Posts Tagged hope
I awakened this morning keenly aware of the value of time and how precious every second. I sensed an urgency in my spirit that revealed, but for that very moment I might never have another chance to live, move and have being. I completely understood that time must be lived in the NOW because NOW is really the only instant we have. In the NOW it becomes increasingly clear that we have no control over anyone or anything—no–not even due dates, deadlines, schedules or plans. No wonder Jesus taught His Disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” NOW does not negate the past nor fantasize the future—it simply acknowledges the present and immediate moment. There is no room in the NOW for distractions from purpose. It demands complete focus on truly important matters–it is sacred and blessed space. It affirms the omnipresence of God and God’s promise to never leave nor forsake us. Living in the NOW eliminates stress, anxiety and worry.
What a gift is NOW. What a blessing to awaken to the beauty of a new day. How wonderful to witness the beauty of God’s great creation one more time! I regret that it took me so long to understand and appreciate the time I have been given. But as someone has said “when you know better— you do better.” That is true for me because I have known better for some time, but it is only today—right NOW that I resolve to do better with this life that God has given me. I make neither apologies nor promises, I simply acknowledge this moment that reminded me — NOW is all the time I have, but with God, Now is all the time I need.
I leave you with these words of Writer, Ira Stanphill that perfectly capture my thoughts this morning:
I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day-to-day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
for its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him;
For He knows what lies ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
but I know who holds tomorrow
and I know who holds my hand.
PRAYER: Father, help us to understand that “living in the NOW,” is simply living one day at a time to our fullest potential. May we do so with grace and joy to the Glory of God. In Jesus’ Name we pray, AMEN.
This is Jesus’ response to a question posed by a man named Nicodemus. Historically, we do not know much about Nicodemus other than he was well-educated, wise and curious.
Jesus is contrasting “spiritual rebirth” with “physical” birth. Spiritual rebirth means leaving an old life of “sin” and starting a new life in the Kingdom of God.” It is also, abandoning an “old” identity for a “new” one.
Nicodemus next question, “How can a man be born when he is old?,”prompted this post. Poet (Ruth Carter Bourdon) offers the perfect answer:
When you’ve trusted God and walked His way
When you’ve felt His hand lead you day by day
But your steps now take you another way . . .
When you’ve made your plans and they’ve gone awry
When you’ve tried your best and there’s no more try
When you’ve failed yourself and you don’t know why . . .
When you’ve told your friends what you plan to do
When you’ve trusted them and they didn’t come through
And you’re all alone and it’s up to you . . .
When you’ve failed your kids and they’re grown and gone
When you’ve done your best but it’s turned out wrong
And now your grandchildren have come along . . .
When you’ve prayed to God so you’ll know His will
When you’ve prayed and prayed and you don’t know still
When you want to stop cause you’ve had your fill . . .
When you think you’re finished and want to quit
When you’ve bottomed out in life’s deepest pit
When you’ve tried and tried to get out of it
When the year has been long and successes few
When December comes and you’re feeling blue
God gives a January just for you . . .
Starting over means “Victories Won”
Starting over means “A Race Well Run”
Starting over means “God’s Will Done”
Don’t just sit there . . .
Prayer: Gracious God, Help us to understand that living is seldom easy, comfortable, or trouble-free–it simply “is what it is.” May we see the beauty in all of God’s creation. May we savor the sweet “freshness” of each new day. But most of all, give us endless hope and the strength (no matter the challenges) to always begin again. For thy Son’s sake we pray. Amen
“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 (KJV)
I have discovered that the best cure for self-pity and complaint is to consider the plight of others before our own. No matter what we are going through, there is always someone who is going through and enduring that same thing at a deeper level. A visit to any type of shelter, foster care facility, nursing home, or hospital ICU is a sobering and transforming experience. Better still, simply reading or watching the daily news will open our eyes. What keeps me humbled and focused is something I read many years ago: “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
We are Blessed as Christians because we have God’s promise that no matter what we are going through, God will never leave nor forsake us. More importantly, we have God’s Holy Word. And if we will read, study and rely on it, it has the power to nourish and fortify our spirits.
Before we take our concerns to social media, we should take them to the Lord in prayer and trust our omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God for the results. God hears every prayer, and will answer in God’s own time and way. And when we are ready to listen and not take matters into our own ill-equipped hands–God does speak. When we learn to truly and fully trust God in advance of every Blessing, we learn that God is faithful, just and inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).
So, beloveds, we should never lose our faith. We should never lose our hope nor our love, but most of all—WE SHOULD NEVER LOSE OUR PRAISE!!!
Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 150 King James Version (KJV))
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. — G.K. Chesterton
This Thanksgiving, I was visibly moved by the testimonies and attitudes of several citizens of Long Branch, New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many who had lost everything but their lives, were questioned by a reporter about what they were thankful for this year (2012).
One by one, with unquestionable sincerity and gratitude, they gave surprising reasons for gratitude as they stood in front of storm– ravaged homes watching their prized possessions and life memories being moved to dumpsters and piled on garbage heaps. I was literally brought to tears as one woman, seemingly without a second thought, said, “I’m grateful that my husband and I are alive and safe.” She said, I don’t know where our next meal will come from. I’m just grateful we can share it together.” Another said , “It’s my daughter’s first birthday, then simply smiled and walked away. A firefighter whose home and local firehouse had been completely demolished said, he and his family would celebrate with their “sister” firehouse that had already become their second home. He added, “those guys are better cooks anyway.” And, a restaurant owner whose Long Branch site was destroyed, invited everyone to celebrate at another of his locations.
