All posts in “HOPE”

HOPE -JONATHAN FITZGERALD

HOPE

JONATHAN FITZGERALD

II Corinthians 5:8

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

We have all seen the paintings of heaven consisting of people in white robes, sitting on clouds, strumming on a harp. Is this what Christians have to look forward to? Won’t it be so boring? And an even better question is who even wants to play a harp? Growing up, I did not want to go to heaven. I was so scared to die because I thought all there was waiting for me was endless singing, which is so dull.

But it won’t be like that at all. We have bought so much into this watered down, weird view of heaven from movies, paintings, and even the heaven visitation books, that we don’t even desire it anymore. But these are lies, and I believe it is an effective tool of the enemy. If he can get us to desire our earthly existence more than heaven then we lose our heavenly mindset and lose sight of what matters most.

The truth is, heaven will be unlike anything we, or our culture, can ever come close to dreaming up. It is a place devoid of sin, sadness and pain, a place where we will be in the presence of God. His future for us is the definition of perfection, it isn’t sitting on clouds plunking away on a goofy instrument–though if you would like to sit and play a harp I’m sure you will be able to do that too. We will have new bodies, there will be a new creation, and we will be reunited with our loved ones. It will be, well, heaven. Not to mention the best part, living with our Creator.

So don’t fear the future and don’t lose sight of heaven; otherwise, you will live your life with both feet planted firmly on earth, which fades more and more each day. Keep your eyes on Jesus and his promises and you will find yourself living more than ever before.

QUESTION 1. What is your view of heaven? Has it been skewed by what you read and watch?
QUESTION 2. What does the Bible say about heaven? Look it up; there is nothing there about hanging out on puffy clouds.
CHALLENGE: If you are uncertain or even fearful about heaven, look to God’s word and what he says about our future. Don’t look to earthly books about spending 23 minutes in heaven, or 15 minutes or whatever it may be. Instead, look only to Jesus and his promises.

HOPE -HILLARY KAISER

HOPE

HILLARY KAISER

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It has been said the greatest enemy to hope is forgetting the promises of Jesus. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve felt completely hopeless. I didn’t think I would pass a certain class, I wasn’t getting into the college I wanted, I continually got rejected for jobs, the list could go on and on. It is so easy to fall into hopelessness when life isn’t going your way.

But we must remember the promises of Jesus if we want to beat the enemy. If we believe the lies of hopelessness then the enemy wins and we instantly become ineffective in God’s kingdom. But God tells us throughout the Bible that he has a perfect and beautiful plan for our lives. He wants you to succeed and to give you hope, but so often we buy into the lie that we aren’t good enough and then all our God-given hope goes right out the window.

How do we fight hopelessness? Each person may need a different approach; but for me, I speak verses of hope over my life such as Psalm 3:2-6, I Cor. 15:54-58, and Rom. 5:2-5. I also talk with God and ask him to give me hope. Heavenly hope is so much more solid and life-giving than the earthly hope we chase which ebbs and flows with our moods and circumstances. Seek godly hope and know that even when life seems hopeless He still has a wonderful plan for you.

QUESTION 1. What do you do when life starts to seem hopeless? Do you continue to fight or do you roll over and let it take you over?
QUESTION 2. What kind of plan can you put into place to fight hopelessness?
CHALLENGE: Remember the promises of God. Have a plan of action to follow the next time hopelessness rears its ugly head.

HOPE -CHARLY HERNANDEZ

HOPE

CHARLY HERNANDEZ

Psalm 39:7 But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Many people throughout history have placed their hope in Jesus Christ for their salvation, but when it came to placing their hope in him for their daily circumstances they tended to place their hope in their own abilities rather than God’s. Why this happens varies from person to person, but one underlying thread interweaves within the fabric of self-hope, and that is pride. People don’t want their dirty laundry out where others can see it. They want to portray a masked, or fake, image to others rather than let anyone know that they hurt or are struggling inside. It’s called being fake and it’s often times what unbelievers hate most about Christians. God wants us to place our hope in him and he wants to use the church to care for and disciple each other. The more real we are towards others and God, the more God can work to transform our lives and fill us with the joy we were always meant to have. We need to stay real, hope in the Lord and let God transform our lives!

QUESTION 1. Are you creating a false image towards others?
QUESTION 2. Is your pride keeping you from experiencing real healing and joy in your life?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to hope in the Lord and not in any false image you’ve created. Allow the people God has placed in your life to help disciple you and let God transform your life today!

HOPE -MIKAELA LODAHL

HOPE

MIKAELA LODAHL

Hebrews 6:19

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

It is so easy for us to look at other people and judge. Maybe it’s the homeless man who is always asking for money yet carries around a bottle of liquor in a paper bag. Or maybe it’s a bully at your school who acts all arrogant but in reality is being abused at home and is super insecure. We pass judgment on people without knowing what’s really going on in their lives and what God might be doing. Perhaps He wants you to trust that He is working in their lives, even when it doesn’t look like it, and just wants you to be Jesus to them.

When faced with difficult persons, we need to continually put our hope in God. We may not see any change happen right away, but every time you show them love you are planting seeds in their lives. We may not even see a change in the short time that they are in our lives. But perhaps years down the road you may run into them and they will thank you for showing them kindness and love all those years ago. It’s happened to me and I’ve seen it happen with numerous others. We can’t love difficult people on our own, but if we put our hope in God then he will use us to do amazing things in the lives of others.

