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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

We have all heard the expression “Let Go, Let God.” Pastors have used it to challenge us to surrender, to allow Christ to be on the “Throne” of our lives, even to challenge us to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. But, this popular admonition also applies during Lent. Let Go of those areas of our lives that keep us from totally becoming more Christ-like in our attitudes and actions.

Lent is an opportunity to approach Jesus Christ with new energy, new focus, or perhaps an entirely new perspective. New is inspiring. New is clarifying, but it can also, at times, be a reminder of what is old. When we want new beginnings, we often are drawn back into the reminders of past mistakes, past successes, past hurts, and the strength-stealer—called REGRET.

Regret drains energy. Regret diminishes dreams and hopes and leads us into spiraling negativity. Focusing on regrets keeps us looking backwards instead of toward the future that God wants for each of us. So, for this Lent season, let go of Regret. God’s mercies are “new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23) Meditate on the truth of the God’s promise that He “makes everything new!” (Rev 21:5)

Put off your old self, that self that looks back. As instructed in Ephesians: “Be made new in the attitude of your minds; and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:23-24)

Fast regrets today for Lent! Put on the new heart and mind of Christ and look forward with hope towards the joy that awaits you as you grow more like Him, and truly our Lord God wants that for each of us.

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There is wishful thinking and there is hope.  They are not the same thing. This is made abundantly clear when life takes a turn and we are faced with deep sorrow or trials.

 

My Dad recently watched his best friend of many years pass away from stomach cancer.  My Dad sat by his bedside every evening for the last couple of weeks of his life here on earth, partly to give the wife a break and mostly to spend quality time with a friend he would soon be saying goodbye to for a while.

 

They spoke of many things, my Dad told me, but their favorite topic was of the ministry they have shared here on earth and of their future good times together in heaven.  After all, my Dad would not be too terribly long in joining him as he is getting on in years too and suffers from poor health.

 

Their tight friendship was special before the cancer hit, as they teamed up in travel and ministry and social functions with the wives, but the way they ended their earthly relationship was absolutely victorious… because Jesus has conquered death!

 

Jesus Christ gives real hope (not wishful thinking) for our eternal future because of the power of the resurrection and the promise of life after our physical death here on earth.

 

Where , O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?

…But thanks be to God!

He gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:55, 57

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For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men…

I Timothy 2:5,6

God, the perfect sinless One couldn’t be in relationship with me, a woman marred with sin and without hope in this world.  So with all the wisdom, power, love, and justice that makes up His character, God mercifully assigned a mediator between the two of us.  Jesus Christ, His perfect Son, is my God appointed mediator!

 

Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed Himself to pay for my sins and serve as my bridge to a relationship with God! This truth is so blindingly powerful and belongs in every conversation regarding hope.

 

How can I thank Him today for serving as my mediator?  How can I live out this hope He has given to me?

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The Son is the radiance of God’s glory

and the exact representation of his being

Hebrews 1:3 a

 

Who is Jesus?  The focus this week for the blog is Jesus and the concept of hope. I can think of no better starting place in pondering how Jesus connects with hope than with the above verse.  Because Jesus is God, I can have hope in a seemingly hopeless world.

 

Do you watch the news and feel like your heart could break?  Me too! We long to have something reliable and worthy to hope in but our world is in deep trouble.  Sometimes we cater to the desire for stability and hope with Hollywood-style heroes who don’t really hit the mark. Perhaps we medicate our disillusionment with pills and alcohol.  We distract ourselves in pleasures and fill our schedules with busy-ness, trying to fool ourselves that we can just hope in ourselves.  We waste our time hoping in things that really aren’t worthy of our confidence.

 

And all the while real HOPE is calling out for us in the person of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus perfectly reflects God—when we look at Jesus we see the exact representation of Almighty God. This verse in Hebrews 1:3 reminds me that Jesus is beyond worthy of my hope.  He is powerful and able to fulfill my hope.  Jesus is the author of my hope.  Jesus is God!  I may not understand why He allows the rough stuff in this world, but He is God.  I may not even agree with His decisions, but He is God.  Jesus is worthy of my hope!

Who are you resting your hope in today?

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This week we are looking at ways to enjoy family…not always the easiest when our rough edges rub against each other.  Like sandpaper, those rough edges can go from annoying to downright painful.  But it isn’t hopeless!  Our quote today comes from a friend who didn’t always fully appreciate the value of her family.  Here is her perspective on enjoying family:

Growing up, my extended family lived thousands of miles away and most holidays were celebrated with just our small family consisting of my parents, my sister and myself. As a rebellious teenager, I did not appreciate the value of family. My parents invested not only money and energy, but LOVE. Due to my rebellion, they were making many more deposits into the “family love and relationship account” than I was. Sure, I participated – but I wasn’t all in.

I was 25 and engaged to my husband when I finally realized how much my parents had put into our relationship, and how much I had taken advantage of that. This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for. I am so thankful for loving, Godly parents that love each other and love their children. I’m thankful for the opportunity to make deposits into the “family account.” Most of all, I am thankful for a loving God who sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins – talk about the ultimate deposit!”

So today, what are some ways we can we make deposits of love and promote joy in our family relationships?

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  I Corinthians 13:4-7

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Transform:  alter, change, renovate

“But as [Jesus] went, the multitudes thronged him.  Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of his garment.  And immediately her flow of blood stopped. ” (Luke 8:42-44, NKJV, emphasis added)

It was a lightening moment of transformation after twelve long years of struggle…she touched his hem, experienced His power, and she felt in her body that she was healed.  It wasn’t magical.  Jesus’ robes didn’t carry a special power.  No, in this moment of transformation, this woman’s faith leaped in to action and Jesus healed her because of her faith.

Her transforming faith brought about real change, altering the course of her life and potentially the lives of many others, a faith that renovated some thing broken in to something whole.  We know it was her faith that brought this about because just a few moments later, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well…”  Mark 5:34

As I face my day, where would does God want me to engage in transforming faith?  Is it wrapped up in contentment with my calling in this season of life?  Is it with a particular challenge I face at work or in the home?  Does it connect with a difficult person in my life?

This woman’s faith can serve as an example to us today.  God longs to help us have the kind of faith which alter’s, changes, and renovates the hard stuff in our lives to the praise of His glory.

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I don’t watch the news.  It is too disturbing to listen to the negativity and yet because of those around me, the Internet, emails and other means of communication I am way too aware of the current political climate and battles for the hearts of our children, friends and neighbors.

Through this month of February, our devotions have re-visioned how we love our children, our spouse and our neighbors.  This week will explore practical suggestions on how we bring the world the hope of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

With busy lives and so much negativity in the news we can be pulled into a spiral of doom and a sense of futility.  Yet, Jesus Christ offers us this overwhelming love and in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commands us to go and assures us that we don’t go alone, but He will be “with you always.”  So, what does going out into the world look like?  How do we reach out to be that light in the darkness? What does offering the world God’s love look like to our neighbors, friends and family?

Prayerfully, our hearts will be filled with His love sufficiently that with courage we will encourage each person that they are not alone, but that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior loves them and walks with them constantly.  This week we will explore practical ideas on how we can be the light in this dark world and offer those around us a perspective that will bring Hope.

Lord God, as we look at the condition of our world, it is confusing to say the least.  There are so many conflicting stories in the media—give us wisdom to discern truth.  More importantly, focus our hearts and minds so fully on You that we walk consistently in Your love and light. Amen.

This week in our Daily Devotionals we are talking about ways we can love our world.  We hope you will join us!


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