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263. Hope by the power of the Spirit.

'May the GOD OF HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may OVERFLOW WITH HOPE BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.'* - ( Romans 15:13) Hope is greater than faith because hope is our expression of faith. Hope is our response to God's gift of faith. Hope means earnest expectation of God's promises being fulfilled. God, who is the only source of hope in this hopeless world, gives hope by his Holy Spirit to those who believe in him so that they might earnestly expect the promise to come to pass, against all odds. Now we begin to understand how *'against all hope , Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it was said to him, "So shall your offspring be".'* ( Romans 4:17-18) Abraham's faith was transformed into hope, as he trusted God to fulfill the promise. *'He did not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully PERSUADED that God had power to do what he had promised.'* - ( vs 20-21) Moreover, when his faith became hope, the power of the Holy Spirit began to transform their bodies *'so that their youth was renewed like the eagle's.* ( Psalm 103:5) How else would Abhimelech take Sarah who was nearing ninety, to be his wife, thinking she was the young sister of a seemingly young man Abraham, who was but nearing hundred! ( Genesis 20:2) *'Even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren, was ENABLED to become a father because he CONSIDERED him faithful who had made the promise.'* - ( Hebrews 11:11) Abraham was never disappointed with his *FAITH* because *'HOPE does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.'* ( Romans 5:5) Our faith must grow up into a blessed hope and a deep love for God. No wonder Paul put these three words in the following order: *'And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. The greatest is love.'* ( 1 Corinthians 13:13) We ought to wait with joy and in peace, for the promise to be fulfilled, just as Scripture exhorts us to do. *'Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.'* - ( Romans 12:12) May the *God of hope* fill us with joy and peace and cause us to *overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.* Amen.

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