Category Archives: hope

The Hope of Easter

Good-Friday-Wallpaper-08

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His great mercy
has caused us to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  

to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable
and undefiled and will not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,
 

who are protected by the power of God
through faith for a salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
  

In this you greatly rejoice,
even though now for a little while, if necessary,
you have been distressed by various trials,
  

so that the proof of your faith,
being more precious than gold which is perishable,
even though tested by fire,
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
 

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him,
and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him,
you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
 

obtaining as the outcome of your faith
the salvation of your souls.
—1 Peter 1:3-9

 

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By Faith [repost]

Hebrews Chapter 11

Faith in Action

FaithSign

 

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

“By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Hebrews11

Years ago Hebrews 11:1 was given to me at Royal Family KIDS Camp, a camp for abused and abandoned children. I first served as a counselor there in 1996. God called me to this ministry even though I felt totally unprepared for the task. I tried to ignore God’s call on my heart but He kept showing me that HE wanted me to go there, until one night at a prayer meeting I heard Him say to my anguished heart, “I want you to do this for Me.”

How could I ignore that?

My week at camp was a mixture of faith and fear, trust and anxiety, exhilaration and fatigue. I remember that my days were filled with prayers of “Please, Lord…” as I faced a new challenge, and “Thank You, Lord!” as He helped me through the task.

I didn’t know it at the time but the camp administration team was watching all of us counselors as we interacted with each of the children in our charge. They met each night to search the Scriptures and find just the right verse to describe each of us. I can’t tell you how surprised I was to hear that they thought Hebrews 11:1 was mine.

Faith. It’s such a small word but so full of blessed meaning. So much happened that week that made me feel like I was barely keeping my head above water, when in fact God was holding me up and enabling me to accomplish the work He had for me there.

Beloved, I don’t know where you are in your faith walk right now. But I do know this: allow God to lead you without reservation and believe without a shadow of doubt that He knows best. He loves all of us too much to want any less for us!

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Faith as [Jesus] characterized it is nothing less
than a complete exchange of all that we are
for all that He is.

—John MacArthur

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Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One who is leading.
—Oswald Chambers

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All who call on God in true faith,
earnestly from the heart,

will certainly be heard, and will receive
what they have asked and desired.
—Martin Luther

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Be faithful in small things
because it is in them that your strength lies.
—Mother Teresa

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Every tomorrow has two handles.
We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety
or the handle of faith. 
—Henry Ward Beecher

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A Child is Born

Hope--crosscards-com…..

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6

I’m sure most of us have been the recipients of birth announcements from friends and family. We get excited when we read the good news, but have any of those been as exciting or answered such a deep need as this one from Isaiah?

We announce the birth of our sweet, cuddly and cute newborns with clever sayings amid pastel colors and pictures of
bunnies, kittens, teddy bears, and the like. But just look at how Jesus’ birth is described by the prophet Isaiah:

WonderfulCounselor

Wonderful Counselor … Mighty God … Everlasting Father … Prince of Peace

Beloved, this is not a mere birth announcement. It is a heavenly proclamation!

I cannot think of any other gift that means more to us than God’s special gift to mankind: His Son, Jesus Christ. All over
the world, people exchange presents in commemoration of this ultimate gift, which is the only means of rescue from our sins.

Before we realize the need for Jesus in our lives, we are in a deep darkness of doubt and anxiety. After we ask Jesus to come into our hearts as our Savior, we leap from that lonely, dark void into a glorious and joyful anticipation of eternal life with Him at our side.

Just as Jesus’ death on the cross changes our darkness into the radiant light of eternal joy, a close relationship with Him is
the only thing that can help us find joy and thankfulness amidst our daily struggles and pain. Jesus understands what we’re going through and wants us to lean on Him for comfort, support and spiritual nourishment. His birth fulfilled Isaiah’s prophetic message of hope and in the same way, we can look forward to this realization:

our ultimate hope is a perfect heaven in which there will be no pain or suffering

HopeWasBorn…..

Beloved, I’m thinking that after going through this earthly time of pain and anguish, we will be dancing with joy and delight as we step into that glorious heavenly light! This is what we should be celebrating as Christmas approaches!

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AnnaSmile…..

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Painful Blessings? [by Cyndi Lu Moon--Repost]

Today I’d like to share a blog post by Cyndi Lu Moon from The Good News. I read this while on my blogging hiatus and it made such an impact on me right there in those circumstances that I knew I had to share it with you. Please take the time to visit and explore Cyndi Lu’s site.

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Painful Blessings?

http://cyndilumoon.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/painful-blessings/

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Cyndi Lu

Have you walked away from God’s blessing?  Of course, we say, “No way, why would we do something like that?”  At some point in our lives, our human selves rebel and let God know that we don’t like how he’s handled our trial.  What if God is blessing you in the trial and spiritually preparing you for something greater?

