HAPPY EASTER!

“REAL HELP COMES FROM GOD.” Psalm 3:8

1. HOPE. God cares deeply for you, and from start to finish He has a plan for your life. God sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us. Those of us who have been stuck in depression or caught up in bad situations realize how great it is to be rescued and forgiven. Open your heart to Jesus today and let Him fill you with hope and anticipation for what He has ahead!

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Three Ways To Build Your Hope

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

1. REPLACE WORRY WITH TRUST. We are called to be a hopeful people and walk in constant expectation of impending good. This isn’t an artificial optimism; we know life is rough and this is a fallen world. Real hope is a biblically-based understanding of who God is and what He has promised. God is a present help right now – for you. (Psalm 46:1). The Eternal God watches over His Word to perform it – for you (Jeremiah 1:12).

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How to Abide in Hope

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1-4

1. REMEMBER YOUR HELPER. When we face challenges, we can choose to hide out, bury our heads in the sand and get depressed, or we can turn to the promise-keeping God. Our help doesn’t come from our own strength or creative ideas – it comes from the Lord. Look to Him! Abide in His Word. Not one of His promises has ever failed.

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Three Steps to Strength & Hope

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

1. CONQUER FEAR. Real help comes from God. Whatever you’re facing, God will help you. He knew fear is something we humans would have to deal with, so He tells us repeatedly throughout Scripture, “Do not fear,” and He gives us reasons why we don’t have to be afraid. We can trust Him with our relationships, with our thought life, with decisions we have to make, and with our health.

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A Steadfast Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19a

1. STAY IN THE FIGHT. Paul the Apostle wrote to Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12a). This is different from the baseless optimism of worldly hope because it is anchored in the abiding truth of God’s promises. When we encounter challenges, we can face them with rugged determination to never quit, because when God calls us He equips us with all we need to fight and win.

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Three Ways God Wants to Establish You

And David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel. 1 Chronicles 14:2

1. ESTABLISHED WITH PURPOSE. King David realized that God was doing something distinctive in his life and in the lives of the people and the country. This realization lifted David’s eyes off the difficulties he faced and gave him a new perspective. As we understand more about who God is and what He’s assigned each one of us to do, we can lift our heads, throw our shoulders back, and move forward in purpose.

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How to Overcome

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

1. KEEP HANGING OUT WITH GOD. We become like who we hang out with. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). How can we imitate God unless we spend time with Him? This week, instead of watching the news as much, or spending hours on social media, step away and take in some good news by fellowshipping with God.

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Love Never Fails

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

1. LOVE GOD. We can love because God first loved us. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His love changes us completely. If you feel distracted or dull or if you have drifted, you can step into closeness with God again. Love grows when you spend time with Him. Take some time to turn off the phone, mute the TV, and say simply, “God, here I am. Forgive me for getting distracted. I seek You first. I trust You, Lord.”

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How to Build for Eternity

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

1. USE THE RIGHT COMPONENTS. Concrete is a durable building material composed of three things: rock, cement, and water. The Romans began construction on the Pantheon dome in 27 AD, and this concrete marvel still stands over 2,000 years later! Just as three elements come together to form concrete, so FAITH (belief and trust in God), HOPE (confident expectation of what God has promised), and LOVE (valuing and forgiving others because God first loved us) mix together to create the lasting substance of a Christian life.

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Three Ways to Get Tenacious in Hope

Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

1. REMEMBER YOU WERE RESCUED. The Bible describes the pre-salvation position as “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But the emptiness of a fallen world has forever changed because of Jesus. He left the splendor of heaven and came on a rescue mission for us. He died to forgive our sins and heal our diseases (1 Peter 2:24).

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Three Steps to Renew Your Hope

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

1. TRUST GOD’S PROMISES. The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words almost 500 years before Jesus came to earth; yet we still have a right to this promise of hope. The same God who declared a future and a hope to an exiled people is our God today. He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). And because Jesus died for the sins of all humanity, we have a new covenant “inaugurated under better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). How much more are we now called to hope.

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Hold Fast!

