Developing a Hope that Works


By Peping de Villa
(Delivered during CCF Dawnwatch –June 16, 2009)

Hope is one of the three elements of ideal Christian character, the other two being faith and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Hope can be defined as a “trustful expectation.” To believers, therefore, hope is a trust in God. Everytime we pray, we must have this confidence.

First, we trust that God hears us, 1John 5:14 says “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. This gets even better. Isaiah 65:24 says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”God already knows what you want even before you ask . Why do we need to ask? He delights in the praises of your people. He therefore delights in your coming to Him in prayer.

Second, we trust that God is all powerful and capable. He can move mountains, He can part seas, He can give babies to the old and barren women. He can raise the dead. He can do ANYTHING

Third, Trust that God loves you and He knows what’s best for you. He died for your sins. Even if you are the only person left on this earth. He will still die for you.

It is this trust that is the expression of our Hope.

How can we cultivate the fullness of HOPE everytime we pray? There are pre-requisites to having this kind of HOPE or confidence in Prayer. It is not an inherited trait. We need to cultivate it and grow it.

In the book of Mathew, Jesus huddles his disciples and talks to them about the attitudes that they need to maintain if they were to remain in ministry with Him –This is called the Beatitudes or BE ATTITUDES.

Let me submit to you the things you need to BE so that you will be full of HOPE every time you pray.

I call this Jolly Be’s to a Hopeful Prayer.

1. BE HEALTHY

I do not mean Physical Health but Spiritual Health. How can we be healthy spiritually? God gave us a tool for us to use: the BIBLE. Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of Scriptures might have hope”

Read your Bible, attend Bible Studies, listen to Bible Studies on the radio
If you have the time, attend bible school (GLC)–There you will learn about high falluting terms as Hermeneutics, Apologetics, Agnostics, Exilic, etc, etc.

In other words, make every effort to know more about God we serve.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. This is a command with a promise. Being intimate, or knowing, God is like preparing land before planting. The farmer knows that seed grows better if the land is prepared well.

Testimony (First Part):
I became a born again Christian in 1987, upon the prodding and prayers of my wife. Since then, God has worked on me and transforms me one step at a time.
Even up to today, he continues to transform me. This happens because I continually seek to know Him more.

The Bible will make you know more about the character of God.
-God’s awesome power (he can do anything)
-God’s love for you personally (he knows the number of hair that you have)

Someone once said, “It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know that’s important”. It is useless if you continue to acquire knowledge and not do anything about what you know (Implosion, constipation)

Christians need to Explode. We need to walk the talk if we are to impact people.

This brings us to our next Jolly Be for a Hopeful prayer

2. BE OBEDIENT

A simple definition of obedience is responding to knowledge by following instruction or simply doing what you are told.

Our knowledge of God and our obedience to Him are interrelated

Two things we need to realize about Obedience:

First, obedience requires a relationship. As with people, the more closely you become aligned with someone, the less you want to offend or grieve them.
This is the concept in terms of our relationship with God. The more closely you become related in terms of relationship to God, the less you want to hurt Him. The closer you become to God, the more you want to Obey him. The more we know of Him, the more we will be motivated to obey Him.

Second, blessings come with obedience. Luke 11:28 says, But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Testimony (Second Part):
In 1986, we started a small business of garment trading and retailing. We had a permanent stall in Shoppesville, Greenhills and participated in the banketa sales around area. Although we were already young Christians then, we operated our business by worldly standards (double books or under declaration of sales) because this was the practice then and upon advice of our accountant.

There came a point in our doing business that we were both convicted (by the numerous sermons that we hear every Sunday). We decided do it the right way. This entailed paying high taxes, submitting to the tedious regulations of government. In other words more work and less profits.

This caught our accountant by surprise since it would jeopardize her position with the BIR- How come this small stall is paying this much taxes while your other clients with the same operation are declaring 5x less income? We were so convicted that we said “We’d rather change accountant than compromise”.

This move proved to be the turning point in our garment business. God led us to expand the business from a small trading enterprise to a manufacturing concern with 5 branches in major malls in Metro Manila and Cebu.

God truly rewards Obedience. This experience only strengthened our walk with Him.

