Hope Archives - Guidelines International Ministries
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11   "Hope," said Thales, the Greek founder of philosophy, "is the most universal thing in the world, for hope stays with those who have nothing else." Many today are in the grip of despair and pessimism because they have ruled out the very grounds of hope itself, which is God.  The believer's hope centers in a person, Jesus Christ, who gave to us a hope of eternal life and the assurance that there is more to life than the weary monotony of earning enough money to keep ourselves from starving and out of the rain.  Hope stems from faith, and it is to the soul of man what oxygen is to his lungs and food to his body.  Apart from hope there is no reason to live. Dr. Karl Menninger, the renowned psychiatrist, was intrigued by the place of hope in our lives and its importance as a factor which leads to physical recovery and healing.  He said that much attention has been given to faith and love.  Yet as a psychiatrist, he was firmly convinced of the importance of hope. A professor of medicine at Cornell University, Dr. Harold G. Wolff, did an intensive study of the factors that led to survival for those who were interred in the concentration camps of World War 2.  In an article entitled, "What Hope Does For Man," Dr. Wolff wrote the following: "A study of a few of the survivors who have since become unusually effective citizens is suggestive.  Despite exposure to many stressful conditions, the imprisonment for them was a painful but temporary interruption in a life viewed as a continuum.  They were convinced that they would come out alive and that they would not be imprisoned long. "These men formed tightly knit groups, believed in and helped each other, and even laughed together.  Immediately after liberation, a few had transient illnesses but there is little to indicate that their vitality had been sapped.  Indeed, a few assumed major responsibilities.  In short, prolonged circumstances which are perceived as dangerous and lonely may drain a man of hope and health; but he is capable of enduring incredible burdens and taking cruel punishment when he has self‑esteem, hope, purpose and belief in his fellows." Another doctor who made an intensive study of hope in relationship to suffering in the concentration camps of World War 2 was Viktor Frankl.  Unlike Dr. Wolff, who studied the problem as a scientific observer, Dr. Frankl studied the subject as a participant.  Dr. Viktor Frankl was a Jewish doctor who studied the concentration camps from within as a prisoner.  Dr. Frankl saw hope as an unconquerable link to the God of the future, part of the indomitable spirit of man that could never be destroyed from without. When Dr. Frankyl wrote of his experiences and the importance of hope as a means and factor in survival, he concluded his book with these words, "...we have come to know man as that being who has invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who has entered those gas chambers upright with the Lord's prayer or the Schema Yisroel on his lips.” Hope is part of the armor of the soul which is put there by God and is linked vitally to the belief that really He, not fickle fate or the brutal hand of man, controls and governs our eternal destiny.  Hope is the confident assurance that there is more to life than the frail temples of clay which we call our human bodies.  It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul saw faith as a spiritual quality of the soul, based on the assurance that God exists above and beyond anything that man can do to the life of another man, and that our destiny is really in God's hand.   Resource reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  Jeremiah 17:7   It happens every day in every major city of the world.  A car is proceeding down the highway when another vehicle pulls directly into its path.  There is the screech of tires as brakes are jammed on, but it is too late.  The sickening thud is followed by the tearing of metal and the shattering of glass, punctuated with the screams of suffering.  A broken, bruised body is pulled from the twisted wreckage, and soon an ambulance is racing towards the hospital with siren wailing and lights making eerie designs on the inside walls.  The victim is unconscious and unaware of reaching the hospital; but upon his arrival a team of specialists go to work to save the life of the accident victim. Moments later, the family arrives and begins the long vigil, awaiting the outcome of the life in the balance.  Finally, the doctors walk out to greet the family.  Without thinking, the words leap out, "Doctor, is there hope?  Is there hope?” Centuries ago the writer of Scripture wrote, "For the one who belongs among the living, there is hope."  What oxygen is to the lungs and food is to the body, hope is to the soul.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, "And now abides...and now remain faith, hope and love..." If Paul were writing today‑‑in the twenty-first century‑‑do you suppose he would still say, "And now remains...hope"? Many are asking the question that the coal miner asked when he was trapped by an accident.  For him the day had begun as usual.  The descent into the earth was very routine and the work started just like any other day.  But that afternoon there was the explosion that resulted in suffocating clouds of dust, and the beams overhead crumbled like match sticks.  