Rock-Solid Words of Hope

Many around the world are in need of hope today. Their situations look bleak if not impossible. They are struggling to hang on to hope.

Right here in our country, countless folks in Florida and Texas are dealing with the aftermath of hurricane force winds, tornadoes, and the floodwaters that came with Irma and Harvey. Some may feel that all hope slipped away with the winds and waters that wreaked such havoc on their lives. And in yet other parts of the country, people are battling wildfires.

Others of us may be in need of hope right now for different reasons. If you fall into that group, this post is for you as well as for all of those struggling to regain their footing after their foundations literally got blown or washed or burned away.

The truest and most powerful words of hope I can share with you come straight from the Word of God. God’s Word is a firm foundation. His promises are rock-solid. May the following scriptures inspire fresh hope and strengthen your faith today, my friends!

“. . . I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“‘There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope.’” Hosea 2:15

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14

“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him . . .” Romans 15:13

Praise God for the hope we have in him!

*Which of these verses speak to you most powerfully today?

*Since September is an exceptionally busy month for me this year, I’m taking a short break and will be back on the 26th. Maybe you can take a look at my list of Favorite Posts (sidebar) and read some posts from there. Blessings!

*Flickr photo by Our Enchanted Gardens, Creative Commons License

What Will I Do When a Storm Descends

*I pray this encore post from April 2011 blesses you today!

A potential health crisis threatened our family a few weeks ago. A cancer scare. Like storm clouds hovering overhead, thoughts of “what if” cast their shadow for days. We deliberately tried to shove them aside, but they were still there, hiding just beyond the surface.

I won’t go into specifics of who and what, but the scare did not involve an extended family member, but one within our immediate family. Yes, that’s right. It hit close. Too close. And too unthinkable — though I had to remind myself, like so many others have had to do, not to ask “Why us?” but “Why not us?”

Thank God, benign test results relieved our fears, but those days of waiting gave rise to countless thoughts, feelings, and ultimately a few overarching questions: If it proves to be cancer, what will we do with our faith in God? Will we stay faithful and continue to trust him even if the news is devastating? Or will we pull away — and stay away — from him, losing faith that he is good and that he loves us? In other words, will we run to him or away from him?

Mercifully, God spared us from having to live out the answers to those questions in full, but we tried to prepare ourselves for the worst. We remembered the truths of God’s love for us and of how he can bring something good out of a heartbreaking situation. We reminded ourselves that he would be with us every step of the way. You might say we were preparing ourselves to be faithful, preparing ourselves to trust him, no matter the outcome.

One day a similar life test will go differently. One day we’ll have to live out the answers to these faith questions in full. Some of us reading this today have, in fact, already faced such a crisis, but even so, will we be ready for the next one? Join me today in considering, “What will I do with my faith when the unthinkable happens? What will I do when the storm descends?”

“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge…” Psalm 141:8a

*What helps you stay faithful to your faith in God when times of heartbreak come?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo

One Perfect Way to Pray for Those in Crisis

img_7208“‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:42-43

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest crisis of his earthly life—his impending crucifixion—God showed him his love.  The scripture above allows us to be witness to that tender display.

As Jesus plead with the Father to take his cup of suffering away, yet submitted to God’s will at the same time, we see the Father reach out to Jesus in love by sending one of the very angels of heaven to minister to him. And when God did this, when God showed Jesus his love, it strengthened him.

So when we watch others go through times of great difficulty or crisis—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—one perfect way we can pray for them is by asking God to show them his love. And as God tenderly finds personally tailored ways to do just that, those hurting and struggling will experience God’s loving touch. Those in crisis will be strengthened.

Do you long to help loved ones and others in crisis today? Get down on your knees in prayer and cry out, “Lord, show them your love!”

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*How has God shown you his love in a time of crisis?

*My photo

Embracing the Storms

3450217305_542343a37e_z*I wrote this piece several years ago and used it in the August 2009 issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. The next issue comes out May 1. If you have not yet subscribed, sign-up is free and to the right!

The phone startles you awake. Your boss asks you to step into his office. An email, a text, or phone message brings you to a standstill in shocked denial. Each of these, just moments in time, intrude with the power to change everything. A storm has hit.

We’ve all been there—most of us several times. The first half of this year alone, my own little family has weathered some mighty rough waters.

First, an ongoing health crisis with my mother-in-law dominated for months before leveling out to a more stable place. Then, with no warning, our son-in-law lost his job in an economy where jobs are few but applicants are plentiful. And finally, another—and far more tragic—unexpected loss struck close to home. A good friend and her son were killed in a car accident.

Through each of these storms, as well as others I’ve experienced over the years, I’ve been reminded that we are not alone. There is a refuge. God stands ready to be our strong tower, our anchor in the storms of life. In fact, it’s during dark times when he shows us the extent of his love and gives us incredible, personal touches. Many times it’s when we’re hurting that he shows himself most tender.

A few months ago I spoke with a loved one dealing with a very private storm. She had no idea how it might eventually pass or what the final outcome would be. I suggested that she try to get past the grief of the situation—to grieve, yes, but then to try to go on as well to embrace whatever God’s will or purpose might be. In other words, I encouraged her to embrace the storm.

We can find great peace in embracing storms. Not because we enjoy them, but because we know God is working through them. Not only that, but as he walks through the storms with us, we can count on moments when he will wrap his arms of love around us and even pick us up and carry us.

I hope I remember these truths the next time a storm sweeps into my life. I hope I can find the strength to embrace it. And when I do? I’m confident I’ll find the Master of the storm already embracing me.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.” James 1:2–4, J. B. Phillips translation

*Is there a storm you need to embrace in your life right now?

*Flickr photo by jlwo, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: A Light for the Darkness

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Some of us may find ourselves in dark places today. If you’re struggling with fear, depression, grief, or life circumstances that seem hopeless, please know that you’re not alone. All of us have been there at one point or another.

The good news is that there is a Light for the darkness. If we will but look, if we will but lift our eyes, the Lord will be our light during our darkest moments. He will be our guide, our comfort, our hope. May these verses point you to him, my friends. May hope be your portion today!

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8b

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.’” Isaiah 42:16

*When has the Lord been the light in your darkness?

*Flickr photo by jeet_sen, Creative Commons License