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16 January 2014 Written by  Rev. Manson B. Johnson II

Lesson 1: What Hope Does For You

Psalm 33:22

Bible Fact: God has put a capacity for hope in Him within the heart of all people to use to achieve miraculous goals in life and to receive His blessings and favor in spite of great challenges.     

The Big Idea: Hope in God is life’s greatest human asset that is always available to everyone to use.

       Dr. David Osborn at Denver Seminary says, "Too often we try to use God to change our circumstances, while He is using our circumstances to change us." (Compass, April 2003) You see, God is right now in the process of making us like Christ.
       Think of the process of refining maple syrup. Maple trees are tapped with buckets hung under the taps, and out drips a sap which is thin and clear, like water. On a good day, 50 trees will yield 30-40 gallons of sap, but it is essentially useless at this point with only a hint of sweetness.
       Then as the buckets fill, they are emptied into large bins that sit over an open fire. The sap comes to a slow boil; and as it boils, its water content is reduced and its sugars are concentrated. Hours later, it has developed a rich flavor and golden-brown color, but it must be strained several times to remove impurities before being reheated, bottled, and graded for quality. In the end, those 30-40 gallons of sap are reduced to one gallon of pure, delicious maple syrup, which is far better than the cheap, imitation, colored sugar-water that passes for maple syrup in the grocery store.
        So it is when we come to faith in Christ. We start like raw, unfinished sap, which could have been tossed aside as worthless. But God knew what he could make of us. He sought and found us, and his skillful hands are transforming us into something precious, sweet and useful. The long and often painful refining process brings forth a pure, genuine disciple easily distinguished from cheap imitations.--- (C. Philip Green, Our Living Hope, 4/26/2011).

        Hope is always in the last bucket of syrup and not the first 30-40 gallons of sap! Loving God is a worthy process that takes nurturing and time.  Hope is a trusting relationship with God to believe that He really can do anything and that He is worthy of all praises.

I. Hope releases praise within you during difficult times;                     

A. A curriculum of problems helps people to find Hope in God and to return Him praise.

Psalm 42:1-5; Psalm 27:1-6,10,12-14; 73:1-17; 107:1-9, 15, 21,23-31

II. Hope releases power around you that is outside of human help