Wow! We made it! Here we are on day 1 of a brand new year! Are you excited for the good things in store for you? I am!
So much has happened last year that didn’t go as we thought it would go but hey, it’s a new year with new beginnings! We have everything to hope for, everything to gain when we focus on God, right?
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Isaiah spoke these words in Isaiah 43:18-19, not to remember or focus on the things of the past because God is doing a new thing, and it is springing forth, even now. And I love this part, “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
While you can look back to see how far you have come, God doesn’t want you to camp out in the memories of the past. He wants you to move forward in the newness of the things He is doing for you. And He will make a way for you where there seems to be no way. Only God can do that!
It’s important to keep your focus on God and your trust and hope in Jesus each and every day.
Focus on God, Not on Events in 2021
Before we get into the elements of hope, I’d like to mention that in 2021, we face many unknowns, of course. Only God knows the outcome of 2021 and that’s why I strongly encourage you to place your hope in God.
It’s important to focus on God and not on the events you see unfolding around you. Things will always happen as they always have. So what’s different with 2021?
As you watch the news channels or read the papers, you’ll see many conflicting reports about the pandemic, Covid-19, the vaccines, and even what the governments are doing to “help” people and how they are running their country. Don’t let this discourage you or lead you into despair.
Remember this, God is greater than these things and is sovereign overall. You can fully trust God to bring you through these days. So, if you need to, turn off the news channel, stop reading the newspaper. Instead, why not read a good book or listen to worship music? Or have some fun with your children? If you’re already doing this, great!
Rather than focus on the negative, why not draw your strength from the Word of God and focus on His power, strength, and might? Jesus is your hope and the answer to all your questions.
Focus on God Bible Verses
Here are some Bible verses about hope:
- Romans 15:13, Peace and joy in believing and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to abound in hope.
- Romans 12:12, Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- Hebrews 11:1, Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen but will be made evident in the right time.
- 1 Peter 1:13, Therefore, prepare your minds for action, and be sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Psalm 31:24, Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
- Psalm 146:5, Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.
- Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and an expected end.
- Psalm 42:11, Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God.
- Hebrews 13:6, So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
- Psalm 130:5, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his Word, I hope.
May these few Scripture verses show you what you can hope in and why. As you read the Word, let your spirit rise up within you concerning the hope you have in God and His Word.
Are you reading His Word daily or regularly? If not, have you considered a reading plan of one chapter (sometimes two short ones together) a day? This plan would cover the whole Bible in three years. I know, it seems like a long time but I just started my third year on this plan and I’m so glad to have it.
The Elements of Hope
Let me go back to this word, “hope”. As I think about this word, I see five elements that spring out from this word.
Let’s go through these elements as we work through how to focus on God.
The Psalmist, David, wrote much about being in despair and he was weary of those who were constantly after him. He was tired of it all and had enough. Do you ever feel like that?
Psalm 40:1-3 speaks of waiting patiently for God to hear his cry and when God responded, He brought him out of the miry clay and established him on the solid rock. Then in Psalm 42:1-5, the Psalmist tells of how he is thirsting after God, and in verse 5, he asks himself why he is so sad and then encourages himself with “hope thou in God.”
This is a good time to talk to yourself and encourage yourself. You’re not just talking to yourself, you’re talking to God.
While there are many things that can and do discourage us, we need to remember one thing, hope thou in God! Place your focus on God, trust Him to set your feet on the firm foundation and establish your path.
Encourage yourself to focus on God and as the Psalmist said, to hope thou in God!
Prayer is vital to the believer’s life. It is what grounds us as we communicate with God. Without prayer, we’re like fish on the shore, floundering around, hoping that someone will put us back in the water.
Prayer is simply talking with God. God is three in one, so I talk with God, with Father, with Jesus, and with Holy Spirit. Most of the time I name them just as I would when I’m talking with friends, I call them by name.
Prayer is your lifeline. You need to spend time talking with God. Paul exhorted his readers to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. How do you do that? Well, it’s simply talking to God instead of talking to yourself throughout the day.
For example, as I’m writing this post, I may pause here and there and then say, “Holy Spirit, what do I say next?” Or, I may say, “Jesus, where is that found in the Bible?” He always answers me right away.
At night time before I fall asleep, I often talk with God. I ask Him about tomorrow, what it is He wants me to do. Or, maybe, I am reviewing my day and thanking Him for being there for me. While this isn’t a “formal” prayer, it is talking with God and if I’m not mistaken, that qualifies as “praying without ceasing”. Would you agree?