Let me qualify this. Blessings come in many forms –it can be monetary, it can be peace of mind, it can be contentment. Not getting what you want can also be a blessing.

However, once you decide to obey, it is not going to be smooth sailing all the way.
You also need to persevere.

3. BE PERSEVERING

Many times the devil will throw things at you to discourage and to deceive you to make you lose hope. You need to persevere- to continue to do good in spite of the difficulties.

Eugene Peterson defines perseverance as Long Obedience in the same direction. If I may borrow from Pastor Peter, I would like to put the emphasis on the Looooooonnnnng.

To illustrate this, let me show you some entries from the Diary of John Wesley
Sunday, A.M., May 5 Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5 Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12 Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19 Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19 Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26 Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2 Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2 Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

Testimony (Third Part):
In 1999, Our garment business was heavily hit by the Asian Financial Crisis. Sales drastically dropped. This, together with the liberalization of garment imports from China exerted much pressure on our profitability. In our prayer time. God impressed upon us that He was going to take away our garment business of 13 years.

Our initial reaction was to worry and to be anxious. Where will we get our payment for amortizations, for my son’s education and even for our daily existence? That was our only source of income.
It was very difficult decision but God gave us the peace that surpasses all understanding. That was the sign that I was praying for. It was a sign of confirmation from God to close our business.
When we closed our last store, which was in Megamall, the leasing manager was surprised because we were not remiss in our rent and the sales in our register was acceptable to them.

Then God led us to a new business of soaps which we named GIGA –which stands for God is Good! Always!

What we thought would be easy sailing turned out otherwise. For the next 7 years we struggled with the business but the Lord was faithful in guiding us and leading us one step at a time. There were times when we tried to get ahead of Him especially after we used up all our savings. Yet we continued to trust and persevere.

If we really believe in our hearts versus just knowing in our minds, that God is really good, then we will be hopeful and His spirit will lead us to obeying Him, and persevering in Him.

How we can persevere in difficult times? 1Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Hope departs from us when we give up. We need to persevere.

Finally, if we are to have fullness of Hope in our prayer, we also need to….

4. BE EXPECTANT

Jesus said in Mark 11:24, Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe you receive them and you shall have them. Believe you receive when you pray!

What good does it do to pray without expecting to receive? Faith is required to receiving what you desire. Jesus said in Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith, let it be done unto you.”

Believe also that God has your best interest in mind and simply trust that everything will work out. He didn’t say we would see the manifestation of our prayers immediately. We must keep believing and not waver, “For a man who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1:6-7).

Expectation is the key to receiving from God when you pray! If you are not going to expect God to act, then don’t pray at all. It’s ineffective and displeases Him when you don’t believe. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

In the meantime, while we are expectantly waiting on God, what should our attitude be? “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” Romans 12:12

Testimony (Fourth Part):
in January 2005, my wife was challenged by her discipler to start the year by asking God for a miracle, something that you cannot accomplish on your own so that God can be God.
So she asked God for what seemed impossible at that time:
1. To open new doors for the soap business. At that time we did not see any new opportunities for our business to grow.
2. To pay for all our business debts and lastly
3. To fully pay the amortization of our house which was still 4 years to go.

She expectantly asked God to grant all these within a period of one year. This was her prayer in 2005.

Indeed we saw how God worked miraculously in our business in 2005, literally opening doors we didn’t knock on, sending new customers we did not know and even giving us media mileage we didn’t seek nor pay for.

In January 2006, we were able to expand our business, pay all our business debts and pre pay our housing loan –all within a span of one year!

Indeed. GOD IS GOOD! ALWAYS!

Friends, the key to having a prayer that will give us fullness of HOPE requires us to go through a relationship with God. Because apart from God we have no HOPE.

You need to:
Be Healthy Spiritually- Make every effort to know more about the God we serve.
Be Obedient to His Commands-Obey God at all costs
Be Persevering -Persevere in the strength of God even in difficult times
Be Expectant-Expect that God is a big God. He knows best and he will give you nothing but the best.

I pray that this will encourage you to develop a hope that works in your life so that you can live out to the fullest God’s purposes for you.

May you be blessed!

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