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Monday, April 10, 2017

From Suffering to Hope - Building a Framework of Hope: Part 6

Now that our foundation is cleared of any litter we knowingly, or unknowingly, put there—Let’s BUILD!

In John 16:33b Jesus says, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are told, we WILL have trouble.

Christian’s are not immune. Troubles and hardships come to us just like they do to non-Christians. But how we deal with them should distinguish us as HIS.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… 
Not only so, but we also GLORY in our sufferings,
 because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:1-5 NIV (emphasis mine)

We want to Build a Framework of Hope.

Notice the steps necessary to get to HOPE?

Character building. 

None of those sound fun.

But they are necessary in order to have a HOPE that can withstand the trials of this world.

Without Hope, we will crumble when the storms come.

Even with Hope, we will fall at times. But God’s hope will not “put us to shame”.

We have His love as a guarantee.

That guarantee is the HOLY SPIRIT living in us.

The Holy Spirits helps us stand on our foundation when the world tries to knock us down.

He (Holy Spirit) helps us take the sufferings of this world and not only persevere, but turn them into Character building opportunities. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned WAY more in life from failings and hardships than I ever have from triumphs. 

This is because hardships build character.

Hardships stretch us, refine us, and highlight our need of Christ. 

Trying to avoid conflict, or rush through a trial, deprives us of these character building opportunities that enable us to place our HOPE in God.

Trials help us realize we can preserve despite the pain. We can claim as Paul did that “we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.” (Rom 8:37)

Failures teach us that we are the same person we were before the loss. (That’s why it’s important to know who you are and what you value)

Loss, failure, tragedy, setbacks, and trials do not define us. 

Having a Framework of Hope will hold us securely in who we are IN Christ when these things occur (Holy, Beloved, Redeemed, Victorious, etc.). 

So the next time trials come, don’t “grit your teeth and bare it” and don’t try to rush through it, INSTEAD realize you’re building Strength of Character that will enable you to push forward and confidently say as Paul did:   

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution
or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 Reflection Questions:
1.   Think about a past hardship, can you see God in it? What did you learn about yourself from that experience?  What did you learn about God? Ask God if there is anything else He would like you to know about that trial.    
2.  What does God have to say about the season of life you are currently in? What does He want you to learn? 
4.  How do you tend to view yourself? Does this align with what God has to say about you? If not, 1 John 1:9 is a great place to begin healing so you can move forward.
5.  Who does God say you are? (hint: It's all good things- redeemed, loved, apple of His eye, etc)

If you would like help aligning your thoughts to God's Truths, I highly recommend "The Renewing of the Mind Project: Going to God for Help with your Habits, Goals, and Emotions" by Barb Raveling.

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