Psalm 90:12-17

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us;

Yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Psalm 90:12-17

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Hope

What is the real meaning of hope?

So often, I catch myself saying, “I really hope that (blank) will happen,”  “I really hope that so-and-so will forgive me,” or  “I wish that (blank) wouldn’t have happened.”  In any case though, there is usually a degree of doubt whenever I usually talk about hope.  In this way, hope becomes more like wishing–believing that there is a chance that whatever you are hoping for will not come true.

These past couple of days, I have been struggling now more than ever with many different things.  I can’t even name just one!  God has shined His light on my life and shown me soooo many different sins and just things about me that don’t resemble Christ as they should.  With this, I have shed so many tears and felt as though my insides were being torn and twisted.   In the end though, He has taught me about hope through this exposition, as well.

This afternoon, I read Psalm 42, and it struck a heartfelt chord with me today.  Here’s what The Message translation says in verses 2-3, 5:

“I’m thirsty for God-alive.

I wonder, “Will I ever make it–

arrive and drink in God’s presence?”

I’m on a diet of tears–

tears for breakfast, tears for supper,

All day long people knock at my door,

Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?”

 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God–He’s my hope

soon I’ll be praising again.

He puts a smile on my face.

He’s my God.”

Wow.  Isn’t that verse passage incredible?  Through reading this I was reminded that biblical hope is much different than worldly hope, so I looked up the definition in my Bible Dictionary.  It said that hope was a trustful expectation, or as I like to say, “a blessed assurance” (Holliman Bible Dictionary).

Not only do we get to wish for God, but we get to trust that He is true!  God is exactly who He says He is and that He is a God of love and mercy and infinite forgiveness for those that claim Jesus as their only Savior.  We have His Word, and we have been given a blessed assurance that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

I know that life is hard.  Trust me, I know.  But God’s grace is greater.  His love is greater.  This is where our trust must lie.  But whenever life gets you down, close your eyes and rest in the promises of God.  Rest in the heaven to come that is described in Revelation 21.  That is our hope.  That God will dwell among us, and He will wipe away every single tear.

Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Today, trust God.  He is our blessed assurance.  He gives reason for our soul to sing again, to praise Him and His glory.  So smile!  So hope!  Trust in Him no matter what happens.  Never lose your trust in Him and the promises that He will fulfill.  Always have hope.

religion that is pure and undefiled: pictures from Kat :)

Just a few minutes ago, I went on Facebook with every intention to just check messages and no more!  Knowing me though, I saw a friend of mine, Katherine, and I clicked on her profile.  Lo and behold, I was on Facebook, and instead of checking messages, I began to click through pictures from her mission work this past summer.

Not only were the pictures pretty, but they were captivating.  I clicked through them, looking at the faces of those precious children.  They live in a way that I can not even imagine, and yet by the smiles on their faces, it made me wonder if they know something about life that we don’t know… that I don’t know…

 

 

Katherine, I hope you don’t mind, but I want to share your talent with whoever may stop by.  Your pictures are a true testament to the talent that God has given you with a camera 😉  I love you and thanks so much for sharing your mission in the Philippines here with us!

 

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:

to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,

and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

James 1:27



 

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart

with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,

which in God’s sight,

is very precious.”

1 Peter 3:4



 

“I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

Selah.”

Psalm 143:6



“The little children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray.

The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said,

‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,

for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’

And he laid his hands on them…”

Matthew 19:13-15


 

thanks, Kat 🙂

What a beautiful woman of God, you are!

He will teach us how to love.

In the last post, I wrote that a new lesson God is teaching me is that I must be…

free from people

to be

free for people.

But what does this look like in our lives?  Each time that we are doing something for or speaking to someone else, how do we know if we are doing it out of a grudge or out of love?

The truth is that on our own, we can’t always tell the difference.  For example, if my dad has hurt my feelings through something he’s said, it’s hard for me to know how to respond to him.  Should I say something?  Should I just now say anything at all?  How should I act?

Through many mistakes and things that I shouldn’t have said or done–oh the wonderful days of college, right?–I’ve come to realize the truth of Isaiah 55:

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,

declares the Lord.

For as high as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:6-9

As the broken human beings that we are, we will mess up.  Even if we try so hard not to, we will never get it all right or even get ourselves to together!  Here’s the thing though.  We can either stop here OR we can learn from Isaiah!

The beauty of God’s relationship with us is this: it’s active.  We aren’t supposed to be able to understand everything and just do the right thing.  If we could, what would be the point of God sending Jesus to this earth to interact with us, to be a human too?  God has created us for a relationship, and relationships involve communication.

The Lord’s thoughts and His ways certainly are higher than ours, but He wants to teach them to us.  He wants us as unrighteous men to give up what we think is best and to adopt God’s way.  Even though we don’t naturally know how to love as Christ did, the He is always near to us.  He wants to show compassion when we fail and to teach us how to love through the way that He loves us!  How incredible is that? wow, pretty amazing …… 🙂

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).  He is abundantly compassionate, and He will teach us how to act, think, speak, pray, hope, have faith, etc.

He will teach us how to love.

To be free for people

Whenever I go back and read my journals, I usually can find a common thread of what God has been teaching me.  One journal may mainly be about praying while another is about learning how to rejoice in suffering.  Over the past weekend, I now know the next lesson that God will be teaching me: that I must be free from people to be free for people.

Luke 9 has always been a hard chapter of the Bible for me to read.  Here are verses 61 and 62.

“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’  Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’ “

On the outside, this request seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?  I always thought that Jesus was being extremely selfish to not let them do these things and still be his disciple.  But here’s the catch… This person had been following Jesus.  He, as well as many others, heard him preach, and they probably even saw him perform miracles.  In all of his glory, they saw him and the work that the kingdom of God entails.  Basically, they saw God and instead of falling flat on their faces and worshipping, they turned away.  They made an excuse.

Today, let’s pray that God will help us see the excuses that keep us from dropping everything–past pain, fears, grudges, hopes–and cling only to God’s love.  Today, let’s pray that He will teach us what it means to be free from people to be free for people.  It’s a lesson that, if we truly learn it, will change the way we love and serve always.

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