December 11, 2017

Hope in the Lord

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We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,
where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Hebrews 6:19-20

Hope is a product of having faith that something that you have been looking for, or been desiring to have, will come to pass.

Hope moves you from anxiety to fact of life
Hope comes from deep inside your heart
Hope gives confidence

Our Hope (the One Who moves us from anxiety and gives us confidence) is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He became our Hope of glory over 2000 years ago.  When faced with challenges in this life He (our Hope) should be our number one main Friend to go to before interacting with anyone else.

To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles
are the riches of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27

To hope in the Lord is to trust Him fully with our lives.  It involves looking to Him as our Source of help and grace in time of need.

…But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Those who hope in the Lord have His promise of

  • strength to revive them in the midst of exhaustion and weakness and suffering and trial
  • the ability to rise above their difficulties like an eagle that soars into the sky
    the ability to run spiritually without tiring
  • being able to walk steadily forward without fainting at God’s delays

God promises that if His people will patiently trust Him, He will provide whatever is needed to sustain them constantly.

However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.
Romans 8:25
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He Who promised is faithful.
Romans 10:23

Sisters in the Lord, remember…no one who puts his/her hope in the Lord will be put to shame.

No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame
but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Psalm 25:3

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *  

Dear Lord, we thank You for You are a wonderful and loving Father, Who makes promises…and always fulfills Your promises.  We love You, Abba Father, for all the promises that You have fulfilled and those that you are yet to fulfill in our lives.  We have hope because You are perfecting everything for our good.  We trust You with our anxieties, challenges, and everything about us.  We trust in You for Your help.  Please help us to sort out our issues and perfect our walk with You in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

CHRISTLife — Thirty: Belonging

cl belonging

Picture this scene:

Years ago while walking down the hallway of the school where I was teaching, I came face-to-face with an eighth grade student who had transferred out of my class the previous quarter.  Curious about her transfer, I stopped her and the conversation went like this:
“Why did you transfer out of my class?”  She replied: “I don’t like you!
After years of teaching, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every teenager in my class was madly in love with me.  However, no one had ever point-blank told me so to my face.  A glutton for punishment, I pressed her for more information. “What is it that you don’t like about me?”
Placing her hands on her hips, swerving them from side to side and rolling her big eyes at me, she bluntly said, “Lady, there ain’t nothing about you that I do like!
Whoa! It wouldn’t do for me to repeat what I wanted to say and do to this fourteen-year-old.  Let’s just say, if I had carried through, I would have been put behind prison bars for assaulting a child.  So, I just mustered up a fake smile to her, and continued on my way.  As I walked on down the hall to my next class, my thoughts flashed back to an encounter I had with myself a few years earlier.  Alone in my bedroom one cold and rainy night, I had gazed into the mirror on the wall and uttered the exact same words that this fourteen-year-old had so bluntly spoken to me: “I don’t like you,” and I also admitted for the first time in my life: “I have no idea who I am.”

After my encounter with myself in the mirror, and what was fast becoming my bottomless pit of despair, it was as though the Holy Spirit took me by the hand and we began to travel down a muddy road that I had traveled for years.  As I retraced my tracks along that road, I viewed people whom I had allowed to mold and shape me into their image.

Being a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person with a low-key personality, I had avoided conflict at all extremes.  In doing so, I became a yo-yo on a string, bobbling up and down, trying to keep peace and harmony, albeit a false harmony. People Pleaser—that was my addiction.

Talk about having no sense of belonging, that was me.  How well I can relate to what Mrs. Myers says we do on the human level to achieve a sense of belonging:

“…we base our feelings of belongingness on our ability to attract love and approval and inclusion. Since both we and other people are imperfect and changeable, human relationships fail to fully meet our need for inner support.” (page 127)

New Sense of Belonging:  I believe the Holy Spirit took me down that muddy road to view ways I had gotten off the right path and then He gave me a new direction.  I began to travel on a new ‘Road of Identity’—one that gave me purpose in life.  In our chapter today, Mrs. Myers describes it so well.

