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The Weekly Winning Thought

Need Some Hope for 2023?

By January 2, 2023No Comments

“Our world today so desperately hungers for hope, yet uncounted people have almost given up. There is despair and hopelessness on every hand. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the hope that is in Jesus.” 

Billy Graham

I hope this second day of the new year finds you full of hope and expectation for the wonderful things God has in store for you these next 364 days. Fresh starts are a wonderful thing, but I’m sure many of you are entering 2023 with baggage in tow from last year that you can’t quite shake free. Perhaps it’s a relationship that’s gone bad, a job in jeopardy, a financial burden weighing you down, or an adult child whose plight weighs heavy on your mind when you wake up in the middle of the night.

You want to have hope, but sometimes it seems to be in short supply.

Jim Stephens, a dear friend who was my Bible teacher, mentor, and spiritual guide, would ask me this question when I would go to him when my “hope tank” was empty: “Bill, what’s the truth about this situation?” This question would slowly but surely refill my tank as I would begin to separate my feelings from the facts, as Jim would gently remind me of my identity in Christ; you are a child of the King – a sheep in the hands of the Good Shepherd – and He will meet your needs, regardless of the circumstances that surround you.

Hope can seem elusive when we’re staring in the face of a major crisis.

I was recently talking with a friend about the challenges he was having with his son. He shared with me that his hope was fleeting with each disappointment after another. I’m guessing that many of you can relate to his situation. So can our Father. The prodigal said, “I don’t need you old man. Give me what’s mine and I’m out of here.” Of course, we know this parable is about us; how we have gone our own way only to come to our senses – to look at the facts, the truth about the situation – and say, “I give up. I can’t do this thing on my own. I know your truth is my only hope, but your truth is more than enough.”

The prodigal son came home. This is a reminder that there is a story of hope and redemption that has yet to be written by the author of hope. This encourages my friend. It should encourage you and me as well.

Some say hope is not a strategy, but for the Christian it is. Hope gets you through uncertainty. And let’s face it; life is full of uncertainty. Faith in Christ – the truth – is the hope that leads to certainty. As Hebrews 11:1 states: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This kind of hope is our guarantee – God’s plan, not ours – that better things are ahead for us.

If your hope tank is running low, the key to abundant living this new year is to rediscover the truth, and the truth is Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life (Jn 14:6).” By saying that He is the truth, Jesus is stating that He is the source of all truth.

If Jesus is the truth, what does the truth have to say about your 2023? In His own words, “Take heart; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33) … “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Mt 11:28-30).”

If Jesus is not the truth, then you and I are all alone in this world. We have no hope of real rest. We have no one to walk with us and work with us. Rhythms of grace will constantly be out of reach. We’ll always be subject to the full weight of whatever life dumps on us. Living free with a light load won’t be an option; we’ll carry our own burdens with no prospects of relief.

A life with the absence of truth is a life with no hope.

What’s the truth about your current situation? If Jesus is the truth, He can be trusted. Will you trust the truth? Will you trust Jesus over your circumstances in 2023? Find truth and you’ll find hope. My prayer for you as we begin this new year is that of Paul for his Christian friends at the church in Rome: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Play to win this week in the game that really counts!

Are you a business owner, executive, or other professional looking to grow your business and improve your life? If so, see how Bill and his firm might be able to help you: Northstar Leadership