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Dear Partner,

In my prayer time the Lord continues to teach me more about hope. To be perfectly honest, I "thought" I already had a pretty good understanding of what hope is. I know it is important to have hope because the bible says,

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

Without real hope, there is nothing for faith to give substance to. Still, the Holy Spirit was not satisfied that I really understood what biblical hope is. Finally one day He gave me His own definition of Godly Hope: "Godly hope is when the people are moved to the point that they agree, WHAT HAS BEEN IS NOT WHAT SHALL BE! Until they arrive at that place they are not yet in hope, says the Spirit of Grace."

This explains a lot! Have you ever known people who are saying all the right things and acting in all the right ways, yet their circumstances never seem to change for the better? Now we know why. On the inside of them, they are not convinced that their lives are really going to change. They have no "image," no real "hope" that "what has been is not what shall be." They may be in some kind of vague hope, but it is more like a wish or a dream. Unlike Abraham, they have never yet become "fully persuaded" that their circumstances will change for the better. The bible says of Abraham,

Rom 4:21 And BEING FULLY PERSUADED that, what he [God] had promised, he [God] was able also to perform.

More and more I am understanding that the reason our faith often seems so unproductive is because we have never really developed a rock solid image of hope within us for faith to give substance to. Hope must not be vague like a vapor, or ever flowing like a liquid. Hope must be a thing of rock solid "substance" on the inside of us first ... before faith can give "substance" to that hope in the material realm.

I like the way Pastor Dave speaks of Noah when he says, "The ark existed in the heart of Noah long before it existed made out of Gopher wood." Amen! Noah had a solid "image," a solid "vision," a solid "picture" of that ark within himself before the first tree was ever felled in order to produce it. Getting back to Abraham, the bible also says;

Rom 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

"Against hope" refers to the fact that in the natural realm there was no hope left that Sarah could have children. She had always been barren, even when she and Abraham were young and first married. For decades the natural circumstances had formed an image of "hopelessness" within them both. For all of their married life, the image of an empty baby crib was indelibly imprinted in their minds.

"Believed in hope" refers to the promise made by God to Abraham. In the face of all contradictory circumstances, God had promised that Abraham and Sarah would produce many offspring from their own bodies. God had given His word, but He did more than that. He gave Abraham a different "image" to focus his hope on than an empty baby crib.

Gen 15:4-5 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 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.

God understands how the laws of the Spirit operate. He knew that in order for Abraham's faith to be able to manifest the promise, his hope would first have to be changed into a rock solid "substance" of WHAT SHALL BE! He gave Abraham something to look at in order to change his hope. The empty baby crib represented "what had been." Now God was having Abraham focus on the stars of heaven for they represented "what shall be." This next verse is critical;

Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Why is that statement so vitally important? BECAUSE WE ALL CHOOSE WHAT WE ARE GOING TO BELIEVE! Abraham had a choice. He could choose to focus on "what had been" by keeping the image of the empty baby crib at the forefront of his mind. Or he could choose to believe what God had said and focus on the stars of heaven as representing "what shall be" concerning his offspring. Thank God Abraham made the right choice! He kept "seeing his seed as the stars of heaven" until that new image filled his hope as a solid "substance."

Like Abraham, each of us must give our full attention to the promises God has made to us in His Word until we are filled with the solid "substance" of hope. Once we have the substance of hope within us, then faith can appropriate from hope and cause the manifestation of that substance in the material world. That's when things change! Amen!

Thank you for your gift to GCM. 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,

Gary Carpenter


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