man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Perhaps the season you find yourself in has not looked as hopeful as you would like or expected. Take heart, dear sister! When your faith is as small as a mustard seed and you are not sure you have hope for others, let alone yourself, in God’s mercy and power you can take steps to deeper trust in the Lord. I am realizing just how much hope is a battle of the mind. Peter communicated this too when he wrote “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
In God’s strength you can experience greater hope than you have known before.
Thank you, Lord, for the hope we have in Jesus. Help us to recall your kindness and draw power from our living hope. We anticipate the day when our hope will be fully realized and satisfied! In Jesus’ name. Amen!
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