HOPE Springs Eternnal

You might hear this phrase frequently in our house. We currently have 2 small dogs who know quite well that they don’t get “people” food, and they definitely don’t get fed from our plates…. yet you can clearly see that “hope springs eternal,” especially from the smallest one. He sits and watches our every move, hoping we’ll relent and give him a bite. (It hasn’t worked yet!) Unlike my little dog, my Hope really DOES spring eternal, because my HOPE comes from God and not mankind.

  Jesus replied, “I tell you the Truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of GOD. … The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit. … No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. … For this is how GOD Loved the world: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE. … There is NO judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in GOD’S One and Only Son.” –John 3:3‭, ‬8‭-‬8‭, ‬13‭, ‬16‭-‬16‭, ‬18 NLT (from http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.3-18.NLT)

Where do you find nope in your life? My prayer is that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, as I have. He is the ONLY way to find true peace and hope in this world, in spite of the curve balls that the enemy continues to throw at us. The LORD knows our frustration and our concerns, and He wants us to give them to Him so that He can deal with them…. in HIS time. He knows how worried I can let myself become since I lost my job over a year ago and still haven’t been able to find a new one. I have to consciously choose to be content and to rest in His Arms, and trust in His timing. For a control freak, I assure you that is no small feat! 

GOD is Good, all the time. He has blessed me beyond anything I could ever imagine. My true treasure is in Him, and no matter how hard life becomes,  I know that He has my back. I can rest assured in Him.

See Me ROAR

There’s a lot to take in and absorb in the following scriptures. Only 7 short verses, but extremely important for us to pay attention to as followers of Jesus Christ. 

  “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.  Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For GOD has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my Helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of GOD. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.” – Hebrews 13:1‭-‬7 

There is so much emphasis throughout scripture on how to treat others. Love and honor, being hospitable, respect, learning to be content…. common themes, but how well do we put them into practice? So many people have left the church because of the way they were treated. Maybe we don’t dress correctly, or smell nice; we don’t have the right type of job or we aren’t driving a good enough vehicle or live in the nicer neighborhoods. Could be we’ve done time in prison, or committed adultery or openly lived in sin. Perhaps we have left and abusive relationship, or suffer from some type of disfigurement…. Too many churches are strictly superficial and can’t abide anyone who doesn’t meet their standards. Those churches may have Christians in the membership, but they are not biblical churches. Hypocrites and the pious are not representing Christ, but we have to keep in mind that we are ALL hypocrites who have fallen short! The very best church – in my humble opinion  – is that church that is full of sinners and the fallen; the people who have accepted that they are sinners saved by Grace and God’s Mercy.

As the saying goes, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” You may be the wealthiest person alive, but that won’t save you. Money, power, and prestige mean absolutely nothing without the saving power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I’m getting all preachy, and if you don’t like it, well, it really doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is the Truth of GOD’S Word. I have to take care daily that I am receptive to the Word, and I have to be conscious and vigilant of my thoughts. I fail constantly! Peter reminds us:

  “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”- 1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9 ( All scriptures quoted are from http://bible.com/116/1pe.5.8-9.NLT)

Whether entertaining angels or ministering to the elderly, widows, or orphans; being respectful to the person you really just want to spit on; remember WHO we represent…. and HELP each other! LOVE really is the answer, when we realize Who Love is.

Beautiful 

Oh, what a beautiful day the Lord has made!

It is written, ” ‘You can be sure that I live,’ says the Lord. ‘And you can be just as sure that every knee will bow down in front of me. Every tongue will tell the truth to God.’ ” (Isaiah 45:23) Rom 14:11

Men, please take this and the next verse to heart. If your women – wives, girlfriends, daughters, and mothers – were treated this way, can you imagine how much better our world would be? Understand, too, that the word “weaker” does NOT mean inferior, or less intelligent, or less important. 

“Husbands, take good care of your wives. They are weaker than you. So treat them with respect. Honor them as those who will share with you the gracious gift of life. Then nothing will stand in the way of your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7

When you men treat us, the women in your lives, with courtesy and as if we are special, I can guarantee the results will be good! Try it and find out!

