Tag Archive | Hope

Breaking through

Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”‭‭

It has been a while. Sorry. I have had some things on my mind – things that have been a bit troubling and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle them. 

I had some time this last week to think on them and pray about them. And here is what I determined – the devil is trying to keep me from doing what I know that God would have me to do.

We get like that from time to time, don’t we? We are plugging along, doing what we think and feel that God wants us to do, and then we hit some sort of invisible wall that all of the sudden this thing that you have been doing just doesn’t seem doable anymore. You start coming up with excuses and find reasons not to fulfill what you know that God wants you to do. Things begin to happen that make you question your reason, your purpose and your safety in completing what you know that God has laid on your heart to do. 

It happens to everyone – the pastor, the missionary, the teacher, the casual blogger. You have to find a way to break through. 

This last week, my husband was at a conference that I was blessed to be able to attend with him. There were several motivational speakers there that he heard. On the last day, he was asked to be a part of one of the seminars as a helper. Well, I had to see what this “helper” was going to help with – it was breaking a board with one’s hand. Sounds very ninja-like, right? Well, I saw people of all ages, sizes and abilities breaking an untampered board with their bear hand. The whole purpose of the activity was to write what it was that was holding you back from moving forward in your life on this board and then break through it – metaphorically and literally. 

We all need to break through something. Often times, that thing is fear. It is fear of failure, fear of starting, fear of change and sometimes, just plain old, flat out fear. It permeates us from time to time. It holds us back. It keeps us from moving forward. It keeps us from the blessings of God. Fear is one of the great tools of the devil. He uses it to control us, to keep us from serving God in such a way that could change the world. And we let him use that tool. We choose to see fear as something that protects us from the bad we perceive. Truth be told, that “bad” isn’t really “bad” at all. We should, instead, chose to see it as a challenge that forces us to move in a different direction. God put it there for a reason.

So this week, what is holding you back? What do you need to break through? What is it that is hindering your blessings from God? What is keeping you from serving Him like you know He is calling you to do? Together, let’s break through this thing!

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Hope. 

Revelation 21:4 – “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

I woke up yesterday morning with something I have I never experienced before – severe pain in my shoulders and upper back. I turned over to turn off my alarm and felt like someone had stabbed me in the shoulders! And it nagged me all day. 

And then I saw the news – a plane full of soccer players went down in Central America. Six people survived. Three were on the soccer team. My son came home and informed me that one of the men who died had just learned he would be a father. My heart broke. 

So much pain. So much sorrow. So many tears. So many fears. 

Bummer. Right? Geesh, Melissa. You sure know how to throw on a wet towel!

But wait! There’s a bright side!

My God, MY GOD!, shall wipe away ALL tears. Not some tears – all tears. All the tears from losing a loved one. All the tears from physical pain. All the tears of the broken hearted. All tears. They shall be wiped away by the hand of the tender and loving God. 

I’m looking forward to that day. It has been a wild and wacky year filled with uncertainty and confusion and anger and frustration. But it has also been a year of hope and laughter and joy as well. 

But one day, when Jesus returns, He will set all things straight. He will make all things new. He will take all the yuck out of the world and make it so much better. 

I’m looking forward to that day. I’m ready for it. And as much as I enjoy the twinkling lights of Christmas, I look forward to the everlasting Light of the world shining for all to see. 

Hope. 

Know-so Hope

Romans 5:1-5 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Several Sundays ago, my pastor said something about a “know-so” hope versus a “hope-so” hope. That stuck with me and I was thinking about it this morning. 

Let me give you this Webster’s 1828 definition of hope: “A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.”

Hope is something we all want and desire. It is needed, at times, to keep going. We get bogged down in problems and situations that we oftentimes forget about hope until we hit rock bottom. It takes discipline to keep hope at the forefront of our thoughts. We can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. 

