21 Days of Prayer

From the beginning of NewLife Gathering, we have made it a priority to seek God first in prayer. We do this collectively as a gathering in August through 21 Days of Prayer and January through 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. These two months are intentional, as they begin new seasons of the year. Together, we faithfully seek God first, trusting in His power alone to create lasting impact in our lives, our gathering, and our world. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” We hope you’ll consider walking with us as we seek to make the temple of our bodies instruments of prayer over the next 21 days!
Day 1

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

As we begin our 21 Days of Prayer, our focus will be on the priority of hope in the New and Old Testaments. What is hope to you? How would you define hope to a friend? Someone has described, “Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.

Hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen. Paul challenges us to hold on to the hope we profess with certainty. God is faithful to keep His promises. God has an endless supply of hope for His children. God inspires not blind optimism but radical hope in a radical God. Regardless of your situation, hold “unswervingly” to the radical hope in Jesus Christ.

I’m praying for an amazing 21 days of hope with our NewLife Gathering family and friends.

Day 2

Then the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:14-15

In the midst of the fall of mankind, we can find hope. God handed down his sentence as soon as Satan appeared in the form of a snake and tempted Adam and Eve to sin.
This wasn’t just a metaphor about Satan’s conflict with humans and his eventual humiliation; it was a statement of God’s ultimate victory. Evil might be able to wound people for a time, but from the beginning God knew that Jesus would defeat death and Satan. Although the devil intended for sin and brokenness to destroy us, his designs are powerless, and suffering won’t have the final word. God has the final word on our suffering in this world. The word is hope.

How close is God when you put your hope in Him? He is closer than you may think or even imagine. God closes the gap when His children call upon Him in truth. It’s the truth that gets God’s full attention. Truth draws God nearer and nearer when His children call upon Him. God closes the gap between our hopelessness and our hope in Christ alone. God made the provision for this by the sacrifice of Jesus, in that He came to redeem us from our sins.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Romans 5:16).

Pray for God to close the gap in your heart today.

Day 3

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

Fear puts a vice grip on hope. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. God is bigger than fear. He has the power to put a vice grip on your fear. Everything you need is on the other side of fear. When all hope is lost in your life, put your faith in God. He makes the promise, “be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God steps up in the hopeless situations of your life. He says to you and me this morning, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Did you know that there are 365 verses in the Bible that remind us to not fear but trust in God alone for our hope? I am constantly reminded that God is with us in our fears to bring us the radical hope that we desperately need in this life. Let God take the vice grip off of your fears this morning and put His hope in your heart all day today.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Pray for hope to extend to your family and friends in caves of hopelessness this morning.

Day 4

So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

I would like to introduce to you some seminary words: Adamic and Christic. These words provide meaning and application to Paul’s words to the church in Corinth.

The Adamic world is filled with human beings whose bodies are dying, decaying, and wasting away. The world is filled with affliction, and we see the reality of suffering all around us. We live in the Adamic age: death and suffering.

The Christic world includes not only future glory which is the resurrection from the dead (2 Corinthians 4:14), but it also includes the present glory of the indwelling of the Spirit and our transformation. The inner person is being renewed daily through its transformation from glory to glory into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is a present experience rather than a merely future one. The glory of God is already at work in the lives of those who are in Christ. And it is the unseen work of God by the Spirit of God.

Inwardly we are being transformed from glory to glory even as our body decays, but the hope is that the body will be raised and it, too, will be transformed into the glorious body of Christ (Philippians 3:21). This is not soul versus body, but rather the union of soul and body in the hope of the resurrection. Suffering is the major point. Paul participates in the Adamic world through suffering and affliction, and he also participates in the Christic world through transformation into the image of Christ. While the outer is perishing, the inner is renewing Paul toward a future resurrection and full sanctification. The Adamic affliction is light and momentary in contrast with the present and future experience of Christic glory. We don’t lose heart because our inner self is being renewed day by day, for our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory. Our hope is in the future Christic glory. Pray for hope today!

Day 5

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17)

Forbes magazine published an article in its latest issue listing the world’s richest people. In a poll Forbes Magazine took over 46% of the respondents wanted to be billionaires. The Forbes issue also has articles about things like How To Spend $1 Billion, The World’s Most Expensive Cars and The World’s Most Expensive Hotels, Homes and Household Items. It’s safe to say that our society is absorbed with the desire for riches. But not many people if asked would say they think they are rich. How about yourself? Do you consider yourself to be rich?