Sometimes, I want to run away from my blessing, because it’s disguised as a trial.

The word blessing in itself, sounds peaceful and loving, and many times is associated with love and joy.  In truth, blessings don’t always feel good.  God has blessed me many times, and let me tell you, some of them hurt.

We are all blessed one way or another and it comes in different shapes and sizes.  I hear from different people how they feel blessed to have running water, or how blessed they are with many friends.

Our blessings are unique to our lives.  Yes, friends and running water are definite blessings, but have you ever thought about the painful blessings?  BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE?

This is a loaded blessing that can sometimes sting, and leave you licking your wounds for days, or sometimes weeks, or longer.  Ask God to reveal to you a past blessing in disguise.  It could be that your significant other ended your relationship and broke your heart, only for you to find your true love, one year later.  It could be that your spouse lost their job, only to be offered a better one.

Blessings don’t always feel good in the beginning, but keep faith, God will reveal to you his plans and reasons at a later day.  

WE COULD ALL USE A DOSE OF HOPE!

What hard time in your life, actually ended up being a blessing in disguise?

  ThingsFallingApart

Thank you, Cyndi Lu, for allowing me to share this with my readers!

AnnaSmile…..

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How Many Cows

TREASURE TUESDAY

Once again I’d like to share with you a special devotional written by my friend and mentor, Patricia Knight.  This is another of the devotionals in her book, REJOICE! and it is not a coincidence that I decided to share yet another post with you about God’s extreme love for us.

How Many Cows

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A story was told me about a love story in a primitive culture a very long time ago. Amerigo was one of the brightest, most ruggedly handsome young men in the village. He was enamored with a young maiden named Maria. She was plain, shy, and self-conscious. In spite of Maria’s apparent flaws, Amerigo loved her.

In their culture, fathers demanded payment for their daughters in the form of cows. Two or three cows would buy an above-average wife; four or five cows for an exceptionally beautiful wife. When Amerigo was prepared to bargain with Maria’s father for her hand in marriage, Amerigo strode proudly into his tent, grasped her father’s hand and unequivocally announced, “Father of Maria, I offer eight cows for your daughter.”

The villagers were incredulous when they heard the news, not expecting Maria to earn many cows. Amerigo had offered the highest price ever paid for a bride, even one of extraordinary beauty. Amerigo’s word was honorable and he promptly produced the eight cows as his bride’s dowry. The wedding ceremony was then conducted that evening.

Within months Maria evolved into a new person. She gained new confidence, her eyes sparkled and she developed grace and poise. She had become a beautiful woman.

Later Amerigo was asked the reason for his high payment for his wife. If he was such a shrewd trader, why would he offer eight cows for a woman he could easily have had for three? He wanted Maria to be happy, but more than that, Amerigo recognized that the way a woman thinks about herself can bring about changes. “Before I came into her life, Maria believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any woman in the village is. I wanted to marry Maria. I loved her and no other woman.” He paused and smiled. “But, I wanted an eight-cow wife.”

John3-16--NumbersOfHope

We were nothing by ourselves before Christ purchased us with His blood. God loved us, His creation, so much that “He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God purchased a pauper with a king. There was nothing we could do to make ourselves more attractive, more honest, or more loving. When the unblemished Lamb of God purchased us, we were transformed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Notice that God did not require that we first become pure and demonstrate our abilities before He would begin to work in us. He accepted us as we were, presented us with His Son, the greatest gift of all time, and promised His very presence and His gift of eternal life. This was accomplished by divine grace, not by human merit.

We can walk a little straighter, talk more positively, and live more joyously because through Jesus “we have access to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). The God of the whole universe is approachable. He allows us to pray to Him and he hears and answers every one of our prayers. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

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God is alive. His Word is alive. No other long-established religion in the world has the benefit of worshiping a living person, one who has experienced everything we do in our live. When Jesus walked the earth, He was exposed to every temptation known to man so that when we find ourselves in a bind, when we need delivery from a problem, Jesus knows what we are feeling. That is why He can answer instantly and appropriately whenever we call on Him.

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“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).

We had a price on our head and now it has been fully paid. We have been freed, redeemed, justified. Christ paid the price for our sins, creating salvation for all who believe.

I know so little about the supreme love that sent Jesus to the cross for my redemption. But, this one thing I know—I am free! Jesus saved me from a life of servitude to sin, shame, and sadness. All of my previous transgressions are sealed in God’s possession, forgiven and forgotten by a righteous God.

Maria was purchased with cows so that she and Amerigo could form a union. We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus so that we could be united with Him on earth where we do His work, knowing that one day we will live with Him eternally in heaven.