So spend time in daily prayer and you’ll find yourself being able to focus on God more.
You might enjoy this post by Heather Hart over at Candidly Christian. She’d like to encourage you with 8 Scriptures for the New Year. Check it out!
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It’s been said to have something to aim for and you’ll be sure to hit the mark or something like that. If you don’t have goals in life, will you accomplish them? Nope, because you need to establish goals to have something to work toward. Flying by the seat of your pants with no plan on how to get there will leave you lost and without direction. Having a plan helps you achieve your goals.
It’s the same with hope. When you have hope in God, then you should be expecting something from Him.
What can you expect from God? Well, the same as what others have experienced.
David had his mourning turned into dancing as he was girded with gladness, Psalm 30:11.
Also, he was delivered from all his fears, Psalm 34:4. Who wouldn’t want that?
When you have an expectation that God hears your prayers then you can be sure that you will receive from Him. You will see Him as He delights in your way and orders your steps to be a blessing to you and others, Psalm 37:23.
When things get hard and you find yourself dwelling on the past, focus on God and the good things He has done for you. Remember that God has led you out of the darkness and into His marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9. Expect God to do that again, to lead you where He wants you to be.
When you find yourself dwelling in the secret place and talking to God that He is your refuge and fortress, trust Him when He says that He has given His angels charge over you. Trust Him when He says that no evil shall come near you, Psalm 91:1;10-11. Trust Him to deliver you from evil, Matthew 6:13.
Focus on God with an expectation that you will receive from Him, just as the men of old received from Him.
Hope thou in God!
Expect Trials and Tribulations
Having said that, you can and should also expect that you will endure hard times. God never promised that life would be free from trouble but He did promise that He would be with you in the trouble, Isaiah 43:2. He also promised to help you work through your trials and tribulations just as He did with King Hezekiah.
Both Paul and Peter wrote that we are in the last days and that trouble shall and will come. Peter said that if we suffer for righteousness’ sake, we are to be happy, 1 Peter 3:12-14. Christ suffered for us in the flesh, 1 Peter 4:1, should we expect a life without suffering? If you’d like a study on this, 1 Peter and Jude are great starting points.
When you have hope in God and these elements fall into place in your life, you can expect to thrive in Him.
God wants you to grow and flourish in your faith and in your trust in Him. He wants you to stand on His Word and believe His promises and declare them in prayer over your life. When you do this, you can expect that God will respond to His Word spoken over your life, and, you will find yourself beginning to grow and flourish. You’ll find yourself thriving in God!
Can you expect to thrive in 2021? Again, when you look at the natural, it may seem impossible. But that is God’s specialty, taking man’s impossible situations and making them possible, Luke 18:27.
Can you trust God to do this for you? You can, and you should. God loves His children and like any earthly father, wants to see good things happen for his children. God wants to see you thrive despite the negativity going on around you.
So, again, hope thou in God and find yourself thriving in Him.
As I thought about these elements that spring out of hope, I had to include thanksgiving. Remember the parable Jesus told of 10 lepers that He healed and only one came back to thank Him? Ten men were healed and began to rejoice that they were no longer society’s outcasts. They were healed! But only one of them considered what really happened and he returned with thanksgiving in his heart as he expressed himself to Jesus. You can read the full story in Luke 17:11-19.
When you have hope, you can expect that God will hear you and will answer you. God will protect you, guide you, and see to it that you flourish and thrive in life. How can we not be thankful? It’s like receiving an expensive gift from someone and not showing them your appreciation for it. How rude is that?!
God wants to hear you give Him thanks for what He has done and for what He is going to do in your life. So praise Him, give Him the glory and credit and be thankful for everything He has done.
If you struggle with a time of worship, not knowing where to start or how to express yourself, download this free printable of Powerful Bible Verses to Pray the ACTS Way. Work your way through the A-C-T-S, choosing one or two, maybe three verses in each section as you begin to worship and focus on God.
That’s a Wrap
Well, what have you learned today? You learned that the year, 2021, can be and will be a year full of hope in God! You learned to
- focus on God,
- spend time in regular prayer,
- expect to receive from God
- as you thrive in Him.
- And finally, you learned how important it is to develop an attitude of gratitude as you express your thanksgiving to Him for all the things He has done for you.
If there is anything that I have learned in life, it is that I cannot live it alone, without God. He is my rock, the firm foundation on which I stand, and someday I will be in heaven for the rest of eternity. When you get there, come find me and we’ll rejoice together!
May 2021 be a year full of promise and blessings for you as you hope thou in God!
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Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.