From the standpoint of material wealth, Americans have difficulty realizing how rich we are, especially compared to over a billion people who live below the poverty level. Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Paul instructs that there is a danger in having riches. Note that Paul instructs Timothy to command those who are rich not to be haughty—don’t be arrogant, conceited, proud, or full of yourselves because you have these riches. Warren Wiersbe comments on this by saying…

“If wealth makes a person proud, then he understands neither himself nor his wealth. ‘But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that gives thee power to get wealth.’ (Deut. 8:18)

We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.” Put your hope in God, it’s the only certain choice to make.

Day 6

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

Paul is making the same point repeatedly. There is one God and one mediator, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all types of men. For that reason, Paul was appointed a preacher and apostle to the Gentiles – types of men other than Israelites. Therefore, Paul wanted men in every place to pray, as opposed to the Jewish notion that the temple in Jerusalem was the exclusive domain of God. The content and message of this epistle is consistent. And so, following Paul’s lead, we work hard and struggle because we have set our hope on the Living God, who is the Savior of all kinds of people, particularly or specially those of every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation who “share the like, precious faith” of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes what we can see with our physical eyes can be seen with our spiritual eyes. God uses the eyes of our heart to illuminate “the hope of God’s call”. Hope that is illuminated in the heart makes our prayer lives come alive in His presence. Hope lights up the presence of God. When God’s people begin to pray, we are fully alive in His presence. John Bunyan wrote, “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me. In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” Keep faith alive, put your hope in the living God. Pray for hope to be unleashed at NewLife Gathering.

Day 7

The Lord himself goes before you, and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

For several years, Albert Mohler, an American pastor and theologian has held forums in churches and college campuses where he would respond to any question asked regarding faith and Christian theology. A young college student recently walked up to the microphone and asked him, “How do you help someone who has given up hope?”, to which he responded, “Trying to manufacture hope doesn’t work”.

We are living in a culture devoid of hope in almost epidemic proportions. Mohler went on to explain, “there is no earthly way to ground your hope. There is no ultimate hope found in anything on earth. Hope is not found in a principle; Hope is found in a person and that person, is Jesus Christ.”

The word “hope” in our modern English often conveys doubt. Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, with the power behind the hope resting solely on the one hoping. But when the word Hope is used in the Bible it is different. The Hebrew word for hope and any synonyms of it used in the Old Testament is “batah”. And the Greek word, “elpis or elpizo” has been translated to the word “hope” in the New Testament. They both hold the same meaning, which is, “holding confidence, secure, or being without care”, with the modern-day concept of doubt not even a part of these terms. So, the hope we read about in the Bible is more like confident expectation in what God has promised, and its strength is in HIS faithfulness. You weren’t meant to “manufacture hope”. You were meant to live in confident expectation. You were meant to live in relationship with God, who goes before you, will be with you, and never leave nor forsake you! I’m praying we stop trying to manufacture hope but grow in knowing the source of all hope! Pray that your relationship with God grows in epidemic portions in this year.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful!” Hebrews 10:23.

Day 8

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

It is interesting that Paul puts hope last. Probably, because he wants to emphasize this for his church plant. The Thessalonians were experiencing various kinds of affliction because of their faith in Christ. Life had become more difficult since becoming Christians, not easier. Contrary to what some may try to sell us, knowing Christ and life in him means we share in his sufferings. The Thessalonians could tell us a thing or two about what that means.
Paul commends them and praises God for their perseverance in hope, even in the midst of trial. And what propels them to be steadfast in affliction? Hope. But this hope is not a general good feeling about the future. It is something much more specific. The hope that Paul is speaking of is the hope of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. What causes the Thessalonians to persevere is the joyous and wondrous thought of their savior returning and making all things right. Perhaps they understood what Paul would say later to the Corinthians: though we experience light momentary affliction in this life, God is using our suffering to prepare for us an eternal weight of glory; therefore, we do not lose heart (2 Cor 4:16-18).

Hope is powerful. It plays a major role in the Christian walk as we anticipate eternal life with our Lord. We long for good things in our daily life as well. We hope for a healthy marriage, a healthy life for our kids and healthy relationships. Being confident in the love of God fuels this hope in us. We believe that God is in control and has good things in store – in this life and after. Pray for opportunities for hope. Pray for opportunities to persevere in hope for His glory.

