Tag Archives: hope

a history lesson

looking up

One of the special things most mornings bring is our reading, sharing together The Word and the Truths revealed to us as we linger over breakfast and coffee.  Some mornings though with schedules and appointments, the time is unable to be shared together, but we both know even if one of us is not physically present we are still share in this time.  Today happen to be one of those time alone mornings.  And what a sweet Truth God revealed to me in the stillness of my surroundings.  

For the last week or so, we’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles.  I know most will probably react with the same questions that have rolled through my mind.  “Why read through this book in the book in the Bible?”   Afterall, it’s nothing but long lists of genealogy and the basic recording of events from Genesis through the kings of Judah, and the exile and the people returning to Jerusalem after the exile. It reads a lot like a history book, an ongoing account of events.  In fact, much of what’s in Chronicles is repeated material from the earlier books.  So much so my mind keeps asking, “Why does all this need to be repeated over again?”  “Why do these people keep doing the same things over and over?”  “Why don’t they learn from their past?”  “Why? Why? Why?”  I know God does all this for a reason.  So the student in me wants to try to put all the facts and pieces together and figure out all the Whys.  I want to focus on the horizontal look at this panoramic picture of the Old Testament.

But today was different.  Today as the mind started to ask these same questions over again, the heart responded directly. The Lord was telling my heart to stop focusing on all the Whys and to look at the Who.  At this time was it really important for me to know who was reigning and who ruling?  Was it important to figure out who had absolute authority and why was this one overthrown, or that one dethroned?  Was it important to question why these people kept doing the same things over and over?  The Spirit told me to stop looking all across the pages – going backward and forwards . . .  from one commentary to the next . . .  and to look up.  

So for today, my answer was right there as I looked up.  Who was reigning and ruling?  – GOD.  Who has absolute authority? – GOD.  Always has and always will.  He has never been overthrown.  He has always been on his throne and always will be.   I was getting so caught up in looking at things horizontally, from the side-to-side, the back-and-forth, that I was forgetting to look up.

Today was different.  Today reminded me that recently I’ve become so caught up in all the hoopla of the worldly things going on in my life, the lives of those ones I love and care deeply for, and the conundrum of details that seem to surround me.  I’ve become caught up in all the horizontal details of life – all those nitty, gritty frustrations of the details of life that want me to take my eyes off Jesus.

Looking across, side-to-side, front-to-back is full of unknowns, of fears, what ifs, unrest, upheaval, distrust and discontent.  Looking across and around is mucky and off-center.  I can’t truly gaze if I’m looking horizontally.  He tells me to put down the hoopla of the world.  To not fret over the horizontal details of life that really do not matter – those details that want to pull me down, to pull me apart, to pull me away.  He tells me those things do not matter because He is on His throne.  He will not step down, nor will He be pushed aside.  He IS in control.

He has all my details covered because He knows my story.  Seeing all my details, He moves in His own time and at His own pace.  I need to stop looking across at all the earthly details and fretting over the earthly “kings” that change at the drop of a hat. He calls to me, “Daughter, look up to Me, your Heavenly King.  I have all the details of your life covered. Surrender them all to me and leave them at the foot of the Cross and at the foot of My throne. The one and only throne that has never or will ever change.”

Yes, today is different.  Looking up and over the page. I fix my gaze – I see the One that is unchangeable, full of grace and mercy and peace. Looking up is transformational.    

 


living in the dusk

Dusk-A330

Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a sunset.  Watching as the bright of day closes and darkness is waiting on the peripheral . . . waiting to snuff out the light.  Dusk, that moment in time of partial darkness between day and night. 

It’s a moment in time I want to briefly stop and appreciate His handiwork in the sky, but dusk is not a place I want to live in, but it seems to be a place I can wander in.  It’s not that place of Light, and it’s not that place of Dark.  

Dusk, where the shadows provide
                places to hide.
to escape.
                to avoid.
to divide.
                to decay.

Dusk is that place where the empty words of my enemy wants to woo me back into Darkness.

Words that want to come back to haunt me.

You are not loved.  You are not valued.
You are not worthy.  You are not pleasing.
You can’t do anything right.   Guilty.
 

Those are empty words, fruitless works of darkness.  E.M.P.T.Y.

I have to take those things of the darkness and expose them to the Light.  His Light.  Jesus changes who I am.

My life in the Light is full.

My life in the darkness is empty.

Living in the dusk is simply waiting for the darkness to come.  It will steal the Light away.

Are you living in dusk?

 

 


I need You

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Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:24

There is something about a sleeping baby that fills my heart with such joy.  As I watch our little one sleeping so peacefully, I am reminded the joy, the happiness, the delight in my heart isn’t just a happy emotion.  That kind of joy, that happiness is fleeting. It lasts only for that speck of time.  Rocking her to sleep, relishing that moment of joy, I find myself humming “Lord, I Need You” to the sleepy little one snuggled in my arms.  Every single need of this precious little one is dependent on someone else to supply.  Her honest needings remind me of how much I need to lean into Him, how much I need to depend on my Father  . . . not just when I “need” Him, but every moment of every hour of every day.

