Theme of the Week: The Life-Changing Power of Hope
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
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Key Bible Verse: "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
Dig Deeper: Joshua 1:1-9
The polar opposite of hope is discouragement. It acts like a lead weight around your neck. When you feel discouraged, you lose buoyancy and sink.
Howard Hendricks gave a gripping definition of discouragement: "Discouragement is the anesthetic the devil uses on a person just before he reaches in and carves out his heart." He's right.
When people lose hope, they lose their ability to dream for the future. Despair replaces joy. Fear replaces faith. Anxiety replaces prayer. Insecurity replaces confidence. It's a lousy way to live.
When spouses lose hope, they give up on their marriage. Parents give up on their teens. Leaders give up on their people. Healthy emotions like contentment and peace are replaced with the toxic emotions of confusion, shame, worry, and disappointment. In short, it's impossible to be spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, or relationally healthy when I'm gripped by discouragement.
Some wise person once said that we can live about 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about 8 minutes without air—but not a single second without hope.
The only thing that will keep you from going under is hope. Hope makes you buoyant. That's why hope is so important.
—Ray Johnston in The Hope Quotient
My Response: How has discouragement impacted my life, family, or career? How has it impacted my relationship with God?
Thought to Apply: What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.—Emil Brunner (Swiss theologian)
Adapted from The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston (Thomas Nelson, 2014; thomasnelson.com) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.
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Prayer for the Week
Heavenly Father, I pray for people in my life who are drowning in discouragement. Show me how I might reach out to them and offer them hope for a better tomorrow and a better eternity.
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