Intro: Continuing on the theme of my previous article (read on The Elijah List) concerning appointed times of visitation, peace, and promise – and the winds of change that precede them (for further insight into these concepts, check out The Crown Prince Anointing by Dr. Ron Cottle and my brother-in-law, David Alsobrook) – I wanted to continue in the same stream of teaching and share a bit about the importance of hope.
The Importance of Tears
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians13:13
We have probably all heard many messages on faith, how important it is to please our God, to see the supernatural expression manifest in our lives. It is of utmost importance, cultivating our measure of faith. Equally, I daresay most of us have also had outstanding teaching presented on the importance of love. Love is the ultimate articulation of all theological concepts in the Bible. That's how important faith and love are.
But of these three that abide – faith, hope and love – perhaps hope is something that has not been as fully addressed. Where would we be without hope? You know, most of us live daily in the midst of pressuring conflict – it's a worldwide pandemic from which none of us are immune. However, I believe it's important we don't lose our focus on our families and communities – the two greatest vehicles for expressing faith and love. Hope keeps us focused as deliverers for the hurts and needs of humanity around us. If we have no hope, how can we talk to them about faith and love?
So, this tells me the Lord is raising up deliverers – people like you and me who have a spiritual unction of not only faith and love, but a gift of hope as well. "'Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins'" (Isaiah 40:2).
Nehemiah 9:27 tells us Israel cried out unto the Lord in the time of their troubles. He heard them from Heaven and, according to His abundant mercies, gave them deliverers. A similar passage is found in Exodus 3:7-8, and Judges10:16 says He could "no longer endure the misery of Israel."
God is never far from the predicaments of mankind, and I want us to notice that the Lord doesn't just hear our prayers – He hears our cries!
I think crying out when we are in anguish is a healthy emotion that prefaces the winds of change we outlined last month (read on The Elijah List). I've said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating: It's one thing to pray over a need; it's quite another to weep over it! Here's something to consider: Maybe we haven't received our complete answers from God because we aren't desperate enough yet. That may sound contrary to some of you, but Luke 18:7 says the Lord avenges those who "cry out day and night."
Not all tears are a sign of weakness. In this day of "power teaching" and "dominion living," I think we still can have tears that are heartfelt, yet hopeful. You should read Psalm 56; it talks about God storing our tears in a bottle. Those of us who give a place to godly sorrow, those of a broken, contrite heart (see Psalm 51:17) – I think there is a blessing that can come from holy mourning; it can be a focused type of love, full of compassion and mercy, that brings about breakthroughs. For our situations, for other's, even for the Lord's.
We don't often think of the Lord's sorrow, but if we are capable of tears, how much more so the Lord? God was hurt when man sinned, but He never stopped loving man, even in his sin. And God's "hurt love" is healed every time one of His own obey Him! One of the words in the Bible for "sobbing" means to snort with anger, to sigh in distress, to groan – a noisy sound made by breathing forcefully through the nostrils. To make an abrupt noise. This isn't a foreign concept in the Bible – read Psalm 6:6-7.
The Importance of Hope
We all can quote Hebrews 11:1, but I want to point out that hope is just as significant as faith in that verse. That's not to undermine the significance of faith by any means – everything starts with our believing in the trustworthiness of God's promises in His Word. But I think perhaps modern Christian society has downplayed the importance of hope. Now, look, wishful thinking is not the Biblical definition of hope. Folks out there "hoping" for a healing to take place are not in true faith. That can be the equivalent of saying, "I don't really believe God will answer my prayer, but I sure hope so anyway." So disappointment, despair, and depression set in because the prayer isn't answered.
The kind of hope I'm sharing is the kind found in Romans8:24 – the kind that saves. The kind that brings rest (see Psalm 16:9). The kind that causes us to rejoice (see Romans 5:2). The kind that even resurrects the dead (see Acts 23:6). Taken in this light, Hebrews 11:1 means that faith brings the spiritual promises of God into natural reality if we keep hope alive.
