Hope That Perseveres

by Carolyn Hope

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Romans 4:18)

Abraham’s story is a very beautiful picture of hope. This man was 75 years old and had no children. His wife Sarah was 65, far too old to produce a child. Still, it was at this time that God began promising Abraham an heir of his own. In one instance He appeared before Abraham and declared that he would have descendants too numerous to count (see Genesis 15:5). Abraham believed God’s promise, a promise that was outrageous in the natural but certain in the spiritual. Then for 25 years, he waited. He waited, and waited, and waited. He did not, however, in his waiting forget. He didn’t put the promise to the side or set it on the shelf. Abraham kept hoping, and his hope was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac when she was 90 years old (Abraham was 100!), beginning the lineage of the Israelites, a people and nation that has stood for thousands of years.

Hope is not passive. Hope is active. It perseveres through every trial, every circumstance, and every year. Hope refuses to give up, even when all the odds are stacked against it. When all is hopeless, hope remains. Those who hold onto hope and will not let go will receive their promises. Relentless hope in the Lord always leads to fulfillment.

Wherever you are, there is hope for you. There are promises from God for your life, and they will come to pass. It may take weeks, months, or years of waiting, persistent hope, but if you will refuse to believe anything less than what God has said, you will receive what you are hoping for. God’s Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11) and always proves true (2 Samuel 22:31 and Proverbs 30:5). Keep hoping today, as Abraham did. Don’t put your promises on the shelf or pretend they aren’t important. Allow your heart to hope, Dear One.

One of the ways you can persevere in your hope is to pray over your hopes and dreams. Read the Scriptures and remind yourself of the Lord’s promises. As you pray and stand on the Word, you are adding fuel to the fire of hope, strengthening it to withstand the winds and rains that come against it. The world we live in is full of discouragement, and there are many times when it seems too hard to hope. If you’ll be diligent and keep hoping, you will get what you asked for. Don’t lose your hope, Child of God. It’s a precious light in the darkness around us.

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Hope That Satisfies

by Carolyn Hope

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” When we hope for something and it doesn’t happen, it crushes our hearts. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world with broken people, and one of the consequences of that is broken hope. Your dad or mom promises to come see your sports game or performance in a play and then doesn’t show. Your best friend says he’ll help you study for a test but bails last minute. These are only two of many examples. Over time, such painful encounters chip away at our souls, until finally our trust is shattered and our hope destroyed.

God’s hope is better than our experiences. He has a hope that does not and will not disappoint us. When He gives a word, He keeps it. When He makes a promise, He honors it. He is never absent, nor does He quit on you or change His mind. Jesus doesn’t make a commitment to you and then leave you when something ‘better’ comes up. No, son or daughter; He wouldn’t miss it (your game, your recital, your life) for the world!

You have been given a hope that will be fulfilled. Don’t be afraid. You can trust your Father to do what He says He’ll do. If your hope has been shattered by the world, or by the people you love, don’t fret. Jesus is a Healer. He will heal your heart to hope again, this time in a hope that satisfies.

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Hope Amidst Darkness

by Carolyn Hope

We live in a world that is sadly full of darkness. It seems that everywhere we turn, there are a plethora of reasons to despair. In times like these, it can feel impossible to have any sense of hope.

Perhaps you feel this way. I want you to know that there is a hope that prevails amidst the chaos of a lost world. There is a hope that satisfies, lasts, and dares. This hope comes from Jesus, and it’s a hope that will not fail you.

Hold onto hope. The promises of God are on their way to you. As you wait for them, believe and trust in your Father, who will never let you down. He is the reason we have hope, and what a great reason He is.

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Fruit #9: Self-Control

by Carolyn Hope

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Self-control is the all-encompassing struggle of the soul. The need for self-control comes from the three-part nature of humanity; every person is a spirit with a soul in a body, and there is a battle waging among the three of them. Every human’s body is at odds with his new-born spirit, and his soul (mind, will, and emotions) must decide which voice to listen to. This is where we need self-control.

Proverbs 25:28 tells us, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Self-control is our defense system. Without it, everything will fall apart. Self-control looks temptation in the eye and steadily refuses to give in. It’s the ability to choose what’s right over what you want.

Self-control looks different for every person. To some, self-control means not going into a store with a sale so as to not spend money unnecessarily. For others, self-control is eating a salad instead of pizza. I personally need self-control whenever I go to a bookstore (I am absolutely a book-lover). Self-control will keep you careful in what you watch, wear, eat, say, and do.

One of the greatest tools for growing in self-control is to know what God’s Word says and what your convictions are. Get as much of the Bible in your heart as you can, and it will mold you into a man or woman of discipline. You’ll be able to stand confidently before places and things that once made you weak and remain strong.

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Fruit #8: Gentleness

by Carolyn Hope

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1)

Gentleness may be one of the most misunderstood qualities found in Galatians 5. People often associate a gentle heart with a push-over or a fearful weakling. That’s not what gentleness looks like. Gentleness is actually strong, firm, and influential.

As seen above from Proverbs 15, a word spoken in gentleness “deflects anger.” To deflect means to turn away or aside. Sometimes the impression we’re given of gentleness is that it just takes a beating without fighting back. A more accurate picture would be putting up an impenetrable block. Gentleness protects us from the anger people send at us, and it also sends it another direction.

Gentleness is a paradox of sorts. In choosing not to fight for yourself, you’ll find that you no longer need to fight for yourself. Arguments take two people. If you will humble yourself and not speak (even when you really want to), the fiery discussion or conflict will dissipate. You cannot be gentle without first being strong, for it takes great courage and strength to be still when everything within you wants to protest.

