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Rational Recovery

Hope: Introduction

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The worst prophecy of all: It will NEVER end!We all need hope, for without it, there is no reason to continue in this life. Hope gives us joy. The Apostle Paul said there were these three things: Faith, Hope and Love and that Love was the greatest of these. Perhaps hope is the least, but without hope the other two cannot exist. Love hopes all things. Faith is the promise of things hoped for.

Unfortunately, the experience of some of the Churches of God has been the murder of hope. Hope has been taken away. The joy of our salvation has been turned to hopelessness. False prophecies led to false hopes which left us in hopelessness. Empty promises and covenants destroyed hope. Learning the immorality of the ministry suppressed hope. The events of this world rob us of hope every single day. Hope deferred has made the heart sick. We are surrounded by hopelessness. We are subsumed by hopelessness.

In this series we turn our attention to hope to return to the joy hope possesses within it.

In order to preserve hope, the first thing we need to do is turn off the radio, TV, noisy appliances and sit for awhile in silence alone to collect our thoughts and listen to them. We need the time to hear ourselves think and work through the issues within, we never spend the time listening to. Resolution of what is within is necessary to gain the peace to know where our hope lies. Most of us don't know what our real hopes are.

Like faith, we need works to bring our hopes to pass, and we need to set reasonable expectations. None of us should expect to set foot on our Sun in our lifetime. None of us should expect to vacation in the Andromeda Galaxy this century--especially if you have only two weeks. Setting unreachable goals will discourage faith, but we need to set our hopes on things which are beyond expectation to meet our goals. If we set forth to retire at 62, but actually retire at 65, we might be nearly as happy as we had hoped: This is better than setting at 85 years old and never making it at all. We need to reach just a bit beyond what we believe that we can attain and in doing so may reach our fondest hopes.

True hope never stands alone. If we share our hopes with others and they with us, enabling them to fulfill their hopes expresses love and concern to bring us joy through the joy of achieving the hope of others. Attaining selfish hopes never seems as satisfying as working together with others to help achieve the fondest dreams of others. Others can be the helpers of our joy through hope while we can share in the joy by being the helpers of the joy of others.

The greatest hope of all is salvation. We will never know whether or not it is attainable until we attain it. But keeping the hope alive through faith is important for those who would otherwise live their lives without other major hopes which will probably never be fulfilled.

We have every possible distraction from our hopes. A century ago, news was news; today it is horrible devastating contradictory entertainment. Smiling faces on attractive people without a hair out of place describe the grisly details of yet another human tragedy and come right back after the commercials to tell you about health in Healthlink of things you can do to improve your health which directly contradict the things you were told to do on the previous night's Healthlink. The weatherman / weathergirl may have a meteorology degree, but you know for sure that there's as good as a 50 / 50 chance they might be wrong about the happy joyful announcement of tomorrow's weather in front of the colorful background of the meaningless Doppler weather map. It's pretty, but for most of us, pretty useless. Take your lunch and your raincoat just in case your hopes might not be met. And don't forget traffic, dozens of miles from your focus of interest where the freeway caught fire, there's a deadly chorine threat from an overturned tanker and the twelve car pile up has five fatalities live on camera at the scene.

Anybody see something wrong with this?

Hope looks for change. Hope is not the status quo. We hope for a better future. We don't hope for what is here now. Therefore, by definition, hope looks for innovation. Hope looks for something new that is not with us now. Innovation requires freedom. Therefore, by definition, hope requires freedom to achieve the hope. We hope for a liberation for greater freedom. Yet we need a degree of freedom to achieve the liberation.

There are those who look to take away hope for their own agendas. Hope killers want to dominate us for power, status, position and wealth, among other things. It is to their advantage to rob us of hope through their abuse. They lie to us and when we find they lied to us we are angry. When we find that we can do nothing about their lies, we become apathetic. A sure sign of this is to listen for "Nothing ever changes around here". It is a sign of murdered hope. We have to keep hope alive. We need to resurrect hope. If the scoundrels succeed, they will leave us in a despondent state with no hope so they can manipulate us through abuse for their own ends.

Hope is great bait for the unwary. It can get us to do anything--even compromise what we are. The hook and the worm are hope for the fish which may end up in the tackle box if it takes the bait. It's not worth sacrificing your integrity: Don't take the bait.

Hope from within is sometimes squandered on something someone else will do. If your team loses, your hope is dashed. It is better to focus on the hope of things you can achieve yourself or on those who have proved themselves reliable in keeping their commitments and your trust. Relying on the unreliable will turn hope into disappointment. Disappointment leads to depression. Depression leads to despair--the anxiety where you cannot see how anything can be rectified. Pending doom invokes fear which in turn spawns hopelessness. The despair turns to hopelessness and when the enormity of the torture is realized, we have nothing left: It's all over. The reservoir of hope is drained empty.

By this we can see how important it is to retain hope. Hope recreates life.

It is up to us to fight for hope and resist with our very being those who would take away our hope. Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for the freedom to hold hope alive.

Hope enables us to drive on in the blackest hour to the dawn of light.

Love is the currency, faith is the account and hope is the line of credit.

And so it begins: The series on hope. We will explore hope. Let us hope that this series fulfils your hopes of what you expect.

A successful good example goes a long way to inspire hope.

The Bible claims that God is not willing for any to perish.

Now is a good time to begin healing and make progress through hope.

Maybe the prophecy, "It will never end" might not be so bad after all.

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Last Updated: Monday, January 17, 2005