The Greek word elpis is translated "hope" (Strong's#1680). It means to have an expectation, or to "welcome" something. To expect something that is certain. Hope means to anticipate something with pleasure and excitement. The cognate elpizo means to "actively wait for God's fulfillment about the faith He has inbirthed through the power of His love" (Strong's #1679).Faith, hope, and love abide – they dwell, persist, linger, maintain, remain; they keep on keeping on.
Paul talks about Abraham, the father of faith, in Romans 4, declaring he "contrary to hope, in hope believed." He didn't cast away his confidence (see Hebrews 10:35). When all hope was gone, he kept hoping on. This is talking about perseverance, tenacity, continuance. The staying power of hope. We can't let our hope fail just because we don't see a manifestation immediately.
Hope feeds faith. This is why we're told to hold fast the "confession of our hope without wavering" in Hebrews 10:23, and this is why Hebrews 6:12 puts "faith and patience" together. Just like Abraham who patiently endured, we likewise will obtain the promise (see Hebrews6:15). In other words, how we arrogate the promises of God is by persisting in hope, even if hope is gone. Again, hope feeds faith. It's important!
Like Abraham in Romans 4:19, who did not "consider his own body," we need to have the grit and determination to keep our hope thriving, so that we don't discuss the "deadness" of our own circumstances. We need to be firmly persuaded and not shaken off from our hope!
Now, believe me, I'm not laying on some "works trip" here. I recognize that these principles – tears and hope – are galvanized by the Holy Spirit, just as with any other spiritual matter. But my point is, we need to cooperate with the Spirit, being led by Him in our times of intercession – the "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). We need to work with Him in order to keep our hope in faith vibrant and active, upbeat and full of life, and then we will see the manifestation of God's love toward us.
Our God calls things that don't exist as if they did (see Romans 4:17) – He has full faith in Himself, and while it is vitally important to ask for His gift of faith concerning our circumstances, we also need to cultivate an overwhelming sense of hope in God's faithfulness. By speaking the fulfillment of these promises from God, our hope can feed our faith.
Even when it seems that hope is lost, by nevertheless continuing to hope, we can receive the things we are hoping for according to God's wisdom and timing! If this sounds circular and cyclical, it is. I'm not saying it isn't a struggle – some of us feel pressed on all sides by the circumstances that face us daily. But, just as Proverbs 4:20-22 states, "My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh." Our circumstances don't make this promise any less valid – as long as we have tears of hope.
The importance of tears of hope cannot be overstated. It is this mentality – this way of life – that teaches us to wait for it. A word we all hate in the flesh. Wait. But waiting on the Lord means to wrap ourselves up in His ways, His Word, His thoughts on what is important to Him – to quiet our own raging minds and emotions – to hold steadfast in the hope of faith.
It's not sitting back, doing nothing but mope (moping is not hoping), and expect God to manifest His promises apart from any effort on our part. Waiting is not passive, it is active.In the flesh, no one likes this concept, because it makes us responsible for seeing the manifestation of promises – the day of visitation we need so desperately. But again, just because we don't like it, doesn't make it any less of a truth.
Keep your focus – your hope – on what God has promised by faith. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12).
It is my desire "that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises... This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek"(Hebrews 6:11-20).
Keep hope alive!
James Maloney has been in full-time ministry over forty years as president of Voice of the Dove Company International. A well-respected prophetic voice, James' ministry expression is marked by a powerful sign-and-wonder flow, heavily geared toward healing for the mind, soul, and body. He is the author of The Dancing Hand of God, The Panoramic Seer, Overwhelmed by the Spirit, Aletheia Eleutheroo, The Wounded Cry, Invisible Wounds, and The Lord in the Fires, as well as the compiler of the best-selling Ladies of Gold series.
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March 20-22, 2015 (7pm)
Healing, Signs & Wonders
Second Chance Church
1513 S. Belt Line Rd, Grand Prairie, TX 75051
April 3-5, 2015
April 17-19, 2015
417 NE 65th St., Vancouver, WA