Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

Don’t Lose Your Capacity For Vulnerability

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Walk by FaithI resonated with this presentation by Brene’ Browne. I have and still do wrestle with believing that God is bigger than some of my problems and challenges I know God’s word is very clear that God is sovereign and in complete control. But, when I am facing real big, scary life issues, I can struggle with being patient, trusting God fully, trying to wrestle control away from him, and being content during these times of difficulty. I can struggle seeing and understanding that even in these trials God has a plan; a great and perfect plan to teach me, grow me, care for me, provide for me, protect me, and give me a future with his love, peace, hope, and joy.

“This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 The Message)

The Christmas Story; God’s Messy Plan

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

“He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror but as One whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty. No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla. God had come near . . . for you. Only if we let Him in can He pull us out.” (Max Lucado, ‘God Came Near’)

Jesus was born into a messy world and brought grace, hope, life, peace, and joy to those who dared to follow him. Is your world messy? This Christmas season consider, as the shepherds did, seeking and following Jesus; He offers the same grace, hope, life, peace, and joy to you today!

The Fountain of Happiness and Joy

Friday, December 7th, 2012

“the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

The Price of Invulnerability

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Being vulnerable with those close to you and with God is critical to having joy in our lives and being happy in life and at work.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;  don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;  he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!  (Proverbs 3:5-8  The Message)

I discovered this video presentation that helps us practically understand why God’s word encourages us to open up our lives at a depth we not accustom to, to share our lives more intimately than the world tells us we should, and be vulnerable with our lives with those we love and care for, including our Heavenly Father.  I hope you find it helpful.

You Can Be a Hope Ambassador!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Having hope and offering hope to others  is perhaps the single most important key to experiencing true happiness.  I recently found a terrific description of hope written by James Goll of the Encounters Network, and published by the The Converging Zone Network.  I know you will be encouraged, as I was by Mr. Goll’s message of hope…it’s foundations, it’s benefits, and understanding how to obtain it !

Hope Ambassadors…

Theme verse: I Corinthians 13:13a (NASB): ”But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…”

In a time of great uncertainty, it is a necessity that we be people of hope. In recent years, we have had a good deal of teaching on faith and some on love, but the missing commodity in the Church is an understanding of HOPE.

It behooves us to look to the Lord in these days and call forth solutions to life’s problems. We must focus our gaze, not on the revival of evil, but we must set our gaze up higher and be a prophetic people with answers for today’s dilemmas. It is time to be Hope Ambassadors.

In my own life, I tend to be a parabolic prophetic person. As most of you know, I have gone through a severe “Job-like season” in the last decade of my life and ministry. I have been grappling with difficult things and complex questions. This has forced me to go back to the foundational bedrock of my faith. I declare that God is good all the time and that all things work together for good. Because these two foundational truths are laid firm in my life, I believe that the greatest level of purpose and impact is yet to come.

As I have found it necessary in my own life, so I believe it is necessary in many lives. It is time for teaching on good mental health in the Body of Christ! Yes, the world and the Church are both waiting for Ambassadors of Hope!

Definition of Terms:

Webster’s Dictionary states that “hope” means to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Greek Words states that “hope” is a favorable and confident expectation, the happy anticipation of good.

Scriptural Foundations of Hope:

Ephesians 6:17 states as a vital part of the full armor of God, we are to put on the helmet of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:8 gives us a commentary on this verse and tells us this is the helmet of the “hope of salvation.”

The Roman helmet that Paul the apostle makes reference to covered the ears and even the front of the forehead (or the mind). We are to filter what we hear through a positive expectation of good and thus be able to think on whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, of a good report and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). As a man thinks so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, it is imperative that we put on our HELMET OF HOPE.

Two Pictures of Hope:

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NASB) In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before usThis hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfastand one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hope therefore is:

1. A place of refuge for mankind likened unto the Old Testament cities of refuge where people could flee and take hold of the “horns of the altar.”

2. An anchor of the soul – the mind, the will and the emotions.

A ship passes its anchor through the unstable element of water to the stable element of the Rock below. The world in which we live is like the water – unstable, impermanent, insecure, ever-changing and tossed around in its form. But hope in Christ Jesus is an anchor that passes out of eternity into time and fastens us to our foundation of bedrock below – to the Rock of Ages.

Hope is a Person!

Colossians 1:27 (NASB) …to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Titus 2:13 (NASB) …looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

The Benefits of Hope:

Romans 8:24-25 (NASB) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

We are saved by hope. We do not quit. We persevere because we are convinced by a greater reality than our temporary surroundings!

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

Through faith, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to abound in the amazing power of hope.

Colossians 1:27 says when you have “Christ in you” you have the hope of glory – a sure expectation of unending ages of glory in the presence of God.

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB) …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

The condition of the lost: without God, without Christ, and without hope.

Ephesians 1:17-19 says we can be filled with the hope of His calling in Christ Jesus. You are a person of destiny. Be filled with the positive expectation of good in your life. Something good is just about to happen!

Ways to Obtain Hope:

Romans 15:4 (NASB) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Yes, through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we have great hope! Learn from our forefathers in the faith, and let hope arise!

