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Faith & Fear

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How to Have a Hopeful Attitude

We all need hope in our lives. It’s necessary for our very existence. Here are some practical ways to build your hope in God.

Ten ideas for a more hopeful attitude

  1. Believe there is a solution for every situation
  2. Count your blessings. Just knowing all the good in your life can increase your hope
  3. Pray about what’s stealing your hope to bring clarity to your situation
  4. Take action on anything that’s in your power to change and rely on God for the rest
  5. Believe and seek God’s guidance
  6. Create a mood of worship
  7. Creative spiritual thinking has power to give strength to endure
  8. Meditate on any of the scripture below or other hopeful quotes
  9. Read the book of Ruth. A classic story of utter despair to glorious hope fulfilled
  10. Spend time with hopeful, positive people

Attitude Challenge:
Make a list of all your blessings. Give thanks to God for them. Use the list to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and that He is your source of hope.

Books on hope
You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado
When the Going Gets Tough by Joe Stowell
Help Me I’m Alone by Joyce Meyer

Bible Verses on hope (ESV)

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Hebrews 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain
Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Psalm 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Romans 8: 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love
Romans 5:4 And endurance produces character, and character produces hope
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Psalm 71:5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Lamentations 3:24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

Christmas Restored: Jubilee Journey and Christmas movies

If you recall in part 2­ I wrote about a series of losses leading to the challenge of my Christmas spirit. One thing that ministered to my spirit was Christmas movies. I would dream of having my own “Hallmark” Christmas, of the day I would be reconciled with my family – if they still existed.

SeaWorld Christmas 2012c 187 (3)All of life is a story, the bible is a story and we are all living in our own stories as well as being part of a larger story. Fairy tales, novels, even movies tell stories that reflect the story of life and the connection with the larger story. What we can learn from Christmas movies? What do they teach about the human heart and the heart of God towards his children? Stories that touch our heart often reflect the heart of the father.

We’re going to look at four movies that have held special meaning to me but also reflect the heart of the father. My heart restored, I found hope even while my heart was breaking and I believed in something more.

 

It’s a Wonderful life & A Christmas Carol

“No matter how dead…”

cmas2013-busch.gardens 266You may think it odd that I pair these two movies but there are similarities and both have touched my heart in similar ways: answering the question, do I matter. Both men are blessed with seeing their world in different ways, one a world where he had a positive impact and the other a world he negatively impacted. The angel and the ghosts set out to show the men that their lives do matter and this is what I longed for.

Like Scrooge I needed a spirit adjustment but unlike scrooge I longed for it. More than anything I wanted my heart restored, my spirit restored but I just couldn’t seem to find the way and I just couldn’t find my way out of the fog. I thank God he never gave up on me and protected my throughout all those dark years.

Then there is George Bailey, a man who mattered so much to so many, believed he was better off dead. He is given the magnificent gift of seeing what the world would be like if he never existed. Like George I struggled to hang on to the little hope I had left and that I did matter, somehow.

God wants us to know that we do matter and that it’s never too late. We are put here on this earth for a reason and even if we don’t know what that reason is we must have hope it’s there. George believed his circumstances were dead, Ebenezer believed he couldn’t change and I believed I would never matter. No matter how bad we think our lives are now, no matter how bad we’ve wasted what God has given us, there is still hope. We can still change and we do matter to God, our creator.

 

White Christmas

“No matter how impossible…”

P1080458I always cry at the end of this movie, and not just because of the miracle of snow, but because of the restoration of hope. General Waverly was losing everything, he was alone in his heart and he was becoming hopeless. His situation had gone from difficult to impossible. Bob and Phil cook up a scheme to restore the old man’s heart and faith by giving him a surprise to lighten his heart. When all the generals men come marching into the old, vacant inn, I cry right along with him. The love these men had for their general restores hope and showed him that nothing is impossible

Again we go back to the issue of “mattering”, of being important to someone. I had lost hope that I mattered so movies gave me a brief moment in the dark nights of my living room that I would matter. White Christmas shows me that with love nothing is impossible. Jesus wants us to believe in him, that the story is written and there’s a beauty to be revealed. We just have to have patience and wait for his revelation and restoration of hope.

 

A Smoky Mountain Christmas

“No matter how hopeless…”

P1080666This sweet little movie starring Dolly Parton shows a famous country singer in desperate need of rest, for peace, quiet and time from ridiculous demands on her life. She returns to her family cottage in the mountains to find a group of young orphaned boys and girls who had run away from brutal conditions at the orphanage.

Lorna (Dolly) finds room in her heart for these hopeless children and not only comes to their rescue from the orphanages’ director but takes them into her heart and home as her own children. The character demonstrates true sacrifice by caring for the needs of those who can’t possible return the favor. These little ones had no hope of relief, no hope of a family.

God too sacrificed for the protection, restoration and reconciliation of his little ones. Remember this season, Jesus isn’t just the gift of eternal life, he is the gift of all life, he is life. And while we celebrate the wonder of his birth, the joy and peace of this new beginning let’s not forget where this birth leads; to his ultimate sacrifice for us, to bring us back to him, to gives us as orphans a home in him, a life in him.

 

If parts one and two left you sad, don’t be…

No matter how dead, no matter how impossible, no matter how hopeless – with Jesus nothing is too difficult, nothing is impossible and it’s NEVER too late.

Joy always comes in the morning. Come back Monday, December 23 for Part 4 – A Hallmark Christmas Revisited, an anniversary of reconciliation.

 

Do you have a Christmas story or movie that’s moved or encouraged you? I would love for you to share these experiences.

 

Part 1 – A Haunting of Christmas past

Part 2 – The fall: Spirit of Christmas loss