1 Peter 1:21-22(NIV) “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

We are almost one-fourth of the way through The Hope Project. I’m believing God for a greater sense of hope in your life. Hope that is not based upon your circumstances. HOPE that is anchored in your faith that Jesus was crucified, placed into a grave, resurrected and ascended, and that He’s coming again for you!

I know it’s kind of hard to see it when you’re in the middle of living your life, but I really wish you could see God’s face towards you today. I wish you could see His affection and kindness and the depth of His love for you.

Last week, I had a call with several key leaders from our church. I got to hear stories of how people are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic our nation is facing. I heard stories of faith—young couples who have been married for a few years trying to help couples who just got married, others trying to love on their kids faithfully in the midst of challenge, others wrestling through how to be more generous with their time and resources. I hung up, walked up to Stacie, and said, “Babe, we have some amazing people in our church!” And we do!!! And, as your pastor, I want to tell you that God loves you and He is pleased with you. He is pleased with our church. He loves the way we are still serving the needy in our community, the way we are trying to reach those who have never experienced His love, and the way we are trying to bring hope. I wish I could give you a fist bump or hug right now, whichever you’d prefer. Since I can’t, I’ll keep pouring out my heart through my keyboard.

Hey, does Peter’s description of Jesus in this letter blow you away like it does me? It’s as though Peter can’t get enough of Jesus. He keeps talking about Him. He keeps referring back to that Garden Tomb that Jesus rendered uselessly. Peter couldn’t go back! He had been so changed by Jesus that he couldn’t stop talking about Him.

That’s why Peter had so much hope. His was not an economic hope, a physical hope, or a misty hope like, “I hope you have a good day.” It was HOPE that Jesus who conquered the grave was coming back. His faith was fixed on Jesus and His return.

He was reverse engineering before the concept showed up in management books. His recollection of the truth from the past and his constant awareness of eternity gave him hope no matter what he faced in this life.

Friend, if you place your hope in anything other than Jesus, it’s going to be hard for you to live this life with peace and joy. There are so many things you could give yourself to that in the end will leave you devastated and empty.

Jesus never will. He is the best friend you could ever want. An ever-present help in trouble.

Even though we understand this, we still will face grief. But, our grief turns to hope as we process and keep stepping. As Peter reminds us here, that hope turns into love—because we’ve been changed. We start to want to be like Jesus because He’s been so good. We start to want to love others because He’s loved us. Our goals and ambitions begin to change because of His love.

When I have hope, it makes me want to help those around me.

Hopeful people are some of the most helpful people around. Freedom to love others comes out of the freedom we experience in the love of Jesus and our faith in Him.

Today, I wonder how much your friendship with Jesus has grown over the last week. Would you be willing to ask Him to help you respond to His friendship? Would you be willing to take time to ask Him to use the hope He’s given you to make you a better friend to those around you, to make you more loving and kind?

Hopeful people help people. Hope is not a condition of my circumstance; it’s based on my faith in Jesus and His power over sin and death.

Father, I look to you. I choose to put my hope in you. Make me into the kind of person who is helpful to others. Use me to spread your love. Thank you for the empty tomb. Lord please fill us with your confidence.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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