I need Him in my joys and in my time of need.  I need Him when I’m strong and when I feel weak.  I need Him moment by moment. He is my one defense, He is my righteousness. 

Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice—deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete. (from Jesus Calling)


(click to play “Lord, I need You” – Matt Maher)

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

aim purposefully

dancing leaves

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

It’s a good afternoon for a walk.  The rain has stopped for now and the pup is longingly looking at her leash.  The weatherman says there’s a cold front coming our way making the skies to the north dark and grey, so we decide to take advantage of the break in the rain and head out to enjoy the outdoors.

Walking through the neighborhood, the dead leaves are crunching beneath my boots.  Suddenly the wind begins to gust by us, ushering in another blast of cooler air around these parts.  The lifeless piles of leaves seem to come to life dancing around in circles.  The wind blows them this way, and they go this way.  Then the wind blows them that way, and they go that way.  They swirl and twirl, they bounce and skip, they tumble and glide wherever the wind aimlessly carries them.  Aimless and lifeless . . . full of motion, but void of life.

How many days have I walked around just like those leaves?  Full of motion, going here and there, drifting aimlessly through my day.  How many times have I let the circumstances of my day determine what I do, how I respond?  Do I wake up, roll out of bed not even thinking seriously about the hopes of my day?  That’s not how God intends my day to be.

Instead I need to take time, time to be purposeful about my day.  I need to take the time, time to focus and time to aim myself intentionally asking for His guidance and His strength for every moment of my day.  Remembering, I was created in his image by Him and for His Glory, I was not created to wander about my day aimlessly like those leaves that dance across the street ahead of me.  I was created to be purposeful in His Love. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


new every morning

sunrise

One of the beautiful reminders of a sunrise . . .

His compassions do not fail us 

They are new every morning, no matter how dark the night has been.

His faithfulness is there from sunrise to sunset . . . and through the night.

He is my Hope. 

I have deep appreciation for sunrises, which is really kind of funny because I’m not really an early morning person.  My husband loves to catch a sunrise whenever he has an opporutnity and I’m usually just trying to “sleep just a little bit longer. . .” But you know I am never disappointed with losing that little bit of extra sleep, even if I haven’t had my first cup of coffee.

Sunrise – the beauty of Creation paints the morning sky, a reminder of His mercy and His faithfulness.  A reminder that I have been called out of the darkness into the Light.  

Yes, there is something very special about a sunrise.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is yet to be.  With the rising of the sun, I have His promise of today.


Hope for the filthy rags

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Even at my very best, I have nothing to offer but filthy rags.

But I have the Hope that will not disappoint!

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 
 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5


truth

th

 “Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises.” – A.W. Tozer

Truth.  The dictionary defines truth as “the real facts about something : the things that are true.”

Biblically speaking, truth is “not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.”  (Strong’s Greek)

Truth is, we all want someone who we can be vulnerable with . . .

someone we can show transparency, exposing our hurts, shortcomings, struggles . . .

someone we can be completely up-front and honest with.

We want that person to be lovingly understanding of us, show us integrity, be merciful. Yet, so many times in life and in our relationships, we find ourselves turning away from others because people let us down. So we run, or maybe we do a fast walk, or even a slow, sulk.  And then we drift apart . . . or perhaps completely turn away.  So instead, we turn further into ourselves, living in pretense.

But the real truth is . . . we can have that Someone.  

In Christ, I have the Truth.

You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. – John 8:32

I don’t have to live in the trappings of pretense, of the believing the lies the enemy wants me to hear.  The Truth has set me free.

Truth. It does exist . . . it is real . . . it is straightforward.

Sometimes, the Truth has stopped me right in my tracks.  At other times, Truth is tapping me on the shoulder – redirecting my focus, my eyes.  Instead of looking inward, or avoiding the eye contact, Truth tells me to look upward.  Truth reminds me to look around and get myself back on the right road.

 And then there have been times, Truth has had to get me square by the shoulders and look me straight eye-to-eye, just like a parent with a child.   Gently, but firmly, steering me home.

Truth . . . God’s Truth does not consult, bargain or compromise.

His Truth gives me comfort and hope.  It is my Freedom.


from groans to glory

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“The only love that won’t disappoint you is one that can’t change, that can’t be lost, that is not based on the ups and downs of life or of how well you live. It is something that not even death can take away from you. God’s love is the only thing like that.”

 ~ from Walking with God through Pain and Suffering  Tim Keller


the One who’s leading

Oswald Chambers - Faith (2).001

Therefore we do not give up.
Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


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