This   writing   is   for   all   persons   who   desire   insight   into   how   we   are   designed,   how   we   function   and   how   we   interact   with the   world   around   us.      We   will   explore   four   unique   attributes   of   our   soul,   heart   and   spirit   that   separate   humans   from   all other living forms on earth: hope, belief, faith and trust. There   is   an   interdependence   between   the   four   attributes   (rely   upon   /   affected   by   each   other)   an d synergy (when they work together, they progressively magnify). 1 . Each   attribute   foundationally   supports   the   one   above:   hope   supports   belief,   belief   supports   faith, and faith supports trust.  For example, is it possible to: a.  Extend trust to someone if you do not have faith they will do the right thing? b.  Have belief, faith and trust without hope? 2 . As   we   move   upward   from   hope   to   belief,   from   belief   to   faith   and   from   faith   to   trust,   each   step increasingly requires: a.  More involvement of our heart, soul and spirit. b.  An evaluative analysis and choice. 3 . It is difficult to move upward from one attribute to the next because we: a.  Become increasingly dependent upon whom we extend our hope, belief, faith and trust. b.  Increase our vulnerability. c.  May have been hurt by someone in the past and we choose to protect ourselves from potential pain. 4 . If   we   extend   one   of   the   four   attributes   towards   a   human   being—and   they   fail   to   meet   our   expectations—that attribute (directed towards that person) will most likely never achieve the same degree once given. 5 . With   regards   to   the   recipient   of   an   attribute,   the   value   of   each   attribute   increases   as   we   move   upward.      For example, which of the following means more when someone says to you: a.  I hope you do the right thing. b.  I believe you will do the right thing. c.  I have faith you will do the right thing. d.  I trust you will do the right thing. 6 . Trust is the: a.  Greatest of the four attributes we can give and receive.  b.  Bond that enables deep and meaningful relationships. Each   of   the   four   attributes   does   not   operate   in   the   physical   realm;   because   they   are   spiritual   and   operate   deep   within our   heart,   soul   and   spirit.      What’s   more,   they   were   placed   there   by   God   as   part   of   our   design   because   He   desires   our hope, our belief, and our faith.  But most of all, He desires trust with all of our heart. And   [I   pray]   that   the   eyes   of   your   heart   [the   very   center   and   core   of   your   being]   may   be   enlightened   [flooded   with   light by   the   Holy   Spirit],   so   that   you   will   know   and   cherish   the   hope    [the   divine   guarantee,   the   confident   expectation]   to   which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people).”  Ephesians 1:18 (Amplified Bible) “But   without   faith    it   is   impossible   to   please   Him,   for   he   who   comes   to   God   must   believe    that   He   is,   and   that   He   is   a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6 Trust    in   the   Lord   with   all   your   heart,   and   lean   not   on   your   own   understanding;   in   all   your   ways   acknowledge   Him,   and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 We will now explore each of the four attributes, starting with hope. Hope Hope is defined as: An optimistic state of mind that life will improve. A perception and expectation of future positive outcomes. Hope can: Positively influence our perception of the world (even in the darkest of times). Make a tough situation more bearable. Inspire and motivate us to take steps to make our life better. Without hope we can: Lack motivation to overcome life’s obstacles. Sink into discouragement, depression and darkness—where Satan dwells and what he desires for all. o Satan   does   not   have   hope.      He   knows   his   final   demise   in   the   eternal   lake   of   fire,   and   he   knows   there   is   no hope   of   it   changing…because   God’s   word   declares   it!      “The   devil   was   cast   into   the   lake   of   fire   and   brimstone where   the   beast   and   the   false   prophet   are.      And   they   will   be   tormented   day   and   night   forever   and   ever.”     Revelation 20:10 o Howard   Hendricks,   who   was   a   professor   at   Dallas   Theological   Seminary   and   speaker   for   Promise   Keepers, said   “Discouragement   is   the   anesthetic   the   devil   uses   on   a   person   just   before   he   reaches   in   and   carves   out his heart.” Because   we   are   designed   with   the   capacity   to   have   hope,   what   we   hope   for   may   be   simply   categorized   by   physical   or spiritual. What we hope for in the physical realm can be a good thing, based upon: Whether or not the object of our hope is in God’s will. The motivations of our heart. Here   is   another   aspect   of   hope   to   consider:   take   another   look   at   the   comparative   listing   above   and   ask   yourself   which type of hope: Has more eternal importance? Can deeply motivate us to seek changes within our heart, soul and spirit? With   reflective   thought,   you   will   likely   identify   additional   hopes   you   have.     As   such,   take   a   few   moments   and   think   about your hopes, and write them down.  Then evaluate each hope to determine: Is it aligned with God’s will? What is the motivation of your heart that is supporting this hope? Is there eternal relevance / importance? Here are scriptures related to hope in the spiritual realm, which are segmented between present and future hope. Present Spiritual Hope “That   at   that   time   you   were   without   Christ,   being   aliens   from   the   commonwealth   of   Israel   and   strangers   from   the covenants of promise, having no hope   and without God in the world.”  Ephesians 2:12 “Therefore,   gird   up   the   loins   of   your   mind,   be   sober,   and   rest   your   hope    fully   upon   the   grace   that   is   to   be   brought   to   you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 1:13 “For   we   were   saved   in   this   hope ,   but   hope   that   is   seen   is   not   hope ;   for   why   does   one   still   hope    for   what   he   sees?      