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

Where did Jesus go? Escaped to Egypt, just as God promised

After the visit of the Wise Men to see Herod, it was only a matter of time before Herod discovered Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  The Wise Men did not return to Herod and tell  where they had found Jesus,  but listened to God’s warning and left the country another way.  Matthew 2:13-18  describes what happened next.

egypt“When they had gone (the Wise Men), an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”    God knew the inquiry of the wise men would stir up jealousy and hatred in Herod, so He sent an angel.  Like before when the angel appeared to Joseph, he was obedient and did not question the wisdom of God.   He took his little family south to Egypt and remained there and waited for further direction from God.

Herod, in the meantime, did not wait to act when he discovered the wise men did not return to tell him of the new king.  He knew they had found him and had slipped away.

“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,  weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children  and refusing to be comforted,  because they are no more.”  

Leaving a trail of blood, hatred and jealousy is Herod’s legacy.  God knew this would happen and foretold both the fleeing to Egypt and the destruction of innocent lives hundred’s of years beforehand.   Jesus came to fulfill all prophecies concerning Messiah and He did.

Where do you see God in this portion of the story?   Certainly we see God’s foreknowledge of events, His care for Mary, Joseph and Jesus,  His thwarting of Herod, His messaging through an angelic being, His provision of funds for the trip from the Magi’s gifts, His protection…. God showed his fatherly care of this new family and of Jesus’ mission for all mankind.   God is our heavenly Father.  He is the father to all who God-Is-Our-Fatherbelieve in Jesus, His Son.  He gives us His Spirit, adopts us into His family and makes us His children.  He speaks to us through His Word and we can speak to Him through prayer.  God is always good, wise and loving.  He loves and protects, cares, trains and disciplines His children.  As a good Father, God gave us His Word, Sent His Son and then His Holy Spirit to help us live lives pleasing to Him.     John 14:26  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  

May you be blessed today as you realize anew the love of your heavenly Father.  He cares for you as no one else can.

Linda

Have you known the blessings of Obedience?

Luke 1:57-66 tell of the arrival of baby John to his mother Elizabeth and mute Zachariah, his father.  The angel Gabriel had pronounce God’s judgement upon Zachariah for his unbelief in Luke 1:19-20,  when he had questioned God’s ability to create new life within Elizabeth’s aged, barren body.   Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his John namefather, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

obedienceThis story shows how Elizabeth and Zachariah learned obedience and followed through doing exactly as God directed in naming their child.  When they had demonstrated this faith and obedience, the temporary judgment was lifted and Zachariah was able to speak.  Not surprisingly, his first words were words of praise to Almighty God for the miracles God had performed in their lives.

God is present in this very story, from the lifting of the curse of muteness upon Zachariah to the birth of a healthy boy in Elizabeth’s old age.  Even the neighbor’s recognized God’s mercy towards her and the joy she evidently showed at being a mother.  God is always faithful, keeping all His promises.  He is a promise keeping God.  In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 8:56 we find, “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.”   None of God’s promises failed nor will they ever fail.  2 Corinthians 1:20 gives a similar message from our promise keeping God,  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  Peter gives the usefulness of all God’s promises to us in 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”   God has been and always will be a promise keeping faithful God. His promises provide us access to His divine nature and aid us in escaping the corruption of the sinful world we live in. 

GodkeepspromisesThank you God for being 100% faithful and keeping all your promises to us.  We can rely upon your nature and know you will do what you say in your Word forever.

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

 

Mary Praises Preserver 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

I see two different attributes of God that stand out to me in Mary’s continuing song of praise. I’ll highlight one today and one tomorrow.  Today I’d like to talk about God’s as our Protector/Preserver. Mary knew that God had protected and preserved the children of Israel since the time of Abraham when He made a covenant with him.  Genesis 12: 2-3 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”    Mary would have been familiar with the stories of the Exodus from Egypt, the miraculous plagues, the saving of the first born, the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, the feats and battles of Gideon, Deborah, King David and many more.   She would have known of the preservation of Esther and the way God used foreign kings to bring them back from exile in Babylon.  Mary would have been familiar with Daniel and his stay in the lion’s den.  She had seen how God preserved her people generation after generation against all odds.  It is no wonder then that Mary praises and sings of God’s great upholding power with mighty deeds and personal support.

Who is this great preserver that Mary loves?  God preserves His own.  We can trust Him to preserve the good work He has started in us through Christ.  God preserves our lives for His purpose and He preserves our salvation.  Jesus promises that no one can take you out of God’s hand.  No temptation, no failure, no person, not even Satan can make us lose our salvation .  God preserves us, just as He did the children of Israel, so that we can accomplish His purpose.  He is our preserver.  Mary knew this in her heart and sang praises to the her preserver.

psalm-127Is Jesus your preserver?  Do you trust Him to help, defend and protect your faith and salvation against all enemies?  I love the verses in John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”   Trust God and walk today with assurance that God has got you and will never let you go.  Mary knew this and sang out in praise. Join her in proclaiming praise to our Mighty God who promises to preserve us.

