Total Hope, where do you find it?

These first few weeks of 2020 I have been looking into HOPE as it is my chosen word for the year.  I saw survival hope in Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”, Hope in God’s Word, Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”,  Hope in God’s steadfast Love, Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,”, Hope in the future, Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” and daily Hope for living, Lamentations 3:21-23 ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  

Today’s verse helps me to see that God is my Total HopePsalm 62:5-7                            psalm 62 5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”     

I love the truth of these words written by the psalmist David so long ago.  They are truths confirmed throughout scripture.  My hope comes from God aloneHe is the one who stands by me and holds me in times of distress and trouble  Psalm 107:13 “they cried to the Lord in their trouble,   and he delivered them from their distress.”   God is so strong and mighty, so sure and complete that He cannot be shaken, Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.    He gave me salvation through faith in Jesus, Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”.   God alone is working in my life to mold and shape me into the person He desires me to be and shares His glorious attributes with me,  Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”   He is the holder of my salvation and sent the Holy Spirit as my guarantee, 2 Corinthians 1:22 “and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

Do these truths about God alone give you Hope for surviving, loving, learning and leaning on the truth of His Word, for looking into the future and for daily living?  God is my total Hope and that Hope is in Him alone.  He is and has all the hope I need.  in christ alone“Thank you Jesus for bringing God’s Hope to me.”  

May you grab hold of His Hope today and be uplifted and strengthened.

Linda

God’s Revelations Through Advent=God’s Abounding Attributes

Advent of 2019 has been very confirming and uplifting to me.  As I wrote about the Christmas story, Messiah’s long awaited arrival on earth, I was filled with wonder and praise for our Almighty God.  Seeing the story anew through the lens of who-is-godGod’s attributes gave me a glimpse into the magnificence and depth of our God.   I saw God’s accessibility, grace, omniscience, as a person, His incomprehensibility, invisibility, holiness, as a preserver, merciful, a promise-keeper, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, provider, merciful again, glorious, Savior, faithful, just, wise, Father, guide, love and eternal.

For 25 days we have looked into the character of God and reflected on how His character could impact us.  God desires that we are accessible to Him and to others.  He gives us grace and asks that we show grace to others.  God alone is omniscient, incomprehensible, invisible, personal, preserver of all things, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, glorious, Savior, promise keeper and the giver of eternal life.  He calls us to be holy as He is holy and to wear the righteousness of Christ though faith in Him.  Be merciful towards others and lend them helping hands.  God wants us to be faithful to Him and to those around us, just in our dealings with others, a giver of wise council, good father’s and mothers, guide others towards Him and to be open to His leading.  He wants us to keep our word and follow His Word.  God desires that we love Him and love those He has placed in our life as much as we love ourselves.

David reached the following conclusion about God in Psalm 86:10-13.

psalm 86 10No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
    None can do what you do!
All the nations you made
    will come and bow before you, Lord;
    they will praise your holy name.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
    You alone are God.

more like JesusThank you for joining me this Advent.  May you be blessed as you endeavor to live for Jesus and grow more and more life Him each day.

Linda

Mary Praises Merciful God!!

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:50-55

mercy-savesYesterday I wrote about Mary’s praise for God’s preserving character, but today I want to focus on her praise for God’s mercy.  She knew God to be merciful, why?  She had seen Him show mercy on those who love and worship Him.  She had seen God’s mercy in her people’s history and in her own.

What does it mean that God is merciful?   God in His mercy does not give us what our sins deserve.  He limits the extent of pain.  He restrains evil and holds back sin.  He makes His gospel known in places where people have turned their backs on Him.  God seeks those who are lost, alone, hurting and in need.  He forgives and restores those who repent and turn to Him in faith.

grace-mercy

Mary knew that due to their sins in the past- worshiping other gods, idolatry, the people of Israel should have been abandoned by God in the desert, in Babylon, to their enemies, BUT God in His mercy saved them.  She knew that because of their rejection of Him- they should have been overpowered, taken captives and scattered throughout the world, BUT God in His mercy brought them back, kept them as one people returning them from Egypt and Babylon.  Mary knew that God is merciful to the individuals who love and revere Him- David as he fled from King Saul’s persecution, Daniel who survived the Lion’s Den, Joseph who survived being taken captive, imprisoned, wrongfully treated and then elevated to a high position so he could save his brothers, and herself.  She knew God was merciful to her by allowing her to be the mother of the coming Messiah, for choosing her, protecting and keeping her safe in a culture that would have rejected and mistreated her.   Her love for God and her thankfulness for His unending mercies shouts to us today.

