Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Recognizing Real Hope

There are two kinds of hope in this world. There's real hope and there's false hope. False hope is what we get when we allow ourselves to put our trust in something that is based on a lie. Real hope is what we get when we plant our feet firmly in the truth and we rely on something greater than ourselves for strength. The secret to finding true happiness in life is to learn to distinguish between the two.

False Hope

False hope promises easy solutions with little effort and no sacrifice required. False hope promises that everything is going to feel good along the way and tells us if it doesn't feel good, we're somehow to blame for it. False hope leads to depression and despair.

False hope disappoints us every time. We're suckers for it, because we want to believe that we can get what we want without having to go through the anguish that real hope assures us is required, but it hurts us and everyone around us every time we allow ourselves to be led astray by it. False hope dangles empty promises in front of us like a carrot on a stick and leads us like a mule to our own destruction.

Real Hope

Real hope doesn't lie to us. It tells us there is going to be struggle, hardship, and pain along the way. It tells us there are going to be tremendous sacrifices required of us if we want to reach the crown of glory. It tells us that at times what we face will be impossible, and we'll be right, but that if we place our trust in love, we will find there are miracles that happen because love can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Real hope is based on the truth. It starts by gleaning the collective wisdom of human experience and is grown by applying it to our own lives and then being able to see the evidence of transformation that takes place over time. Real hope doesn't happen overnight, because real hope is based on a relationship.

The Keys to Real Hope

Real hope is based on a relationship - with the truth and with love. God is Love and Jesus Christ is the Way to love, the Truth about love, and the Life lived in that love. The more closely we come to know Jesus Christ, the more we will find that real hope begins to infuse itself into our lives. Real hope is the very essence of the Holy Spirit. 

The best way to come to know Jesus Christ is to study both His life, His instructions, and His promises to us. In these we will find revealed to us everything we need to know about what to expect on our journey to finding real hope, the things we need to do in order to maintain our strength on that journey, and reminders of what we can expect to receive as we continue to walk this path.

The Rosary and Hope

I didn't start out writing Daily Dose of Hope with the intention of creating a book about the rosary, but as I was thinking through my topics, it became clear to me that I would be remiss if I didn't. Hope and the Rosary go together like peanut butter and jelly. You can have one without the other, but they work so much better when combined.

This is the point where many people will stop reading. It's sad, because the rosary is the shortcut to getting to know Christ on a deeply personal level. Hidden in the rosary are the lessons needed to find, and to cling to, real hope. It is a compass that points the way forward when times are dark and the path is hard to find.

The rosary is not just for Catholics. Martin Luther was devoted to it. Many Anglicans pray it. You need not be Christian or even believe in Christ to benefit from it. If you are atheist, you can treat Christ like a fictional book character and still benefit in the same way that modeling your life after any hero might benefit you.

The Prayers of The Rosary

Prayers that are contained in the rosary are not merely prayers. They are condensed stories, each one with a message designed to help you understand the nature of real hope and to help you when you encounter things that make you doubt or tempt you to stray. As with the rosary, you do not have to believe that God exists in order to benefit from reciting them. Simply look for the stories of the prayers and reflect on the lessons of those stories.

Next Post: Lessons In Real Hope and the Prayers of the Rosary

Stay tuned. I'm not sure when this will come, but I promise it will be well worth the read. We'll talk about the lessons hidden in each prayer of the rosary and how those lessons teach you how to figure out whether hope is real or fake. Read on for Recognizing Hope and the Apostle's Creed.

Your Comments Welcome

I know I've thrown a lot at you today, but I would love to hear your thoughts on what I've written. 

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