HOLDING ON TO HOPE

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines 
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

“Matters of the Heart” is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to examine your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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A young Christian friend of mine in her early twenties confided to me her great concern about the future.

“As a Christian, I know I shouldn’t be anxious,” she said, “and I feel so guilty that I am. But with all the horrible things going on in the world, I wonder if I’ll get to live a normal life. Will there even be a world by the time I’m ready to be married?”

My friend is not alone in her concern. Across our nation and throughout the world, people of all ages, including Christians, are doubtful and uncertain about the future. Perhaps you yourself are one of them.

If so, you too may be feeling guilty about your lack of confidence in the future. You know that Christ commands you not to worry about tomorrow, but you have difficulty obeying that command. What can you do?

Before we consider why we as Christians can face the future with confidence, let’s look at some factors that may be playing a major role in robbing us of this very hope.

Factor #1: WORLD EVENTS. Wherever we turn, the media bombards us with reports of disaster, destruction, and death. Wars and rumors of wars so overwhelm us that we find ourselves growing increasingly fearful and cynical about what lies ahead. In an age of sophisticated communication systems, we see close up the sin and suffering of an entire world. Such instant and constant bad news, magnified to global proportions, only fuels our sense of uneasiness and dread.

Despair, not hope, dominates the news. When the media, instead of God’s Word, becomes our primary source of mental and spiritual food, we build our lives on a foundation of fear.

Factor #2: PERSONAL PROBLEMS. Not only do world events trouble us, but personal trials also sap our hope. After nearly 25 years of climbing the corporate ladder of success, Jerry, a family friend, lost his job. At age 50, with two children in college, Jerry discovered that his ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. Shattered and defeated, he struggled with bouts of severe depression. After renewing his hope in Christ, however, Jerry found another job.

Perhaps you too, like Jerry, have lost your job or are facing financial challenges. Maybe health problems or poor family relationships are eroding your confidence. Whatever the case, personal problems can definitely rob you of hope for a better future.  

Factor #3: YOUR THOUGHT LIFE. We become what we think about. What we think about is the direct result of what we put into our minds. If we consume a steady mental diet of worry over our personal problems, it’s no wonder that we lose confidence in the future. The Bible tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

If you continually sow thoughts of hopelessness into your heart, you will reap a crop of despair. If, on the other hand, you sow thoughts of hope, you will eventually reap a harvest of hope. What kind of thoughts are you sowing?

Factor #4: LOSS OF FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST. Fear and anxiety about the future result when we take our eyes off Jesus, the One Who holds the future. Consider the Apostle Peter. When he stepped out of the boat onto the water, his eyes were focused on Jesus. The instant Peter took his eyes off Jesus and put them on his surroundings, he became filled with fear and began to sink.

This is exactly what we do when we focus on what’s happening around us rather than on the Word of God. When we allow our attitude about the future to be controlled by our circumstances instead of God’s Word, we exalt our circumstances above God. Putting circumstances above God is nothing short of idolatry.  

Idolatry is placing greater trust in something other than God, whether that “something” be money, self, or world events. To be anxious about the future is to place more trust in the negative situations around us than in God’s promise to take care of us. Are you placing more trust in the world’s word or in God’s Word?

Factor #5: LACK OF SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.   Unless we feed continually on the Scriptures, we cannot develop a strong sense of confidence in the future. The Bible states, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV). When our minds are anchored in God, we will experience peace in the midst of every storm, knowing that God’s plans for us are “for good and not for evil, to give [us] a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 TLB).           

Factor #6: YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Strange as it may seem, many of us Christians actually want to hold on to our fear about the future. Like a security blanket, it has become so much a part of our daily lives that we think we can’t function without it. After all, how can we call ourselves responsible if we don’t worry about the future?   There is a big difference between worrying about the future and being responsible in preparing for it. To worry about the future is to focus on our own strength as we face the future. To be responsible in preparing for the future is to rely on God’s strength.

A classic example of this dichotomy is the biblical account of the two sisters, Mary and Martha (Luke 10: 38-42 KJV). Martha was the worrier, the burden-bearer, the one who put the cares of this world above the care of her soul. Jesus said of her that she was “troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41 KJV).

