Phil Fischer with Jesus Lives – A Devotion on “Hope During Difficult Times”
Hope During Difficult Times
Americans have endured difficult times as of late. Covid 19 turned us upside down. Many saw jobs or businesses go belly up. Some of us didn’t get to say our final goodbyes to loved ones because nursing homes and assisted living facilities enforced lockdowns. Schools closed and kids really missed their friends. Churches were persecuted. Although Pastors and believers fought to keep sanctuaries open… chaos, violence, and confusion took a toll on our way of life. We kept hearing masks were the new normal and there was no going back to the way things were. Even with vaccinations (if you decided to get vaccinated), masks are required, and fear continues to keep folks at home. Socializing with family and friends is not as frequent or carefree.
God built into our genetics a need for relationships and fellowship. So, it is understandable that on some days feelings of sadness and hopelessness hit us like a ton of bricks, but we must override these emotions and cast them off. We serve a God of HOPE and He never wants us to feel defenseless or defeated because He is our constant companion and strong tower. Feelings come from the heart and the Bible warns us about the deceitfulness of our heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
There are many Bible verses commanding us not to worry. God understands man’s propensity to be anxious. He wants us to experience a victorious life of freedom which includes a sound and peaceful mind. But how? How do we escape from anxiety when challenges, changes, and storms are everywhere?
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 (NIV)
To begin, we must keep a careful watch over our heart. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard and preserve our understanding, character, and wisdom from dangers that besiege us. We must be in a constant state of readiness, keeping our hearts close… to the likeness of a blockade from wickedness and deception.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
By keeping a close watch over our heart and making wise decisions about what we feed our emotions, we learn to walk in the righteousness of Christ. Are we going to feed our heart gossip, fear, fake news, and slander or will we choose to feed our hearts truth, wisdom, and love? What will be the source? When we read the Bible we feed our spirit with hope and truth. God’s love is actually poured into our spirit by the Holy Spirit!
“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 (NIV)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
God can’t lie and His Word says that hope does not disappoint. When you feel anxious or overwhelmed by circumstances stop and listen to your heart. Consider what you have been feeding it. Pray that the God of hope fills you with joy, peace, and understanding. Then, stand on that hope and peace that transcends all understanding.
“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)
“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)