Sunday, September 13, 2009

Expectations and Hope – Hope’s Fuel

The prophet Ezekiel warned the generation who were into Babylonian captivity. He laid out a constant warning to Isreal who was in a foreign land and susceptible to being converted to pagan beliefs. But he also warned about the false prophets of Israel. I like Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of 13:1, 6 in The Message.

“Preach against the prophets of Israel who are making things up out of their own heads and calling it ‘prophesying.’
“All they do is fantasize comforting illusions and preach lying sermons. They say ‘GOD says …’ when GOD hasn’t so much as breathed in their direction. And yet they stand around thinking that something they said is going to happen.”

In my opinion, those who proclaim the health, wealth, and prosperity message are like those false prophets Ezekiel preached against. “All they do is fantasize comforting illusions.” They create an illusion of belief on things that they have either been deceived in believing or are flat out deceiving others for personal gain. They create a situation where the power of suggestion can bring about a healing of some but most go away unhealed. The power of suggestion is a “standing around thinking that something they said is going to happen.”

Rather than trying to create a power of suggestion why not just establish an environment where real faith results in an optimistic positive outlook. After all, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. (Heb 11:1) The Message

The best healing agent for someone who is chronically ill is an optimistic positive attitude. It is a proven fact that maintaining a positive outlook on life will release the natural healing benefits of the body. Consider the following verses that illustrate the hope of faith:

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro 15:13)

“we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Rom 8:25)

“according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Phil 1:20)

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (2 Thes 2:16-17)

“we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.” (Heb 6:18)

Faith is hope’s sustenance. Yet, our faith and hope are not in things that fail. “For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal 5:5) The “hope of righteousness” is obviously Jesus Christ. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb 10:23) Our hope is unwavering not because of our faithfulness but because of His faithfulness. We have placed our hope in Him “who raised Him(Jesus) from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Pt 1:21)

Hope produces an optimistic positive outlook on life, even if we face chronic ailments, because our hope is not fueled by the fleeting health of physical life. Our hope is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of our hope gives us joy and hope in this life. In fact, it goes beyond this life and looks toward eternal life in heaven.

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