Living in the Spirit 

  “​Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” – Galatians 5:25‭-‬26

God knows how far short of this admonition we fall! It is true that when we follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are better people and better examples to the world. Of course, as we all know (whether we admit it or not!), we have a really hard time hearing the whisper of the LORD over the VERY enticing voice of our enemy. We will sin. That’s a given. It is NOT a given that we have to stay mired down in that sin. God has provided us with a way to get out of the “mud” that is sin, and He has given us a way to come clean. By becoming the Living Water, Jesus is able to wash us so clean that there is no trace of the dirt.

  “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly Righteous. He Himself is the Sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.” – 1 John 2:1‭-‬2 

In the United States, we are so blessed to be able to learn about Jesus without the oppression of a tyrant or a godless government. Sometimes I wonder, though, if our freedom gets in the way of God. Perhaps being unable to worship freely and in the open makes the Gift of Salvation all the more precious. Certainly something to think about.

(Scriptures are from  http://bible.com/NLT)


Why? Why ME?

Why? Why ME?

I know this life is temporal, and we have a limited amount of time on earth. I have had this tendency, especially when I was younger, to think my physical body was indestructible. I could do physical labor all day, party well into the the  night, and get up the next day to do it all again. As I get older, I begin to realize that the enemy is behind all of the discomfort and pain we experience, not God. I’m beginning to understand why my Dad would get so frustrated that he couldn’t do what he was used to doing, and would have to allow someone else to do things for him. We think we are so self-sufficient that we can do it. Pull ourselves up the bootstraps and get it done. Ha. No longer! But listen to what Paul says on this subject:

  “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16‭-‬18 

  “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” – Galatians 5:16‭-‬17 

It doesn’t matter what the pain is, and it doesn’t really matter how the pain came into our lives. These is an absolutely breathtakingly amazing and awesome future for us when our physical bodies give up and we get to see Jesus! It’s HARD to let go of control, even when we just imagine that we have it. We think we know better than the GOD of the Universe…. how misguided we are. There’s only one way to know – REALLY know – that we will spend our eternity with Jesus. 

  “But EVERYONE who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.’ King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in Hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the Way of Life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to G6od, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts of the Apostles 2:21‭, ‬25‭-‬28‭, ‬38 

Where will you spend eternity? I pray it is with Jesus Christ and all of the saints who precede us into heaven!

(All scriptures quoted from  http://bible.com/NLT)

GOD Created…

Have you ever made something to make a child smile? It could be a sibling or a friend, students or babysitting charges, family members, or your own child. There’s something about children and babies that makes us want to make them smile. Especially with Littles ones, we tend to do all sorts of silly things just to see that grin… I love to make things for others that I hope will make them smile. A special cake – a John Degree tractor in all of it’s green glory, once! – or a pie or a special meal, a doll or other plaything. It is inate within us to seek to make our children happy. I’ve seen parents go to extraordinary efforts to make their children smile. Do you imagine God could do anything less?

This feeling, this desire, this inborn behavior. Where do you imagine it came from? God, when creating man, made us know like Him. His desire is for us to be happy. He wants us to make good choices in our lives and make the kinds of decisions that are healthy and good for us. I believe that the angels rejoice with us when we are genuinely smiling and happy. Sound familiar? Almost anyone with a child in any capacity can understand this. So imagine this: God is a father. He is the ULTIMATE Father, both to us and especially to His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.

“Christ is the VISIBLE image of the INVISIBLE GOD. He existed before anything was created and is Supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created THROUGH Him and FOR Him.” – Colossians 1:15‭-‬16

Focus on that last sentence, verse 16b. “EVERYTHING was created …. for HIM,” Him being Jesus Christ. God doesn’t just leave it at that. Knowing full well that we humans would persist in making bad choices, He allowed His Son – His SON, His Beloved Child – to sacrifice Himself in order that we may be redeemed from the harsh sentence we will receive for our sins. I certainly wouldn’t sacrifice ANY child for someone else. I might, maybe, offer myself, but not a child. They are the innocent, and they don’t deserve the harshness of this world. Jesus is the epitome of innocence.

For GOD in all His Fullness was pleased to Live in Christ, and through Him GOD reconciled EVERYTHING to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of CHRIST’S BLOOD on the cross.” – Colossians 1:19‭-‬20

For this is how GOD LOVED loved the world: He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. GOD sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in GOD’S One and Only Son.” – John 3:16‭-‬18 (All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com/NLT)

WOW. Can’t top that.