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NASB) This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Right now, recall the history of the Lord in your life. Declare the testimony of His goodness over your own life and that of your family. Recall. Remember. Declare the truth that He has never left you or forsaken you. Great is His faithfulness!

Hope Our Anchor Of Life

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19

When you hear the word anchor, what images and thoughts come to mind? A large heavy object used to secure and hold a boat securely in place, keeping it from drifting off into danger? A large, heavy secure bolt, beam, or brace used to ensure a building is strong, stable, and safe? A strong device, that when fixed, ensures a rock climber is held safely and securely while dangling perilously high above the ground? A key military defensive position critical to protecting an important area, troops and/or citizens?

Another definition offered by dictionary.com is “a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay.”

We have all had times in life when we needed and “anchor”; those times when we feel helpless and seek support, security, and stability in the people, things, and places familiar to us, that have always been there for us, and that we feel we can most trust and rely on to support us and make us feel safe and good. It is great to have these “anchors” in our lives, and they can be very helpful and comforting in dealing with some real rough storms in life or at work, but just as with the physical and mechanical anchors used by sailors or boaters, contractors, rock climbers, and our military the people, things, and places we put our trust in sometimes let us down, disappoint us, and fail us because they just aren’t capable of meeting the need, filling the void, and providing the true hope that our hearts really need and thirst for.

That is exactly what God offers us in his promises; a firm and sure anchor of hope! In The Message a modern translation of the Bible, Hebrews 6:15-20 tells us:

When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (anchor), reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…”

So, the next time you find yourself needing an “anchor” grab hold of the only person, place, or thing that offers us true unshakable security, strength, safety, stability, rest, peace, and comfort. Reach out and grab hold, tightly, to God, your creator and Heavenly Father. He will not disappoint you, fail you, leave you or forsake you. He will be an “anchor” for your soul, and make you more happy in life and at work.

Vulnerability The Key To Overcoming Shame

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

 

Have you ever know someone who lives in the oppressive shadow of shame and fear?  Do you live in that awful place?

As a kid, I was small and was teased and picked on.  I wanted so bad to belong, to be connected, and be loved by friends.  Don’t we all; it is how we are wired and why we exist.  But, I was never big enough, strong enough, good enough, cool enough, worthy enough.  The result was I remained disconnected, and struggled for a long time with fear and shame.  I spent a lot of my childhood trying to figure out how to get connected, and during that time life was hard and I was not very happy.  I did not feel loved, and began to believe that I was indeed not worthy…of belonging or of love. 

I learned and experienced first hand that fear and shame are very powerful emotions.  As those emotions become more prominent in my life, I experience less and less joy, happiness, and gratitude.  I can remember being angry and expressing my pain and discomfort through becoming quiet, reserved, and even hardened, I began doing many activities alone, and became determined to prove that I was worthy of belonging and of being loved. Surely, if I became good enough, people would want to connect with me.  Well, as you might guess, that was only marginally successful, and only with kids who were really not my friends.

My story is a long one, and thanks to God I have learned that my real worthiness come from him.  That his love and grace is sufficient for me.  That his love for me is wide, far and deep. That, as a child of the living God, I belong to him and his family.  And, that true peace and joy comes from knowing him.  As I allowed God to work in my heart, he showed me and helped me embrace vulnerability and authenticity, he showed me it is OK to be imperfect, to have the courage to connect to others through kindness and compassion, the share authentically in their lives.  As I did this (lived authentically and vulnerably), I found myself deeply connecting with lots of people.  I valued them and they valued me; my fear and shame was replaced with joy, happiness, and gratitude. God made me wholehearted!

So, I encourage everyone to personally connect with God to discover your true worthiness, and how he wants you to connect with others and discover your own greatness as part of his family.

Also, I recently stumbled upon this terrific presentation by researcher/story teller, Brene’ Brown.  I think it might also be helpful to you. God’s peace!

Blueprint For Our Lives

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

In the midst of everything that life has to throw at us, isn’t it good to know that God has it all under control. In fact, you could say that He has the blueprint for our life. We just need to give up control and trust him; walk in faith, a faith that holds on to God’s truths and promises. We need to stop striving, and start abiding in the one who creates us, loves us, and has a wonderful plan for our lives.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”   (John 14:1-4)

Picture this scene. You are one of those closest to Jesus. You are gathered with others close to him in an intimate room with Jesus. You are all enjoying good food and drink, sharing stories, and building more memories. You are thinking back almost three years when Jesus approached you and said simply “Follow me!”

You and the others had done exactly that; you left your homes, jobs and families and three years you all placed your hopes in Jesus. Even when many others had given up and turned back because they thought the cost was to high, the group now gathered, including you, had not. You had denied yourself, been through great hardship, and continued to put your faith in Jesus; you loved Jesus and were committed to following after him no matter what!

Then it happens. Jesus tells all those gathered that one of you would betray him. You are stunned. The room becomes quiet. Everyone is looking at each other and saying Lord? One of us? It can’t be!

But wait, it gets worse. Jesus then begins to tell you that he is leaving you, and that you will not be able to go with him!