QUESTION 1. Why is it so hard to love difficult people or people who won’t love you back?
QUESTION 2. Who do you have in your life right now that is hard to love? Identify all of them and make a list.
CHALLENGE: Keep putting your hope in God and in how God works in people, because God can do incredible things in their lives when we least expect it. Go out and love the seemingly unlovable.

HOPE -CASSIE WICOFF

HOPE

CASSIE WICOFF

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

What are the things that you hope for the most in life? For many, it is getting into the right college, finding a great job, or finding the right person to share life with. It could really be anything at all. The problem is that once you actually attain any of these things that you hoped for, the things you thought would bring fulfillment, you just end up questioning, “Is this all there is?” It’s not that any of these things you placed your hope in were necessarily bad, but rather that without Jesus as your main hope, all these things you placed your hope in actually just leave you, well, hopeless. Jesus tells us to seek God’s Kingdom and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). When you seek God and place your hope in him first, that’s when you will realize that all these other things you placed your hope in will fade away. If they happen, it’s just extra frosting on an already delicious desert!

QUESTION 1. What are some things that you have placed your hope in only to be let down?
QUESTION 2. In what areas in your life has your main hope, Jesus, been replaced by other people, places or things?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to make Jesus your 1st and primary hope and enjoy all the extra frosting that comes with it.

HOPE -CONNOR CIPPOLA

HOPE

CONNNOR CIPPOLA

Luke 15:9-10

“And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Have you ever lost something and looked everywhere you could think of to find it again? It can be quite the stressful process. You retrace your steps, clean out every corner of each room, search top to bottom in any spot that item could’ve possibly disappeared to. The most stressful truth about losing something, for me, is the fact that there is literally only one spot a missing item could be. Unless you look in that specific spot, even if you have looked everywhere else, you are still not going to find it. This drives me crazy!

The stories of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son are popular parables that give us a taste of the extent God will go in order to bring us closer to him. He throws a big party over each person who decides to turn his or her heart to Him.

When you lose something, there is only one place you can find it. The same is true about you. When God is searching for his kids, he isn’t interested in substitutes or alternatives. What He is looking for in you, He can only find in you! He created you with a unique gift mix, personality, and story. He will not stop trying to show you how valuable you are in His eyes. You are important to God! He created you for a unique purpose and He doesn’t want anyone else to fill your space for that role!

QUESTION 1. What are you looking for in life right now? Where have you been looking for it?
QUESTION 2. How do you feel when you hear that God is searching for you? Why?
CHALLENGE: Let yourself be found by the God who will not stop looking for you! Be honest with Him about what has been keeping you in hiding.

STORY OF HOPE -PASTOR JAY FISCHER

STORY OF HOPE

PASTOR JAY FISCHER

It was about 30 – 45 minutes, then her heart stopped. The doctors did all they could do, but on December 5th 2001 two parents heard the words that would have shot like knives through any parent’s heart. Their daughter was dead.

Imagine the shock, knowing that there was nothing else they could do to save their little baby. There was nothing in the world that they could have done to change the circumstances.

Imagine the questions you would have for God; questions like, why did you allow this to happen, why didn’t you save our child, what did such a little baby do to deserve such a fate.

The Parents would have given their own lives for their child, but the situation was totally out of their hands. There is good news though, that is, through all the questions and doubts they kept their faith and hope in God. The parents quickly realized that they may never get the answers to the questions they were searching for, but at the end of the day, they could rely on God’s promise of hope.

Romans 8:28a And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.

Because of their hope, faith and love for God, this couple was able to make it through the most trying times of their lives. God comforted them when they needed him most! Because of their experience, God now uses both of them to reach out to many people who suffer loss. God is doing amazing things through both of them, and he can do it through you, too!

God uses those who love him.

So remember, whatever troubles you go through, or have gone through in life, God will be there to comfort all those who truly love him, and that’s a promise!

QUESTION 1. What have you gone through in your life that has caused you to struggle in life, and possibly even question, or doubt?
QUESTION 2. Can you think about someone you may know that is going through a similar struggle as you in life and come up with some creative ways to comfort and pray for them?
CHALLENGE: Pray for God to give you opportunities to tell your story! Comfort someone else with the faith, hope and love that you have in Christ today!

HOPE -DEVIN HILL

HOPE

DEVIN HILL

Psalm 33:11

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

 It is so easy to forget about God and his love for you because he isn’t physically right next to you. He can’t give you a hug when things get hard or say He loves you out loud when you start to doubt. Because of that, we run to other people, drugs, alcohol, parties, and sex, trying to find that love we so desperately crave, or at least numb the pain of not feeling it. Doing this is never good, it never works out, and we all know it.

God has a wonderful, perfect, and beautiful plan for your life. He loves you and wants you to succeed even when it seems like He isn’t there. God is always there; it’s we who put up the wall and ignore him. Even if there has been a time that you’ve walked away from God and pursued the world, he still loves you and is waiting for you to come running back to him. He is never done with you.

David tells us in the Psalms that God’s plan stands firm forever. No matter how far you run from God, his plan is still there and his heart for you will never fade. So next time you start to feel like God doesn’t love you and you’re tempted to pursue the love of the world, saturate yourself in God’s love and truth. Read his word, talk with him and tell him what you’re feeling, listen to worship songs that proclaim how great God’s love is. I promise that if you bask in God’s love and truth, those feelings of loneliness or pain will quickly disappear.

QUESTION 1. Where are you looking for love? In the world or from God, the creator of love?
QUESTION 2. Do you understand and know that God always has and always will love you?
CHALLENGE: Find your hope and love in God by following the plan I talked about above. The difference you’ll notice in your life will be astounding.
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