  • “In God we have a belongingness based on eternal, unconditional love that accepts us without regard for our merits or demerits.”
  • “…In Christ we never have to view ourselves as deficient or as outsiders, or as inferior to those who see themselves as exclusive or elite.”
  • Christ is in us. (Colossians 1:27)
  • We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • ‘Through the blood of Christ,’ we are now ‘inside the circle of God’s love.’ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We ‘belong in God’s household with every other Christian.’ (Ephesians 2:19)
  • Each of us is a full member of ‘the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.’ (Hebrews 12:23)

It reminds me of an old hymn of the church…
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Let’s pray:  Father God, Your Word says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9 NIV).  Thank You, Lord, for choosing us as Your own.  Help us to look only to You for belonging…not anyone else.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Life’s Healing Choices: HOPE, Make the Choice

Choice 2: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.  It is in this step that we find our HOPE.  The changes you desire are only steps away.  But, as many of you have shared over the past week, the steps are not always easy ones.

I struggle with control.  There I said it!  I don’t like many roller coasters because of the feeling of being so out-of-control.  Same goes for motorcycles!  I want my kids to behave a certain way, my husband to respond to me in a certain way, my workday to follow a set pattern, etc.  One huge reason I’ve never taken the path of drug or alcohol use is the buzz or high that others crave makes me anxious because I’m not in control of things.  Sometimes being in control is a good thing; but when you try to make sure that every part of your world lines up “just so” … it only brings disruption, anxiety, and depression.

We have hope and promise in the Scriptures that we are not on this journey alone. “I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” (Philippians 1:6)

Blessings,

Amy



PRAY –

Dear Lord, my life is a precious treasure from You.  I experience things as a result of my choices, both good and bad.  Help me not ignore the pain that comes from my choices, as it is there to turn me back to You.  I admit that I’ve refused Your help.  I pray for Your power to be real and evident.  I know that it is only through You that I will have the strength and power to break the habits that are holding me back from experiencing fully the life You have given to me.  I want to experience true love and solid relationships, learning how to trust and respect others and myself.  I want to experience self-control to walk away from temptation, and my tendency to turn back to comfortable patterns that continue to hold me back.  Help me to continue making healing choices.  Amen.

WRITE –

God promises to always be with you.  He will never leave you.  He will never forsake you.  He will never turn His back on you.  Do you believe this to be true? Deep down in your heart of hearts, do you really believe this to be true?

If you’ve been hurt and disappointed by other people, it’s hard to believe that someone as great, loving and powerful as God would stand by you…no matter what!  No sin is too great to turn Him from His children.  We may feel too ugly, too damaged, too tarnished, too sinful for God, and we make the choice to turn away.  But that’s OUR choice, not God’s.

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you”  Isaiah 43:2.

Using prompts from our book, take time to write in your journal the questions and answers that speak to you most.  I would encourage you to answer all of the questions in the book – don’t skip the hard ones, dear friends.

SHARE –

Sharing can be the most frightening step.  How will the other person react to our story?  Will they judge or condemn my thoughts and/or actions?  Can I trust them to protect my information? Whatever your apprehensions, remember in Proverbs we’re told, “As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.” (Prov 27:17)

Baker gives a very clear and comforting instruction, “This journey is not one to be traveled alone.  You need someone of the same sex, a trusted friend with whom you can share what God is doing in your life.” (p. 54).  Do you have someone in your life you can talk to about this journey? 

After you have taken the time to reflect and write your answers to these questions, we welcome your comments below, or visit our Facebook Group for additional discussion. Please remember that all comments shared on this page are open to the public.  You do have the option of signing anonymously to post your comment.


Power Verses:
“Remember that in the past you were without Christ.  You were not citizens of Israel, and you had no part in the agreements with the promise that God made to His people. You had no hope, and you did not know God.  But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the blood of Christ’s death.”  Ephesians 2:12–13

“But this precious treasure –this light and power that now shine within us –is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies.  Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our won.  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t’ give up and quit.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-8

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think.  Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you.”  Romans 12:2

“And this is the secret: that Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.”  Colossians 1:27

 Lord, I have tried to fix & control my life’s hurts by myself.  Often, I make situations worse by refusing to let go and let You handle a situation.  I admit I am powerless, and change will only come when I turn it all over to You.  You loved me enough to send Your Son to die on the cross for my sins.  Thank You for standing by me, believing in me, and wanting more for my life.  Help me to continue making healthy, healing choices in my life, and to loosen my grip on things that need to be in Your hands.  Amen.



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