Day 9

For God alone my soul waits in silence and quietly submits to him. For he alone is my hope. He only is my rock and my salvation; my fortress and my defense, I will not be shaken or discouraged. On God my salvation and glory rest, he is my rock of unyielding strength, my refuge is in God. Trust confidently in him at all times, O people pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Some of us are better at waiting than others. I can wait for a while, but then it seems something inside of me kinda “snaps” and I feel like a burst of impatience bursts out of me. Waiting is hard. Some of us are waiting through physical or emotional needs like grief, pain, or loss. Some of us are waiting through financial needs or spiritual needs, like fear or doubt. Some of us are waiting for God to answer a prayer we have prayed for a looooong time. Even if you’re simply waiting in a line at the grocery store, waiting is hard.

There are two little words in this Psalm that stand out to me. The first is the word, “quietly”. How can we wait quietly? Because we know that something good is coming. Like waiting at your favorite restaurant for that yummy dish you always get when you go there. You wait quietly and patiently because you are assured of what’s coming.

I want to encourage you today, especially if you’re in a time or season of waiting. God is speaking to you today, through this passage and is saying to you: He is your salvation, He is your HOPE, and your soul can wait on him in silence, in trust, and in hope that he is working out a plan and a purpose we may not even realize.

The second word I love is found at the end of this selected passage and it’s the word “selah”. Selah means pause. So today, pause, right now. Lay that thing you’re waiting for at His feet. Tell God HE is your rock, your salvation, your fortress, your defense, and your refuge. God, help us to wait with trust, with patience, with strength, with joy, and yes with hope in you and you alone! Selah!

Day 10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)

Micah longed for the time when righteousness would reign once again in Israel. He felt as though he was living in the time of gleaning the fields instead of the time of great harvest.

Just about every Christian begins this walk with Jesus in the frame of mind that we want to serve the Lord with gladness and walk in the paths of holiness and righteousness that will please the Lord. The Love of God within us constrains us and our only desire is to please Him. What happens over time with this commitment?

We live in a time when it is increasingly harder to find Christians who really desire to live holy and righteously toward God. Who can doubt that if this were the only criterion by which we judged the times in which we live that this would not be the case. Day-by-day the times are growing more perilous, and we groan for the coming of the Lord but cry out for the lost at the same time.

The prophet, Micah, faced much the same situation in his day. His cry was one of woe, or how bad things are, for I am in a land of evil and there is no solution to the troubles I see. It reminds me of the old Spiritual that says, “Nobody, knows the trouble I see, nobody knows but me.”

The TV Show “Hee Haw”, used to feature a group that sang the song, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me” (Young people google it).

We may laugh at the lyrics now but there isn’t one of us who has not faced this state of depression, doubt, and fear at some time in life. If you haven’t, then you simply haven’t lived long enough, and that day will surely come for you too.

Micah challenges us to “watch in hope for the Lord, wait for God my Savior”. If we meet Micah’s challenge, then the response is clear: “my God will hear me”. Take time today to wait and watch in hope for the Lord. It will make a difference in your life. It will make a difference in your day.

Day 11

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. (Job 11:18-19)

Such words of hope. To rest in security. To be fearless. To have others court our favor because we have God’s favor.

Except this is the book of Job and these words were spoken by Zophar, one of Job’s three “friends.” His message is not one of hope and encouragement. It is one of condemnation. He stands as accuser before a man who has lost everything. And rather than sharing in Job’s troubles, grieving alongside him, and lifting him up in prayer before the Almighty, he tells Job that he deserves worse. He must deserve worse because a just God punishes iniquity and rewards righteousness. Job is being punished mightily so he must have sinned mightily. If only Job was as righteous as he claims, then these promises we read in verses 18 and 19 would be his.

After all, we know that Job is indeed a righteous man. That these trials were placed upon him precisely because of his righteousness, to demonstrate to Satan and to all of us that the love of a righteous man toward God is not dependent on his circumstances.

And this is where real freedom, hope and fearlessness come in. God’s goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. It is revealed in His sacrifice at the cross. The death of His perfect son at the cross in payment for our sins. All of them. Death was conquered and heaven is our reward. No matter the trials we face here on earth and no matter the sins we have committed, once we accept what Christ sacrificed for us, heaven is ours.

That is what it means to live in Christ. That is what it means to live fearless. That is what it means to live in fearless hope. Pray for fearless hope for your family and friends today.

