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

Remembering Trust

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We are now over two months into 2017 so I decided this would be a good time to remember and reinforce my theme word for the year. That word is trust.

In order to spend some time reflecting on and further cementing trust in my heart and life, I thought I’d write an acrostic for it. And if you chose a word for the year, why not write an acrostic of your own? Who knows what God might show us through this exercise? Here’s what I came up with. Hope it blesses you today!

Remember to Trust

Timing is God’s specialty so exercise faith and let him do his thing.

Rest in the knowledge that God knows the future and will bring about what is best.

Urge one another not to worry but to keep your eyes on the Lord.

Sing songs of praise and worship daily, expressing your faith out loud.

Take God at his word and believe in his promises.

If you didn’t choose a theme word for the year, I’d be happy to have you join me in focusing on trust. God may use it to comfort us or challenge us or more likely do both. And we can rest assured it will all be for our good.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

*Besides writing an acrostic, what are some other ways we can reinforce our theme words?

*Flickr photo by Kansas Poetry (Patrick), Creative Commons License

When Interruptions Derail Your Day

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I admit it—I don’t deal real well with interruptions to my plans. It tends to drive me crazy when I’m not accomplishing the things I wanted to. Anyone else identify?

I do try to battle my poor reaction to interruptions, though. I start my day by saying, “Lord, this day is yours and so am I. My times are in your hands.” But somewhere along the way, I find myself grabbing that time back. I hate it when I do that. I say one thing and do another.

Recently I read an entry in Sarah Young’s newest devotional book Jesus Always, and it gave me great—albeit convicting—insight into my struggle with interruptions. It also pointed out a better approach to dealing with them. And I found it very interesting that this approach emphasizes trust—the very word I chose as my theme word for 2017.

I’d like to share portions of that entry here today in case any of you fight a similar battle with yourself. I pray it blesses and helps you—and I pray I’ll remember to apply it to my life. Here it is:

“When things are not going your way, refuse to get flustered . . . Your desire to feel in control is often the culprit behind your frustration. You plan your day and expect others to behave in ways that expedite your plans. When that doesn’t happen, you face a choice: to resent the situation or to trust in Me. Remember that I am in control and My ways are higher than yours . . . Instead of getting agitated about setbacks to your schedule, use them as reminders: I am your Savior-God, and you are My beloved follower. Relax in My sovereign control, trusting in My unfailing Love.” Sarah Young, January 16 entry in Jesus Always (italics are phrases from scripture, Isaiah 55:9 and Psalm 13:5)

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:14-15a

*Do you struggle with dealing with life’s interruptions too?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*Flickr photo by MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina, Creative Commons License

God Walks With Us Through Life’s Surprises

8102465669_6712ae0022_zWonder what God has in store for you this year? You may have a general idea because of things already planned or in the works, but none of us can truly know how the details of our plans may play out. None can predict the twists and turns we’ll encounter along the way. And then, of course, things will come that will catch us by total surprise.

Last year in early January, I knew I was going to be a grandmother again, but God had a surprise of gigantic proportions up his divine sleeve.

By late in the month, we found out that our new grandbaby was in fact twins! And what made it even more amazing is that they would be our second set of twin grandbabies in just two years. That’s right, we went from no grandchildren to four grandchildren in the space of nineteen months. And they were all twins to boot! And not only that, but miracle babies in the face of infertility issues. What are the chances? A surprise only God could have ordained for sure.

We never know what God might have planned for us. My story is a perfect example. Just a little over two years ago, I would never have guessed the miraculous turn of events God had in store for our family.

Has my life changed as a result of these surprise events? You bet. I am indeed busier than ever, but I’m also experiencing more love and joy than I could have ever dreamed. And God’s with me each step of the way, rejoicing with me and giving me strength.

Of course, not all the surprises that come our way are good ones, are they? Three years ago last October, I got an unexpected call that changed my life forever. My mom had been in a car accident and just a few days later she died. And some of you—or some of your loved ones—may have at some point received an unwelcome diagnosis that left you reeling. Some may have found out that your teen daughter or son was going to be a parent. Others may have been received notice that you were no longer needed at your job. And the list goes on. Unwelcome surprises can come in many forms.

So even though we don’t know everything God has in store for us this year, one thing we can count on is that he will walk with us through each unexpected event, whether good or bad. None of it will catch him by surprise. He will be ready to rejoice with us when we rejoice and weep with us when we weep. As scripture promises, he will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

With the promise of his constant companionship in mind, let’s look forward to the good surprises headed our way and not worry about the possibility of bad ones. God’s got our backs whatever comes.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14a NIV

*What surprises has life held for you in recent days or years?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, to give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by nixter, Creative Commons License