But when my pastor mentioned this concept several weeks ago – 2 kinds of hope – I was taken aback. I had never really thought of this. It is true though. There are two kinds of hope. 

A “hope-so” hope is like a bucket with a hole it. You don’t know if you will be able to transport the water to where you want to go before the bucket empties. You are flying by the seat of your pants, no real direction and no certainty that you will get there. 

A “know-so” hope is like the hope mentioned in the verses today – hope from experience. You have been down this road, in some form or another, and you know what will happen. And even if this is a totally new situation, you still know how it will end because you have tested and tried the Leader before and He has never failed you. 

A “hope-so” hope doesn’t give God room to do His thing. A “know-so” hope opens the door wide for God to get in and lead. 

What kind of hope are you practicing today? 🎶”Trust and obey. For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”🎶 Even though hope is not mentioned in this song, it’s undertones are there. Hope comes from trusting and obeying Jesus.  

Keeping it together

Psalm 119:116-117 – “Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”

I was listening to “Breath of Heaven” yesterday on the radio. That song has a special place in my heart for many reasons. But yesterday, I took the time to really think about it and consider it.

Do you ever feel like things are piling up on you so much that one more thing is going to cause you to break? You think about all that you have to do on any given day and it takes your breath away? Yep, that was me yesterday. “Can you do this”, “can you do that”, go here, get that, do this and don’t forget that – that was my day yesterday. Needless to say, the unexpected respite at Starbucks with a frap and my book was a welcome 20 minutes that I desperately needed.

Sometimes I feel like it is only by the “breath of Heaven” that I make it through my day. I know in my heart that I need to allow God to take all my “stuff” and take care of it, but I find myself acting like a momma-bear about things and try to do it all myself. And that is when I fall a part.

God has preserved His word for many, many generations. He has done this to give us hope and security. Because when it all feels like it is falling apart, we need something and Someone to hold it all together.

A Special Kind of Crazy

Titus 2:11-14 – “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

My preacher made the off-hand comment this weekend that we were a special kind of crazy. It made me laugh but at the same time it made me think. Crazy…hmm…yep, that fits!

You see, sometimes we as followers of Christ are a special kind of crazy. We see things differently. We react to things differently. We have hope when hope is nowhere to be found. We are, as it is written here in Titus, a peculiar people. 

Here are some examples:

  • My grandma continued cooking Thanksgiving dinner one year as a tornado ripped through the field in front of her house. She said, “If the Lord wants me, He’s going to get me whether I’m hiding or not.” That’s crazy all right, but at the same time it shows faith. 
  • We are the type of people to smile and laugh at a funeral. We are sad to see that this person will no longer be with us but glory in the fact that they are with Jesus. 
  • We are the kind of people that go to the store for one particular thing only to find that it is not there, and then we say, “Well, I guess God didn’t mean for me to have it!” We trust in His ultimate decision in our life. 
  • We are the kind of people who say, “Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” when we are choosing to let Him guide our every move. 

You see, we as followers of Christ are a special kind of crazy – we are a peculiar people. We express this peculiarness in a few ways – 

  1. We try to live soberly. That means that we try to live with a clear mind.  We try to be purposeful in what we say and do. 
  2. We try to live righteously. Living righteously means that we choose to live God’s way. It means right living. 
  3. We try to live godly lives. That means that we try to mold and fashion our life after the life of Christ. 

Does this mean that we have to be perfect? Heavens no! Only one Man ever lived on the earth in a perfect manner – Jesus Christ. Oh, we may try and do the best we can with the sinful life that we live, but God understands. He wants us to do our very best and follow after Him, to make the choice to seek His leadership. But God also knows and understands that our best is still filthy rags in His sight. His grace and mercy are sufficient to cleans us of all unrighteousness. 

So, today as you live out your special kind of crazy, remember that you are a peculiar person if you have Jesus guiding your life. The world wants you to wing it and see what happens, do what feels right and reject any consequence. But we all know that this isn’t true or ethical or possible when you choose Jesus. Shed some light on your crazy and let others know about your “blessed hope” and why your are looking forward to His “glorious appearing”. 

