Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and hope."
"Fine Hope in Any Situation"
By Norman Vincent Peale - Posted on Sep 28, 2016 by Guideposts.org
Here are some of the truest, most beautiful words ever written: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). Hope is a small word, but it is one of the most powerful. Why? Because in hope lies the power of the human soul to turn to God and live as if His promises are going to come true.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:24).
Some people think hope is an emotion. “I’m feeling hopeful,” they say, but true hope is a discipline, a determination to believe in God’s reality and power, even when the world seems to be crashing down around you. That is the genius and the power of hope. It flies in the face of calamity, saying, “The world can do its worst to me. But still I will hope. Still, I will know that this is the day the Lord has made, and He will take care of me.”
The key to surviving any challenge or crisis is hope. Hope that Jesus loves you. Hope that He is, right now, working out a solution for you. Hope that the future you place in His hands will be better than the present you holding your own.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”
Practice this hope, even if you have to will yourself to do it. With its power, you will overcome all things. “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Norman Vincent Peale was an influential and inspirational American religious leader who, after World War II, tried to instill a spiritual renewal in the United States with his sermons, public-speaking events, broadcasts, newspaper columns, and books. He encouraged millions with his 1952 best seller, The Power of Positive Thinking.
REFLECT & RESPOND
For: Teens and Older WARNING – Video and activity content should be previewed for children under the age of 12 – content could be deemed appropriate, only if approved by a parent/guardian.
Resource: Visit youtube.com to listen and watch the video “HOPE” by Twista ft. Faith Evans. (NOT EXPLICIT)
Exploration: Adults should guide a discussion about the song lyrics (which are displayed in the video and are NOT explicit). Then, have an adult share a personal story of a time when he/she felt hopeless. Encourage the group to share personal stories of a time when they felt hopeless – or about a current situation that makes them feel sad and/or hopeless such as political climate, bullying, social conflict, terrorism/war, homelessness, etc...
Review the daily Word: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Connect: This Bible verse means: Hope is the confident expectation - the sure certainty that what God has promised in the Word is true – it has occurred, and/or it will occur - in accordance with God’s Word.
Application: Watch the video, “A Prayer for Hope” presented by catholic.org.
Have group write this prayer – can be in journal or as an art project to hang in a bedroom or area in the home.
Heavenly father, I am your humble servant, I come before you today in need of hope. There are times when I fell helpless, There are times when I feel weak. I pray for hope. I need hope for a better future. I need hope for a better life. I need hope for love and kindness. Some say that the sky is at it's darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for all seems dark. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe. To bask in your glory. To know that all is right in the world, as you have planned, and as you want it to be. Help me to walk in your light, and live my life in faith and glory. In your name I pray,
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
"FAITH HOPE TRUST"
by Tareas L. Griffith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. I am just and righteous living by my faith and in my faithfulness. Lord I lean on and confidently put my trust in you, for I can depend on you, you will not forsake me. Because of your word I see how you are a delivery to those who trust you even from my mother's womb you meet me. I hope and trust in you. Waiting on you is my delight because in the waiting I am strengthened and shielded as I trust in you. I am trusting and I am seeing that the Lord is so good, I am blessed and take refuge in him. I will not put my confidence in man, even in trouble when I cannot see my way out, I trust, hope, I rely on the Lord and He supports me. And right now I activate my faith, that mustard seed faith to move mountains casting them into the sea and I speak faith, for it comes by hearing the word of God. I speak faith endeavoring to love all in Jesus name this is my confession
Sources: Hebrews 11:1, Habakkuk 2:4, Psalms 9:10, Psalms 22:4,9, Psalms 27:14,
Psalms 28:7, Psalms 34:8, Psalms 118:8, Isaiah 50:10, Matthew 17:20, Romans 10:17,
1 Corinthians 13:2,13
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
By Melanie Jager
Most people have faced a situation, at least once in life, that seemed bleak, maybe even hopeless. Many difficulties in life can impose circumstances that create situations we never saw coming – could not have predicted – and often, probably had little to no control over preventing. Sometimes, things that happen are simply out of our control.