But if we hope  for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”  Romans 8:24-25 “Through   whom   also   we   have   access   by   faith   into   this   grace   in   which   we   stand,   and   rejoice   in   hope    of   the   glory   of   God.     And   not   only   that   but   we   also   glory   in   tribulations,   knowing   that   tribulation   produces   perseverance;   and   perseverance, character;   and   character,   hope .      Now   hope    does   not   disappoint,   because   the   love   of   God   has   been   poured   out   in   our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:2-5 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope  without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23 “Why   are   you   cast   down,   O   my   soul?     And   why   are   you   disquieted   within   me?      Hope    in   God;   for   I   shall   yet   praise   Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”  Psalm 42:11 “That   by   two   immutable   things,   in   which   it   is   impossible   for   God   to   lie,   we   might   have   strong   consolation,   who   have   fled for   refuge   to   lay   hold   of   the   hope    set   before   us.      This   hope    we   have   as   an   anchor   of   the   soul,   both   sure   and   steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.”  Hebrews 6:18-19 Future Spiritual Hope “Having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope  of eternal life.”  Titus 3:7 Hope  of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”  Titus 1:2 And   God   will   wipe   away   every   tear   from   their   eyes;   there   shall   be   no   more   death,   nor   sorrow,   nor   crying.     There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away .”  Revelation 21:4 Belief While   hope   is   an   optimistic   expectation   of   future   positive   outcomes,   belief   is   an   acceptance   that   the   object   of   our   hope is   true   or   that   it   exists.      Our   hopes   and   beliefs   influence   our   behavior.      Plus,   they   are   interdependent   and   synergistic.     For example: Consider the different effect on a person’s hope if they believe the object of their hope: o Is true and exists. o Is a lie and does not exist. Take a moment and consider the deceived hope and darkened belief of one who is addicted to sin because: o Sin is a lie. o The costs of sin far outweigh any perceived benefits. Now contemplate why Jesus said believe!  Jesus declared: o “If you can believe , all things are possible to him who believes .”  Mark 9:23 o “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes  in Me has everlasting life.”  John 6:47 o “Thomas,   because   you   have   seen   Me,   you   have   believed .      Blessed   are   those   who   have   not   seen   and   yet have believed .”  John 20:29 Our   beliefs   are   formed   and   shaped   throughout   our   lives   by   personal   experiences,   assumptions,   the   opinions   of   others and   the   Bible.      In   addition,   our   beliefs   are   powerful   influencers;   can   provide   insight   into   our   heart,   soul   and   spirit;   and can be harmful and beneficial. Now   take   a   moment   and   review   each   harmful   belief   above   and   ask   yourself…is   this   a   delusional   lie?      Plus,   consider   the source   of   the   lie.      Jesus   said   regarding   Satan   He   was   a   murderer   from   the   beginning,   and   does   not   stand   in   the   truth, because   there   is   no   truth   in   him.      When   he   speaks   a   lie,   he   speaks   from   his   own   resources,   for   he   is   a   liar   and   the father of it.”  John 8:44 If you harbor a harmful belief, consider these scriptures. “If   you   confess   with   your   mouth   the   Lord   Jesus   and   believe    in   your   heart   that   God   has   raised   Him   from   the   dead,   you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 “For   with   the   heart   one   believes    unto   righteousness,   and   with   the   mouth   confession   is   made   unto   salvation.      For   the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes  on Him will not be put to shame.’ ”  Romans 10:10-11 Faith While   hope   is   an   optimistic   expectation   of   future   positive   outcomes;   and   belief   is   an   acceptance   that   something   is   true or that something exists; faith, however, is different in that it: Involves some type of internal response or external behavior based upon our hopes and beliefs. Includes   a   component   of   a   decision-based   commitment.      For   example,   I   may   hope   and   believe   a   chair   can   hold my weight, but I do not extend faith until I decide to sit on the chair. Hebrews   11:1   provides   insight   into   the   role   of   hope   and   the   application   of   faith.      “Now   faith    is   the   substance   of   things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews   11:6   provides   insight   into   the   role   of   belief   and   the   application   of   faith.      “But   without   faith    it   is   impossible   to please   Him,   for   he   who   comes   to   God   must   believe   that   He   is,   and   that   He   is   a   rewarder   of   those   who   diligently   seek Him.” We   first   have   hope   in   God   and   belief   in   His   word.      The   next   step   is   the   application   of   our   faith—which   is   exemplified   by what   we   think   and   what   we   do   as   we   seek   God.     This   is   what   He   desires.     This   is   why   he   designed   us   with   the   attributes of hope, belief, faith and trust. Faith occurs from a strong: Hope that God exists. Belief that what the Bible says about God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is true. Commitment to use and enhance our God-given attributes to know Him. It   is   because   of   our   faith   in   God   that   we   receive   His   grace—not   based   upon   our   hopes,   our   beliefs,   or   how   good   we are—but   rather,   our   faith   in   Him.      “For   by   grace   you   have   been   saved   through   faith ,   and   that   not   of   yourselves;   it   is   the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For   God   so   loved   the   world   that   He   gave   His   only   begotten   Son,   that   whoever   believes   in   Him   should   not   perish   but have   everlasting   life.      