Maria changed drastically after being complimented by a high purchase price. We too are transformed people. The old has passed away. The new is constantly evolving. God compliments us and elevates us by purchasing us with an extremely high price, the highest gift anyone could give. Jesus gave His life to redeem us.

Maria knew the reason for her new confidence. If her countenance and performance were changed by trust placed in her by Amerigo, how much more we can change, bloom, and evolve into a child of God. Our heavenly Father loves us beyond measure! Even when we mess up He is right nearby to clean up and set us back on our feet. There is no limit to His love for us; He gave His son as proof of that indistinguishable love.

Eph2-8-9“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

REJOICEIf anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of REJOICE! please let me know by commenting in the section below this post.

AnnaSmile

Hope Was Born

Rejoice

HopeWasBorn

A very blessed Christmas to you and yours as you contemplate how HOPE was born so that we might truly live…

AnnaSmile

Hope Mishmash

MISHMASH MONDAY

Today’s mishmash is brought to you by the word HOPE:

  • to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
  • to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory

The God of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13

Years ago, I learned what the term “downsizing” meant.

I was working as the coordinator between homeowners and subcontractors for a residential construction company. One day I was told that they needed to cut back their spending so they had to let me go. However, they allowed me to work for them an additional two weeks while looking for a new job. I was my sole source of support at the time so I was understandably concerned about how I would be able to support myself.

A few days later I was praying about this situation as I was driving to work. I suddenly felt the Lord telling me, Don’t worry, child. I’m going to provide you with all that you need and even more! I smiled and immediately sent up a prayer of thanks. I couldn’t wait to see what He had waiting for me.

As I walked into work and picked up my telephone messages, the receptionist had trouble making eye contact with me as she said how sorry she was that I was being let go. I smiled and told her I wasn’t worried about it at all because God had already given me a peace about the whole thing and already had a job lined up for me!

Several minutes later, I heard one of the subcontractors ask how I was doing. In reply, our receptionist excitedly told him exactly what I had related to her.

Later that morning I was driving to a meeting and one of the homeowners waved me down. He and I knew each other well because I had helped him coordinate various additions and changes to his home before he moved in. Not surprisingly he had heard my job was ending and that I was looking for new employment. I nodded at his words and the next thing he did was offer me a job with his company—right there on the spot! The salary would be exactly what I needed plus I wouldn’t have to move. To say I was amazed and excited by God’s quick timing would be stating it mildly!

When I returned to the office after my meeting, I shared my good news with the receptionist who looked shocked. I don’t remember what she said to me, but I know that she was not a believer so this little episode gave me a chance to share my hope in Christ with her.

There are many Scripture passages about hope, so I believe God thinks it is very important to us. Among the many definitions of hope, here are just a few:

  1. to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment;
  1. a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life—in other words, believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary;
  1. to place trust in; to rely on.

This is all well and good, but what is this thing called hope really all about?

What Hope IS

First of all, hope is a choice! God has given us the freedom to choose to have hope or not.

That receptionist all those years ago saw the hope I had in the Lord for the good job He promised me, true. But our ultimate hope comes from and is in God:

  • Psalm 33:20: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
  • Psalm 39:7: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
  • Psalm 62:5: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
  • Psalm 71:5-6: “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.”

Jesus Christ is the actual object of our hope because it is in His second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled:

  • Colossians 1:27: “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

No matter what is happening in our lives, we can rest assured that God is in charge and has everything under control, so:

  • Psalm 71:14: “[we] will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”

There are many mornings when it is very difficult to get going. Chronic pain illness sometimes seems to rule my life, but I try to remember Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

I will admit, though, that sometimes it is difficult for me to remember to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” —Romans 12:12

What Hope is NOT

Most obviously, hope is not discouragement. The Word of God tells us that there is no hopeless situation, no hopeless illness, no hopeless marriage. As I said before, it is up to us to choose to have hope.

Hope is not unhappiness or a feeling of gloom and doom. No matter what is going on in our lives, how can we be unhappy with Jesus as our hope?

Psalm 16:9-11 says: “So I rejoice and am glad. Even my body has hope, because you will not leave me in the grave. You will not let your holy one rot. You will teach me how to live a holy life. Being with you will fill me with joy; at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”

We as human beings will have times of pain and frustration in our earthly lives but in order not to get discouraged or lose hope, we would do well to remember Lamentations 3:21-25:
 
“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. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
 
Beloved, as believers in the promise of everlasting life in Christ, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” —Hebrews 10:23

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Here are a few more words of hope for you:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

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. Jeremiah 29:11

 Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’ Alexandre Dumas

 While there’s life, there’s hope. —Marcus Tullius Cicero

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow. —Orison Swett Marden

Hope springs eternal. —Alexander Pope

Hoping your day is blessed with all the sweet things of life…

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