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-24

1. BE PERSISTENT. In your pursuit of Jesus be persistent. If you are going to be stubborn about anything, then get adamant about your love for God. A lot of lesser things will vie for your attention. But lift up your eyes—the only place where you will get refreshing is in the presence of the Lord. Resolve to overcome drifting, and become really passionate about returning to your first love of Jesus (Revelation 2:1-5).

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Breakthrough in Hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

1. KNOW YOUR HOPE. Our beliefs fuel our destiny. Sometimes discouragement can settle in when we feel that life isn’t what it’s supposed to be. But when you shift your focus to Jesus and what He has done, you can get back to biblical hope. We fix our hope on the living God.

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Abounding in Hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

1. REDEMPTIVE HOPE. When something we are hoping for is delayed, our hearts can get discouraged (Proverbs 13:12). But even then, “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). We base our hope not on the shifting sands of man but on the eternal Word of God. And we know that what He promises, He will do.

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Hope for the New Year

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

1. ANCHORING TRUTH. Hearing the Word produces the ability to face the future with hope. What does the Bible say? Its anchoring thoughts are why we keep going back to the amazing stories of the Old and New Testaments. It builds in us an unshakeable confidence in God so that we can face off with the world’s challenges.

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Growing in God’s Abundant Grace

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. 2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP

1. SOW TO THE SPIRIT. Grace is God’s willingness to work on our behalf even though we don’t deserve it. The Bible says: “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20b). But that’s not an excuse to sin. Instead we can fight the devil, crucify our flesh, and not conform to the world. How? By meditating on and investing in the things of God (Galatians 6:8).

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Three Benefits of Knowing Jesus

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:1-2

1. HE IS YOUR RESCUER. In the cool of the evening Adam and Eve would connect with God unhindered, but then sin broke in. There had to be substitution and sacrifice and that’s where the promise of Jesus came in. Humanity could’ve been permanently locked in some bizarre fallen state, but God sent a Rescuer to save us.

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Four Ways to Bring Life This Christmas

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green. Psalm 92:12-14

1. ASK FOR WISDOM. Wisdom “is a tree of life to those who take hold of her” (Proverbs 3:18). You can ask God and He will give you the wisdom you need for all the complexities of life: how to raise your kids, how to deal and cope with the fast-paced nature of change, and how to excel in your job.

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Steps to Strengthening

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:29, 31

1. GET IN THE WORD. How amazing is it that from weakness we can be made strong? As realistically as push-ups help your physical body, starting the day in the Bible will give you an advantage. It will strengthen your spirit. It will light your path (Psalm 119:105). It will help you overcome bad habits and not be led by the flesh. You will become strengthened with all power in your inner person (Ephesians 3:16).

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The Value of Gratitude

As He [Jesus] entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. Luke 17:12-16a

1. THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE’S DONE. Ten men were healed, but only one turned back to give thanks while the others were so excited they took off to re-enter society. We don’t want to be part of the group that forgets to be thankful. This season is a great time for us to pause, recognize any ungrateful habits, and start to celebrate and count our blessings instead.

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Daily Thankfulness

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

WRITE DOWN THREE THINGS YOU’RE THANKFUL FOR. Thank God for everything you can think of. The atmosphere of gratitude can foster amazing things. For starters, it breaks us out of selfish moodiness and prepares the way for us to enter into praise. As we accumulate things to be thankful for, we will get an increased awareness of God’s grace.

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Three Benefits Of Praising God Continually

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. Psalm 34:1, 4-5

1. DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR. Both fear and faith are planted as seeds of thought. The Hebrew word for fear is also translated as a “storehouse,” which gives a good visual of how you can fill a whole barn with all your fears. Praise breaks that cycle. When you constantly speak out praises reminding yourself of Who God is and what His Word promises, God will deliver you from a whole silo full of freak-out!

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Prayer Patterns

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” Matthew 6:9-13

1. START WITH FOCUSING ON GOD, and then make it personal. These patterns we’ve been studying for praise, prayer, and provision get us out of the “me, me, me” mentality. When we follow the prayer pattern Jesus set out in Matthew, and shift our focus to who God is, that fleshly side gets adjusted and we get free from too much introspection.

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