For   God   did   not   send   His   Son   into   the   world   to   condemn   the   world,   but   that   the   world   through   Him might be saved.”  John 3:16-17 God’s   views   us   as   having   His   righteousness   (holy   and   without   sin)   because   of   our   faith   in   what   Jesus   Christ   did   for   us on the cross. “But   now   the   righteousness   of   God   apart   from   the   law   is   revealed,   being   witnessed   by   the   Law   and   the   Prophets,   even the   righteousness   of   God,   through   faith    in   Jesus   Christ,   to   all   and   on   all   who   believe.      For   there   is   no   difference;   for   all have   sinned   and   fall   short   of   the   glory   of   God,   being   justified   freely   by   His   grace   through   the   redemption   that   is   in   Christ Jesus,   whom   God   set   forth   as   a   propitiation   by   His   blood,   through   faith ,   to   demonstrate   His   righteousness,   because   in His   forbearance   God   had   passed   over   the   sins   that   were   previously   committed,   to   demonstrate   at   the   present   time   His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith  in Jesus.”  Romans 3:21-26 “For   I   say,   through   the   grace   given   to   me,   to   everyone   who   is   among   you,   not   to   think   of   himself   more   highly   than   he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith .”  Romans 12:3 Trust Trust   is   commonly   defined   as   having   a   firm   belief,   confidence   and   reliance   in   the   character,   reliability,   integrity,   truth, and   ability   of   someone   or   something.      While   this   is   true,   trust   is   much   more.      Trust   is   beyond   hope,   beyond   belief   and beyond   faith.      Trust   is   a   personal   choice   that   involves   vulnerability   and   giving   an   indescribable   “internal   part”   of   us   to whom   we   trust—because   when   trust   is   broken—it   hurts   deep   on   the   inside   and   can   leave   scars.      As   such,   when   we extend trust, it is supported by hope, faith and beliefs, such as: They have my best interests at heart. They are prepared to help or defend me, and provide assistance if needed. They will not let me down. Another   aspect   of   trust   (which   makes   it   difficult   for   us   to   extend   to   someone   else   or   God)   is   that   it   means   we   must relinquish   varying   degrees   of   control.      We   like   being   in   control   and   prefer   to   manage   all   aspects   of   our   life.      However, this   can   create   stress   and   anxiety   within   us…because   in   truth,   we   cannot   control   all   of   the   variables   that   impact   our   life.     In addition, our pride will often get in the way as we believe “I can handle this!” There   have   been   situations   in   my   life   when   God   put   me   into   a   corner,   where   I   had   no   choice   but   to   completely   trust   Him.     Analogous   to   driving   a   car,   I   had   to   let   go   of   the   steering   wheel;   I   had   to   unbuckle   the   seat   belt;   I   had   to   climb   into   the back   seat;   and   I   had   to   trust   in   God’s   ability   to   drive   me   to   His   desired   destination   for   me.      I   had   to   completely   let   go   and trust   God.      What’s   interesting,   is   the   overwhelming   amount   of   anxiety,   fear   and   stress   virtually   disappeared   as   I   sat   in the   back   seat   and   went   along   for   the   ride.      I   cannot   explain   the   amount   of   weight   that   was   lifted   from   my   shoulders,   as all   of   the   internal   pressure   subsided,   and   I   could   relax   and   experience   a   spiritual   calmness   deep   within   my   soul.     Looking   back   throughout   the   years,   since   the   day   I   asked   Jesus   to   be   my   Savior   and   Lord,   He   has   always   been   in control.      All   of   my   vain   attempts   to   “drive”   have   resulted   in   me   going   in   the   wrong   direction,   causing   accidents   and getting lost. We will make a decision to turn towards God and place our trust in Him when we: Are in the midst of confusion, despair and feelings of hopelessness. Reminisce and realize the futility of trusting in ourselves or another person.  Consider the future and have no idea of what to do. Have had enough of _____!  (You can fill in the blank.) God   desires   our   hope,   our   belief,   and   our   faith…but   most   of   all…He   desires   our   unconditional   whole-hearted   trust   for two   primary   reasons.      First,   trust   is   the   bond   that   facilitates   deep   and   meaningful   relationships.      Second,   each   and   every one   of   us   will   encounter   events   in   our   lives   that   will   challenge   our   hope,   belief,   faith   and   trust   in   God.      It   is   inevitable.     Reasons   why   some   traumatic   events   occur   in   our   lives   may   never   be   understood   until   we   are   with   Him   in   Heaven.      For example,   my   father   died   of   lung   cancer   when   he   was   at   the   young   age   of   38.      I   was   14   years   old.     And   as   long   as   I   live on   this   earth   I   will   never   understand   why.      But   deep   in   my   heart   I   have   hope,   belief,   faith   and   trust   I   will   know   why   when I   see   my   dad   again   on   the   other   side.      Meanwhile,   I   know   God   has   my   best   interests   at   heart;   God   will   defend   and assist me; and God will not let me down. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts  in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 “The   steps   of   a   good   man   are   ordered   by   the   Lord,   and   He   delights   in   his   way.      Though   he   fall,   he   shall   not   be   utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24 Why Should I Trust God? God’s word is true, He cannot lie and all of His promises will be fulfilled. “God   is   not   a   man,   that   He   should   lie,   nor   a   son   of   man,   that   He   should   repent.      Has   He   said,   and   will   He   not   do?      Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”   Numbers 23:19 “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.”  Psalm 89:35 “The   Lord   of   hosts   has   sworn,   saying,   ‘Surely,   as   I   have   thought,   so   it   shall   come   to   pass, And   as   I   have   purposed,   so it shall stand.’ ”  Isaiah 14:24 God’s   plans   are   perfect,   holy   and   righteous.      What’s   more,   He   watches   over   those   who   love   Him   and   are   called according to His purpose. “And   we   know   that   all   things   work   together   for   good   to   those   who   love   God,   to   those   who   are   the   called   according   to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 Is    there    a    sensible    alternative?       Are    humans    sinful,    unreliable,    have    limited    wisdom,    and    frequently    make    bad decisions?  As such, is it wise to trust in ourselves or someone else? “It is better to trust  in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”  Psalm 118:8 I nterrelationship of Trust and Love The   greatest   thing   we   can   offer   God   is   our   love.      When   asked   what   is   the   greatest   commandment   in   the   law,   Jesus replied “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37 God   desires   a   relationship   and   our   love.      However,   for   any   relationship   to   grow   and   reach   its   full   potential   it   must   be foundationally   based   upon   trust.      For   example,   consider   the   caustic   impact   upon   love   within   a   relationship   when   one spouse   is   unable   to   trust   the   other.      On   the   other   side   of   the   “coin,”   consider   the   unending   influence   of   guilt   and   shame upon the capacity to love by the one who violated the trust of their spouse. For any relationship to thrive…it must be based upon trust! Trust During the Last Days Things   will   become   worse   and   life   will   become   increasingly   difficult   as   we   enter   into   the   last   days.      For   those   who   have placed their trust in God…what is occurring is the fulfillment of God’s word.  Jesus   said   “There   will   be   great   tribulation,   such   as   has   not   been   since   the   beginning   of   the   world   until   this   time,   no,   nor ever   shall   be.     And   unless   those   days   were   shortened,   no   flesh   would   be   saved;   but   for   the   elect’s   sake   those   days   will be shortened.”  Matthew 24:21-22 As such, now is the time to let go and trust in God as we witness the truth of His word come to fruition. (For more information on the last days read “21 Signs of the Last Days” on UniqueBibleStudies.com. ) Praying for Trust Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ,   my   Savior   and   Lord,   I   pray.      Holy   Spirit,   guide   me   into   that   spiritual   place of   absolute   trust—where   my   wavering   uncertainties,   anxieties   and   fears   no   longer   diminish   my   love   for   God.      Ground me in Your truth, Your word and Your promises…for I desire to let go, and trust in You. Jesus   said   “Are   not   two   sparrows   sold   for   a   copper   coin?      And   not   one   of   them   falls   to   the   ground   apart   from   your Father’s   will.      But   the   very   hairs   of   your   head   are   all   numbered.      Do   not   fear   therefore;   you   are   of   more   value   than   many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus   said   “These   things   I   have   spoken   to   you,   that   in   Me   you   may   have   peace.      In   the   world   you   will   have   tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 God Bless You, Harold D. Thomas
Thought-Provoking Questions The   purpose   of   the   questions   is   to   facilitate   a   deeper   understanding   of   the   Bible,   the   Bible   study   topic   and   ourselves.     The   questions   may   be   answered   by   each   reader;   or   used   by   a   Bible   study   group   leader   or   church   pastor.      The questions   should   be   considered   or   discussed   after   reading   “Trust”;   are   based   upon   the   graphic   below;   and   are   intended to enhance learning via opinions and personal reflection.  As such, no answers are provided. Is it possible to correlate the rock wall to each of our personal lives?  If yes, what is the personal correlation of the: Hardness of the rock? Different shapes, colors, indentations and uneven surface? Cracks in the rock? Now consider the chiseled word TRUST. Do you think it was easy to chisel the word into the rock?  How does this correlate to us? Is there a personal relevance in chiseling the word over the deep cracks?  If yes, how? Will the word withstand wind, rain, freezing temperatures and extreme heat?  How does this relate to us? Now look at the tools that were used to chisel the word TRUST into the rock. If the rock correlates to our personal lives, who do you think chiseled the word into the rock? Is there a spiritual relevance in the two hammers and different types of chisels?  Is it possible both hammers were used at the same time?  If yes, how and by whom? Given the characteristics of the rock, did it require commitment, time and effort?  If yes, how does this relate to you? Do you see the name hidden in the picture?  (His name is hidden in most title graphics.) The questions may be viewed and downloaded as a PDF file by clicking on this button. Can you think of one or more persons who could benefit from reading this lesson?  If so, pass it on!