How have you experienced God’s mercy?  Has He found you when you were lost spiritually, been with you when you were alone, or come to you when you were hurting from worldly circumstances?  Definitely if you know Jesus as your Savior, you have experienced the mercy of forgiveness and restoration, salvation and the hope it brings.  What mercy can you thank God for this Christmas season?   One of my favorite promises is Lamentations 3:21-23  “Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”   I know and trust that God in His mercy will renew me each morning and give me a fresh new day.  God is merciful, loving and faithful to me.  Mary knew this, do you?

Thankful for God’s mercies to me,

Linda

Here is a quote I found that really spoke to me.  This truth gives me great reason to Praise Him along with Mary for His great Mercy.

the-mercy-of-god-will-always-be-greater-than-any-sin

 

I don’t get it? Why this way God?

I have been pondering today’s scripture for several days.  Luke 1:34-38 continues the encounter of Gabriel and Mary.  She begins with a question and listens as the angel explains how and why Mary will become pregnant.  Amazingly Mary states her unwavering obedience to God before Gabriel leaves her.

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”   35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Where is God in this encounter?  God is the Sovereign force behind the events happening right then.  He is All-Powerful, Omnipotent God who can make the impossible God-is-incomprehensible-1happen.  But, the attribute that has stuck in my mind is Incomprehensible.  Not in our wildest human plans would we have come up with a miraculous birth by a lowly young Jewish maiden to save all mankind.  We cannot understand God’s thoughts, plans or ways with our finite minds.  His ways are always righteous and good for all people.  His ways and plans bless us and glorify Him.  Here are a few verses that speak to the incomprehensibility of God:

Job 5:9 “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”     

 Isaiah 40:28  “Do you not know? Have you not heard?   The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”     

Isaiah 55:8 ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts,  neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the Lord.”     

Romans 11:33  “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments,  and his paths beyond tracing out!

faith_does_not_make_things_300x300How big is your God?  Mary knew God could do great and impossible things in the world and in her life.  She experienced the incomprehensibility of God in her life and accepted it on faith.   Can you do that too?  When you face hard to deal with questions or situations in life, can you trust in Jesus anyway?  Walking with Jesus is a life long journey of learning and discovery as no one can plumb the depths of God’s Word or fully know His character.   He wants to teach us to love and trust Him realizing He is incomprehensible and His ways are not our ways. 

Linda                                                                                                                 

 

 

Let Advent Begin with a Call to Understand- Join me!

AdventSeveral years ago, I endeavored to see the Christmas story through the lens of God’s attributes knowing that all God ordains reveals His character to us.  His plan and will always brings Him glory and us good.  I invite you to join me this Advent Season to journey through the scriptures with an eye towards God’s character and see what wonders we can discover about our Almighty God.  Jeremiah 33:3 will be my guiding verse this season- “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   I am asking God to reveal His character to us though the Christmas stories.  May we be mightily blessed and find out many things that were previously hidden to us.

God’s attribute that gives me confidence to ask and call upon Him is His Accessibility. James 4 8James 4:8 promises “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”   Ephesians 3:12  “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence”  and Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  These are just a few verses that confirm to us that we can indeed approach God and seek Him through prayer and study.  As we draw near to Him this Advent Season, He will meet us  just as He has promised.

Seek Him with me knowing with confidence He will reveal Himself to us through His Word.

Linda

Come with me and praise His Name!

