Tag Archives: hope

June 9; Good, Bad, and Trust

Ecclesiastes 7-10

Bad things happen. Good things happen, too. We have successes, and we have failures. Some days the sun shines, and some days the sun hides behind clouds. Let’s face it. There are just some things that are out of our control.

Solomon says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecc 7:14)

We who have placed our faith in the Lord know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. We count on that with assurance.

Some people question why God allows sin, or tragedy, or hardship. Honestly, I don’t see how He could have done it any other way. If it wasn’t for the night, would we even notice the day? If it wasn’t for sickness, would we appreciate health? If it wasn’t for bad times, we’d take good times for granted. If it wasn’t for sin, how could we understand grace?

Solomon seems to be saying, let God be God. “Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Quit fighting against God, or wasting your time being mad at Him. He is God. And He’s got this.

King Solomon has a dismal view of life. I don’t. And you don’t have to, either. Do you trust God? He absolutely can be trusted with every detail of your life. You can rest assured that, whether the sun is shining, or if you are in the middle of a storm, God wants to show you what He can do, He wants to draw you to Himself.

Good things happen and bad things happen. Trust God in every circumstance. He can be trusted.

February 3; Discouragement Throws a Shadow Over Hope

Exodus 4:18-7:13

The Jews had it bad enough. Long after Joseph and his brothers were dead and gone, their ancestors found themselves slaves in Egypt. By now these people were born slaves, and the harsh treatment of Pharaoh and his thugs was all they knew.

But here comes Moses with a word from God. “I’m getting you out of here.” When the Jews received the news, they immediately bowed down and worshiped.

Hope. It’s a beautiful thing. Even a glimpse of hope can cause a heart to sing. That glimmer of light through the clouds gives reason to rejoice. And as a Christian woman, I can rejoice in the hope that is mine through Jesus. This life is not the end. These trials won’t last forever. My enemy Satan cannot win!

I don’t have just a glimpse of hope. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood, and His righteousness. I am His. He is mine.

But something happened to the Jews. God didn’t immediately open the doors of freedom and march them out of Egypt that same day. They continued to do the slave-thing, day after day after day.

Then, to make matters worse, Pharaoh didn’t take Moses’ request for a few vacation days so the people could go into the desert to worship God very well. In fact, he made it harder for the Jews to do their job, then beat them when they couldn’t get the job done.

You call this a rescue?

Moses pleads with God on their behalf, and God assures him He has a plan.

“…I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.”  (6:8)

Moses assured them God is true to His word. Don’t lose hope. But 6:9 says:

…but they did not listen to (Moses) because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.

Sometimes, even Christians who have placed our hope in Jesus, get discouraged. Health issues, jobs, relationships, plans begin to crumble, and we feel like those Jewish slaves must have felt. ” I can’t…”

Discouragement throws a shadow over hope.

Are you discouraged? Maybe God is using this time in your life to nudge you in a different direction. Maybe He is revealing a sin you need to confess. Or maybe His timing  just isn’t the same as yours.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t let the discouragement stop you from looking ahead, trusting that God’s got this, even if we don’t feel like He does at the moment. If you have placed your hope in the Lord, trust Him to open the doors, part the seas, rain manna from heaven at exactly the right time.

I pray you will let your hope throw a shadow over your discouragement.

 

 

Isaiah 12-15; Waiting AND Watching

Isaiah penned these words when the Israelites were at a very low point in their history. God had allowed hardship and captivity to come to the Jews as a result of their disobedience. Isaiah gave them hope.

“This won’t last forever,” he seems to tell them.”Those who abuse you will be destroyed.”

Matthew Henry tells us the Babylonians were destroyed. The things God told Isaiah were going to happen happened. But not for another two hundred years. The people who first heard God’s promises never lived to see them fulfilled. Many were born and died in captivity.

I am reminded God’s timing is not always our own. But even in our darkest hours, God does not leave His children without hope.

Chapter 15 begins with a prophecy concerning Moab’s defeat. Henry tells us this particular prophecy was fulfilled only three years after Isaiah wrote the words. I love that. God allowed His people to see concrete proof that He keeps His word, that faith in Him is not misplaced. It wasn’t everything He promised. But it was something.

I think God would remind us He hasn’t changed. Some verses come to mind:

We know all things work together for the good for those that love God… (Romands 8:28)

Is any among you in trouble? Let them pray… (James 5:13)

He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. (Psalm 102:17)

Scripture tells us over and over to put our faith in God, and He will never let us down. He hears and answers prayer. You can count on it.

But sometimes it seems like we’ve been waiting two hundred years for an answer, doesn’t it? Reading Isaiah today reminds me that I can trust God with everything, including the timing of answered prayers. He’s reminding me that praying is not the same as rubbing a magic lantern and immediately being granted three wishes.

