Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When the Day Gets Rough, Have a Little Hope

We have all been there: the car breaks down, the children are sick, the dog ate your favorite shoe, you spilled coffee all over your favorite outfit, you aren't certain where you're going to find money to pay the latest unexpected bill, someone you care about is facing a major illness or hardship, your marriage feels like it is falling apart. You feel like you can't seem to get ahead. Each one of us have faced tough days. Some of us may even wonder if we will ever see a break in the storm. Let's be real, it can be overwhelming at times.

Dear one, you are not alone. I have been where you are as have others. The good news is that you will live to talk about it another day. My prayer is that you will be able to talk about how God was your hope during this difficult time in your life. To be able to talk about hope, it helps to know exactly what hope entails.

Merriam Webster defines hope as a verb to desire with expectation, to expect with confidence.

Picture holding on to God with a desire of expectation and having confidence in His love for us, His beloved children. Knowing that He is always with you (Matthew 28:20). Knowing that He who started working in you will see that work through until completion (Philippians 1:6). Knowing that in this world we will face trouble but He died, He rose again, and He overcame the world (John 16:33). Knowing His love for you is longer, higher, wider, and deeper than you could ever fathom (Ephesians 3:18)

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The Bible,  says this about hope:"...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, 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." (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

Romans 12:12 also talks about hope: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)

Anticipation, trust, faith, belief, expectation, confidence, promise, desire, reliance, assurance, zeal, craving, hunger, drive, love, passion, yearning, foretaste, joy and certainty are all synonymous with hope.

Are you seeing a pattern here, my friend?

Because we live in a sinful world, we are going to face trials. What God wants us to hold onto during these trials is the hope that we have in Him because of His immense love for us. While we are enduring sufferings, God is fighting our battles for us (Exodus 14:14) and He is working in us refining us like gold (Zechariah 13:9) and helping to build character. While we are going through these difficult times, we need to be communicating with Him in fervent prayer but it doesn't end there. When our trial is over, we need to keep praying, keep seeking Him, joyfully yearning for more of Him, and telling others of His wondrous love, hope and grace.

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My Story by Addison Road

Free to be Me by Francesca Battistelli

Friday, March 11, 2016

Because Sometimes Life Seems Unbearable

Let's face it. There are times when life simply seems unbearable. We wonder, "Where are you, God? Are You listening?" Trials seem to be piling one upon another and we feel certain we will break under the weight of them. We feel alone. We may even attend church but feel like the people there don't truly see us. They may say hi and make small talk but that's where it ends. They don't walk in the trenches with us. We feel alone, abandoned, isolated. We don't know how to reach out for help or we're afraid to because we've been disappointed too many times in the past. We may be reaching out for help but no one is heeding the call. We can become very discouraged, disheartened, depressed. Any of this sound familiar? Well dear one, you are not alone.

In fact, King David often wrote about his feelings of loneliness, abandonment, isolation, depression, disenchantment, and heartache in the Psalms. In Psalm 13:1-2, he cries out, "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"

What I like about David is that he was always transparent with God. He poured his whole heart out to his Father: the good and the bad, the praise and the doubts. He took everything to God.

Even when expressing his doubts and fears, David ends the Psalm with trust in and praise to God. Psalm 13:5-6 states, "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord's praise for He has been good to me."

I know how difficult it can be to praise God when the weight of your trials feels as though it is crushing you, dear one. Yet, in pouring my heart out to God, in giving Him all of the good and the bad, in praising Him in the midst of affliction, I have felt my heart set free from the burden I was trying, and failing miserably, to carry on my own. When we embrace God, trust in His immense love for us, and allow Him to be our strength, we can overcome our trials and any obstacle because it is His power working in us and through us. We will still have trials in this world but we have hope because He with us. It is this hope that fills us with His wondrous peace.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

You are never alone. God is with you always. His love for you is deep and his thoughts for you are vast. When you feel alone, take comfort in knowing that He is thinking about you, dear one!

You Carry Me by Moriah Peters

The words of this song are a great reminder of God's love: Feels like it's been miles and miles Feels like it's an uphill climb Sometimes I get weary on the way But when I look at where I've been When I look back, I'm sure of it I was right there in your arms and can say

Every moment of my life God, you never left my side Every valley, every storm You were there, You were there - You Carry Me by Moriah Peters

Brave by Moriah Peters