Can you imagine how you would feel as you began to understand what Jesus was telling you? What would be swirling around inside your mind and heart? You had left everything to follow him, and now he was just going to leave, move on without you! Why was he leaving? Where was he going? Why couldn’t you continue to follow him? What would you do? What would happen to you and the group? How would you survive? You no longer have a home or any money. And what about the promised kingdom? It wasn’t supposed to end this way. In short, what the @#*%?

Would you agree that if there was anyone who had reason to be frightened, worried, and fearful, it was this group…the disciples, who had faithfully follwed Jesus for three years. All their hopes and dreams were being dashed in an instant. They had to be terribly confused and very fearful!

But, in steps Jesus. He knew how fearful and confused they were, for he himself had experienced being deeply troubled. As he contemplated going to the cross, he cried out to God “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

Jesus knew what was required to overcome fear, and knowing that his disciples were about to experience great fear and anxiety, he wanted to let them know what to do and to comfort them.  That is when he says to them:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”   (John 14:1)

Jesus instructs, even commands the disciples and us to not allow our hearts to be troubled.  This may sound harsh or abrupt at first, but think about it, Jesus would not instruct us in this way (give us this responsibility) if we did not possess the ability to do it.  And he says as much when he says “You believe in God; believe also in me”.  He is saying you can do this; you have what it takes; because you believe in God, you have the power and strength to handle this, it is within you!  He is telling us to take our eyes off of the situation and circumstances, put them on God and then him, call on his Holy Spirit for strength and courage, and to exercise our faith.

If we believe in the truths and promises of Jesus, who overcame the greatest fear, the fear of death, and we exercise our faith in him by knowing and holding onto the his promises, we too can overcome our fears.  We have access to the very same truths, promises, and power that Jesus called on to overcome death!  

But Jesus does not stop there.  After he intructs the disciples on how to overcome their fear, anxiety, and worry, he comforts them by saying I know you are freaking out right now and I know you think that me leaving is the absolute worst thing that could happen, but let me tell you why I am leaving.  He then says:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”   (John 14:2-4)

Now just stop and picture what Jesus is saying to his disciples and to you and me.  He is saying there is no real reason to be fearful, but since you are please know this…I am going to heaven where there are many rooms, and in fact, I am going there to prepare a very special room for each of you.  And, in case that is not enough, also know that I am not leaving for good; I will come back to take you to that special room prepared just for you.  Do you think this changed things for the disciples?  Do you think that they might have drawn new strength and courage to overcome their fear knowing this?  Of course, and so can we!

And the last and greatest thing he says to his disciples and to you and me (in this passage) is that because we know him, Jesus, who is the way the life and truth (John 14:6), we know how to follow him there.  So, once again he utters(to his disciples and to you and me) the same words he said when they first met, “Follow me!”

Believe in Jesus, put your faith in and follow Jesus, hold onto the truths and promises of Jesus, do not let your heart be troubled, be courageous, and call on the power that overcame death!  Do this and I believe with all my heart that you will find happiness in life and at work.

Rest For Your Soul

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I used to race bicycles competitively. From 1990-1997 I raced in over a dozen states. In order to do so, I trained regularly and rigorously. You may be familiar with cycling, if only from watching the Tour de France on TV. In cycling, the riders will form packs or groups to work together and conserve energy. Each rider taking a turn in front then slipping back to take shelter and rest until it is again their turn to “take a pull”. Riders in groups will even share food and water, knowing that they are stronger as a group.  They will watch after each other and work together in hopes that the group will be successful and make it to the finish ahead of the other riders.

In some cases riders who become fatigued get “dropped” from a group and are left alone. They may, for a while, attempt to work very hard to maintain the pace of the group, and even hope to rejoin the group, but invariably the physical and mental demands to maintain such a pace can cause them to “crack”.  At that point the wise tactic is for that single rider to drop back to another group, take shelter from the new group, rest, and recover.  If you race long enough, it happens to everyone. From experience, I can tell you that, when you are “dropped” and left alone, it is an awful feeling. The feeling of being “dropped” and left alone is difficult to overcome. The physical weariness is one thing, but mentally motivating yourself to continue and finish can be a great battle of will.

However, when another group comes along and you are able to join them, you become re-energized, refreshed, and recommitted to finishing the race. The new group accepts you,  welcomes and encourages you, provides you the relief and rest you need, they pull you along, they nourish you, and there is exchange of important race information and friendly conversation. They are just what you need to finish the race you started!

Something else I know from experience is that sometimes in life and in our careers, we can get “dropped”; we become both physically and mentally weary and fatigued; the burden becomes so great that we feel as though we just can’t continue or finish; we want to give up. In those times, God wants to be that group that comes along when we most need it. He will always accept us right where we are, there is always a warm comforting spot for us in his arms, he wants to give us the rest we need, he wants to renew our strength, he is “the bread of life and wants to nourish us, he offers the peace we are looking for, and he wants so much for us to talk and share our lives with him. He is the one who can help us, not just continue the race, but to finish it…and finish strong!

Go to him, find rest for your soul, and allow him to help you find happiness in life and at work.