Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FAMILY IT! — Wednesday Family Devotional — “Fierce Pursuit”

Hope is in the air!  Can you feel it?  This is the time of year when so many things start pointing our heads in that direction, which is a good thing, because hope is something that’s seriously lacking in our world.  You may even be sitting there not entirely sure of what it means.  My Merriam-Webster defines hope as a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.  

So hope starts with a desire, something you want.  Got any of those?  Anything you’re dreaming about or longing for?  Ok, check.  Now to turn that desire into hope, you need to add some expectation.  You need to have a reason to believe you might actually get what you’re wanting, although you’re not certain.  For example, you may have a desire to be on a team at school.  If you know you’re pretty good or if you were on the team last year, you have a reasonable expectation or belief that you will actually make it.  You have hope.  Now let’s flip that around.  Let’s say you want to get a new car.  Unfortunately, money is pretty tight right now, and you know there’s no room in the budget for a payment.  The desire is there, but there’s no expectation.  You do not have hope.

What’s something you have hoped or are hoping for right now?  Something you want and have an expectation or belief in fulfillment?

Part of what leads my mind to hopefulness right now are the signs of spring.  Animals coming out of their winter retreats, trees beginning to bud, the giant row of daffodils along the side of my house stir those hopeful thoughts.  I’m reminded about how much I want warmer weather so I can open my windows and walk around in flip-flops without freezing my tootsies.  That’s my desire, and those green shoots in the yard and the rise in the thermometer give me the expectation.  Hope.

But the vernal equinox isn’t the only thing that creates hope.  This holiday we’re about to celebrate—Easter—is all about creating hope, too.  When Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross, He opened up so many possibilities for us.  He created a way for us to be in relationship with the Father God, and that means we become eligible for all of the promises he laid out in the Bible.  And these promises hit at the heart of some of our deepest desires, things much greater than cars and job promotions.  We’re talking things like a peace that goes beyond any normal understanding, a sense of purpose, guidance, help in times of trouble, healing from pain, a joy that is greater than sorrow, unconditional love.  Have you ever wanted any of those?  Well because of what Jesus did—dying on the cross and returning to life—you can have an expectation of them when you have a relationship with Him!  Isn’t that awesome??

Even more than that, though, is what John talks about in his book.  “Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.”  (John 20:30-31 Msg)

Eternal life!  The chance to live forever just like Jesus showed us in Scripture.  Do you have any desire for that??  Well if you have a relationship with the Savior, you also have a reason to believe it will be fulfilled.  You have hope!  Jesus is the Herald of Hope, because He brings so much expectation, the possibilities that the things we want most can really truly happen.

How does Jesus bring you hope personally?  What desire can you expect in Him?  Share with your family.

Now remember, we started by saying that hope was something that’s seriously lacking in our world.  Think of someone you know, maybe a friend or family member, who seems to be out of hope.  They may have the desire for something, but for whatever reason, they’ve lost that expectation or belief that it will be fulfilled.  How can Jesus be the hope for them?  What can you do to share that hope?  This may be something as simple as inviting them to an Easter event this week, or something as involved as spending regular time with them so you can shine light on the hope that’s available to them.

As you pray together, thank Jesus for the hope He brings into your life and into the world.  Ask for help in offering hope to the people you shared, and pray that His hope would spread this Easter to new hearts in churches all around the globe!

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