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

Find Hope for Living in 2020

The Bible assures us of  Hope in various ways.   As I mentioned first we have survival hope, that is filled with God’s promises, mercy, care and  love.  It is continual hope that never quits and demand our praise because of its consistency and unendingness.  Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually  and will praise you yet more and more.”

psalm 119 114Today let’s look at the Hope we have in Scripture.  Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”   Psalm 119:147 “I rise before dawn and cry for help;  I hope in your words.”   Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,  and in his word I hope;”   The psalmist knows that God protects him,  as He says so in His Word.  He know that in all of life’s circumstances when he calls to God for help, he knows God will answer as He says so in His Word.  He also knows that timing belongs to God and that as he waits he has hope because of God’s faithfulness in His Word.

Do you have Hope because of the assurances God gives in His Word?  For this to be true, you have to open the Bible daily and feast upon His Word.  You have to hunger to know Him more fully and rely upon His Word.  Make it a priority this New Year to join a group that studies God’s Word each week.  Perhaps your local church has such a group, if so join and make it a priority.  Perhaps you need another place to study, look up the following organizations and see if there are classes meeting in your city.  Both groups have studies for men, women and children.  These are both Bible base interdenominational, internationally available studies that systematically delve into God’s Word seeking to know Him more fully and to apply scripture to life. Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study classes are both found world wide!  Look up you city, country and see if a class is close to you.  https://www.bsfinternational.org/  and  https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/

Your Word -my hopeDelve into God’s Word in 2020 and discover HOPE for living.

Linda

 

Mary and Me too, God knows our NAMES!

Gabriel next appeared to Mary,  the young virgin betrothed to Joseph, and told her she was going to be the mother of the Son of God.  Mary was fearful and concerned about what this would mean for her future.  The angel calmed her fears and pointed her to God.  Luke 1:26-33

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

There is so much to see about God in this portion of the Christmas Story.  God is all powerful and can do all things, Omnipotent.  God has a plan for the redemption of mankind and has had it since the beginning of time and He is using a young girl to move god-is-personal (1)His plan forward, Sovereign, Eternal.  But today, I see a personal God.  The angel told Mary not to fear and called her by name.  God knew her personally.  She was not just some girl but one God had specifically chosen for the task of being the mother of Jesus, His Son.  God is a person who knows us, desires a relationship with us and communicates with us.  Here He spoke to Mary by name through the angel Gabriel, but He also speaks to us today through His Word and in prayer.

knows my nameJesus assured us in John 10:3-4 “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”   Jesus as our good shepherd knows each one who believes in Him by name.  We are also assured that as believers we can and will recognize Him when He speaks or calls to us.  

Mary as a young girl knew this too and trusted her future to God.  God knows you personally; He knows your name.   Call out to Him today with assurance that He will answer because He knows you and knows exactly what you need even before you ask.  Be greatly encouraged, the God of the universe knows you by name.

Linda

Words of life, do you have them?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a complete manual for living in God’s Word.  God’s Word has stood firm and resolute since the beginning of time.  His Word, Jesus, came in human form bringing salvation to all who believe.  His Words in the Bible bring life, depth, understanding and guidance to us so that we can live the lives that God intends by following His ways and bringing Him glory.   Here are a few verses affirming the guidance and hope we receive in God’s Word:

Psalm 119:9 “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.”  Obedience to God’s Word leads one towards purity in all areas of life.

God's WordPsalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  God’s Word internalized helps us not to sin.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet  and a light for my path.”  God’s Word provides guidance to my life.

Matthew 4:4 “But Jesus told him (Satan), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  God’s Word rebukes Satan and gives spiritual sustenance for living.

Luke 11:28 “Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”  Applying God’s Word to our lives brings blessing.

John 6:63 and 68  “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”  and “Simon hebrews 4 12Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”  God’s Words are words of life and spirit and they lead to eternal life in Him.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  God’s Word is alive and works on our hearts, minds, souls and desires to align them with His ways.

