Let Hope Shape Your Future

In THE LAST JEDI, the two main characters Rey, the heroine and Kylo Ren, the villain, have a strong bond of similarities. Yet they have made and continue to make one life shaping decision differently. Rey chooses hope while Kylo allows his hurts to have intimate influence on his future.

The late Robert Schuller once said, “Let your hopes not your hurts shape your future.”

God is the master at recalculation.

We live in a broken world. We constantly face a barrage of difficult circumstances. From our own failures to the consequences of others’ bad decisions and evil choices, we receive injury upon injury. But praise God, the Bible says in Romans 8:28 that God can turn “all things” around for our good and His glory. The promise is not that God can turn some things around. It isn’t that God can turn the big things around. The promise is God can turn all things around for our good and His glory. The question is will we let Him?

I grew up using a map to navigate my travels. When the GPS came out, it was a wonderful device that helped us find a specific address. However, the GPS is a lousy tool to help you learn the layout of a new community. When we moved, I used my GPS all the time and soon learned that I wasn’t learning the relationships of roads around our metro area. Where we live, the roads often change names and directions. Until I set down with a map and studied it, I was continually confused and became dependent on my GPS.

One day I was driving with a car load of family and friends. We were not leaving from our house, so I punched in the address of our destination. The GPS was not taking me how I thought I should go, so I kept thinking I needed to turn left to get to the main thorough fair. Finally, I got so frustrated I shouted out, “I need to turn North!” No sooner had it escaped my mouth, the GPS said in her smug voice, “You are on the fastest route!

Everyone had a good laugh at my expense. And I admit it was funny. But do you know what I like best about my GPS? When I make a wrong turn, the voice says, “Recalculating.” It doesn’t make me go back to where I made the wrong turn. It recalculates my destination from my new location.

God is the master at recalculation. When I make a mistake, He doesn’t take me back to where I was. He doesn’t shame me and remind me of my failure. He forgives. He moves on from where I am. He recalculates a new path to the ultimate destination for my life journey.

How about you? Have you found yourself off course? God is able to recalculate from where you are and set you on a new path to the place He has always desired to take you. He can turn things around for your good and His glory!

The Christmas narrative is a story of hope.

The Christmas narrative is a story of hope. The Living God leaves His throne in heaven to enter into the human experience. He navigates humanity perfectly then offers His life as a sacrifice to take our place satisfying God’s justice and God’s love. His death and resurrection is the hope for all eternity. You can read the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-21 (the earthly narrative) and in John 1:1-18 (the heavenly narrative).

Every great story has a backstory. The Christmas story is no different. Let me introduce you to two men in the backstory of Christmas, Zechariah and Joseph. Their stories reveal God’s intimate way He works in our lives for our good and His glory.

Even when our faith falters, God can turn things around for our good and His glory.

Zechariah’s story is found in Luke 1:5-25. Zechariah is a priest. He and his wife Elizabeth are past the child bearing years and have no children. They have experienced their greatest hope becoming their deepest hurt.

Zechariah is serving in the temple when his turn comes up to go in and burn incense. While in the temple, he is visited by an angel. After seasons of sorry and decades of despair, God has heard their prayers. But the pain proves too powerful for Zechariah and  his faith falters. But God is not thwarted by Zechariah’s weakness. God turns all things around for our good and His glory. God recalculates and Zechariah’s dream is realized.

Elizabeth becomes pregnant and gives birth to John the Baptist. Now John is not a Baptist, a Methodist or even a Presbyterian, he is the forerunner to the Messiah. The one prophesied about hundreds of years earlier.

How about you? What dreams have become sores? God can use all things for your good and His glory. Will you let Him?

God is less concerned about our reputation and infinitely more concerned about our relationship with Him.

Joseph’s story is found in Matthew 1:18-25. Joseph is a handyman. While he does not serve God in the temple, he loves God and serves him faithfully with his life in Nazareth. He is a young man excited about the life before him. He is engaged to the most wonderful young lady in town, Mary.

Mary loves God too, or so he thought. She became pregnant before they had come together. How could she do this to him? How could she do this to God? He can’t marry her now. The Law gives him an out. He can divorce her. But being the good man he is, he will do it quietly so not to add to her disgrace.

Recalculating! God usually gives us the opportunity to make mistakes and allows us to learn from them. But in some cases, He intervenes before we make the mistake. That was the case for Joseph. He had been chosen to be Jesus’ adoptive, earthly Father. God’s plan for all humanity was riding on this. He intervenes.

An angel appears to Joseph with an explanation of what is going on and a directive to not be afraid to take Mary home to be his wife. This creates a scandalous situation, a young women pledged to be married becomes pregnant. The godly handyman takes her into his home early. The neighbors all smile in understanding: the two aren’t quite as holy has their reputation in town had portrayed them.

God’s plan of a virgin birth reveals that God is less concerned about our reputation and infinitely more concerned about our relationship with Him. But God turns all things around for our good and His glory.

What about you? What decisions are you facing? What is God asking you to do? Sometimes following God’s leading doesn’t play well with others. Sometimes it creates problems for you. Will you let God use you anyway? Will you follow Him, trusting it will ultimately be for your good and His glory?

Hope or Hurts?

Following Jesus isn’t blind optimism. It is a faith, believing God will turn ALL THINGS around for your good and His glory! Will you allow your hopes and not your hurts to shape your future? Do you want to be a Rey or a Kylo?

If you would like to talk to someone about how to have a relationship with Jesus, please feel free to contact me.

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