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Dear Partner,

I returned home yesterday from ten days of meetings in the state of Washington. I love travel and I love ministering to people so it was a great time for me. I spoke in four different churches in Othello, recorded four television programs in the Tri-Cities area, participated in one home meeting in Yakima and another in the city of Moses Lake. I also got to see Eddie again. He is the ex-gang member who was saved in one of the services last year. He still has the love of Jesus shining through his eyes. I told him, "Eddie, I have made you famous. People who hear my messages all over the world know who you are. You can never backslide. You must serve Jesus all of your life." We laughed and he promised me he would continue to faithfully serve the Lord.

Traveling ministry is always enjoyable (and fattening). Everybody wants to "feed the preacher" and I always gain a few pounds when I'm on the road. But now that I am home I will endeavor to get back into my normal routine and take the extra pounds off. It was so wonderful to see my beloved Sue again waiting for me to arrive at the airport. We had my mother (who is a youthful 92 years old) and a couple of the grandchildren over to visit for a few hours after I got home. Wonderful! I am always reminded of this wonderful proverb at times like that:

Pro 10:22   The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

I am not rich in silver and gold (although He always provides well for us), but I am a very rich man when it comes to the things that really matter in life.

As I met with the various groups of people on this trip I began to see a strategy of the enemy that seems to be happening all over the body of Christ right now. It seems there is an almost unspoken attitude of "hopelessness" that has settled down on many believers. Don't get me wrong they love the Lord and they are doing what they should be doing regarding their responsibilities. But there was this feeling that much of it was being done more through a sense of duty than through a sense of enthusiasm and joy! I ministered on this verse several times:

Rom 15:13   Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Many people are not aware that the bible declares our heavenly Father to be "The God of Hope!" There is a vast difference between people who have "natural" hope instead of "godly" hope. What most people call hope is really just wishful thinking. You might hear them say, "I'm a hoping and a praying." You might ask them, "Will you be healed of your disease?" and their answer might be, "I sure do hope so." That kind of hope is not godly hope. Godly hope and real faith are intertwined so tightly that each must have the other in order to be productive.

Heb 11:1   Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Notice the working of faith and hope together. Without hope (real, godly hope), there is nothing for faith to give substance to. One of my favorite illustrations of how godly hope and faith work together is when God first gave Abram hope that he and his wife would have a child. Remember, they had been married for decades yet they had never had a child of their own. All they had ever seen was "barrenness." Hope has everything to do with what we "see" on the inside of ourselves. Look how God gave Abram something to "see" that would forever change his hope:

Gen 15:5-6   And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

In the desert where Abram lived, on a clear night, can you imagine the thousands of stars that he could see? Abram and Sarai had not ever even seen one child born from their own bodies. If they went by "natural" hope (what they had seen in their past), there was nothing for faith to give substance to. But now that God had given His word, and they looked at the number of stars in the heavens can you imagine the hope that rose up within them? They would no doubt go outside again night after night and say to each other, "We are going to have descendents that measure like the number of those stars." That is godly hope. If you would have asked Abram, "Are you going to have a child in your old age?" He would not have answered, "I sure do hope so." He would have responded, "Yes I am." You might have asked, "How can you be so confident?" He would have said, "Because I have God's word on it." And that settles the subject. The God of Hope had filled Abram with hope and supplied him with faith through His Word.

Our Father is the God of hope. Everything you find in His Word belongs to you. He has already "said it" and Jesus has already paid the price for you to have it. You have God's Word to bring you hope and you have the finished work of Jesus on your behalf to give you faith that you can have every promise of God in your life. "What hope sees, faith can have." Godly hope produces joy and peace in you through the power of the Holy Ghost. Hallelujah!

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!


Your friend and co-laborer,

 

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