This   writing   is   for   all   persons   who   desire   insight   into   how we   are   designed,   how   we   function   and   how   we   interact with   the   world   around   us.      We   will   explore   four   unique attributes    of    our    soul,    heart    and    spirit    that    separate humans   from   all   other   living   forms   on   earth:   hope,   belief, faith and trust. There    is    an    interdependence    between    the   four   attributes   (rely   upon   /   affected   by   each other)   and   synergy   (when   they   work   together, they progressively magnify). 1 . Each    attribute    foundationally    supports the    one    above:    hope    supports    belief, belief   supports   faith,   and   faith   supports   trust.      For example, is it possible to: a.   Extend   trust   to   someone   if   you   do   not   have   faith they will do the right thing? b.  Have belief, faith and trust without hope? 2 . As   we   move   upward   from   hope   to   belief,   from   belief   to faith   and   from   faith   to   trust,   each   step   increasingly requires: a.  More involvement of our heart, soul and spirit. b.  An evaluative analysis and choice. 3 . It   is   difficult   to   move   upward   from   one   attribute   to   the next because we: a.   Become   increasingly   dependent   upon   whom   we extend our hope, belief, faith and trust. b.  Increase our vulnerability. c.      May   have   been   hurt   by   someone   in   the   past   and we    choose    to    protect    ourselves    from    potential pain. 4 . If    we    extend    one    of    the    four    attributes    towards    a human      being—and      they      fail      to      meet      our expectations—that    attribute    (directed    towards    that person)    will    most    likely    never    achieve    the    same degree once given. 5 . With   regards   to   the   recipient   of   an   attribute,   the   value of   each   attribute   increases   as   we   move   upward.      For example,   which   of   the   following   means   more   when someone says to you: a.  I hope you do the right thing. b.  I believe you will do the right thing. c.  I have faith you will do the right thing. d.  I trust you will do the right thing. 6 . Trust is the: a. Greatest   of   the   four   attributes   we   can   give   and receive. b. Bond      that      enables      deep      and      meaningful relationships. Each   of   the   four   attributes   does   not   operate   in   the   physical realm;   because   they   are   spiritual   and   operate   deep   within our   heart,   soul   and   spirit.      What’s   more,   they   were   placed there   by   God   as   part   of   our   design   because   He   desires   our hope,   our   belief,   and   our   faith.      But   most   of   all,   He   desires trust with all of our heart. And   [I   pray]   that   the   eyes   of   your   heart   [the   very   center and   core   of   your   being]   may   be   enlightened   [flooded   with light   by   the   Holy   Spirit],   so   that   you   will   know   and   cherish the   hope    [the   divine   guarantee,   the   confident   expectation] to   which   He   has   called   you,   the   riches   of   His   glorious inheritance   in   the   saints   (God’s   people).”      Ephesians   1:18 (Amplified Bible) “But   without   faith    it   is   impossible   to   please   Him,   for   he who   comes   to   God   must   believe    that   He   is,   and   that   He   is a   rewarder   of   those   who   diligently   seek   Him.”      Hebrews 11:6 Trust    in   the   Lord   with   all   your   heart,   and   lean   not   on   your own   understanding;   in   all   your   ways   acknowledge   Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 We   will   now   explore   each   of   the   four   attributes,   starting with hope. Hope Hope is defined as: An optimistic state of mind that life will improve. A     perception     and     expectation     of     future     positive outcomes. Hope can: Positively   influence   our   perception   of   the   world   (even in the darkest of times). Make a tough situation more bearable. Inspire   and   motivate   us   to   take   steps   to   make   our   life better. Without hope we can: Lack motivation to overcome life’s obstacles. Sink       into       discouragement,       depression       and darkness—where   Satan   dwells   and   what   he   desires for all. o Satan   does   not   have   hope.      He   knows   his   final demise   in   the   eternal   lake   of   fire,   and   he   knows there   is   no   hope   of   it   changing…because   God’s word   declares   it!      “The   devil   was   cast   into   the   lake of   fire   and   brimstone   where   the   beast   and   the   false prophet   are.      And   they   will   be   tormented   day   and night forever and ever.”  Revelation 20:10 o Howard   Hendricks,   who   was   a   professor   at   Dallas Theological    Seminary    and    speaker    for    Promise Keepers,   said   “Discouragement   is   the   anesthetic the   devil   uses   on   a   person   just   before   he   reaches in and carves out his heart.” Because   we   are   designed   with   the   capacity   to   have   hope, what   we   hope   for   may   be   simply   categorized   by   physical or spiritual. What   we   hope   for   in   the   physical   realm   can   be   a   good thing, based upon: Whether or not the object of our hope is in God’s will. The motivations of our heart. Here   is   another   aspect   of   hope   to   consider:   take   another look    at    the    comparative    listing    above    and    ask    yourself which type of hope: Has more eternal importance? Can   deeply   motivate   us   to   seek   changes   within   our heart, soul and spirit? With   reflective   thought,   you   will   likely   identify   additional hopes   you   have.      As   such,   take   a   few   moments   and   think about   your   hopes,   and   write   them   down.      Then   evaluate each hope to determine: Is it aligned with God’s will? What   is   the   motivation   of   your   heart   that   is   supporting this hope? Is there eternal relevance / importance? Here   are   scriptures   related   to   hope   in   the   spiritual   realm, which are segmented between present and future hope. Present Spiritual Hope “That   at   that   time   you   were   without   Christ,   being   aliens from   the   commonwealth   of   Israel   and   strangers   from   the covenants   of   promise,   having   no   hope    and   without   God   in the world.”  Ephesians 2:12 “Therefore,   gird   up   the   loins   of   your   mind,   be   sober,   and rest   your   hope    fully   upon   the   grace   that   is   to   be   brought   to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 1:13 “For   we   were   saved   in   this   hope ,   but   hope   that   is   seen   is not   hope ;   for   why   does   one   still   hope    for   what   he   sees?   But   if   we   hope    for   what   we   do   not   see,   we   eagerly   wait   for it with perseverance.”  Romans 8:24-25 “Through   whom   also   we   have   access   by   faith   into   this grace   in   which   we   stand,   and   rejoice   in   hope    of   the   glory of   God.     