I hope we’re having pizza for dinner. I hope my favorite shirt is clean. I hope this quarantine will end soon! Each day, we’re confronted with a multitude of “hopes” from ourselves and the people around us. Culturally the word hope has come to mean, “I would like that to happen.” Yet Christians understand hope to mean something far more secure—an anchor even (Heb. 6:19). “Christian hope is a firm expectation of all promised good things,” says Cruden’s Concordance, “which hope is founded on the grace, blood, righteousness, and intercession of Christ, and the earnest of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and the unchangeable truth and almighty power of God.” While worldly hope after worldly hope is dashed by the Coronavirus, here are four ways that Christian hope is uniquely beautiful:
- Christian hope depends on One outside ourselves. In this time of uncertainty, 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” Our hope is built on Christ and His work alone. This is truly good news! Unlike worldly hope, which relies on our ability to actualize our desires, we can rest in the all-sufficient work of the all-powerful God.
- Christian hope leads to joy. Because Christ holds the key to our hope, Christians are free to rejoice. Our sure hope means circumstances cannot hinder our joy. A tumbling stock market, uncertain employment, and even uncertain health are of no effect. Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”
- Christian hope results in holiness. Out of our immense gratitude for Christ’s sure work, our lives should look vastly different than those around us: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). This, however, is no somber morality but a cheerful obedience. Our confidence in God has power to produce changes in how we live.
- Christian hope is living. This week we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The result is hope not just for this life but for eternity. In the resurrection, God showed His satisfaction and approval of Christ’s payment for our sins. Our hope, Jesus Christ, is alive and as Paul tells the Corinthians, His resurrection means “in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:23).
Charles Spurgeon said, “Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the nights of adversity.” As the world’s hope grows dim in this time of pandemic, let us joyously look to Christ, our living hope.
Bible Study Tip
The first stage in understanding the Bible is “Comprehension”. If you don’t want to write in your Bible, print out whatever passage you’re studying so you can mark up the text. Then:
- Mark repeated words and phrases, transition words, lists, and comparisons or contrasts.
- Are there words you need to define? Look them up in a dictionary or Hebrew or Greek Lexicon.
- Write out the main ideas of the passage.
- Note references to the Trinity and attributes of God.
- In the margins, write out questions you have.
Every time you come to God’s word for study, pray! We need the Holy Spirit’s help to understand the scriptures and rightly apply them to our lives.
Click here for a 5-day video series on how to study the Bible with Jen Wilkin.
Links in this section are Amazon Affiliate links to books we find helpful
God’s Good Design
by Claire Smith
Although Claire Smith was a young adult when she came to know Jesus, it wasn’t until she went to theological college that she noticed parts of the Bible that challenged her feminist views. Studying these passages led to radical changes in her life. Too often we put these same passages in the “too hard basket”, or we make up our minds without taking a close look at them for ourselves. But we must let God’s word determine these issues and not the culture in which we live. Claire takes us through the same process she went through herself, looking closely at seven key Bible passages about men and women and how they should relate together in God’s purposes. Along the way she deals with many common objections and applies the teaching of the Bible simply and practically to our relationships at home and in church.
Give Them Truth
by Starr Meade
How do you prepare children for life’s ups and downs? How do you push back the harmful messages of our culture? How do you give your kids something better?
Whether you are a parent or a teacher, Starr Meade encourages you to impart a robust knowledge of God to your children from a young age, because a sound theology will prepare them for whatever life has in store. Our kids need to know God in order to grow in love for Him and to live for Him. When we teach the truths of Scripture to our children, we give them truth to love and live by.
Download the Journeywomen podcast on whatever streaming platform you use, or visit their website to stream their content, read more about the ministry, and find other recommended resources: journeywomenpodcast.com.
See the kids’ section below for information about an opportunity to join Keith and Kristyn Getty and their family in a live hymn sing every Tuesday night during quarantine!
For the Kids
If you have a local library card, you can create an account through hoopladigital.com to listen to free audiobooks. Our book recommendation for the week is S. D. Smith’s The Green Ember.
The Getty’s produce theologically rich and worshipful music for all ages, but they have music specifically for children. They are also currently hosting a live family hymn sing via Facebook every Tuesday night at 7:15pm Central Time. They have a link to their page and downloadable songbook on their website.
New City Catechism Question 2:
What is God?
God is the creator of everyone and everything.
(Remember, you can download the New City Catechism app, put it in “Children’s Mode”, and access fun songs to help your kids remember the answers to these helpful theological questions!)
If you have...
A memory you’ve made during this time of quarantine or a biblical word of encouragement that you would like to share or mobile resources, books, songs, poems, or ideas for kids you would like to recommend, contact Abby Dill at firstname.lastname@example.org.