Reading Isaiah today also encourages me to watch in the meantime; to pay attention to the other answers to prayers along the way; to recognize God’s hand in other areas of my life. Because God wants me to know I can trust Him, And He’ll prove I can trust Him every day.

Reading these chapters in Isaiah strengthens my faith in my God. It helps me know that He is my hope, and I can trust Him with today, and tomorrow. It reminds me that I can pray, put my requests at His feet, and know that He’s got this. And it convicts me to take a step back, and let God be God.

He’s actually pretty good at it.

 

 

 

Psalms 22-31; Only God

One thing I learn from hearing David pour out his heart to the Lord is that, God is the source of everything we need. Whether it’s vindication, or strength, or peace, or comfort, or forgiveness, or protection, or victory over sin, God is truly able to do above and beyond what we ask or think.

There is the accepted philosophy in our world that says we can find those things within ourselves; that thinking the right thoughts, or doing the right things will bring about the power to overcome. But I will tell you, like David does, that leaving God out of the mix is a recipe for disaster.

In fact, adding God to the mix doesn’t even help. Until we throw up our hands and admit that we need God alone, our efforts will end in defeat. David learned this truth the hard way. And so have I.

So many times in these psalms, David acknowledges the goodness and faithfulness of God. I don’t see anywhere that David gives himself credit.

Whether we are burdened with personal problems, or with the state of affairs in our nation, may we look only to God for the solution. I like what David says in Psalm 31:

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands… ( vv 14-15a)

 

Job 11-14; Zophar

“Things could be worse.”

Really, Zophar? That’s just mean to say to someone who has lost everything, including his entire family, and his health; someone who has reached rock bottom and feels helpless and hopeless.

I don’t think Zophar cared how his words would effect Job. He, like his cohorts, seemed to simply enjoy the sound of his own voice. None of them were interested in listening.

I want to listen, to put myself in the mind of Job. That’s not easy to do as someone who has not suffered a fraction of Job’s suffering. Job was ill, and lost, confused, depressed, betrayed, harassed, and misunderstood to the point where finding energy to form words was a struggle. But here is what Job says from that very dark place:

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. (13:15a)

Job teaches us that we are all the same; created beings inferior to God, living in a world over which He is Sovereign, accountable to Him alone.

Here’s what struck me about that. In spite of Job’s understanding of his low position before God, he still wanted to face Him. He still wanted to go to Him because Job trusted God in spite of what was happening in his life.

Job didn’t place his hope in coming up with the right words or attitude to sway God. He didn’t “think it to be it.” Job knew he had nothing to offer God. He was broken and empty. He had questions, sure. He wanted to defend himself. But in the end, even as his wife advised him to curse God and die, Job placed his hope in the Almighty.

Peter talks about the “living hope” we who live after the cross enjoy. (I Peter 1) His name is Jesus! Circumstances aside, the God of hope sees you, hears you, longs to comfort and strengthen you who are his children through the precious blood of His Son.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

July 16 – Terror And Trust

Micah

Are the prophetic books like Micah meant to be interpreted as futuristic occurrences only? Are the “latter days” a stick we need to continually throw ahead? Or are there truths for today, no matter when the day comes that Jesus returns?

Terror is covering our globe like a heavy blanket. It’s not just us in America who go to bed wondering where and when the next attack will be. The overwhelming drive to consider evil good and good evil should concern all believers. Our world, as we know it, seems to be spinning out of control.

How much worse can it get? Maybe that’s not an answer we’re ready to hear.

Things were bad in Micahs’ day, too. And they were going to get worse. But I want to leave you with Micah’s words from chapter 7:7-9. They are words that spoke to me this morning, and give me hope. I trust they’ll do the same for you.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is light for me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will see His righteousness.

 

April 25 – Making Memories

I Chronicles 3&4

I am having so much fun this week. My nephew and his family are vacationing here with me on this island where I live. As I read about the families listed in these chapters of I Chronicles I can’t help but think about my own.

I remember the day my nephew was born. I was blessed to be a part of his growing-up years, watching him develop into the thoughtful, fun, Christian man he is today. I stood by and watch him fall in love with a precious girl, marry her, and start their family. Their children call me “Aunt Connie”, and I love that.

I sit here today and watch the little ones play, and my heart nearly bursts with love.

When I read about the families in I Chronicles, I realize I’m reading about moms and dads. People who loved their children, who cared for them, who had hopes and dreams like I have for the dear ones in my life.

The future is uncertain. Trouble may come. But I trust my Savior with the lives of my loved-ones. As I think about my family, I pray for them.

I pray for your families, too. May you all know the same confidence in the Lord that I have. May you hug your families. Don’t waste a minute. We’re going to go and watch some sea turtles released back into the ocean today.

Making memories.