Misplacing Hope

The Son is coming

If you have been distraught over recent events, it is time for a hope checkup. It starts with a sober, honest evaluation of where your heart is.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

Where is your treasure? Your hope? Is it in some political outcome, social situation, or economic recovery? Only when we admit our hope is misplaced can humbly come before God and ask for forgiveness and put your hope in the Lord Jesus.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22-23

Having your hope in anything other than the Lord will cloud your vision and fill you with darkness. 

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

You can ask God for assistance on this. He would love to help.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Hope gives Life to life

The hope of a new day

Hope is knowing of wonder yet to be seen.
Of rivers, of mountains covered in green.

Hope is scent of joy yet to come,
Of love in a family together as one.

Hope is courage in this covid blight.
Hope is God’s hand holding me tight.

Enduring great trials hope will sustain,
When anchored upon God’s holiest name.

So I can rejoice even in sorrow,
For hope assures of a better tomorrow.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

Therefore, we who have fled to him (Jesus) for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 6:18-20

Still and Quiet

Softly flowing White River

I took this photo of the White River with a slow shutter speed to smooth out the flowing water (I didn’t do anything to the color… that why it is called the White River). It reminded me of Psalm 131.

My heart is not proud, O Lord, 

my eyes are not haughty; 

I do not concern myself with great matters 

or things too wonderful for me. 

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; 

like a weaned child is my soul within me. 

like a weaned child with its mother, 

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord 

both now and forevermore. Psalm 131

I think it is apropos for the turmoil of an election in the midst of social unrest and a pandemic. Lay aside all the pride and malice. Still and quiet your soul by reaffirming your hope in God. Remember, it is by the Lord’s strength we will get through this both now and forevermore.

Paying Attention to the Son

Dogwood blossoms turning toward the sun.

We can’t imagine the emptiness of life without God’s love.
We can’t imagine the fullness of life with God’s love.

So why do we ignore it?

Though we are faithless,
God remains faithful to give us mercy if we will just ask.

So why do we ignore it?

When we are hopeless, dying from the failures and wrongs in life.
We can find hope in the Lord who has triumphed over all even death.

So why do we ignore—God’s love, His faithfulness, and the Hope He offers?

We ignore it when we are distracted by other things
We have ears that do not hear above the noise of this world.
We have eyes that do not see beyond the glitter of this world.
But God sends His Spirit to stir our spirit with conviction for ignoring the Lord.

The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
Go to this people and say,
You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.” Acts 28:25-27

So stop letting lesser things hold your attention,
for they cause you to miss out on all of God’s good things.

Hope for the Day

Ray of sunshine breaking through.

Hope reminds me of good to come.
Hope is the thumping of God’s victory drum.
Hope is the music that sets the mood.
Hope the aroma of the banquet food.
Hope is the lighthouse piercing the storm.
Hope is the blanket keeping me warm.
Hope provides strength to my weary feet.
Hope is the breeze cooling toilsome heat.
Hope holds on to me when I fear.
Hope is the whisper, “God is near.”
I’ll have no regret when I’m called home.
For my hope in Jesus is life’s cornerstone.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5

Hope to the Rescue

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Life will take you to some rough water.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

As the world swirls in pandemic turmoil,
My hope is in the Lord.

As the economy topples into depression,
My hope is in the Lord.

As I struggle with temptation,
My hope is in the Lord.

As I try to calm my anxious thoughts,
My hope is in the Lord.

As I worry for my family,
My hope is in the Lord.

As evil seems to have its way,
My hope is in the Lord.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22

Write your own difficult trial on paper and follow it with—my hope is in the Lord. This little exercise really does help.

Light for the Coming Darkness

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Light on a hill

Where there looms fear,
There is need for drawing close to God.
Where there is no fear,
We invest little in prayer.

Where there is grief,
There is need for hope.
Where there is no sorrow,
We grip tightly to the present instead of Jesus.

Where there is doubt.
There is a need for faith
Where doubt does not exist,
There is little need to exercise faith.

Where there is love and forgiveness,
There is passionate devotion.
Where there is no love there is indifference,
and indifference makes the heart grow hard.

Where there is horrid ugliness
There is a longing for innocence.
Where people accept the grotesque,
There is no desire for salvation.

All the doubt, the fear, the sorrow, the ugliness does not show the absence of God, but quite to the contrary … Shows our need for Him.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. – Jesus John 16:33

Hope Ahead

Spring is just around the bend.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

During the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty this verse gives us hope and reassurance. It all turns on love. We can love God because He first loved us. We can trust Him because He is faithful, even when we have been faithless. We can put our hope in Jesus, because His name means God saves (Matt1:21).

I realize that some hurts run very deep (like death in the family), and I don’t expect this verse to miraculously change your tears to joy, but loving God will plant the seeds of hope, and trust… and just knowing there is purpose… helps.

Praying Through the Pain

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Hope in the dead of Winter

I find it hard to pray without my mind wandering in the best of times. But, when I am hurting and in pain, then I find it difficult to put two words together in prayer. So what are we to do when our prayers are moans and groans… rasping laments beginning and ending with two feeble words—O God!

How does God expect us to pray in pain?

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Romans 8:23-24

I have attended many deliveries in my career and for most anesthesia was not available. I would often hear screams during labor—“O God help me!” or “Lordy, Lordy!” Were these words of anguish really prayers? The one thing that kept these mothers praying through the pain was the thought of new life coming.

Pain, or grief, or a deep hurt from our point of view seems to interfere with our prayers to God. But like a woman in labor who cries out to God—keep praying for our groans are not lost upon God. There is new life coming.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27