And   not   only   that   but   we   also   glory   in   tribulations, knowing     that     tribulation     produces     perseverance;     and perseverance,   character;   and   character,   hope .      Now   hope   does   not   disappoint,   because   the   love   of   God   has   been poured   out   in   our   hearts   by   the   Holy   Spirit   who   was   given to us.”  Romans 5:2-5 “Let    us    hold    fast    the    confession    of    our    hope     without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23 “Why   are   you   cast   down,   O   my   soul?      And   why   are   you disquieted   within   me?      Hope    in   God;   for   I   shall   yet   praise Him,   the   help   of   my   countenance   and   my   God.”      Psalm 42:11 “That   by   two   immutable   things,   in   which   it   is   impossible   for God   to   lie,   we   might   have   strong   consolation,   who   have fled   for   refuge   to   lay   hold   of   the   hope    set   before   us.      This hope    we   have   as   an   anchor   of   the   soul,   both   sure   and steadfast,   and   which   enters   the   Presence   behind   the   veil.”   Hebrews 6:18-19 Future Spiritual Hope “Having   been   justified   by   His   grace   we   should   become heirs according to the hope  of eternal life.”  Titus 3:7 Hope    of   eternal   life   which   God,   who   cannot   lie,   promised before time began.”  Titus 1:2 And   God   will   wipe   away   every   tear   from   their   eyes; there   shall   be   no   more   death,   nor   sorrow,   nor   crying.   There   shall   be   no   more   pain,   for   the   former   things have passed away .”  Revelation 21:4 Belief While   hope   is   an   optimistic   expectation   of   future   positive outcomes,   belief   is   an   acceptance   that   the   object   of   our hope    is    true    or    that    it    exists.        Our    hopes    and    beliefs influence   our   behavior.      Plus,   they   are   interdependent   and synergistic.  For example: Consider   the   different   effect   on   a   person’s   hope   if they believe the object of their hope: o Is true and exists. o Is a lie and does not exist. Take   a   moment   and   think   about   the   deceived   hope and   darkened   belief   of   one   who   is   addicted   to   sin because: o Sin is a lie. o The    costs    of    sin    far    outweigh    any    perceived benefits. Consider why Jesus said believe!  Jesus declared: o “If   you   can   believe ,   all   things   are   possible   to   him who believes .”  Mark 9:23 o “Most   assuredly,   I   say   to   you,   he   who   believes    in Me has everlasting life.”  John 6:47 o “Thomas,   because   you   have   seen   Me,   you   have believed .      Blessed   are   those   who   have   not   seen and yet have believed .”  John 20:29 Our   beliefs   are   formed   and   shaped   throughout   our   lives   by personal   experiences,   assumptions,   the   opinions   of   others and    the    Bible.        In    addition,    our    beliefs    are    powerful influencers;   can   provide   insight   into   our   heart,   soul   and spirit; and can be harmful and beneficial. Now   take   a   moment   and   review   each   harmful   belief   above and   ask   yourself…is   this   a   delusional   lie?      Plus,   consider the   source   of   the   lie.      Jesus   said   regarding   Satan   He   was a   murderer   from   the   beginning,   and   does   not   stand   in   the truth,   because   there   is   no   truth   in   him.      When   he   speaks   a lie,   he   speaks   from   his   own   resources,   for   he   is   a   liar   and the father of it.”  John 8:44 If you harbor a harmful belief, consider these scriptures. “If    you    confess    with    your    mouth    the    Lord    Jesus    and believe    in   your   heart   that   God   has   raised   Him   from   the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 “For   with   the   heart   one   believes    unto   righteousness,   and with   the   mouth   confession   is   made   unto   salvation.      For   the Scripture   says,   ‘Whoever   believes    on   Him   will   not   be   put to shame.’ ”  Romans 10:10-11 Faith While   hope   is   an   optimistic   expectation   of   future   positive outcomes;   and   belief   is   an   acceptance   that   something   is true   or   that   something   exists;   faith,   however,   is   different   in that it: Involves   some   type   of   internal   response   or   external behavior based upon our hopes and beliefs. Includes      a      component      of      a      decision-based commitment.      For   example,   I   may   hope   and   believe   a chair   can   hold   my   weight,   but   I   do   not   extend   faith until I decide to sit on the chair. Hebrews   11:1   provides   insight   into   the   role   of   hope   and   the application   of   faith.      “Now   faith    is   the   substance   of   things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews   11:6   provides   insight   into   the   role   of   belief   and the   application   of   faith.      “But   without   faith    it   is   impossible to   please   Him,   for   he   who   comes   to   God   must   believe   that He   is,   and   that   He   is   a   rewarder   of   those   who   diligently seek Him.” We   first   have   hope   in   God   and   belief   in   His   word.      The next     step     is     the     application     of     our     faith—which     is exemplified   by   what   we   think   and   what   we   do   as   we   seek God.     This   is   what   He   desires.     This   is   why   he   designed   us with the attributes of hope, belief, faith and trust. Faith occurs from a strong: Hope that God exists. Belief   that   what   the   Bible   says   about   God   and   His Son, Jesus Christ, is true. Commitment    to    use    and    enhance    our    God-given attributes to know Him. It    is    because    of    our    faith    in    God    that    we    receive    His grace—not   based   upon   our   hopes,   our   beliefs,   or   how good   we   are—but   rather,   our   faith   in   Him.      “For   by   grace you    have    been    saved    through    faith ,    and    that    not    of yourselves;   it   is   the   gift   of   God,   not   of   works,   lest   anyone should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For    God    so    loved    the    world    that    He    gave    His    only begotten   Son,   that   whoever   believes   in   Him   should   not perish   but   have   everlasting   life.      