Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hope filled living is possible, even in an unstable world

 

As in the days of Jeremiah, God is calling
out to his people with a message of hope.

Looking at today’s world, hope usually isn’t the first word that comes to mind. We live in a polarizing world where everyone is taking sides over issues large and small, leaving us to wonder what the future may hold. On a personal front, marriages fail, bank accounts run low, friendships end, and the everyday demands of a fast-paced life get us down. However, what the world is experiencing today isn’t all that different than what the prophet Jeremiah experienced thousands of years ago, and as author Melissa Spoelstra shares in her new book, Dare to Hope: Living Intentionally in an Unstable World, God is calling out to His people with a message of hope—a message that intentional living is possible even in an uncertain world.

“If we allow our thoughts to linger on things such as the national debt, the condition of the environment, the increase in violence toward even our most innocent, and the looming moral bankruptcy of our culture, we can get pretty discouraged. The situation only compounds when we add our personal issues to these corporate ones. Life can be rough,” Spoelstra writes. “Living in such an unstable world can give us a propensity to worry. Other choices of fear, doubt, and bitterness call us to select their posture when life gets overwhelming. Yet God offers us another choice. Through Him we can dare to hope—not in the government, our family, a job, or even the church. God calls us to surrender our wills to His and rest our hope in Him alone.”

In Dare to Hope, Melissa Spoelstra draws upon her best-selling Bible study Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World to examine this hope-filled message, reminding readers that God is rich in mercy and love and has good plans for his people. Finding the source of our hope means believing with confidence that God has good plans in store for us—even when life takes an unexpected or tragic turn. She explores
six incredibly relevant themes that lift right off the pages of Jeremiah’s manuscript, providing practical guidelines for hope filled living:

1. Surrender                                           
2. Reject Counterfeits                            
3. Listen  
4. Check Your Heart  
5. Take Personal Responsibility
6. Pursue Intimacy with God

Jeremiah was referred to as the weeping prophet because he brought a message that didn’t feel very hopeful. God used Jeremiah as a mouthpiece to tell the people how they had gotten off course. Though there were times when Jeremiah experienced depression and discouragement, he still knew where to turn. When he poured out his heart, God reassured and encouraged him. Jeremiah chose to dare to hope based on God’s faithfulness rather than the trials he and his nation experienced.

God spoke through His prophet Jeremiah with clarity to a culture summarized by political globalization. The Babylonian Empire brought people of different cultures together. Ancient Judah also faced economic crisis because of their indebtedness to other nations. Even with these economic issues, they struggled against social materialism. Jeremiah said that from the least to the greatest, the people’s lives were ruled by greed. On the religious front, people added other gods to the worship of Yahweh leading to religious pluralism. Sound familiar?” Spoelstra asks. “Political globalization, economic crisis, social materialism and religious pluralism can all echo into our day. Jeremiah’s message brings us back to eternal truths about where our hope lies in troubled times.”  

Spoelstra leaves readers with the assurance that despite life’s uncertainties, it is possible to live with hope. And hope is something we so desperately need.


About the author


Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker (including the Aspire Women’s Events), Bible teacher, and author who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping others to seek Christ and know Him more intimately.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God’s Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. Spoelstra is the author of five Bible studies (Elijah, Numbers, First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiahand three books (Total Family Makeover, Total Christmas Makeover, and Dare to Hope).

Spoelstra makes her home in Pickerington, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.


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