Blessed Hope

“The hope which is laid up for you in heaven.”—Colossians 1:5.

UR hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be for ever banished.

To those who are weary and spent, the word “rest” is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy, for there shall by no means enter into that kingdom anything which defileth. Hemlock springs not up in the furrows of celestial fields. Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment for ever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit Canaan?

Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the corner stone of cheerful holiness. The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labour without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come.  C. H. Spurgeon.

Hold On to the Word

Looking for Greater is the theme for our organization’s annual convention and for our church.  Facing obstacles and challenges amid everyday life and major assignment there is need for hope.  Psalm 33:4 states, “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.”  Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteous.  Our greater is wrapped in the truth of God’s word and work.  Our obstacles and challenges can withstand the power and majesty of God.  The word of the Lord carries truth, power, security, love, and his promises.  Whatever you are facing, hold on to the word of the Lord. 

 

Plant Good Seeds

Yesterday, we received news one of our dear friends’ cancer had returned.  As she related the information about the treatment plan, there was an undeniable peace within her voice.  How grateful she was for the excellent clinicians, support network, and medical facilities.  She blessed God for his goodness, grace and for allowing her to survived two previous bouts.   Her confidence in His goodness was evident.  Our conversation was one of joy and hope from a beautiful woman who knows and loves the Lord.

Hosea 10:12, “I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Our friend planted good seeds for years.  We’ve witnessed her faithfulness, compassion, joy and the harvest of love.  I have no doubt God will continue to reward this remarkable woman.

Nelson Mandela

The news broke that Nelson Mandela, a man of dignity, courage, reconciliation and hope died at the age of 95.  As the world mourns his passing, it is also celebrating his legacy – one of hope.

I like this quote from Emily Dickerson, “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

Nelson Mandela was a symbol of hope, a treasured hope for those caught in the web of despair and injustice.  He never gave up.   2 Corinthians 4: 6-8 (context) states, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  President Mandela was, and will be for sometime to come, a treasured symbol of hope.

His life reminds us we too can demonstrate the amazing power God stored within us to give hope and light to a dying world.

RIP Nelson Mandela, and thank you.

Confession of Hope

Hebrews 10: 23-24 (NKJV)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”

My husband and I just finished a whirlwind trip through two states seeing family and friends. At every encounter, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness, and provision, particularly during some of the most difficult periods in our lives. His grace markers were evident as I held hands with our first grandson, looked into the faces of family and friends, and saw the delight in their eyes. God has so blessed us. He has been faithful through all the trials and tribulations, and all the wrong decisions made. Through the Prophet Isaiah God said, “…Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me, Hear and your soul shall live;…(Isaiah 55:2b-3a). God promised his plans for us would give us a future and a hope. God promised to never leave us nor forsake us. God promised us to give us the desires of our hearts. These promises and more are a testament to the faithfulness of our Lord. His promises are true; because God does not lie. His grace is sufficient. Hold fast to your hope for our God is faithful. Listen carefully to Him.  Incline yourself to His word. Trust Him. Pursue Him with your whole heart, and encourage others to taste and see that the Lord is good.  For we have a hope, a magnificent hope.

Does Mere Christianity Mean Eliminate Denominations? by John Piper

Please check out Dr. Piper’s comments on this blog.

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/does-mere-christianity-mean-eliminate-denominations

I believe you will find his comments enlightening.

 

Be blessed.

 

 

Not Again

Not again. Not again. Another mass shooting. Another community in pain, in shock and horror. Families grieving the loss of loved ones. Amid the trauma, stories of those who sounded the alarm, came to the rescue, schools and organizations locked down, and those who ran for cover. Again this nation faces another tragedy due to gun violence.  Dr. Janis Orlowski, Chief Medical Officer stated, “I would like to be out of a job. I would like my team use their skills repairing injuries, but not those caused by bullets [paraphrased].”

Here we are again, as if Sandy Hook did not happen. There was evil present in Sandy Hook, Columbine, and in the Naval Yard, and as I watched the reports in sorrow, there were other reports of the evil;  a young girl killed herself because she was being bullied, an officer killed an unarmed young man, and a young man shot and killed a baby.  Whether it is a mass shooting, or a report of death or destruction, it is clear the evil that so easily beset us is around us.  And yet in the midst of this pain and suffering, this is the day that the Lord has made, and we must show that good does triumph over the darkness.