Jesus plainly said that His Words lead to life.  Thank you Jesus.

words of lifeLinda

Suggestion:  Open His Word today and reread some of the above passages.  Let Him speak to you from His Word and be blessed.

Completeness! Thank you Jesus.

Complete-in-ChristBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made complete in Christ.   Colossians 2:10 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”   My understanding of this is that all God’s purposes for our lives are made complete in Christ.  2 Corinthians 1:20 “ 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.”  Knowing that we can be who God wants us to be because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can consider ourselves complete in His power.   We have assurances from God’s Word that our completeness in Christ is made possible by His Holy Spirit within us and through the leading of His Spirit we will be made more and more like Jesus.  

Here are some verses to encourage you as you walk with Jesus each day and seek be to complete in Him:   2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”   God’s Word teaches, corrects and trains us so we can do His good works.  Seeking completeness?  Stay in God’s Word so He can equip you!         

James 1:2-4 “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.   God wants us to face trials with joy as they will hone and perfect our character to be more like Jesus.  Do you feel your character is sagging or you are growing apathetic?  Endeavor to see your trials and tests as opportunities to build your character and allowed by God to grow you up in Christ.       

joy in Christ1 John 1:3-4  “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our  joy may be complete.”   John wanted us, as believers, to rejoice in Christ as fellow-shipping with the Father and Son brings complete joy to us and our fellow believers!  Do you consider yourself a joyful ChristianIf not, seek to know Christ better and fellowship with positive spirit-filled Christians.  Their joy for Christ will be contagious!

Linda

Suggestion:  Choose one of God’s completeness strengtheners from scripture and praise God for the completeness you feel!

  • Choose a portion of God’s Word to read each day this week. (Psalm 31, 37 or 103 are my personal favorites)
  • If you have a particular trial coming up this week, endeavor to count it joy and praise God for the opportunity.
  • Seek out a fellow Christian(s) and praise God together in song or prayer.

Which attitudes are you ‘Be-ing’?

blessed2The longest list of blessings for the blessed man/woman is in Matthew.  They are commonly known as the BeatitudesEach one points to a blessing from God that will come to the person who lives a life of faith.   Reflect as you read each one and ask yourself- which of these do I see evidences of in my life?  Remember that blessed means-a gift of divine favor, happiness or something that will prevent misfortune.   Matthew 5:3-10

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   (This refers to being humble- a blessed attitude,  not proud or arrogant)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (This mourning is over our sins, and we are comforted in our salvation and redemption by Jesus.  Mourning or sadness will also be comforted by God.) 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Here again our meekness is before God, as in humility.)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (I know this one to be true in my own life.  Studying God’s Word creates a hunger within me that only He can satisfy.  I pray that others will be blessed with this same hunger and receive the satisfaction only God can give.)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (This is promised compassion or mercy when we give or act mercifully.  God’s Kingdom does not operate the same way the world does and in His kingdom showing compassion or mercy will be returned in kind.  This is a wonderful assurance to believers.)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Those who have clean hearts and attitudes will be able to see God, know God and walk with Him daily.  David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  God desires us to have an attitude of holiness, purity and cleanness in our hearts so we can see Him clearly.)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (This applies to all believers as through Christ we are adopted into God’s family and are His sons and daughters.  Through our redemption, we are made peacemakers as ones who love Jesus and desire others to have His peace too.)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Because of our faith in Jesus, the world will persecute us.  John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  As believers we are encouraged by the conclusion of this verse-ours is the kingdom of heaven. Praise God!)

DBonfofferWhich resonated with you today?  Thank God for His gift of divine favor and presence in your life!

Linda

Got Blessings? Are you willing to follow and listen?

When I began this series on being blessed and what it means, I started with the definition of blessed.  Being blessed is receiving a gift of divine favor, receiving good wishes or approval or receiving anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Today’s scripture in Psalm 94:12 emphasizes the receiving of happiness and stopping of misfortune which results from being open to God’s instruction and discipline.  Psalm 94:8-13  is a bit longer in the Amplified version, it brings clarity to the passage.

Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?

psalm 94 12He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
11 
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).

