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

The Heights of Glory

Autumn glory in Icicle Canyon

I can scale the wall of glory
once there they’ll want my story.
I just need a little more effort,
a little more time.

From the heights I will survey,
proud of climbing my own way.
All with a little more effort,
a little more time.

There are some trade-offs, some compromises
little things some sacrifices,
but in the end it’ll be all mine.
Given a little more effort,
a little more time.

When I get there what will be said?
a eulogy of the dead—if only he had…
a little more effort,
and little more time.

—poem by Stephen Hufman

Unless the Lord builds the house, 
its builders labor in vain. 
Unless the Lord watches over the city, 
the watchmen stand guard in vain. 
In vain you rise early 
and stay up late, 
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:1-2

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

A Day of Rejoicing

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Standing before the throne.

When I awaken in the morning, it takes a while for my mind to awaken and get going. It is the same on a spiritual level. What I mean is God’s promises and love are still there, but it takes awhile to wake up to them and orient my spirit around my Lord.

My spiritual wake-up goes something like this:
My Lord God, You love me and will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:38-39)
Your love for me stretches out beyond my understanding and overcomes my every shortcoming. (Ephesians 3:18)
In that love You have redeemed me to be Your child (John 1:12)
I will not worry about my past nor carry it about like a ball and chain. When You redeemed me, You redeem my past too. You have given me a wonderful heritage in Jesus. (Psalm 61:5, Psalm 103:4)
I will not worry about today or tomorrow for You hold them in Your hand and will give me strength for all that lies ahead. (Psalm 139)
I rest in Your love for my family. I know You dearly love them. (Matthew 19:13-14)

One glorious day I will stand before God’s throne in the light of His love, praising Jesus for all He has done for me. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the Lord. Psalm 107:43

White-Gloved Hands of Praise

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Ponderosa Pines lifting white-gloved hands in praise.

I can read Isaiah 12 over and over and it never loses its power, or joy, or wonder. I can dwell on each verse and my song of praise and thanksgiving keeps building with in me for I know it is just the beginning.

 

Delight in Fear?

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Sunlight scattering the darkness

“… and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:3

I know this is prophetic and speaking about the coming Messiah, but how do you delight in fear?

“He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes,
or decide by what He hears with His ears;
but with righteousness He will judge the needy,
with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth. Isaiah 11:3-4

The Messiah will not be driven by the fears He sees with His eyes or ears, but allows the fear of the Lord to reign, responding only to God’s will.

Whether I am dealing with health issues, or listening to the news I need to remind myself to delight in the fear of the Lord––to take refuge knowing all is under His control. I just need to follow Him.

Breath of Heaven

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Breathe deep of the heavenly air.

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

The love of God is the air of heaven, and the joy of earth. You breathe it in then breathe it out.

Breathe in––God’s love is greater than all my failures.
Breathe out––I can rest easy for His love watches over me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and died in my place.
Breathe out––His life for mine, such love overwhelms me with gratitude.

Breathe in––The Spirit of God has freed me from the dark powers of this world.
Breathe out––peace and blessed assurance the victory is won.

Breathe in––God’s love surrounds me, and will never leave me.
Breathe out––I am His, and He is mine.

Breathe in––God’s love makes me what I was meant to be.
Breathe out––A reflection of Him to those around me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and sent His Spirit to live in my heart.
Breathe out––Jesus loves you, and invites you to breathe Him in.

It may take you a number of slow deep breaths to have His love sink in, but I can guarantee even after a thousand years you have not begun to breathe in the depths of God’s love in Jesus.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:17-21

Extraordinary

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The sun shining through the trees…extraordinary!

O LORD make this an extraordinary day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

Jesus didn’t come to just save us from evil, He came to give us an abundant extraordinary life.

What makes for an extraordinary life? Living this day to the fullness of God’s blessing. What is God’s blessing? His love for us in Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Eph. 1:3

Life is not about fame, or power, or fortune, but living in, and through, and by the love of God.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph. 3:17-19

Stop for a moment an let the love God has for you build into a crescendo of joy. For one day of God’s blessing and love, at work in us, and through, and for us is worth a lifetime elsewhere.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;  Psalm 84:10

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

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Winter’s frosting

Sometimes at church I can’t see the forest (worship of God) for the trees (my mistakes). I feel and act like I am in the old covenant. In the Old Testament, worship had to be done perfect, or the sacrifice was worthless.

Sunday we gathered and the mistakes began to mount. A worship song was sung too high for me and I could not sing without squeaking. I had trouble handling the communion elements (I am clumsy with a little tremor). Someone’s cell phone buzzed. My mind frequently drifted, but Jesus, the New Covenant sacrifice, covered all the short comings, elevating all of us to perfection in worship allowing the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way.

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22

The worship was made perfect and acceptable to God, for in Jesus we are made holy and pleasing.

Searching for Truth

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Searching

“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus.
In our culture today, we don’t know what to believe, and ask the same question.

When I lie it is intended to deceive everyone about the truth.
For the truth will not bend to my will, therefore I lie and call that truth.
After all it is just a matter of sincerity.
The more sincere I am the more my lie seems to be true.
With enough repetition my lies become truth, and truth becomes a lie.
In the end no one can tell the truth from a lie.
Thus I am in control of truth, calling forth what suits me.
Except for one thing, without real truth, my life becomes a worthless lie.
All alone I cannot trust anyone, not even myself.
What I desperately need is the truth.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – Jesus (John 14:6)