Day 12

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

We all put our hope in something. We hope in our savings accounts to bring security, we hope in our relationships to make us happy, we hope in our careers and hobbies to bring fulfillment, we hope in healthy living to bring us long life, we hope in obedient children to give us peace, we hope in entertainment to bring us comfort and joy – the list can go on and on. Even those that feel hopeless demonstrate that they put their hope in something and have simply come to realize that it has failed them.

You may recall that Peter calls us to embrace the identity of being elect exiles – to be chosen by God to be rejected by the world. Embracing this identity means giving up hope in the things of this world. Yet, Peter does not leave us without hope. Instead, Peter begins his letter by holding before us the gospel – the good news. He presents us with a better hope.

This good news is so amazing that Peter can’t even hold back his praise for God exclaiming, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Peter worships the Father because he has caused us to be born again! Why? Because of his great mercy! It is not due to anything good in us. We are simply born. God is the active mover – according to his great mercy he causes us to be born again. To what end? To a living hope! Our hope is not a perishing or fading hope – it is living! How? Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! We are born to new life through Jesus being raised to new life. We have a living hope because we worship a living Savior!

We see that our living hope isn’t some abstract eternity in heaven but is a person. Jesus is our living hope. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead secures our salvation to be with him forever and all of the many blessings that he brings to us. Peter defines this living hope as an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. We may not have any inheritance on earth, but we come to realize that the inheritance we have as God’s chosen exiles is far better. The things of this world will all perish, are all defiled, and are all fading. Our inheritance is so much better that its reality surpasses all comprehension. NewLIfe put your hope in a living God and watch Him transform your heart. Pray for living hope all day today.

Day 13

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

I’ve heard this passage quoted as justification for using the Bible to be a thumper for unbelievers. You know Bible thumpers. My grandmother was a Bible thumper. She would leave a small tip at a restaurant but leave a scripture verse on the receipt. Somehow, I don’t think this is what Peter is referring to in verse 15, “always be prepared to make a defense, with gentleness and respect.” The most important word here seems to be ‘hope,’ which is hard to demonstrate when sharing the Gospel without gentleness and respect.

On the other hand, we’re not to refrain or withdraw from sharing out of fear, either. This passage calls us to be ready to share anytime to anyone. Examples in situations where fear might have dominated, but didn’t, are Peter and John standing before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4) and Stephen sharing his message from the Spirit with the religious leadership in God-filled wisdom (Acts 6:8-7:60). While Peter and John declared their allegiance to Jesus by sharing their message rather than not, Stephen drew parallels between the priests’ denial of Jesus to the Exodus Hebrews and he died because of it. These are two courageous examples for us in our tumultuous times about sharing the Gospel message with others despite any fear.

We need the Bible to thump our hearts of fear. We need to pray for courageous hope in times of fear. Pray for God to give you a heart of hope to share with a hopeless world. We need more hope and less fear in our world today.

Day 14

But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We depend on the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us Lord, for our hope is in you alone. (Psalm 33:18-22)

What do you rely on? Right now, I’m hunkered down at home, relying on the fact that eventually the temperatures will rise, the sun will come out and melt the sheet of ice and snow piled neatly on the street in front of my house! “Nature” has a nature and we recognize it. Each season brings characteristics we rely on. We make a run to the grocery when it’s winter and there’s a threat of snow. We plant crops of food and flowers in the spring, counting on warm temperatures and sunshine; and we buy sunscreen and stock up on water when we recognize summer is bringing hot temperatures. There are characteristics to each season, and we depend on those characteristics mostly because we’ve experienced them over and over again in our lives.

Three times in this Psalm we are reminded of the unfailing love of God. God’s very nature is love, and the kind of love that is in His nature is the kind that does not fail. He is sovereign, has a plan and a purpose for everything in your life, and His love is steadfast. When everything and everyone fails, the psalmist assures us that the earth is FULL of the steadfast or unfailing love of God. 1 John 4:8 tells us “God IS love”. Love is His nature and not just love, steadfast or unfailing love IS His nature.

We can hope because we have a God who loves us unconditionally and loves us unfailingly. Challenge yourself to meditate (think about) and praise God for His unfailing love. And focus today not just on the fact that it is in His nature to love unfailingly or steadfastly, but that it is in His nature to love YOU with unfailing love. Today I am surrounded by His Unfailing love, and my hope is in Him alone.