PowerPoint PresentationLast fall I was working on a series based on the names of God.   It is essential to our faith to learn as much about God as possible because the more we know God the more we can be assured He is who He says He is and will do all things He promises.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are incomprehensible (an attribute of God) and yet God desires that we know Him.  Our finite minds can only take in so much of our omniscient God, but we know from life’s experiences that we can grow and as we do we stretch ourselves to learn more.  I love this quote from Daniel 11:32b.  Daniel was in a very turbulent time and he wanted to encourage the people that knowing God would give them a firm foundation to withstand the trials of their present day. but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.”   That is my prayer for us too, that knowing more about our God will cause us to stand firmly planted and willing and able to take action for Him.

Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise to God as the creator of all things about earth and the heavens.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;              
    praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.        The psalmist call upon all people to praise His name because of all He has created in the heavens.  He continues….

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!                                                           The psalmist calls upon all people to praise the name of the one  who created all nature and peoples on the earth.  

psalm 148In verse 13 points us to the name of the creator, the Lord who is worthy of all our praise because He is above all, greater than all He created and He alone is worthy of our praise.  If we think the creation is wonderful, it is nothing compared to God himself.  The creation pales in comparison to the Creator God.  This psalm is a call to all of creation to praise the creator and a reminder that He is greater than all.

I challenge you this summer to come along with me to explore greater depths of God’s character as we look into the Word and focus on Who God is by name.  His name is worthy of all praise!

Linda

Godly character, what is that?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have godly character.  What is godly character?  God has many attributes and some are communicable to us through Jesus and some belong solely to God.  For example, only God is incomprehensible, the creator, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent or sovereign.  However, those characteristics of God that He wants us to possess are vast and growing characterwonderful.  He desires that we are like Him in having peace, joy, being forgiving, thankful, honest, friendly, generous, loving and humble to name just a few.  As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit transforms us in a process called sanctification as we are made more and more like Jesus.

Why does God want to do this for us?  Scripture is clear there are great benefits to this character transformation.  Romans 5:2-4 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”   Wow! Through faith in Jesus we stand in grace, rejoice in hope and our suffering produces godly character in us!  James 1:2-4 also speaks of the count it all joytrials of life bringing about change in our character for good.  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Life’s trials test our faith and produce character that is steadfast and leads to perfection in Christ.   It is the trials in our life that God uses to hone and shape our character to make us more and more like Jesus as we learn to depend upon Him and place our Hope in Him.  

hopeMay you find joy in your trials and suffering as God works on your character, a character that will bring you hope!

Linda

Suggestion:  Determine to take a different view of the hard things you face today.  Seek to see them as character building. Praise God for the ability to cling to Him with a thankful, joyful and hopeful heart!

I AM the Shield

God is our shieldIn Deuteronomy 33:29 the LORD gave 2 names by which God is known- the Glorious Sword and the Shield.  Previously I wrote about the Glorious Sword but today my focus is on God’s name-the Shield.  Blessed are you, Israel!  Who is like you,  a people saved by the Lord?  He is your shield and helper  and your glorious sword.  Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.”  God was the shield for His people in Old Testament times and today He is a shield for all believers.  Through faith in Jesus we can claim God as our Shield and helper.    I looked up the word shield and found several definitions – armor held to ward off blows or missiles, a person or thing that guards, protects or defends and a shape in various forms that protects in tunnels from cave-ins, a heavy metal screen like a heat shield, insulating wire that shields against electrocution, or a protective screen against radiation.  As you look at the verses below-see how God is the perfect shield in all circumstances!

ephesians 6 16Ephesians 6:16 “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”    God is a Shield against Satan’s arrows or missiles.

Psalm 3:3 ” But you, Lord, are a shield around me,  my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  God is the person who shield and defends. 

Psalm 5:12  “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;  you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”   

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield;  my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy,  and with my song I praise him.”    

Is God your all around shield that protects you in all circumstances against the world that seeks to destroy your witness and lead you away from Him?  Consider these verses:

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect:  The Lord’s word is flawless;  he shields all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield;  the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold  from those whose walk is blameless.

Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield;  I have put my hope in your word.”

Proverbs 30:5 ““Every word of God is flawless;  he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

God's protective careAs a believer, God promises to be the Shield in your life.  American Civil war hero, Stonewall Jackson, claimed God as his shield and was so thankful.  How about you?  Be encouraged today!

Linda