- Are you feeling hopeless, discouraged, or even in despair in your walk with the LORD as a believer?
- Have you made mistakes and now have feelings of regret or shame?
You are not alone! Of all people, the disciple and then apostle Peter can relate to your emotions and actions; he was devastated and wept bitterly after denying Jesus three times. Yet, that was not the end of the story for Peter. Christ forgave Peter and used him in remarkable ways as we read about the formation of and first thirty years of the Church through the book of Acts.
A friend recently sent me a devotional of encouragement based on the reality of HOPE in our lives. The term HOPE, he reminded me, is used in the New Testament to mean “promise,” a reality of something good and assured. Hope is not as many use the term today of just “wishful thinking.”
Pete Wilson, author of the small group resource Let Hope In (Bible Studies for Life, BSFL by Lifeway Publishing), writes that “we all have hope regardless of our past regrets and shame.” The apostle Peter experienced HOPE as he was forgiven and restored in his relationship with the LORD.
You too can experience the promise and reality of HOPE in your life regardless of your feelings or your past choices. If you are looking for a bible study without a video component, you may then want to try “Hope: Never Beyond Hope,” by J.I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom. This Christian Basic Bible Study is published by Inter Varsity Press and has sold over one million copies. Packer and Nystrom add that “the hope of our salvation brings joy, energy, faithfulness, and a desire to be of use to God!”
Not only Peter but so many such as Martha, Samson, and more were used by God in their imperfections – so can you, no matter how bad we think you are. Packer and Nystrom encourage their readers that “the bible was given to offer HOPE and encouragement through the testimonies of those that have gone before us. Just as biblical characters were failed, biblical characters were redeemed. And God wants to do the same for us.”
You are never beyond HOPE! You have been redeemed and because of the Gospel, you can continue to be redeemed.