12 
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
13 
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.

The psalmist asks us to consider God and what He has done and what He knows. God can and does bless the one who follows His teachings, accepts His correction and direction and pays attention to the details of His Word.   The blessing comes when one follows God’s Word and finds God’s peace in the troubled times in which we live.

blessings-quoteHave you experienced God’s blessing of wisdom and success in your life?  Did the greatest blessings come when you followed His Word and walked with Him?  Was it a peace-filled time even though the world’s circumstances were in turmoil around you? According to scripture, you have been blessed.  The psalmist felt that way and finished this psalm in verses 23-24 with total dependence and trust in God and His power to defend and vanquish all his foes.

But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
23 
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.

May you cling to Jesus today and trust Him to bless, guide and defend you as you walk with Him.

Linda

Blessings, what are they?

I have had a very hard week but feel blessed by God.  That started me thinking about blessings and where scripture tells us we are blessed.  What does blessing look like to God?  First, I wanted to start with a definition of blessing.  The dictionary says: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.   I can see my week’s events were a blessing as God granted me divine favor and prevented severe misfortune.

Psalm 1 is a great place to start looking at blessings or being blessed.  This psalm describes the way of the believer and the blessings that way brings.

blessed is the manBlessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessed man doesn’t seriously listen to the advice of unbelievers, do the things they do or make fun of godly things.  The blessed man loves God’s Word and thinks about it all the time.  He is deeply rooted by God and shows growth in both his faith and his life.  He prospers in all he does.   The psalmist contrasts this picture of one who loves God with the unbeliever.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Unbelievers are tossed to and fro with the ideas of the world. They are not grounded in God’s Word and faith in Him so they will perish.

As you meditate today, think about your life and ask yourself, Am I like the blessed man?  Do I hunger after God’s Word and think about it a lot?  Am I deeply rooted in God’s Word, and am I standing firm in faith where ever God has me?  If your answers are yes, you are on you way towards blessingsBeing in God’s Word and walking in God’s way gives happiness and guides us away from misfortune.  Even if we go through hard times Jesus is with us. Therefore, by definition we are blessed!

willienelson1Count your blessings today as you strive to walk with Him in His way,

Linda 

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

I AM the Glorious Sword

Lord swordTwo new names of God appear in Deuteronomy 33:29, Glorious Sword and 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.”   Moses concludes his blessings to each tribe with this overall statement of the blessed position the children of Israel had since the Lord was with them, fighting for them and protecting them.  As believers, we belong in God’s family today and have God as our protector, defender and shield.  

The image of God having or wielding as sword is seen throughout scripture.  David refers to God’s sword in Psalm 17:13 “Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.”  David knew that God would defend him and calls upon God to use His sword in action.  In Isaiah 66:16 God is shown to be the avenger and judge at the end of time. For with fire and with his sword  the Lord will execute judgment on all people,  and many will be those slain by the Lord.”    Jesus himself adds to this image as he explains his mission was one that would result in divisiveness between those that believe and those that do not.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Later, the apostles described the power of God’s Word to be like a sword.  Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”   We are to Holy spirit swordgo into battle with God’s sword-the Word of God as our offensive weapon.  Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   God’s sword can cut through anything physically or spiritually.  Lastly, in the book of Revelation the image of God’s glorious sword is in the mouth of Jesus combining both images of a physical sword and a sword of the Words of God. Revelation 1:16 “In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”   Revelation 19:15 describes Jesus as an avenger and judge for Holy God’s honor and hatred of sin,  “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

How can God’s glorious sword help or comfort us today?  God promises to listen and hear our prayers.  We can call upon God to be our protector and defender just like David.  We can rest in the knowledge that God will avenge wrongs done to us and will judge all evil in the future.  We can take God’s glorious sword ourselves and use the power of His Word to conquer unbelief in those around us.  God’s Sword will divide, discern and always be victorious.  We can hope in a future where God, the glorious sword,  will reign bringing justice and peace to all who believe.  Great images to take with you today that can bring peace, hope, restoration and victory to our lives.

Linda