Held in the hand of Almighty God,

Linda

Thank goodness this is true!

john-10-28

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

May Thanksgiving be on your lips today!

happy-thanksgivingAs you gather around your Thanksgiving table today, let praise and thanks lead your discussion.  David expressed it this way in Psalm 107:21-22 :                                                     Let them praise the Lord for his great love
    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
    and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

What praises do you have for the Lord today?  Can you tell of things He has done for you this year?  As you tell your family, offer your words in thanksgiving to God for His gracious provision, help, love, care and guidance.  All we have we owe to Him as He is the provider of all things.  If things look dark today, place your hope and trust in Him remembering His promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for thanksgiving tableyou,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   God is good and has good things planned for you just as He promised.

Have a day filled with thanksgiving and praise!

Linda

Worry won’t change anything-Seek Peace!

philippians 4 6Philippians 4:6-7 is a familiar portion of scripture that brings great comfort to believers.  Here are Paul’s words in the New Living Translation. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Paul exhorted the Philippian believers, as well as us, to leave all our worries and concerns with Jesus in prayer.  We are to tell God what we need and then thank  Him for things we know God has done and provided for us in the past.  How will that help with our worrying?  Reviewing in our mind all the blessings God has given makes us realize that what we have is His and He has caused all things in our lives to work together for 8-28good.  Perhaps we cannot see it right now,  but we have to trust His promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”   Reviewing the circumstances of our lives, the ups and downs, the narrow escapes, the blessings of each day, the miracles done on our behalf causes us to thank God.  Knowing He has provided in the past and will in the future gives us hope and creates thanksgiving in our hearts.  The end result is what Paul proclaimed- PEACE!  The peace Jesus brings in such situations is all from Him, it is encompassing and beyond description.

Are you worried, frustrated, consumed with grief or depression?  Turn to God in prayer with thanks in your heart, think about God and all He has done for you,  and you will find peace.  If your circumstances are difficult and you struggle to find earthly thanks then turn your thanks to God for your spiritual blessings.  You are loved by God, saved, have a home in heaven, are a saint and loved child of God, you are redeemed and freed from the penalty of sin…..  Your spiritual blessings are eternal and no one or nothing here can change or corrupt them.  Give thanks and His peace will come upon you.

thank you godHave a blessed day filled with Thanks to Him.

Linda

All-Knowing God provides Victory!

daniel 2 20Daniel 2:20-23 gives Daniel’s praise to God after having received the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.   Daniel and all the wise men of the kingdom were going to be killed if the meaning of the King’s dream was not revealed.   Upon receiving the King’s death threat, Daniel went to his believing friends in the palace and asked them to pray concerning this mystery asking God to reveal the meaning of the King’s dream so they might be saved.  Here is Daniel’s response after God revealed the dream’s meaning to him in a vision.      Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel begins by praising God for who He is- the Sovereign Eternal God of the universe with all things, people and circumstances within His control.  He praised God’s knowledge and wisdom and His ability to reveal things to those who love Him.   He praised God’s purity, and that in Him there is no darkness.  Daniel thanks God for revealing His wisdom to Him and for letting him know what the King’s dream was about, thereby saving him.

who-is-godDo you know who God is?  Do you praise Him for His glorious character  and for how He has kept all His promises?   Try incorporating  praise for who God is into your prayers today.  List His attributes so you can think about Him as you pray.   The more we love and know God the greater our trust in Him will be.

Linda

A Day of Remembrance-9/11

9 11As we ponder the significance of 9/11 today, what comes to your mind?  This is the 19th year anniversary of that tragic attack on the twin towers in NY and the Pentagon.  Many of those alive today have no memory of that horrific day and those terrifying events.  The same could be said for December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Both bring extreme sadness at the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, the aftermath of the events and their impact on families, the nation and our way of life.  A great sense of invasion and insecurity looms in my mind.

As I looked back, four years ago on 9/11 my new book, Promises for Dynamic Living arrived.  The arrival of a new book you’ve written is a momentous time for an author.  At the heart of this book is hope and security.  God’s Word provides us with an anchor for our souls in Christ and redemption though His work on the cross.   Knowing promises our Heavenly Father has made to us, gives me hope as I know He is eternal and always faithful to keep His promises.  He promised to send a savior and He did in the person of His own Son- Jesus.  What hope we have in Christ! He fulfilled all the promises in the Bible about himself and all questions about redemption are Yes in Him.  We do not need to fear for our future as it is guaranteed by Christ himself.

So what of 9/11 and those fears and insecurities?  Turn them over to Jesus and depend upon Him in all things.  We can cling to Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”    Nahum 1:7  “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    I pray one of these verses gives you added hope in Jesus today.

Living in a troubled world with HOPE,

hope in Christ

Linda

A study in God’s Word that will bring you hope and assurance for living in a troubled world.  Available on Amazon or at Certa Publishing.Promises-for-dynamic-living-cover