Mary, on the other hand, had different priorities. She realized that the most important thing she could do was to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. Mary knew that if she filled her heart with God’s Word, she could make it through anything. Unlike Martha who relied on her own strength to face the challenges of life, Mary depended on God’s strength. Jesus said of Mary that she “hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42 KJV).

Now that we’ve looked at some hope-stealers, let’s consider some reasons why we as Christians can be not only confident as we face the future, but joyful as well.

God has everything under control. He is the Lord and there is none else (Isaiah 45:18 KJV). As the Creator of the universe and everything in it, God knows the beginning and the end. Nothing can happen to us without His permission. No matter what life may bring, we can rest secure in the knowledge that God knows our needs and that He will meet them.

God is faithful. He does exactly what He says He will do: “For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass” (Ezekiel 12:25 KJV). When God promises that the word He speaks shall come to pass, He means it. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like.

When my younger daughter was an infant, she was diagnosed with an incurable illness. Upon hearing the doctor’s report, my husband and I were assailed by fear. But we chose to resist the attack by focusing on God’s Word that said our daughter was healed by the stripes of Jesus (I Peter 2:24 KJV).  

For several months, we clung to that verse with every fiber of our being because our daughter’s very life depended on it. Eventually, her symptoms completely disappeared, much to the amazement of her doctors. Today she is a healthy 35-year-old young woman wholeheartedly serving Jesus Christ.

God is love. Everything He does is motivated by love. As our Father, He is intimately involved in the lives of His children. He Himself says that He has numbered the very hairs of our heads (Matthew 10:30 KJV). Because God is love, we can trust that He will take care of us.

God is the God of hope. There can be no hope without God, for all hope is rooted in Him. By its very nature, hope looks to the future. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ and in His promise of eternal life.

When my elder daughter was in college, she purchased a Christian lapel button that read “Just visiting.” That’s the attitude we should take about our stay on this earth. This is not our final destination. We know that a far better life awaits us beyond this one. When we focus on that future life, we can keep the problems of this earthly life in proper perspective, confident in the knowledge that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19 KJV). Without it, we cannot fight the good fight of faith. In order to remain confident as we face the future, we must hold on to the hope that is set before us, namely Jesus Christ and the salvation He has provided. The battle has already been won. Therefore, we can rejoice as we face the future, knowing that for the children of God, the best is yet to be!

Now, it’s YOUR turn: Have you been finding it difficult to hold on to hope? If so, what are you doing about the challenges? Please leave your valued comment in the box below.

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If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! You may also be interested in reading the following popular posts:

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“15 Signs That We Are in the End Times-Part 2”

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Please check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right. 

Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog via Facebook, click here. If you are not on Facebook or if you prefer to subscribe via another venue, you may do so by using any one of the other subscription options listed under the Networked Blog section in the sidebar on my website: www.maryanndiorio.com/blog. Thank you!

For additional encouragement, check out my podcasts at the following links:

A Moment with MaryAnn – Podcasts on Living the Good Life

Winning with the Word Podcast Series

Write Your Heart Out! – Podcasts for Writers

Please tell your family and friends about this blog and my other resources, and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

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Copyright 2018 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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WHEN ALL HOPE SEEMS GONE

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23
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Wherever I turn, I find people who feel hopeless. Be it a teenager whose parents just divorced or an elderly person without a family, people everywhere struggle with despair.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, 121 people kill themselves every single day. That is 121 too many!

But suicide isn’t the only epidemic in the United States. Millions of people suffer from depression and depression-related disorders, like anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, bipolar disorder, and phobias. This should not be. Yet it is.

But why is it?

I would posit that many of these problems stem from a loss of hope, and a loss of hope stems from the lack of a deep, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 6: 19 that hope is “an anchor for the soul.” In other words, hope keeps us stable and positive in the midst of obstacles. Hope keeps us looking ahead toward a better tomorrow. Toward the day when Christ will return and usher us into the eternal realm where all suffering will cease.

But while we are here on this earth, God wants us not only to survive, but also to thrive. And in order to do so, we must have hope. But our hope must be in the right place.

The only right place for our hope is in Jesus Christ. To hope in anything outside of Christ is to hope in vain, for only Christ is the Solid Rock on which hope can stand.

Much of our disappointment in life comes from the fact that we have hoped in the wrong thing or the wrong person. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a spouse or a child only to be disappointed in that spouse or that child. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a job or a career, only to be disappointed in that job or that career. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a friend who has betrayed us or a parent who has let us down.