Let the Lord show you His perspective on gentleness, and let Him develop it within your heart. When you choose to be gentle, it will be a great testimony to those around you. Jesus is gentle (see Matthew 11:28-30). He will show you how to be gentle too.

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Fruit #7: Faithfulness

by Carolyn Hope

And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house. (Hebrews 3:1-2)

Here in Hebrews, we see two examples of faithfulness: Jesus and Moses. Jesus was faithful to His Father all his life on earth and remains faithful today. Moses likewise was faithful as a shepherd of the Israelites throughout all their wanderings in the wilderness.

Faithfulness is not an instantaneous attribute. It must be built and developed over time. Being faithful starts with day one, then day two, day three, and so on. In order to be faithful, one must make consistent choices. Faithful people are dependable and reliable; the reason they are so is that again and again, they choose to be there when you need them.

You can be faithful by being consistent and steady. Show up to work on time, every day. Keep your word to people; when you say you’ll do something, do it. Deliver your promises in the time frame you said you would. Faithfulness doesn’t require routine, though it often helps. If you’re struggling to be faithful in a certain area, try setting a specific time each day or each week to do what you need to for that. Be encouraged; you have the power to be faithful within you. Jesus, Whose Name is Faithful and True, will guide you in a life of faithfulness.

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Fruit #6: Goodness

by Carolyn Hope

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

The nature of goodness is harder to understand than some of the other fruits we’ve observed; the reason for this is that we use the term ‘good’ for just about anything. When someone asks us how our vacation was, we say, ‘good.’ When asked how a person is doing or feeling, the most common response is ‘good.’ We are good people who watch good movies, eat good food, and have good days at work.

The Hebrew word for ‘good’ in this passage, and in general, is ‘tuv.’ According to Strong’s Lexicon, it means “good in the widest sense” and can also mean “beauty, gladness, [or] welfare.”

The greatest goodness is God Himself. Exodus 33 recounts an example of this: “The Lord replied to Moses, ‘I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.’ Moses responded, ‘Then show me your glorious presence.’ The Lord replied, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh …’” (verses 17-19). Our Lord walks in goodness, speaks in goodness, and brings His goodness everywhere He goes.

My encouragement to you in growing in goodness is to pursue knowing God. The more you know Him, the more you’ll behave like Him; and as you become more like God, you will be full of goodness. Another way to achieve this is to study the Word. See what it says is good, and then do those things. Creativity is good (see Genesis 1). Companionship is good (see Genesis 2:18). Compassion is good (see Psalm 145:9 and Isaiah 63:7). As you follow after Christ, you will grow in goodness.

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Fruit #5: Kindness

by Carolyn Brucks

“I hope I continue to please you, sir,” she replied. “You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me, even though I am not one of your workers.” (Ruth 2:13)

The short book of Ruth, comprised of only 4 chapters, is full of many instances of kindness. Ruth herself was a character of kindness, taking good care of her mother-in-law, Naomi, even after Naomi’s husband and two sons (one of whom was Ruth’s husband) died. When Naomi took Ruth with her to Israel, God brought Boaz, a very kind man, to watch out for them. He provided for them both, and he protected Ruth. The relationship between Ruth and Boaz was very beautiful, a tender exchange of kindnesses.

There is a gentleness to kindness. In a world of screams, kindness is a whisper, soft and sweet. Like a pleasant breeze, kindness is often unseen, but still effective. Yes, it’s true that kindness can be unappreciated many times. Do not, however, underestimate the power of kindness. Titus 3:4-5 says, “When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Your very salvation is a revelation, a revealing, of God’s kindness toward you. Kindness will move people to do outrageous things and give what is undeserved.

Dare to be kind today. Let your heart be caring and considerate of others. When you see someone has a need, quietly fill it. What you do may seem simple or small, but remember, your kindness is powerful. How can you help someone today?

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Fruit #4: Patience

by Carolyn Hope

Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones. (Proverbs 25:15)

Patience is often underrated, especially among a people or culture that is always hustling and bustling. We live in a world where opportunities can come and go in a flash, and in some ways, the advancement in technology has fostered an impatient atmosphere. We microwave meals, watch TV instantly on our computers, and drive 70 miles per hour on highways.

In such modern realities, patience can be seen as trivial, or even as weakness. “If you wait too long, you’ll miss your chance,” society whispers. “Act quickly before it’s too late!” The reality is that patience is extremely important, and patience is not weakness. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he wrote, “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (1:11). It actually takes strength and the power of God to be patient!

Your patience is powerful. Patience has the ability to persuade people who normally wouldn’t budge. You can live patiently, for Holy Spirit living within you is the most patient one of all. When you follow Him, you will produce patience. Patience is not a feeling, but a conscientious decision. You may feel like screaming on the inside, but you can still choose to act in patience. Keep seeking Jesus, and ask Him to help you. He’ll teach you.

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Fruit #3: Peace

by Carolyn Hope

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1)

In a crazy world full of chaos, it can be a challenge to find peace. Often our first response to the storms that come against us is to panic and cry out for God to get us out of there! There is a peace available to us, however, and that peace comes to us through the Prince of Peace Himself.

When Jesus lived, died, and rose from the grave for us, He made a way for peace to enter our lives. We now have a secure standing before God, and peace is a beautiful by-product of that.

If you find yourself starting to worry or be stressed, remember who you are and Whose you are. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” As you turn your focus to your Father, He will give you a peace that surpasses your understanding (Phil. 4:7). Reach out and take hold of the peace that is already yours.

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