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Summary: We, like Paul, should live in expectation and hope.

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INTRO.- ILL.- A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, "Eighteen to nothing--we’re behind."

"Boy," said the spectator, "I’ll bet you’re discouraged."

"Why should I be discouraged?" replied the little boy. "We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!"

That’s expectation! That’s good hope, positive hope!

ILL.- Clare Boothe Luce (1903-87), American playwright, legislator, and diplomat told this story. “A man sentenced to death obtained a reprieve by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within the year--on the condition that if he didn’t succeed, he would be put to death at the end of the year. ‘Within a year,’ the man explained later, ‘the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly.’”

ILL.- Someone well said, “There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.”

Finish these sentences in your mind:

I expect to… I hope to or I hope for…

I think that all of us have certain expectations and hopes in life. Some pan out. Others don’t. But without expectation and hope we will not get far in life, nor will we please God.

Heb. 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Without faith in the Lord and the expectation and hope of better things, we cannot please God. WE MUST LIVE BY FAITH. We must have expectations and hope.

ILL.- Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family, tells about Dr. Stephen Hawking who is an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and perhaps the most intelligent man on earth.

Dobson said, “He has advanced the general theory of relativity farther than any person since Albert Einstein. Unfortunately, Hawking is afflicted with ALS Syndrome (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It will eventually take his life. He has been confined to a wheelchair for years, where he can do little more than sit and think. Hawking has lost the ability even to speak, and now he communicates by means of a computer that is operated from the tiniest movement of his fingertips.

“Quoting from an Omni magazine article: He is too weak to write, feed himself, comb his hair, fix his glasses--all this must be done for him. Yet this most dependent of all men has escaped invalid status. His personality shines through the messy details of his existence.”

“Hawking said that before he became ill, he had very little interest in life. He called it a ‘pointless existence’ resulting from sheer boredom. He drank too much and did very little work. Then he learned he had ALS Syndrome and was not expected to live more than two years. The ultimate effect of that diagnosis, beyond its initial shock, was extremely positive. He claimed to have been happier after he was afflicted than before. How can that be understood? Hawking provided the answer.

Hawking said, “When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything that one does have.”

He also said, “I began to make progress with my research, and I got engaged to a girl called Jane Wilde, who I had met just about the time my condition was diagnosed. That engagement changed my life. It gave me something to live for. I have had motor neuron disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family, and being successful in my work. This is thanks to the help I have received from Jane, my children, and a large number of other people and organizations. I have been lucky, that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.”

DID YOU HEAR THOSE WORDS? Even in his terrible physical condition, he said, “One need not lose hope.”

Matt. 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

We do have hope of a better life in Christ and here and now!

We will never experience a perfect life, because we don’t live in a perfect world. But because of Christ, life can get better, life can be better and because of Him, we’re going to the best life of all some day.

As someone said, “Life without Christ is a hopeless end, but with Christ, it’s an endless hope.” There is always hope in Christ: hope of a better day, a better life, and a better everything.

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