Whatever the case, when we place our hope in imperfect human beings or in imperfect human situations, our hope will falter. But when we place our hope in the Perfect God, our hope will never fail.

In Psalm 39: 7, King David asks this question: “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?” David answers his own question when he says: “My only hope is in You.”

David knew that the only safe repository of his hope was God. The same is true for us. When we place our hope in God, we will never be disappointed.

Perhaps you are listening today and you are feeling hopeless. Perhaps your life has crumbled and you don’t know where to turn. Perhaps you have even contemplated suicide or have already made arrangements to kill yourself. If I am talking to you, then I urge you to give yourself another chance.

You see, Satan wants to destroy you because you have a great purpose in God’s plan, and Satan wants to keep you from fulfilling that purpose. If you were not important to God, Satan would have no need to get you to feel hopeless or to kill yourself. But you are a threat to Satan, so he wants to eliminate you—to take you out of the picture. He does this by stealing your hope.

Without hope, we see no reason to go on. So, if Satan can steal your hope, he can steal your life and your blessings.

God, on the other hand, wants to give you life not steal it from you. He wants to give you hope and peace and every good thing. But in order to receive the hope that God wants to give you, you must receive it from His hand. You must, in short, come to Him.

God is waiting for you to do that now.

Today, if you are feeling hopeless, I urge you to turn to Jesus Christ. He is waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him. He wants to be your Hope. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, I invite you to do so now. Just pray this simple prayer after me:

Lord Jesus, I come to You just as I am. I admit that I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I acknowledge that You are the Son of God, that You died for me to pay the penalty for my sin, and that You rose from the dead. I receive You now as my Savior and Lord. Make of me all that You created me to be. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you are now a born-again child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. Place your hope in Him. I promise you that you will never be disappointed.

For more information to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus, I invite you to visit my website at maryanndiorio.com.

Now, it’s your turn! Do you ever feel hopeless? If so, what do you do to combat hopelessness?

Please share your insights in the box below. Thanks!

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Please tell your family and friends about this blog and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

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Copyright 2000-2017 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog via Facebook, click here. If you are not on Facebook or would prefer to subscribe via a different venue, please check the sidebar to the right for subscription options. Thank you!


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Copyright 2001-2017 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.

 

HOLDING ON TO HOPE IN PERILOUS TIMES-Part Two

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23
 

Last week, we looked at some things in our lives that steal our hope. Today, let’s consider some reasons why we as Christians not only can be hopeful as we face the future, but joyful as well.

        Reason #1: God has everything under control. He is the Lord and there is none else (Isaiah 45:18 KJV). As the Creator of the universe and everything in it, God knows the beginning and the end. Nothing can happen to us without His permission. No matter what life may bring, we can rest secure in the knowledge that God knows our needs and that He will meet them.

           Reason #2: God is faithful. He does exactly what He says He will do: “For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass” (Ezekiel 12:25 KJV). When God promises that the word He speaks shall come to pass, He means it. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like.

            When my younger daughter was an infant, she was diagnosed with an incurable illness. Upon hearing the doctor’s report, my husband and I were assailed by fear. But we chose to resist the spiritual attack by focusing on God’s Word that said our daughter was healed by the stripes of Jesus (I Peter 2:24 KJV).  

            For several weeks, we clung to that verse with every fiber of our being because our daughter’s very life depended on it. Then one day, her symptoms completely disappeared, much to the amazement of her doctors. Today she is a healthy young woman wholeheartedly serving Jesus Christ.

            Reason #3: God is love. Everything He does is motivated by love. As our Father, He is intimately involved in the lives of His children. He Himself says that He has numbered the very hairs of our heads (Matthew 10:30 KJV). Because God is love, we can trust that He will take care of us.

            Reason #4: God is the God of hope. There can be no hope without God, for all hope is rooted in Him. By its very nature, hope looks to the future. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ and in His promise of eternal life.

            When my elder daughter was in college, she purchased a Christian lapel button that read “Just visiting.” That’s the attitude we should take about our stay on this earth. This is not our final destination. We know that a far better life awaits us beyond this one. When we focus on that future life, we can keep the problems of this earthly life in proper perspective, confident in the knowledge that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

            Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19 KJV). Without it, we cannot fight the good fight of faith. In order to remain confident as we face the future, we must hold on to the hope that is set before us, namely Jesus Christ and the salvation He has provided. The battle has already been won! Therefore, we can rejoice as we face the future, knowing that for the children of God, the best is yet to be!                                                                                                                                      

Now, it’s YOUR turn: What do you do to hold on to hope in the midst of the storm? 

