When Hope Seems to Run Out

Sharing from SetApart.net.

When Hope Seems to Run Out

By Sarah Walton

God is still a God of miracles. Though it may look different than when Jesus walked the earth, we still hear of God’s divine intervention all around us – tumors that miraculously disappear, a hardened criminal surrenders their life to Christ and has a powerful ministry to the unsaved, an unborn child who’s been declared “unfit for life” is born perfectly healthy, and hard to reach cultures are coming to Christ through divine intervention.

Yes, God still reveals His power and supremacy through these miraculous acts. However, it’s likely that many of us haven’t experienced a life-altering miracle in our own lives (other than the miraculous regeneration of our hearts). Although there are times that we can clearly see evidence of God at work in our lives, there are also seasons when it seems as though prayers are being answered in everyone’s lives but ours.

Read the rest here.

Holding on to Sustaining #Hope

This is an excellent post about HOPE from the True Woman blog at Revive Our Hearts, and not just because Ava Pennington and I both chose HOPE for our 2017 theme. I’ve been going through a time of multiple physical trials, so I truly appreciate what she wrote. I think it is an encouragement for all of us, no matter what we’re going through.

Holding on to Sustaining Hope

By Ava Pennington

The new year is nearly half over. And the first five months of 2017 were not at all what I expected.

But God knew. And He gave me a clue back in December.

For the past several years, I’ve enjoyed the practice of selecting “one word” for the new year. A word to apply to every area of my life. A word to help me focus on how I believed God wants me to grow and respond to my circumstances.

Joy became my word for 2016. Also a surprise word, but once again, I could see God at work. While joy might not seem to be related to release, I quickly learned ways it complemented and built on the lessons of the previous year. I learned to take joy in present moments even as I released the illusion of control.

I became aware of my one word for 2017 in early December. Like the others, it was not included on my original list of considerations. Still, hope kept coming to mind. And it confused me.

I could see reasons for the words release and joy. But would I really need to focus on hope as a daily activity? Hmmm, since I teach and write, perhaps this was an indication that the Lord would use me to encourage hope in others. To be a vehicle of hope for those struggling against despair.

Read the rest here.

HOPE for Every Day

hope-ptz-amp

2016 was the year of JOY for me, in which I shared daily posts about JOY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also have a few friends who asked me to share these posts via email. I truly enjoyed delving further into the Bible to find so many JOY posts. I love that whenever I write about something, God also teaches me through it.

I’ve been praying about what 2017’s theme will be and realized that JOY and HOPE go hand in hand. We live in such turbulent times. We finally get over one difficult situation and feel like we can be calm and peaceful again, when WHAM! Something else hits us. Our days start to feel like those mammoth tsunami waves that come crashing over us again and again.

The image above is an acronym for HOPE that came from my friend Pat Knight. Isn’t it the truth! I’ll be writing about HOPE here from time to time as well, and today I’m starting off  by sharing this quote:

“The Christmas message is that there is
HOPE for a ruined humanity–
HOPE of pardon,
HOPE of peace with God,
HOPE of glory–
because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor,
and was born in a stable so that
thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”

–J.I. Packer

Sunday #Praise and #Worship: Lord, I Need You

SundayPraiseAndWorship-50--AMP

Life is admittedly tough. Just when you think things are going smoothly, something suddenly happens that threatens to shake our faith. But those of us who have placed our trust in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ have the power of His Word to hang onto. In the pages of the Bible are many words of power, comfort, peace, faith and truth.

No matter what’s happening in our lives, let’s not forget that our ultimate hope and JOY is in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and no one or nothing else. The song “Lord, I Need You” sung by Matt Maher has been running through my mind lately, especially when I’m struggling with life in my little corner of the world.

As you listen to this song, ponder the words of comfort and peace Jesus speaks to His disciples:

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

—John 14:27

 Please excuse any ads that may appear before the video begins
If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

Let’s Reach Out with the Gospel to Women Victimized by Abortion

One of the great devotionals I receive daily via email is from Randy Alcorn’s Eternal Perspective Ministries blog. Amid all the disgusting information uncovered in the videos that reveal how Planned Parenthood has been selling body parts from aborted babies, we have neglected an important fact. There is a huge population of women who are mourning the loss of these babies. I’m sure all this news and the videos being splashed abundantly around the internet are dredging up horrific memories.

Randy Alcorn’s article is an excellent reminder that we need to keep these women in prayer and reach out to them with the Gospel message.

Let’s Reach Out with the Gospel
to Women Victimized by Abortion

by Randy Alcorn

Millions of women and men, both in society as a whole and in our churches, are suffering under the guilt of abortion. The heavy emotional burden of abortion isn’t limited to those who’ve had one. A schoolteacher in her forties said, “Advising my daughter to have an abortion led me into a long, suicidal siege. I’m not over it yet.” [i] (Another group of people affected are those who work in abortion clinics. Check out this article,“Mugged by Ultrasound,”about why so many abortion workers have turned prolife. Wow. Also, see Justin Taylor’s blog for the sixth video released about Planned Parenthood.)

