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A powerful Scripture relating to hope is Romans 15:4.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Think with me for a moment about the last two words of this verse. What does it mean to have hope? In this scripture having hope should not be interpreted as having the possibility of hope. There are places and times where having hope could be interpreted that way. When Jesus died on the cross for us He gave all of us the hope of eternal life. But until you place your faith in him you do not actually hold that hope in your hand. This verse is a stronger statement of hope. I believe having hope here means for hope to have you.

I have a close friend who would always watch the morning news on television before coming to a morning prayer meeting. He would sometimes come to the prayer meeting almost too disturbed to pray. He had trouble praising God because he was upset about problems. He wasn't able to pray for other problems because he was upset about what was on the news. I believe my friend had hope in the sense in which he belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ. But his hope did not have him. He needed to apply hope to his life and especially his prayer life. It needed to grip his life.

All of us deal with this problem from time to time. But, as 2 Peter 1:4 says, we have very great and precious promises by which we can escape the bonds of the world and of our sinful nature. How do we apply these promises to our lives?

Romans 15:4 calls us to listen to the encouragement of Scripture. Are you listening to God? We need to hunger for what He will say to us in His word. Much of our anxiety as Christians would be overcome if we would allow things God has told us to grip our lives.

Romans 15:4 gives us a combination of applications. It is through endurance and the encouragement of scripture that we gain a firm grip, a life-changing grip on our hope. It is a fact that luxury, success, comfort, and  acclaim in this life can actually diminish our hold on hope by distracting us from it. It is when we are forced to endure deprivation, failure, discomfort, and discredit that God's word can speak to us most powerfully. Are you looking to Scripture for God to encourage your heart in the trials that you are facing? In times like these you need God’s hope to have a firm grip upon you.

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