Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Casting the whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
“Cast your burden on the Lord releasing the weight of it, and He will sustain you.”
“’He careth for me’...O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is ‘One’ who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart…He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 9
“My Hope Is In You”
“The future belongs to those who belong to God. This is hope.”
W. T. Purkiser
Has there been a time in my life when reading God’s Word rekindled the fire of hope in my life?
“To all who are tossed by the waves,
You are the calm of the harbor;
You are the hope of the hopeful.”
Severus of Thrace
Martyr in Thrace (Northern Greece)
“Hope is the unshakeable certainty in the realization of the promises of God in Jesus Christ, based on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”
It’s my favorite word “Hope!” It even sounds wonderful when spoken. I became truly acquainted with this 4-letter word in high school when I memorized one of my favorite poems by my favorite poet – Emily Dickinson – who penned these words:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”
The imagery of a small, fragile bird fighting to hang onto a narrow branch during a stormy gale balanced by the fact that in spite of the terrible weather, the wee bird still sings, to me is a perfect definition of “hope.” It may be that the poet Emily Dickinson chose part of nature to give us a mental picture of hope for this was also where Biblical poets turned when desiring to portray a spiritual lesson. As the Psalmist David wrote, “My heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm 16: 9, K.J.V.).
It appears that a bird singing in a storm reflects the gladness of heart that is present when we, too, are able to let our entire body rest in hope.
So how is it that we can find hope infused into the crevices of our soul, especially during those times when the turbulent storms of life threaten to knock us off our moorings? It is in our study text for today that we find our answer: “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your Word” (Psalm 119: 114). According to the Psalmist, hope is conceived in God’s Word. Nearly 150 times this powerful little word is mentioned in the Bible. In fact, the word “hope” is found in the Book of Job, sixteen times. Strange that in days filled with what could be called paralyzing sorrow, this word is so frequently found.
It is the Apostle Paul, though, who explains to his friends in Rome how the Scripture can be the source of our hope – not only in times past but down to this very moment: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures have hope” (Romans 15: 4, K.J.V.). I find the comments penned by Matthew Henry to shed light on this passage of Scripture. As he so thoughtfully notes: “The Scriptures are left for a standing rule to us, they are written, that they might remain for our use and benefit. First, for our learning. There are many things to be learned out of the Scriptures; and that is the best learning which is drawn from these fountains. Those are the most learned that are most mighty in the Scriptures. We must therefore labor, not only to understand the meaning of Scripture, but to learn out of it that which will do us good; and we have need of help therefore not only to roll away the stone, but to draw out the water, for in many places the well (of Scripture) is deep…Secondly, through patience and comfort of the Scripture we might have hope. That hope which hath eternal life for its object as the end of Scripture-learning. Scripture is written that we might know what to hope for from God…This should recommend the Scripture to us that it is a special friend to a Christian’s hope…Patience works experience, and experience hope. The more patience we exercise under troubles, the more hopefully we may look through our troubles.”
What a tremendous gift the Scriptures prove to be – especially in the stormy times of our lives. No wonder we find the word “hope” scattered throughout the Book of Job for when the tyranny of tumult settles upon our lives, hope provides us with a heavenly pair of binoculars which assists us in seeing beyond the calamity and through to the peace that will follow the storm. No wonder the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome, many of whom had suffered terrible persecution for their faith, that “through patience and comfort of the Scriptures you might have hope” or as The Message Bible paraphrases Romans 15: 4 – “Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of His steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us.”
What a wonderful infusion we each receive as we patiently study God’s Word. For His word will never fail in building hope in our lives. A “hope” that keeps us comforted no matter what gale strikes the little branch on which we are perched. Praise God, we will still be able to sing through the storm.
Blessing For Those In Distress
“May you come safely to shore
across the dark ocean
that even in the darkest depths
there is hope to be found and peace.”
“O Lord, let the shelter of Your wings give us hope. Protect us and uphold us. You will be the Support that upholds us from childhood till the hair on our heads is grey. When you are our strength we are strong, but when our strength is our own we are weak.”
Augustine of Hippo
Hope To Share
“Give us hope to share, O Christ,
hope that disturbs and stirs and shakes,
a hope of new life
beyond the pain, until all find comfort
Christ, give us hope to share.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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