    How to be holy in a modern world of weird – part 4

    1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

    “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”

    Hope. Hope is something our world is lacking most days. People are constantly searching for it and wanting to believe in it. As followers of Christ, we should be expressing the hope that is found in Jesus loud and clear.
    What is hope? Webster’s 1828 defines it as “confidence in a future event”. In this verse, what is that event? It is the return of Jesus Christ. It is the promise that He will return to take us with Him to live eternally. John 14:2,3 – “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This is real hope. This is not a wish. Webster’s 1828 also gives this explanation – “Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.” You see, a wish can be unfulfilled. A wish can bring anxiety in the unknown. Hope is different. Hope expects confidently that the desired outcome will happen. There is no anxiety because hope can only be found in Christ. Hope remembers the fulfillment of past promises and knows without a shadow of doubt that future promises will be fulfilled as well.

    And this hope has no bounds of time. People have been hoping in the return of Christ since He left. And throughout the generations that hope has endured, despite the deaths of its firm believers. That is the difference between hope and a wish – hope continues until the end when it is fulfilled. A wish is short lived and easily rejected.

    God is not a fulfiller of wishes. He is not the “genie in the lamp”. When asking for God for things in your life, it is imperative that you do so with the right attitude. 1 John 5:14,15 – “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” Do you see the important condition in this verse? We must ask “according to his will”. That means that our own selfish desires have to be tabled and we must be willing to follow after Him. Attitude is vital in this scenario of hope. Hoping when we pray is found when we are willing to conform to the desires of our Holy God. Wishing when we pray is found when our selfish desires are being offered before The Giver of all things. As harsh as it sounds, He doesn’t give when our hearts are not pure. James 4:3 – “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

    Hope is a beautiful thing when His children see it and apply it as He has instructed. It provides comfort. It provides assurance. It brings joy even before it is fulfilled. As a follower of Christ, I am excited about what is to come when I see Jesus. I am excited to see His face and to be in His presence. And even if I die before I see Him return in the eastern sky, I will die hoping. Because I know that His promises are sure and firm and eternal. And until that day comes, I must live with the promise and hope of His return in my life. I must live each day as if it were my last. I must live each day with the promise of hope on my lips. This world is dark and dreary. Bad people get more attention that good. People are being hurt and killed for a variety of reasons that make no sense whatsoever. But I have hope. I have hope that my Savior cares, that He wants to see all come to Him and that He will fulfill His promises. Hope – hold onto it and share it with everyone you see.

    EMPTY!

    Psalm 40:11 – “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.”

    It has been a long week. I am empty. All the soccer practices, dance class, homework, cheer practices, football game, work, driving everywhere – I am pooped. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the weekend.

    Despite all my running around, I could not have made it without His tender mercies. I see them every day in my life. From providing all that my family needs to a cloud at the football game to keep my pale skin from burning to a crisp. (The game was very hot and very bright yesterday.)

    I fear that too often we fail to acknowledge God’s handiwork in our life. We just take it as what we deserve, what we are entitled to. But truly, God doesn’t owe us anything. “But I go to church. I serve Him. I do all this stuff in His name. Aren’t I entitled to some benefits?” Nope. That, dear one, is your reasonable service (“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1).

    His mercy, His lovingkindness and His truth – these are the things that He gives you. These are the things that sustain you. When you are empty, when you have had a long week, when you are tired – these are what bring you through.
    His mercy – not giving you what you deserve.
    His lovingkindness – in my mind, that’s His hug.
    His truth – well, that’s His word, the Bible. His truth holds promises. It holds answers. It gives direction.

    So you see, at the end of the week, when there is too many hours and not enough of you, just lean on this verse. Let it flood your soul with hope to pull you through the day.