Day 15

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

So, imagine it. There you are, it’s Christmas morning, and you’ve got an enormous gift in front of you, and the tag says it’s from God to you. You open it up and find it’s the gift of justification by faith alone and you’re thrilled. You’ve heard the gospel, you’ve turned from sin toward Christ in faith, and you’ve been saved and redeemed. You’ve found the power of God is truly found and experienced in the gospel of God. But then you find there is another gift inside the enormous gift of justification, and when you open it, you discover its peace with God! Then you find another gift inside that gift and when you open it you discover its access to grace! Then you find yet another gift inside that gift and when you open it you see it’s the ability to rejoice in hope! You almost can’t believe it, that this initial gift of justification by faith alone has given you so much to enjoy, and just when you think you’ve found all the gifts there are to find…to your delight you see there’s one more gift to unwrap. So, you grab it, unwrap it, and to your great surprise you find this gift is the ability to rejoice in your sufferings. You’re surprised at this because it seems so contrary to what we normally think of suffering. But then you see the tag attached to this last gift and find that it says, “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…” You sit back and think, ‘My, Oh my! Because I’ve been justified by faith alone, I not only am now at peace with God, I not only have access into grace, I not only rejoice in great hope of the glory of God, I can now rejoice in my sufferings! Everything has changed for me. I now have the deepest assurance a human can enjoy. Nothing in my life, whether pleasant or painful, nothing can separate me from God who has so loved me!’ Put your faith in God. Put your hope in God! What do you have to lose? God’s hope will never disappoint you.

Day 16

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Do you ever talk to yourself? Research shows we all do. One researcher clocks inner speech at an average pace of 4,000 words per minute, which is 10 times faster than verbal. Phew, that’s one noisy chat room!! I love this passage in Psalm 62 because we can see that the Psalmist, David is talking to himself. We speak facts, interpret data, and speak words of destruction within our minds, or we speak words of encouragement. What is put IN to our minds, determines the kind of thoughts or dialogue that happens within the recesses of our minds. David, the writer of this Psalm is speaking to his very own soul with words of encouragement and determination. On many occasions we see that David was facing pressures in his life that caused him to feel discouragement, grief, fear, and doubt. Throughout the Psalms we see that David was his own biblical counselor as he applied God’s word to his situation which brought truth, peace and hope to his soul.

Where do you find encouragement? Encouragement is a sister to hope. We get hope when we are encouraged, and we are encouraged when we know and experience hope. We need to let God use His words in our hearts to encourage us. It’s been said we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. We need to read and preach truth, hope and encouragement too. And the source and script for our hope is found in God’s word. So do some talking to yourself this day. Pray the proclamations in this passage and let them soak in. Then speak to your heart words of encouragement and hope all day long. Yes, dear friend, find rest in God; your hope comes from Him!

Day 17

Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for my only hope is in your laws. (Psalm 119:43)

Have you ever played the telephone game? You play it with a large group of people with the first person whispering a message in the ear of the person next to them. This message is whispered throughout the group and at the end, the last person to hear it recites out loud what the message was. It’s alarming how much the message is altered by the time it makes its way through the group! The only way to really, to really know what the true message was, is to be the one who spoke it, or the first one to hear it! Did you know God himself has a message for you? And that he wants to speak that message “first person” to you. His primary means of communicating to you is through his word.

Psalm 119 is the longest of the Psalms. It is a Psalm with an incredible message about the power of God’s word. There’s no doubt that the author had experience and a passion for God’s word. Every verse exalts the word of God, and the God of the word. You can’t read God’s word and not see hope, and the God of hope. I challenge you today to read this longest Psalm. I challenge you to read and ask the God of the word, who keeps his word, to speak to you through his word.

Day 18

Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. (Psalm 130:7)

John Calvin comments, “It is not to be doubted that God, who has it in his power to save by multiplied means, will prove himself the deliverer of the people whom he has chosen.”

This psalm depicts the truth as God as deliverer recognizing that it is impossible for anyone to stand if the Lord holds even the smallest of sins against him (v. 3). But God in His grace has determined that His people should fear Him not only for His holiness but also for His forgiveness (v. 4). God delights to exercise His redemption because those who truly understand it know that God must extend His love without violating His righteousness. Only an all-powerful, wise Savior can do such a thing, being both just and the justifier of the ungodly (Rom. 3:21–26). He has committed himself to redeeming His people, He has sworn to save them to the uttermost, and His oath binds Him to fulfill His Word.

