Tag Archive: hope


shhh

I have a confession to make.

I can not keep a secret.  Seriously, it is pure torture!!

I just helped my parents order gifts for the kids for Christmas.  Gifts that the kids will absolutely go ga-ga over!  These are THE GIFTS; the ones they continue hinting at, the ones they’ve been talking about for months, the ones they never dreamed they’d get, never thought they’d see, never imagined they’d hold…

I am having such a hard keeping it secret!!  I am so darn excited, I’m just bursting!!

I want to talk about it, I want to share it, I want to tell someone, ANYONE…

Crazy excited

But there is a secret that I have been known to keep.  The best secret.  The one I should share but I zip my lips, I hold my tongue.

The Good News of Jesus Christ.

Why am I not bursting at the seams over what Christ did for me?

Why aren’t I just as excited to tell someone… ANYONE… about God’s saving grace that I can’t keep quiet?

Zip Lip

Why aren’t I?

God offers us an amazing gift.  A gift that we will go ga-ga over.  A gift that we always long for, hint at, the one that we can’t stop thinking about.  A gift that we all desperately want but think we will never get.

Love…

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8

Forgiveness…

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9

Freedom…

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”   John 8:36

Peace…

“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”   Revelation 21:4

Joy…

“The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”   Psalm 19:8

Beauty…

“…THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”   1 Corinthians 2:9

Life…

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”   1 John 5:13

 

We can have a burden for the lost; an excitement to share the change and promises God has made in and given to us, but we must ask for it.

It is very easy to grow cold in our longing to share what Christ did.  The evil one makes sure of that.  He certainly does not want us sharing our faith and changing hearts, so he plants seeds of doubt and fear in us to turn us from sharing the hope of Christ with others.

Ignore those whispers!

Don’t let the evil one steal God’s thunder!  Pray for courage, pray for a burden and let God work.

helping hand

Heavenly Father, your Word promises that You are always with me.  Give me a burden for those who don’t know you, the boldness to approach them and the words to say.  Please prepare hearts and guide my steps.  Oh God I praise You for the change You’ve made in me, please fill me with a desire for the lost and allow me to share You with them.

 

Related articles:
Heaven is a Beautiful Place   (http://www.mfctoday.org/)

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Psalm 139 teaches us that God is in control.  He knows all things, plans all things and there is no hiding from His knowledge and presence.

I love that and saw it clearly yesterday when I peed in a cup.

Yes, you heard me right.

God tends to reveal Himself in obscure ways… well, at least to me He does and most recently it has been in the bathroom.  (There will be more on that at some other most inappropriate time.)

Anyway, back to peeing in a cup.

I have had a stomach ache for quite some time, and recently went to the doctor to have it checked out.  I don’t seem to have any other symptoms; I won’t go into the unnecessarily extensive and picturesque list of symptoms asked of me, that is a clear visual you don’t need, so what you need to know is an ultrasound and more testing need to be done.

Before I left the doctor’s office, an ultrasound was set up for the very next day at the UW Hospital downtown, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and scheduled to come in for the lab work an hour before heading downtown for the ultrasound appointment.

As I left and got into my car to leave, my cell phone rang revealing a number I was not familiar with.  I answered it and a nurse from the UW Hospital was calling to tell me there was a conflict in their schedule and I would have to move my ultrasound appointment to next week.

I had hoped to get everything done in one day but obviously I wasn’t able to, so I decided to keep the lab appointment at the clinic anyway. When I went in for the lab work the next day, I had blood drawn first and then headed into the restroom to pee in a cup…and that is where I spied God.

Had I not been forced to changed my ultrasound appointment, originally scheduled an hour after that one, I would have left the clinic and headed down to the UW Hospital but because I had lab work done and incidentally peed in a cup, I would not have had the required full bladder needed for an accurate ultrasound.

Because God is in control; knowing what would be needed and orchestrated it so that my ultrasound appointment was changed, I was able to have my lab work done and will now have the most accurate ultrasound test done next week.

This life is no accident; each moment exactly as it should be, each of us placed strategically.

In Psalm 139, God teaches us that very truth and also teaches that through whatever trial, He is the source of hope and comfort.

Psalm 139  ESV

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21

Job shook me this morning.

How do I respond when ‘bad’ things happen in my life?

Do I say “Why me?”

Do I complain?

I need to take a lesson from Job.  If I think I’m struggling in my life, I certainly have not struggled as Job has.

I have not had the heartache as Job has.  I get a “No. Thanks anyway,” response back from an article I sent to a magazine and I question God.  Job lost all ten of his children in one fell swoop!  [Job 1:18]

I have not had the physical pain as Job has.  I get a hangnail and I whine.  Job had painful boils from head to toe and scraped them off with a potsherd for relief!  [Job 2:7-8]

Job had incredibly difficult struggles and yet He trusted God’s plan.  He accepted his trials and understood them as something God had every right to give.

“… Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   Job 2:10

I need to stop being so drama queen.

Comparatively, my life has been quite easy.  My struggles, minor.