When life delivers these blows – we can easily be wiped off our feet. All the sudden – just like that, nothing is the same - everything is changed.
Life brings lots of blows. 10 years ago, I experienced a blow like none I'd had to that point. It was very devastating - but it would end up bringing me through to an understanding of hope and God's enduring promise of faithfulness to me.
It is important to note that the details of what happened are not important – but rather, they are a reminder that something happened – and that because of it – I am stronger today as a result and able and willing to share this story of faith in hopes that it will touch someone in a helpful way.
My Encounter with Hope:
I didn’t see it coming. Nobody could have warned me of this happening to me, as I never would have believed it could – but it did. I was stunned and numb and walking in circles.
My life as I knew it had changed in an instant – and I didn’t know how to move forward – what to think – how to fix it – or what would happen next. The unknown was scary – it was dark - it was disorienting.
My future seemed uncertain – and fear began to creep in. I was filled with fear – fear of what would happen to me – fear of what people would think and say – fear of how my children would be impacted - fear of becoming bitter.
Hope is all you have in the face of fear. In that moment – it was absolutely all I had.
Romans 15:13 tells us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Hope is what I held on to. Literally, it felt like I was clinching hope with all my might. It was exhausting - like clinging to a pole in a tornado - about to be blown away - shaking – barely holding on – but refusing to let the storm win – clinging – clinging so tight you think your fingers will break – praying for the wind to die down – just to relax for one second.
That’s what hope was like at first – something to hold on to in the middle of a tornado. But then, the wind stopped blowing. Hope, like a mother, covered me with a blanket and assured me that I was ok. I was so relieved at that point because I knew the storm didn’t defeat me - I didn’t get blown away – I had survived.
Eventually, hope was like a good friend. It encouraged me - to take things hour by hour, and day by day. Hope said - open your eyes and breathe in and breathe out – get up every morning and take care of yourself - love your children – tend to their needs.
Then, like only a Father can, hope leaned in one day and whispered into my ear, “Everything is going to be ok – the best is yet to come – I promise.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us, "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" -- the things God has prepared for those who love him." Though, I had no way to know for sure – I began to believe it would be ok.
As hope grew in me, it carried me to a place of comfort and peace. Hope became the promise of a future that was greater than I could ever imagine. My God of Hope delivered me out of fear during a dark time in my life.
Life often shows us that He will, in fact, deliver us through hard times – because things do eventually get better and we get past the hard times - but we don’t really know what that better situation is going to be or when it will come. The important thing to remember is to trust in Him – as when all else seems lost – hope is always there – with the promise of a better tomorrow.
A promise – it is not something we can see out in time – it is not something we can buy or get for ourselves. However, it is there for each of us - always – to deeply hope for with strong faith and confident expectation.
Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” No matter what kind of storm is swirling in your life – my prayer for you is that you lean courageously into to your faith and embrace the God of Hope with all your might:
· to keep you steady in the storm,
· to cover you with warmth and assurance,
· to encourage you along the way,
· and, to promise you that the best is yet to come!
Thank you, Father, for my challenges, for it is through those experiences that I grow in your love and wisdom to become the woman you designed me to be. I pray that you will give me many opportunities to be an example of your love and forgiveness and that my position of faith and hope will compel others to seek You.
In Jesus Name I Pray,
Melanie Jager lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Sean. The couple have two teenaged sons, Michael and Gabriel. Melanie has been a career educator for nearly 25 years. She has also worked on numerous community development projects since 2010 - from education to business to non-profit. She has served as a project/concept developer and systems implementer for Why Not Charleston since 2015 and currently oversees and manages operations for the organization. Melanie enjoys blogging about her family life and the Gospel-Rich experience that she and Sean are seeking to create in their home for themselves and their boys.