Jesus Christ saves us from the penalty and power of sin, yet His deliverance does not stop there. God delights to make all things new, empowering us to mend fences with others, bring joy where there was once despair, and make all that we do bring Him great glory. Though Jesus does not perfect our circumstances in this world, we should be able to see Him working to bring renewal to all areas of our lives. NewLife, put your hope in the Lord, “for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.”

Day 19

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

The Word of God was written to give us hope in this life. Hope in Romans 15 is subjective, which means we must use the personal accounts of scripture to decide and determine for ourselves where our hope is based. We are to take the information presented and make a judgment on it. Will we use it to have the hope that the Word offers? Or will we disregard the Word as just another book and wander through life hopelessly? The scriptures were written to encourage us and build us up in faith, love, and hope.

Vines Dictionary defines this type of hope as ‘favorable and confident expectation’. It has to do with the unseen and the future. This definition of hope describes the happy anticipation of the good which is coming for the believer. It comes from the Greek word for hope, which means to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation or confidence. As you can see, hope is essential to the believer. We can rest securely in our future because of the hope the scripture offers us with Jesus Christ as our guarantor. Hope is an amazing thing. If you can cling to hope in the midst of trials, a difficult situation can become bearable because hope will enable you to get through it. As believers, hope is a necessary part of life. We must cling to certain things so that we can come out on the other side of life’s difficulties unscathed. Problems teach us to trust God. Trusting God produces endurance. Endurance provides the encouragement to put our hope in God. Take the hope challenge today. Put your hope in Christ all day today.

Day 20

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)

As we look around the world today, it’s not difficult to see the despair that seems to invade every corner of our society. There’s a sense of hopelessness that hangs in the air, a feeling that things are not as they should be. This is not new to our generation. Since the beginning of time, humanity has been grappling with this sense of despair, this feeling of hopelessness.

We see it in the faces of those who are struggling. Those who struggle to make ends meet, in the eyes of those who are battling illness, in the hearts of those who are grieving. It’s a universal experience, one that transcends borders and cultures. It’s a part of the human condition, a part of our shared experience. This sense of hopelessness is a symptom of a deeper issue, a sign of a more fundamental problem. It’s a reflection of our separation from God, of our alienation from our Creator. We were created for a relationship with God, designed to live in communion with Him. But because of our sin, because of our rebellion, we’ve been cut off from that relationship. We’ve been separated from the source of our hope, from the one who gives our lives meaning and purpose.

This is the reality of my own condition, the truth of your situation. But it’s not the end of the story. It’s not the final word. Because in the midst of this hopelessness, in the midst of this despair, there is a beacon of hope. There is a source of hope. There is a promise of redemption.

This promise is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In His life, death, and resurrection, we see the ultimate expression of God’s love for us. We see the lengths to which He was willing to go to restore our relationship with Him, to bring us back into communion with Him.

This is the hope that we have in Christ, the hope that is available to us through faith in Him. It’s a hope that is not dependent on our circumstances, a hope that is not contingent on our feelings. It is grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ, a hope that is rooted in the promises of God. NewLife put your hope in God’s amazing love.

Day 21

For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. (Galatians 5:5)

Tim Keller wrote, “Together we wait eagerly for the hope of righteousness, by faith. What are we waiting for so eagerly? Paul is referring to the day of judgment, when we will hear God, Himself declare us righteous because of our faith in Christ. Until that day, we wait, placing all our hope in just one person: Jesus.”

What would you say is the great effort of your life? The Jews were waiting for God to put things right. To this day, Jewish people wait for their nation to be justified. They’re waiting on God to provide a Savior. Paul here uses promise language to describe how we wait for the hope of things being put right, too. We want to be made right. God is working to bring people to himself. And when we trust Jesus, he gives us a down-payment in the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us. Paul reminds us that when we begin to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, we eagerly wait. Our waiting is not bored or passive, but eager. We wait to receive by faith the ideal, perfect, relationship with God that has been promised to us. We will experience that in perfection one day. This waiting expects. We expect God to make us right. We also know that today, we see God when we look for Him. God is working, but we only see Him working when we expectantly look for it. (See Jeremiah 29:13). Our expectations determine how much we see God. People who don’t trust Jesus believe we’re manufacturing this hope. But it is only when we expect that we see God working. The faith to believe and the patience to trust produce this expectation. It’s an expecting hope to see our promises from God turn into a vivid reality.

Thank you for joining us on our 21 days of Hope. Our prayer for you is that God will double your hope in Him in this New Year. God has an unlimited supply of hope for you. Keep the hope alive at NewLIfe Gathering.