TWEETABLE: “Holding On to Hope-Part Two” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! Check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right. Some of our most popular posts

Eight Signs of Spiritual Growth

Sex and Soul Ties

How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

For additional encouragement, check out my podcasts at the following links:

A Moment with MaryAnn – Podcasts on Living the Good Life

Winning with the Word Podcast Series

Write Your Heart Out! – Podcasts for Writers

NOTE: If you are struggling to know your purpose in life, I can help you! As a highly experienced Certified Life Coach, I will help you set priorities in line with your God-given purpose. For more information or to set up a phone appointment, please send me an email at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. You’ll be taking a major step toward fulfilling your destiny!

Please tell your family and friends about this blog and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!
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Copyright 2001-2017 by Dr. Mary Ann Diorio. All Rights Reserved.

Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog via Facebook, click here. If you are not on Facebook or would prefer to subscribe via a different venue, please check the sidebar to the right for subscription options. Thank you!

How to Deal with Regret

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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NOTE: My latest book, THE DAYSTAR DEVOTIONAL, has just been released. Please see details at the end of this post. Thanks!

Many, if not all, of us have at one time in our lives made a decision we now regret. For me, it was a job decision. For you, it might have been a marriage decision or a location decision or a decision that led you into sin. For the Apostle Paul, regret was rooted in his persecution and murder of Christians before he himself had an encounter with Christ. But, whatever the situation, God provides a sound way to deal with regret.

beauty girl cry

  1. Make a decision to put the regret behind you. While a decision may not immediately remove the emotion of regret, it will set you on the right path to eliminating your regret. Philippians 3: 13 says this: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Recognize that regret is a weapon Satan uses to rob you of hope. If Satan can get you into depression and despair, he has you. Why? Because without hope, you cannot have faith in the future (Hebrews 11: 1). The Word of God says this in 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Don’t let Satan devour you with regret. Stay alert to his devices.
  3. Give your regret to the Lord. If your regret was caused by sin, then simply repent and move on. If your regret was caused by a poor decision, then trust that God will work that poor decision for your good. Romans 8: 28 says this: ” . . . all things work together for good to them that love God . . . .”

The best way to avoid regret is to remain closely connected with Holy Spirit and to seek His counsel and direction for every decision you make. As you follow Holy Spirit’s leading, you will make right decisions that will bring you the peace and joy He wants you to experience for the rest of your life.

TWEETABLE: How to Deal with Regret by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET).

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Hoping against Hope

Hanging on to Hope in Hopeless Times

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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When Jim arrived at his office, a pink slip lay squarely in the middle of his desk.

His eyes did a double-take. Impossible! Only the week before, his boss had given him a great review. What was up?

With trembling hands, Jim picked up the slip and headed to his boss’s office. Ted, his boss of five years, was seated at his desk.

“Ted…” A lump caught in Jim’s throat as he held up the pink slip. “Why?” That was the only word he could utter.

Ted motioned Jim to take a seat. “I’m sorry, Jim. This was not my doing. I got the notice from corporate that revenues have dropped drastically. Over 20 people have been laid off. Not just you.”

“But what am I going to do? I have a wife and five kids.”

Compassion crossed Ted’s face. “I wish I knew what to tell you. Just don’t give up hope.”

Hope Colorful Blocks

HOPE. Sometimes that’s all we have to hang to. Yet hope is much more powerful than we may think. Here is what the Scripture says about hope:

1-Hope undergirds faith (Hebrews 11: 1). Without hope, faith doesn’t work. Just as one needs a blueprint to build a house, so does one need hope to build faith.

2-Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6: 19). When the soul is troubled, hope keeps it anchored in Christ.

3-Hope is eternal (I Corinthians 13: 13). Like faith and love, hope will last forever. There is an endless supply of it in God’s storehouse, so fill your cup to overflowing with hope.

Hope draws its value from the person in whom one puts his hope. As believers, our hope is in Jesus Christ. He will never fail us. He will always be faithful to His promises.

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