Recently, I met a woman who started a conversation with me because I smiled at her.  She chatted about different states she had lived where some people weren’t so nice.  With a twinkle in her eye, we exchanged tidbits about families, travels, jobs and race relations.  In a moment, I became a marker for her.   Markers are important because they defined us, and although invisible they tell the world who we are, and what we hold dear.  Markers are the spiritual imprints of love, joy, peace, diligence, patience, and understanding.  They are the byproducts of our relationship with God, and time spent in His presence.  As we spend time seeking God and His will for our lives, we become a powerful marker for a world riddled with the pain of evil.  Our markers must be brighter and stronger than the slings and the fiery darts of the enemy.  Our markers must be places of refuge and love covering and conquering the darkness. These markers proclaim the amazing truth that Jesus loves us, and He won the war.  So, let us turn the Not again, into Yet we win.

O’ Lord, help me to be a marker for some poor soul who is lost, afraid, and alone in the darkness.  Guide me towards and not away from those needing the touch of the Master. Because I know in the end we win.  Amen.

On this day

On this day twelve years ago much of the world watched transfixed by the events of 9/11.  Disbelief, uncertainty, fear, horror filled the air.  Today, we paused to honor those fallen, as well as those left behind to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” on this day.  We do so with musical tributes, speeches, flowers, poems, stories, candles, the ringing of bells, wreaths, but most of all with memories.

There are other days written on our collective psyche – December 7, Katrina (August 23), and others.  These days mark and unite us in a common bond of sorrow, and pain, but they also create within us the knowledge of precious fabric of life and love, and the need to be more like you O Lord filled with courage, hope, peace, forgiveness, and that blessed assurance.

Today, O Lord help us to remember, and care for those who need your special touch of comfort and love as we all walk through the memories on this day.  In Jesus’ name. Amen

A Morning Thought

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I’m reading from the book “The Daybook of Grace” and today’s meditation comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:8;
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
Put on the whole armor of God is a divine directive. God’s armor defeats the enemy; for we wrestle not against people, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. But nothing out there can defeat us, because of our position as “more than conquerors” through Christ our Lord and Savior. So no obstacle, circumstance, economic shift, or disaster – nothing can bring us down because of His amazing love and power.
So fully armed yourselves by being self-controlled, and clothed in faith, love and hope. Christ has done his part. He has provided everything needed for the day. And we can rest in the blessed assurance of His magnificent power and love for us. Thomas Brooks once wrote, “God hath in Himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.” Out of heaven’s storehouse receive these precious and powerful gifts for this day.

Thought for today

I’ve been studying for our adult Sunday school class from Philippians Chapter 1, where Paul imprisoned, wrote about the gospel being preached, and his desire to leave and be with Christ.  It is a lesson in personal conflict.

Paul’s ministry had an amazing impact on those believers. They were bold for Christ and the message was yielding fruit.  Paul’s joyful attitude made them eager to share Christ with the world.  The purity and sincerity of Christ’s love broke down the walls, and despite his tremendous joy at the spreading of the gospel, we see Paul’s desire to be with the Lord [Phil 1:21-23].  While he remained, the gospel was being preached, and the church was encouraged, but if he died he would be with the Lord, a thing which he desired.    Paul’s attitude was resolute – ” Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. [Phil 1:24]”  Paul stated that no matter what he had to endure, he would not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ[Phil 1:20]. His purpose was to honor and glorify Christ at all costs.  So it didn’t matter if he was imprisoned, his spirit, his attitude was not.  Paul was freed from the snares, the temptations, and his own flesh to do the will of Christ.  He did not sit in a corner moaning his misfortune, instead Paul reflected Christ.  Paul’s total message was so captivating that Christ’s message of love and grace won the hearts and minds of those desperately seeking the Messiah.  And they discovered Christ-the hope of glory through Paul despite of his chains.   The thought for today is, does our attitude reflect and honor Christ despite our situations, challenges, and personal imprisonments?  

Faith asks us neither to destroy nor to exalt human desire but to gather it into an even greater desire; the thirst for God.

Author Unknown

Dear friends, let your entire being like Paul, reflect the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Share Christ and let the joy of your salvation bring forth the light and love.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17  Amen.