|(Each Sunday, This Day’s Thought is blessed to share Eric Elder’s sermons from his wonderful ministry, “The Ranch“)|
Overflowing With Hope
Lesson 33 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
Happy Easter! I’d like to pray for you today that the God of hope would fill you with joy and peace so that you may overflow with hope. This is what the Apostle Paul prayed for the Christians in Rome, as recorded in the book of Romans, chapter 15:
“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” (Romans 15:13).
What a prayer! Paul wanted them to be so filled with joy and peace that they overflowed with HOPE! If there’s any day on the calendar that could give you hope, it would be today, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, the day that Jesus overcame death itself. Because Jesus died and rose again, we who have faith in Him can know that when we die, we’ll rise again as well. This is what I love about Christianity: even in the face of death, there’s always hope!
My wife Lana was filling up a glass for one of the kids this week, but she filled it up too far and the glass overflowed and ran all over the table! That’s the kind of hope that God wants to fill you with, too. He doesn’t just want to give you a drop of hope, or a glass that’s half-full of hope, or a glass that’s even full of hope. God wants to give you a glass of hope that overflows with hope!
If you remember back in Lesson 10 of this study, you might remember that I wrote about a picture my daughter had given me. The picture showed a hand reflected in the side view mirror of a car. On the palm of the hand, the word “HOPE” was written on it. Below the word hope were the words on the mirror that said: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
You might also remember that this picture filled me with hope at the time because Lana had just been praying for a car. Our car was on its last legs and we had to get a new one. But the car she was praying for was twice what we could afford. So I told her that night that I’d pray for her car and added, “The same God who takes care of me will take care of you!” It was my way of saying, “Sorry, I can’t help you on this one. God’s going to have to do it Himself!”
The very next morning, as I drove into a parking lot to go to a men’s meeting, a man pulled in right behind me driving the very car that Lana had been praying for! I’d never seen this man nor his car ever before!
When I got out of my car, I introduced myself and casually asked if he ever thought about selling his car. He said he had just been thinking about it! He said I could take a look at the car, so I sat down inside it and looked out the window. That’s when I saw the side view mirror with the reflection of the car in it, and these words in the mirror: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear!”
I couldn’t believe it. I took a picture of the mirror with my phone and confessed my unbelief to God, reminding myself that God could do anything, absolutely anything.
Over the next few months, I checked back with the man several times about the car. He wasn’t quite ready to sell it and I wasn’t quite ready to buy it. But I kept the picture on my phone from that first day on, as a reminder that with God, there’s always hope.
As the months went on, I began to give up on the idea of ever getting the car for Lana. The picture on my phone began to be more discouraging than encouraging, so I took it off. But a few days later, I decided to put the picture back on my phone. I needed the reminder that with God, there’s always hope.
Then one day, a few weeks ago, we got a tax refund in the mail. I had already decided that I would put the money towards a new car, and even though it wasn’t enough to get Lana the car she was praying for, I was glad to finally be going shopping for any car, as we had been borrowing and even renting cars in the mean time to get where we needed to go.
But as I shopped around, I was disappointed in the cars I was seeing. I tried to think of any way I could get Lana the car she had been praying for. With a bit of desperation, I called a friend to see if she had any ideas, because she had recently bought a car similar to the one Lana wanted. It turned out that she happened to be at the car dealership where they sold these cars, for only the second time in her life! She looked around the lot found a car that was exactly what we wanted. Not only was it the perfect car, it was the perfect price, too!
I drove home, picked up Lana and drove a couple more hours to see the car. By the end of the day, she was driving home in a car that just a few months earlier, I thought we’d never be able to get!
Now I don’t have to look at the picture of the car to give me hope… I can look at the car itself! God continually reminds me that He’s the God of hope, and that He wants us to overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit!
God cares about the details of our lives, and I want to tell you why this answer to prayer is especially meaningful to me at this particular point in my life.
If you’ve been reading my messages for the last few weeks, you’ll also know that we’ve had some other prayers on our heart as well. A few months ago, Lana was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, meaning that the cancer has already spread to her lungs, liver and spine. The doctors say she’ll have to live with it the rest of her life. They give us very little hope that she’ll ever be fully healed.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re without hope. If you know my wife, or have read her blog, you’ll know that she’s overflowing with hope! Why? Because we serve the God of hope! Even in the face of death, there’s always hope! The Bible says:
“But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise You more and more” (Psalm 71:14).
We recently heard a pastor say that when Satan shoots his fiery darts at you, just say “Thanks for the ammunition!” and throw them right back at him by giving praise to God in the very area that’s being attacked. So as for us, we will always have hope. We just keep praising God more and more. By doing this, we’re holding up our shield of faith, which, as the Bible says,
“… can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16b).
How can you keep renewing your mind, in both the good days and the bad? Keep putting your faith in Christ for everything in your life. Keep putting your trust and hope in Him. God really can to anything, absolutely anything. Hope is just around the corner. As it says on Lana’s new mirror:
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for raising Jesus from the dead on Easter Sunday, so many years ago, and thank You for promising to raise us from the dead one day, too, if we’ll just put our faith in Your Son. I pray for each one reading this message today that the God of hope will fill them with all joy and peace as they trust in Him, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
P.S. If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and for the assurance that you’ll be with Him forever in heaven, I pray you’ll do it today. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Every one of us will die some day. The question is what will happen to you on that day? Jesus said if you’ll put your faith in Him, you’ll have eternal life: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But if you don’t put your faith in Him, you’ll have to pay the price for your sins yourself. Jesus also said: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:17-18). Jesus didn’t come to condemn you, but to save you. He doesn’t want you to die, but to live an abundant life, both here on earth and in heaven forever. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Invite Him to become the Lord of your life. Then live you’re life like it’ll never end, because if you’ve put your faith in Him, you’ll live forever!
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