The miner was pinned by the debris but he could still breathe.  For hours he lay there until he finally heard the picks and shovels of the men who were digging toward him. Occasionally, they would stop their work and call the miner's name, straining their ears to hear the faintest sound.  After they called one time, they heard not a voice but the sound of fingers drumming on something.  "Shush!!"  They listened.  "It's Morse code," one of them said.  Sure enough, the miner although unable to speak was tapping out the words, "Is...there...hope?" Many today are gripped with a quiet despair, uncertain of the future, wondering really if there is hope for our generation.  Science and technology have united to produce the greatest arsenal of death‑producing weapons the world has ever known.  It never helps anyone to sleep better to realize that the atomic stock‑pile is great enough to kill every person on the face of the earth several times over.  To this, add the problems of food shortages, the economy and a host of other difficulties.  One geologist said that if the earth were completely hollow and were filled with oil, we would still eventually run out of this black ooze unless we slow our consumption of resources. Where shall we look for hope?  Moscow, Beijing, Geneva, Bonn, Washington?  Or shall we expect the United Nations to pass a resolution banning despair and pessimism?  No.  Little hope ebbs from the capitals of the world, but there is hope in a world considered hopeless by many. Centuries ago, Jeremiah wrote, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is" (Jeremiah 17:7).  The Bible, enforced by 5,000 years of written secular history, declares that there is no hope in the heart of man apart from the hope that comes through faith in God. Is it any wonder that the writers of Scripture talked about our Father as a certainty, and through Him there is hope that life can be different?  Faith becomes the doorway that provides hope for the future, and that makes my life now worth living.  Think about it.   Resource reading: Psalm 42:1-11
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7, NKJV).   The Greek Philosopher, Thales, is credited with saying, "The most universal thing is hope, for hope stays with those who have nothing else."  The old philosopher made his point in that there are times when hope is the only thing that remains when everything else is gone.  But for vast segments of the world's population‑‑especially those who have nothing left but hope‑‑even hope seems to be dying. For thousands of people in Africa and Eastern Europe, political conditions seem to drain the very buoyancy of hope from their lives.  War, famine and disease leave in their wake suffering, despair and untold agony.  True, Communism collapsed but the poverty and corruption left behind in its wake are to many a fiercer enemy.  In the Middle East several million refugees ask themselves, "Will life ever return to normal?"  But then we have to ask ourselves, "Is there such a thing as normalcy in the world anymore?" Rudyard Kipling once asked the question, "When earth's last picture is painted, will it be a picture of despair?"  Whether it is the world's political situation, the economy, the environment, or the gloomy forecast for the future, there is a lot of despair on the landscape today; but in spite of it all, there is hope‑‑not necessarily coming from the council chambers of the United Nations or the diplomatic envoys that shuttle from world capital to world capital, or in the rosy‑eyed forecasts that come from a few politicians. The Bible says, "Anyone who is among the living has hope" (Ecclesiastes 9:4).  The writer of Scripture knew that the only real hope in a hopeless world is in the hope that comes from God Himself.  Writing to the Corinthians, Paul said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable..." (I Corinthians 15:19, KJV).  Paul saw the Christian hope reaching across the landscape of despair to the very presence of God Himself.  It gave him an assurance that there is more to life than the hopelessness of life today. How is it that a Christian has hope in a hopeless world?  Two reasons: First, he believes that there is hope for the present because of God's power to change the circumstances of despair.  That is why Charles Allen, a noted writer, said that the man who gives up hope slams the door in the face of God. Read the biographies of men and women such as Richard Wurmbrandt and Corrie ten Boom‑‑both of whom spent years in prisons‑‑and you will learn that hope is born of prayer.  Hope in God is not wishful thinking but is based on the sure and certain promises of God. Secondly, a Christian has hope in an otherwise hopeless world because he is sure that death is not the end of existence, and that confidence gives meaning to life‑‑no matter how difficult or desperate‑‑in the world of today.  The book of Hebrews in the New Testament talks of that hope, which is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19). Where is your hope today?  If your hope rests only in men, or governments, or programs‑‑no matter how worthy‑‑you really have not much hope to live for.  However, if your hope is in God, and you will trust Him, He will be a refuge from the stormy tempest and a hiding place from the storms of life.  Yes, Jeremiah, the prophet of old, was right when he wrote, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:7NKJV).
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