I encourage you to read through the following perspectives from Diane Meyer, a close friend of ours. In fact, she’s like a third daughter to me and Nanci. She lived with us when our daughters were small and she was a young unwed mother. We had the joy of seeing her come to Christ, and helped her place a baby for adoption.  (Just this last year she was reunited with her 33-year-old son and it was our privilege to be there with Diane’s family and the adoptive parents.)

Read the rest here.

Shared by permission of Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org

BlogSL2-smallest

 

Valley of Vision

This wonderful devotional was written by Joni Eareckson Tada and included in her Pearls of Great Price book. Joni has always been an inspiration to me, and I hope you are touched by this as much as I am.

Valley of Vision

Ps84-5-6-DesertOasis-sm--AMP

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 

—Psalm 84:5-6

In the days of the conquest of Canaan, the Valley of Baca was known as a dry, waterless place where only balsam trees could grow. Some have called it “a place of weeping.” However, when we trust God during dry, parched times, we can turn our valley of weeping into a refreshing “place of springs.” 

My favorite Puritan prayer about valleys has seen me through many a dry place in my spiritual journey:

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision… Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,Thy glory in my valley.[1]

Psalm 23:4 says, “… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” We fear no harm in the valley because death can only cast its shadow on us. Evil has no grip on us. Truly, we find God’s brightest glory in our darkest valleys. 

Lord, You are the Great Shepherd who leads me through every dark valley. I trust You to turn my valley of weeping into a place of refreshment and encouragement.

www.joniandfriends.org

[1] Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision… A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, The Banner of Truth Trust, Pennsylvania, PA, 1997, Preface.

Copyright © 2006. Pearls of Great Price by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Anna-Coffee2The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

1John4-10--3Crosses--AMP

We often ask ourselves why we’re doing what we do:

  • What is our purpose in life?
  • What’s the point of working so many hours each day?
  • Why strive so hard to advance ourselves?
  • What good will any of this be when we die?
  • Are we living each day thinking that we’re going nowhere?
  • Do we go on with no hope in this life, wondering if there’s anything else after we die?

People have described this empty place in our hearts as a “God-shaped vacuum” that can’t be filled with work or through buying more clothes and other things. It is something that can’t even be filled with our personal relationships. What we really need can only be found in a relationship with God.

Our Sin Problem

We read in the Bible that we are sinful people—not just because of the bad things we do but because of who we are. We aren’t sinners just because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners, and that’s what separates us from God.

The Good News!

What if there was a way to bridge the gap that separates us from God? Wouldn’t you be interested in the assurance of being able to have everlasting life with God?

Well, there is a way—the only way—and that is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the one who died for our sins.

That’s what He did, you know. He died on that cross at Calvary so that you and I could live with Him forever. That’s the Good News!

It’s difficult to believe how much God loves us! After all, we’re nothing but sinners. In First John 4:9-10, we see the evidence of His great love for us:

God showed how much he loved us
by sending his one and only Son into the world
so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

You might be asking yourself how that is possible. Well, here are a few verses from the Bible that give us the answer:

God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son
so that whoever believes in him
may not be lost, but have eternal life.
God did not send his Son into the world
to judge the world guilty,
but to save the world through him.
—John 3:16-17

 

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life,
but those who do not obey the Son
will never have life.
God’s anger stays upon them.
—John 3:36

 

Those who see the Son
and believe in him have eternal life,
and I will raise them on the last day.
This is what my Father wants.
—John 6:40

 

. . . I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me
will have life even if they die.
And everyone who lives and believes
in me will never die.
—John 11:25-26

Why would Jesus die for our sins? Because He loves us and desires our company forever! Imagine that! We also read in the Bible that “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9

A Living Hope

Hope!-sm--AMP

There is hope for all of us through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We can do nothing in our own strength to guarantee us everlasting life. It is only through the sacrifice which Jesus Christ made on our behalf that we have the privilege of living with Him forever:

I mean that you have been saved
by grace through believing.
You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.
It was not the result of your own efforts,
so you cannot brag about it.
—Ephesians 2:8-9

The amazing thing about this gift of eternal life is that it is a gift! Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid the price for our sins, once for all time:

But God shows his great love for us in this way:
Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
—Romans 5:8

How We Can Receive the Gift of Everlasting Life

We have done nothing to deserve the gift of everlasting life, yet it is freely given to us and very easy to obtain. All we need to do is:

  • admit that we are sinners, repent of our sins, and then ask God to forgive us;
  • believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He die for our sins and then was resurrected from the dead: “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9;
  • ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts as our Savior and help us as the Lord of our lives.

You can do this right now in the quiet of your room. It’s between you and the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s an example of how you can pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior:

Heavenly Father, I’m so sorry for my sins. Right now, I’m turning from my sins and asking You to forgive me. Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for my sins on the cross. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and my life, and be my Savior, Lord, and Friend. Thank You for forgiving me and giving me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Now there will be Someone you can turn to with all of your problems, cares and concerns—and that is Jesus Christ. Just knowing that He is in your corner is the greatest comfort of all.

. . . but now we are also very happy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we are now God’s friends again.
—Romans 5:11

JourneyBegins--AMP

Beloved, welcome to the family of God!  If you have any questions about any of this, please write to me at faithlhj777 at gmail dot com.

VectorPageDivider

Note: All emphasis in these Bible passages is added by me.

SmileyBlackCoffeeAnna

WHITE SPACE


The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.