For   God   did   not   send   His Son   into   the   world   to   condemn   the   world,   but   that   the world through Him might be saved.”  John 3:16-17 God’s   views   us   as   having   His   righteousness   (holy   and without   sin)   because   of   our   faith   in   what   Jesus   Christ   did for us on the cross. “But   now   the   righteousness   of   God   apart   from   the   law   is revealed,   being   witnessed   by   the   Law   and   the   Prophets, even   the   righteousness   of   God,   through   faith    in   Jesus Christ,   to   all   and   on   all   who   believe.      For   there   is   no difference;   for   all   have   sinned   and   fall   short   of   the   glory   of God,    being    justified    freely    by    His    grace    through    the redemption   that   is   in   Christ   Jesus,   whom   God   set   forth   as a   propitiation   by   His   blood,   through   faith ,   to   demonstrate His   righteousness,   because   in   His   forbearance   God   had passed   over   the   sins   that   were   previously   committed,   to demonstrate   at   the   present   time   His   righteousness,   that He   might   be   just   and   the   justifier   of   the   one   who   has   faith   in Jesus.”  Romans 3:21-26 “For   I   say,   through   the   grace   given   to   me,   to   everyone   who is   among   you,   not   to   think   of   himself   more   highly   than   he ought   to   think,   but   to   think   soberly,   as   God   has   dealt   to each one a measure of faith .”  Romans 12:3 Trust Trust    is    commonly    defined    as    having    a    firm    belief, confidence     and     reliance     in     the     character,     reliability, integrity,   truth,   and   ability   of   someone   or   something.      While this   is   true,   trust   is   much   more.      Trust   is   beyond   hope, beyond   belief   and   beyond   faith.      Trust   is   a   personal   choice that    involves    vulnerability    and    giving    an    indescribable “internal   part”   of   us   to   whom   we   trust—because   when   trust is   broken—it   hurts   deep   on   the   inside   and   can   leave   scars.   As   such,   when   we   extend   trust,   it   is   supported   by   hope, faith and beliefs, such as: They have my best interests at heart. They   are   prepared   to   help   or   defend   me,   and   provide assistance if needed. They will not let me down. Another   aspect   of   trust   (which   makes   it   difficult   for   us   to extend   to   someone   else   or   God)   is   that   it   means   we   must relinquish   varying   degrees   of   control.      We   like   being   in control    and    prefer    to    manage    all    aspects    of    our    life.    However,     this     can     create     stress     and     anxiety     within us…because   in   truth,   we   cannot   control   all   of   the   variables that   impact   our   life.      In   addition,   our   pride   will   often   get   in the way as we believe “I can handle this!” There   have   been   situations   in   my   life   when   God   put   me into   a   corner,   where   I   had   no   choice   but   to   completely   trust Him.      Analogous   to   driving   a   car,   I   had   to   let   go   of   the steering   wheel;   I   had   to   unbuckle   the   seat   belt;   I   had   to climb   into   the   back   seat;   and   I   had   to   trust   in   God’s   ability to   drive   me   to   His   desired   destination   for   me.      I   had   to completely   let   go   and   trust   God.      What’s   interesting,   is   the overwhelming   amount   of   anxiety,   fear   and   stress   virtually disappeared   as   I   sat   in   the   back   seat   and   went   along   for the   ride.      I   cannot   explain   the   amount   of   weight   that   was lifted   from   my   shoulders,   as   all   of   the   internal   pressure subsided,    and    I    could    relax    and    experience    a    spiritual calmness   deep   within   my   soul.      Looking   back   throughout the   years,   since   the   day   I   asked   Jesus   to   be   my   Savior and   Lord,   He   has   always   been   in   control.      All   of   my   vain attempts   to   “drive”   have   resulted   in   me   going   in   the   wrong direction, causing accidents and getting lost. We   will   make   a   decision   to   turn   towards   God   and   place   our trust in Him when we: Are   in   the   midst   of   confusion,   despair   and   feelings   of hopelessness. Reminisce     and     realize     the     futility     of     trusting     in ourselves or another person.  Consider the future and have no idea of what to do. Have    had    enough    of    _____!        (You    can    fill    in    the blank.) God   desires   our   hope,   our   belief,   and   our   faith…but   most of   all…He   desires   our   unconditional   whole-hearted   trust for    two    primary    reasons.        First,    trust    is    the    bond    that facilitates    deep    and    meaningful    relationships.        Second, each   and   every   one   of   us   will   encounter   events   in   our   lives that   will   challenge   our   hope,   belief,   faith   and   trust   in   God.   It   is   inevitable.      Reasons   why   some   traumatic   events   occur in   our   lives   may   never   be   understood   until   we   are   with   Him in   Heaven.      For   example,   my   father   died   of   lung   cancer when   he   was   at   the   young   age   of   38.      I   was   14   years   old.   And   as   long   as   I   live   on   this   earth   I   will   never   understand why.      But   deep   in   my   heart   I   have   hope,   belief,   faith   and trust   I   will   know   why   when   I   see   my   dad   again   on   the   other side.      Meanwhile,   I   know   God   has   my   best   interests   at heart;   God   will   defend   and   assist   me;   and   God   will   not   let me down. “The   fear   of   man   brings   a   snare,   but   whoever   trusts    in   the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 “The   steps   of   a   good   man   are   ordered   by   the   Lord,   and   He delights   in   his   way.      