April Letter 2016

April Letter 2016

Hello Partners,

foc_website_highlight-2When we look at the world today it seems like things are hopeless, so much tragedy all around the world: terrorist attacks everywhere, police officers shooting innocence people, violence throughout cities all over America, violent political rallies for upcoming elections and a loss of confidence in our government. People losing hope all together, where can they turn?

The only hope that any man has anywhere in the world is faith in Jesus Christ. In light of what’s happening around us today, the truth of that statement is more painfully obvious than ever before. We are a generation with diseases no man can heal and with problems no man can solve. What fleeting successes we have are quickly overshadowed by new and greater crises. However, remember this, although things may seem hopeless, we that are believers are not without HOPE! We have the Blessed HOPE, living on the inside of us, releasing hope within every situation we face.

The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 15:11-13 (NIV) “And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.’ And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse (that’s Jesus) will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Verse 13 from the Amplified Bible says it like this “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”

The Bible says that even when things looked hopeless for Abraham, when all hope was against him, he believed in hope. We see that in Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.” It’s significant that the theme of Romans is “The Gospel of God” (1:1, 16, 17; 15:16) and yet Paul mentions “hope” in Romans 11 times, more than in any of his other letters. I believe God never intended for man to place hope in source other than HIM. God is the source of our eternal Hope, Life and Salvation, and His hope toward us is both SURE and STEADFAST. Romans 15:4 (NIV) says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Real Bible hope is not wishing; it is an earnest intense expectation that what God has said will come to pass. It’s an expectation of good. Matter of fact, Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” When you trust in what God says you can’t help but have hope.

Believe it or not, hopelessness comes from being without God in the world. It comes from being a stranger to His covenant and His Promises through His Word. Ephesians 2:12 (NKJV) makes that truth clear, “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” See that’s how we were, past tense, but for those who do not know Christ that is their current sad situation.

Hope is really a positive imagination (see Romans 8:24). Therefore, our God is the God of vision, or positive imaginations and He wants to fill us with joy, peace and faith to produce positive imaginations. Notice that it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this. We can’t do this in our own human abilities. So those who are low on hope are not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit but in the vanity of their flesh. Patience, comfort, and hope do not come to us by praying, begging or pleading with God. Nor can we have a lasting measure of these things just by having others lay hands on us: these things come through the Scriptures.

We are to abound in hope. The truth of the matter is hope is a distinguishing characteristic of those who truly believe. This can be applied to specific situations in our lives. If we truly believe concerning our health, there will be joy, peace and hope concerning our future. The same is true with our wealth and with those we are praying for. A lack of these qualities, joy, peace and hope, signal the presence of unbelief. David once said in Psalm 71:5, “For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.” So to hope in Christ is to believe in Christ. It is to look to Him alone to fulfill all the promises of God to us. We find those promises in Scripture, which is why Paul said in Romans 15:4 that the Scriptures give us hope. We see the truth again in Psalms 119:113 and 116, “I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.”

Here are seven practical facts you need to know about hope if you are going to abound in it.

1) God is the source hope.

2) Hope, the anchor of the soul (mind, will and emotion) is sure and steadfast.

3) Hope never disappoints or make ashamed.

4) Hope is set before us in the Gospel, God’s promises.

5) Hope is filled with faith.

6) Hope changes your inner image of who you are in Christ Jesus.

7) Hope is settled forever.

I want to close by encouraging you with Psalms 33:18-22 (NIV), “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You.” As believers we have every reason to rejoice in our hope. However, we also have the responsibility to share the Source of our hope with those who are living in hopelessness; so they too will know in the midst of a chaotic world the only hope that any man has anywhere in the world is faith in Jesus Christ.

Janice and I love and appreciate you. Thank you for partnering with us at RBPM. We pray for your strength, your integrity and that “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Your Partner and Friend,

RBP-Signature1-275x40

Richard B. Peoples, Sr.

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