Watching these brave citizens helped me realize how truly Blessed I am simply to be alive and that whatever I am going through pales in comparison. I saw what it truly means to give thanks in ALL things and how to be “content in whatever state we find ourselves.” Yes, I am positively Blessed.
Hard times and struggle seems to bring out the best in us. We tend to set aside our differences and to stand firmly on the common ground of simply being human–a beautiful sight, I might add. I don’t know why it takes the worst to bring out our best or why the threat of death causes us to appreciate life. Nor do I understand why many times, we must lose everything in order to gain an appreciation for anything. But here’s what I know: Life has a way of humbling us and bringing us to our knees. Poverty helps one appreciate prosperity. Opportunities to grow in love knock at the doors of chaos. And on a very personal note, I know that God’s Grace is sufficient for whatever we must endure.”
We have in us to withstand whatever life is able to do to us. Nothing can touch us except God allows it to be so. In fact, we don’t really know what we can endure until all hell breaks loose in our lives and we can say as did these citizens of Long Branch, New Jersey, “through hell and high water, we’re still here. We may be burdened, but nevertheless we are still positively Blessed. Even in the most difficult of times, if we do not give up, we will discover no matter how bad life seems, GOD is still positively GOOD. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!
PRAYER: Thank you Father, for this pause to reflect on how positively Blessed I am in the face of the suffering of others. I “thank you for your power. It has resurrected me, over painful circumstances that my poor soul could not flee.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Strength for your journey
Light for your way
Healing for your hurts
Hope in your despair
Comfort in your fears and
Laughter in your tears.
I pray God’s Love will draw you ever nearer;
Empower you to see Him clearer and enable you to
Love Him even more than you loved at first.
To the end that your peace will be Perfect and
your faith will never fail.
And so, I leave you with a Scripture that daily Blesses me in my walk with the Lord. It will benefit you to memorize it and hide it in your own heart in the challenging days to come. It is found in the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs, verses 5, 6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
May God’s Grace and Favor rest upon you with every precious breath. Now and always. For Jesus’ Christ’s sake, I pray. Amen
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) (KJV)
One of my favorite commercials shows a man in the kitchen preparing a spaghetti dinner for his family. His wife is questioning him about each ingredient for the sauce to make sure he has not left anything out, and he replies each time, “It’s in there.” Honey, all the ingredients are in there! God’s Word is like that — everything we will ever need is already in there.
If you are in sorrow, read (John 14)
If men fail you, read (Psalm 27)
When you sin, read (Psalm 51)
When you worry, read (Matthew 6:19-34)
When you are in danger, read (Psalm 91)
If you have the blues, read (Psalm 34)
When God seems far away, read (Psalm 139)
If you are discouraged, read (Isaiah 40)
If you are lonely or afraid, read (Psalm 23)
If you feel down and out, read (Romans 8:39)
When want courage for a task, read (Joshua 1)
When the world seems bigger than God, read (Read Psalm 90)
When you want rest and peace, read (Matthew 11:25-30)
When leaving home for work or travel, read (Psalm 121; 107:23-31)
If you get become bitter or critical, read (I Corinthians 13)
If thinking of investment and returns, read (Mark 10:17-31)
For a great invitation and opportunity, read (Isaiah 55)
Whether we need strength for today or hope for tomorrow — “The Living Word” promises — It’s all in there!!!
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 (King James Version)
Have you ever teetered on the brink of something you thought you could not endure? Suffered a devastating loss? Received a frightening diagnosis? I have, but as long I have been in ministry; as well as I knew the Scriptures. As strong as I believed my trust was in the Lord, like the Psalmist, my heart became overwhelmed. Despite how faithful God had been to me, my faith became feeble. Many times I thought my heart would break and that I had nothing to live for. There were times when I felt like giving up. I wanted to give up. I almost gave up, but thanks be to God I did not give up and the Blessings have been too many to count. The key was knowing where to go in the time of trouble. Like David, I cried in prayer to the Rock of Ages and every time — the Lord heard my cry. After all, who understood better what I was going through than “the Stone” that the builders rejected?”
This is a song of David. Yes, King David, the “man after God’s own heart.” David admits here that his heart is (not just full), but overwhelmed. In other words, (if I can use my imagination), I believe he is saying, this thing is more than I can take. I am at my wit’s end. This situation is too much for me. It is beyond my strength. If you are familiar with David’s story, you know that this was not the first time David had been in this place. But while he began many of his songs with tears, he always ended them with praise. In fact, the Scriptures help us understand, no one is exempt from suffering in this life. But the promise is, we will never go through it alone. The Lord has said, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). I constantly remind myself no matter how things seem in these perilous times, there is “nothing new under the sun,” and that everything that is happening now has happened before to countless others who have come through victoriously because they trusted in God.
If I can leave you with anything today, it is to urge you to trust and hope in the Lord no matter what you are going through. Pray about your situation — sleep on it and if God wills, tomorrow will be a new and brighter day. Whatever you do, don’t give up — Look up. And as a friend once advised me at a low point in my life, “when you get to the end of your rope — tie a knot in it and just hold on!” Hold on to the One who “knows your frame.” Hold on to the One who will catch you every time you fall. Get a good grip and rest in the safety and security that only the Lord can give.