I need a new…  perspective.

What are you struggling with?

Don’t look at it with your own eyes…you’re too close, your feelings too real.  Look at your situation through God’s eyes…

God gave us amazing examples in His Word.

Maybe you just need a new… Job.

[IMAGE CREDIT]

Sometimes bad things happen.

The Bible says:  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Which isn’t a lot of comfort for those going through the difficult time, I’m sure.  How can a terminal illness, the loss of a parent or a child, the loss of a job, all possibly be good?!

We, as sinful creatures, can’t see the big picture.  We can’t see God’s plan and therefore can’t see the outcome of this tragedy.

“then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”   Ecclesiastes 8:17

About a year ago, the daughter of a woman I work with was pregnant with twins.  They knew fairly early on in the pregnancy that one of the babies was healthy and developing well, while the other was not.  Both babies were alive, Mom could feel them both in her belly, but she and Dad knew that within moments of giving birth, the most joyous of occasions, they would be planning the future for one and a funeral for the other.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”   Psalm 139:13-16

[IMAGE CREDIT]

Zoe and Jude were born, Zoe weighed around six pounds and Jude around four.  Both were beautiful babies and on the outside looked perfect, but baby Jude was unable to breathe on his own and within minutes Mom and Dad watched in horror as he gasped for his last breath.

“Why?”  They asked.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”   Ecclesiastes 11:5

At home, Zoe and Mom are doing well although she struggles with the loss of Jude of course, but has absolutely taken to being a mom and loves it.

“Why?”  They still ask… but Grandma, the woman I work with, has been given insight and can see the blessing through this tragedy;

  • Had Jude died in the womb, it could have caused severe complications both to Zoe and Mom
  • They were all allowed time with Jude alive, albeit a short amount, but they were able to hold him and to pour their love into those moments they were blessed with him.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ To him be glory forever. Amen.”   Romans 11:33-34,36b

About 20 years ago now, God called Jax’s mom home after her battle with cancer.  She had two daughters married with families of their own, Jax was in college, and her youngest daughter was in middle school.

I’m sure none of them thought it was a good thing to lose their mother, but through it God has been glorified;

  • Her sisters came to know Christ after seeing the peace God had given her family through this tragedy
  • Her children are able to empathize with and minister to others so young dealing with the loss of a parent
  • Jax returned home to be with his dad, now that he was alone, therefore Jax and I met
  • I came to know Christ after meeting Jax, as well as countless others since… including our own children

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”   Romans 5:3-5

We will never know God’s plans this side of heaven, but we do know that all things happen for the good of His Kingdom, for His glory, and to draw us into a closer relationship with Him.

One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city.
The rabbi watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback
suddenly attacked the town, killing innocent men, women, and children.
Some of the slaughtered were his own disciples.
Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: “Oh, if only I were God.”
An astonished student, standing nearby, asked
“But, Master,  if you were God, what would you do differently?”
The rabbi replied:  “If I were God I would do nothing differently.
If I were God, I would understand.”

~ As told by Joanna Laufer and Kenneth S. Lewis in Inspired (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 5.

I Spy a promise

As I drove to work on this overcast, dreary, drizzly day, there were brief flashes of light.  The sun winked teasingly at me through the blustery clouds then scampered off to hide playfully.

You know those times; you finally succeed at pulling your sunglasses out and put them on, just as the clouds envelop the bright rays.  You hear stifled sounds of laughter emanating from the brightness as you are caught sitting in the shadows sporting dark glasses and looking quite absurd.

You can imagine my relief as I turned the car onto a long stretch of road where the sun, if it dare show its beaming face again, would be forced to remain in my rear-view-mirror …and not place me in its blinding glare!

Many miles ahead I could see quite a storm transpiring.  As I gazed at the bands of falling rain, the sky behind me opened, the bright rays cutting through the darkness and settling upon the falling rain, exposing  a vast rainbow, and as quickly as it appeared, it was gone.

I almost wondered if anyone else had seen it.  It was not a magnificent rainbow; it appeared almost wisp-like, vaguely revealing color or arch, and unveiled itself at only a specific angle, direction, for a few fleeting moments…

But as I stared, I considered these words:

 “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion….”   Philippians 1:6

As I reflected upon that verse, I found it quite odd that it came to mind in the presence of this rainbow.

I have seen many rainbows in my lifetime, and have been in awe at the amazing beauty and creative genius of my Lord and Savior.  And every time, have been reminded of the promise God made to Noah;

“I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”   Genesis 9:13-15

…but not this time.

I didn’t think of Noah.

This time it was a promise to me; a promise that God has a plan for me, for my life, for my passions and desires.  He has given me all the tools I need and as long as I seek Him and His will first, He promised He will finish what He has started in me.

Perhaps when a rainbow is seen, it’s not just a reminder of what God did for Noah, but maybe it’s a promise for someone special.  Maybe He’s speaking directly to someone’s heart.

Maybe He’s speaking to yours.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”   Jeremiah 29:11

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