Though   he   fall,   he   shall   not   be   utterly cast    down;    for    the    Lord    upholds    him    with    His    hand.”    Psalm 37:23-24 Why Should I Trust God? God’s   word   is   true,   He   cannot   lie   and   all   of   His   promises will be fulfilled. “God   is   not   a   man,   that   He   should   lie,   nor   a   son   of   man, that   He   should   repent.      Has   He   said,   and   will   He   not   do?   Or    has    He    spoken,    and    will    He    not    make    it    good?”    Numbers 23:19 “My   covenant   I   will   not   break,   nor   alter   the   word   that   has gone out of My lips.”  Psalm 89:35 “The   Lord   of   hosts   has   sworn,   saying,   ‘Surely,   as   I   have thought,    so    it    shall    come    to    pass,    And    as    I    have purposed, so it shall stand.’ ”  Isaiah 14:24 God’s   plans   are   perfect,   holy   and   righteous.      What’s   more, He    watches    over    those    who    love    Him    and    are    called according to His purpose. “And   we   know   that   all   things   work   together   for   good   to those    who    love    God,    to    those    who    are    the    called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 Is    there    a    sensible    alternative?        Are    humans    sinful, unreliable,   have   limited   wisdom,   and   frequently   make   bad decisions?      As   such,   is   it   wise   to   trust   in   ourselves   or someone else? “It   is   better   to   trust    in   the   Lord   than   to   put   confidence   in man.”  Psalm 118:8 I nterrelationship of Trust and Love The   greatest   thing   we   can   offer   God   is   our   love.      When asked    what    is    the    greatest    commandment    in    the    law, Jesus   replied   “You   shall   love   the   Lord   your   God   with   all your   heart,   with   all   your   soul,   and   with   all   your   mind.”   Matthew 22:37 God   desires   a   relationship   and   our   love.      However,   for   any relationship   to   grow   and   reach   its   full   potential   it   must   be foundationally   based   upon   trust.      For   example,   consider the   caustic   impact   upon   love   within   a   relationship   when one   spouse   is   unable   to   trust   the   other.      On   the   other   side of   the   “coin,”   consider   the   unending   influence   of   guilt   and shame   upon   the   capacity   to   love   by   the   one   who   violated the trust of their spouse. For any relationship to thrive…it must be based upon trust! Trust During the Last Days Things   will   become   worse   and   life   will   become   increasingly difficult   as   we   enter   into   the   last   days.      For   those   who   have placed    their    trust    in    God…what    is    occurring    is    the fulfillment of God’s word.  Jesus   said   “There   will   be   great   tribulation,   such   as   has   not been   since   the   beginning   of   the   world   until   this   time,   no, nor   ever   shall   be.     And   unless   those   days   were   shortened, no   flesh   would   be   saved;   but   for   the   elect’s   sake   those days will be shortened.”  Matthew 24:21-22 As   such,   now   is   the   time   to   let   go   and   trust   in   God   as   we witness the truth of His word come to fruition. (For   more   information   on   the   last   days   read   “21   Signs   of the Last Days” on UniqueBibleStudies.com. ) Praying for Trust Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ,   my   Savior and   Lord,   I   pray.      Holy   Spirit,   guide   me   into   that   spiritual place   of   absolute   trust—where   my   wavering   uncertainties, anxieties   and   fears   no   longer   diminish   my   love   for   God.   Ground     me     in     Your     truth,     Your     word     and     Your promises…for I desire to let go, and trust in You. Jesus   said   “Are   not   two   sparrows   sold   for   a   copper   coin?   And   not   one   of   them   falls   to   the   ground   apart   from   your Father’s    will.        But    the    very    hairs    of    your    head    are    all numbered.      Do   not   fear   therefore;   you   are   of   more   value than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus   said   “These   things   I   have   spoken   to   you,   that   in   Me you    may    have    peace.        In    the    world    you    will    have tribulation;   but   be   of   good   cheer,   I   have   overcome   the world.”  John 16:33 God Bless You, Harold D. Thomas
Thought-Provoking Questions The    purpose    of    the    questions    is    to    facilitate    a    deeper understanding    of    the    Bible,    the    Bible    study    topic    and ourselves.        The    questions    may    be    answered    by    each reader;   or   used   by   a   Bible   study   group   leader   or   church pastor.      The   questions   should   be   considered   or   discussed after   reading   “Trust”;   are   based   upon   the   graphic   below; and   are   intended   to   enhance   learning   via   opinions   and personal reflection.  As such, no answers are provided. Is it possible to correlate the rock wall to each of our personal lives?  If yes, what is the personal correlation of the: Hardness of the rock? Different shapes, colors, indentations and uneven surface? Cracks in the rock? Now consider the chiseled word TRUST. Do you think it was easy to chisel the word into the rock?  How does this correlate to us? Is there a personal relevance in chiseling the word over the deep cracks?  If yes, how? Will the word withstand wind, rain, freezing temperatures and extreme heat?  How does this relate to us? Now look at the tools that were used to chisel the word TRUST into the rock. If the rock correlates to our personal lives, who do you think chiseled the word into the rock? Is there a spiritual relevance in the two hammers and different types of chisels?  Is it possible both hammers were used at the same time?  If yes, how and by whom? Given the characteristics of the rock, did it require commitment, time and effort?  If yes, how does this relate to you? Do you see the name hidden in the picture?  (His name is hidden in most title graphics.) The questions may be viewed and downloaded as a PDF file by clicking on this button. Can   you   think   of   one   or   more   persons   who   could   benefit from reading this lesson?  If so, pass it on!