“H-O-P-E for Life, Hope in Him” By: Jami Sims 334-749-7179 email@example.com All Scripture taken from NIV. Jami Sims is the founder of Abounding Grace Ministry. She is a wife to her husband Brad, and mother of four precious children. Jami’s desire through the ministry of Abounding Grace is to challenge and encourage others to find victory and freedom in Christ. For more information about Abounding Grace Ministry you can email Jami at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (334)749-7179. Word Count: 782 Picture a little girl looking through the Penney’s Christmas Wish Book. Awestruck by the pictures of so many playthings, she begins to fold down almost every page. She is, after all, only marking the items she just cannot live without. The dog-eared catalog is then given to Mom and Dad. Eagerly this little girl waits for Christmas morning, hoping with all her might that she will get everything she marked in her Penney’s Wish Book. This vision dances in my head as I ponder the meaning of hope. What is hope? What does the word hope mean? Being a little curious myself about the exact definition of hope, I looked it up in my dictionary: Hope (verb) “to wish for or expect something,” (noun) “a feeling of expectation or confidence.” Wow! Hope sounds so basic, yet at the same time, hope is profound – “to wish for or expect something, a feeling of expectation or confidence.” What is hope to you? What is hope to me? Each day we all raise our weary heads to face a day full of challenges, some more difficult than others, but nonetheless we face them. It’s in those first few moments of becoming aware that you have woken up that you utter words of hope. What do you hope for? In what or in whom does your hope lie? I’m not talking about hoping for lots of goodies on Christmas morning like our little girl and her wish book. I’m talking about H-O-P-E - the hope for life. The apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-5 tells us this about hope: “Therefore, since, we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…,” This passage is packed full of life changing truth. Let’s take this gift from our Father, unwrap it, and experience His life-changing truth. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you have received forgiveness of sins. You have been justified – just as if I’ve never sinned - blameless in His eyes. This doesn’t give you a license to live however you see fit. You are held accountable for your actions since God desires for you to live a life that pleases Him. We have grace in Jesus Christ - G – God’s, R – Redemption, A – At, C – Christ’s, E – Expense. Forgiveness and redemption are not cheap; they cost God His one and only Son. The Son’s obedience purchased grace for us. Through grace, God gives His unearned favor - grace is free to you and me! Grace yields hope. Delving deeper into the hope we have in Christ, we are assured of sharing in God’s glory. Scripture is clear that God will not share His glory with anyone. (Isaiah 42:8) Self-promotion and selfish ambition have no place in the life of one seeking to share in His glory. However, we do share in His glory because we are heirs, joint heirs with Jesus and will one day rule and reign with Him (Romans 8:17) As Paul conveys to us words of hope, he also tells us that we are to boast in our sufferings. Whoa! Hope, suffering…how can the two relate? Well, we all suffer. There are many reasons why we suffer: sin, character development, testing, preparation for more difficult challenges, and living in a “fallen” or sinful world. How we respond to our sufferings will greatly determine the hope to which we can lay claim. Are we going to get mad? Frustrated? Depressed? Or, are we going to take it to God and seek His counsel? Let us decide in our hearts to take it to Him. Sitting at His feet, we will be able to see clearly God’s hand in shaping, molding, disciplining, and refining our hearts to give us hope in Him. We learn to endure, and our characters are shaped with hope as a final result. We have hope, a hope from God that does not disappoint us. Often, we place our hope in people and things that cannot satisfy; and we become disappointed, disillusioned, and hesitant to trust. When we place our hope in God, we cannot be disappointed for He is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, back to the definition of hope - “to wish for or expect something, a feeling of expectation or confidence.” Sister, whoever you are, wherever you are, you have HOPE in HIM!