Tag Results For :: "hope"




Away

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.

— Psalm 55:6, The Message

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Sometimes, I still picture this: Sitting out on Mission Peninsula, surrounded by the greens and blues of northern Michigan, where the cool clear day and a glass of iced tea brought a moment’s respite from real life—the place where I actually live.

The thing about being away is that you don’t belong there. It’s great while it lasts. But it doesn’t last.

So, instead I think I’ll aim to live here:

I call to God;
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
are lined up against me.

— Psalm 55:16, The Message

Lord, I’m looking to You today, waiting on Your help and direction, drawing close to Your promises and peace. Show me the way ahead in the midst of this day’s surroundings—in Christ, I pray.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.

— Psalm 55:22, The Message



Not Taking Any of This Day for Granted

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.

— John R. W. Stott

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We pondered your love-in-action, God,
waiting in your temple:
Your name, God, evokes a train
of Hallelujahs wherever
It is spoken, near and far;
your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action.

Be glad, Zion Mountain;
Dance, Judah’s daughters!
He does what he said he’d do!

Circle Zion, take her measure,
count her fortress peaks,
Gaze long at her sloping bulwark,
climb her citadel heights—
Then you can tell the next generation
detail by detail the story of God,
Our God forever,
who guides us till the end of time.

— Psalm 48:9-14, The Message

Doves cooing outside our bedroom window is a commonplace occurrence this time of year. Still, I can go for hours at a time without hearing them, simply because I’m not listening.

It’s only when I stop focusing on other things and turn my attention in the birds’ direction that I realize their sweet songs have been there all along.

Lord, how easy it is to tune out Your love and grace as my attention turns away from You toward my thoughts, concerns, and surroundings. I want to look and listen more often for You; I’m not taking any of this day for granted. Open my ears to your music and fill my heart with Your songs — in Christ, I pray.



Heart’s Desire

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , ,

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God answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach,
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans.

When you win, we plan to raise the roof
and lead the parade with our banners.
May all your wishes come true!

That clinches it—help’s coming,
an answer’s on the way,
everything’s going to work out.

See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we’re making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.

— Psalm 20:1-8, The Message

Help’s coming. An answer’s on the way. Everything’s going to work out.

Even when I can’t see it.

Lord, at moments like this, when I don’t know what will happen next and can’t tell how You’ll work everything together for something good, I’m trusting Your plans and purposes. Thank you in advance for what’s next. My heart, my desires, my life, are in Your hands. Accomplish what You will — in Christ, I pray.



A Prayer for Abigail

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

— Jim Elliot

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God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

— Psalm 119:33-40, The Message

Abigail had an amazing moment last night when she was the first graduate to enter the auditorium, both hands waving. As she wheeled across the stage at the Frank Erwin Center in downtown Austin, the highlights of her life’s journey filled my heart. Through it all, God has strengthened and sustained this remarkable young woman. Her life portrays a shining picture of His beauty and grace.

Lord, bless all of us who rely on Your strength in our weakness. Smooth the path ahead as we travel the road You lead us on. Thank you for the life, the hope, and the peace you alone give. May Your joy be ours—in Christ, we pray.   

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A Place Like This

April 19th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

— Psalm 84:1-2, The Message

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A few weeks ago while checking out a realtor’s open house in a nearby neighborhood, to my surprise I found myself entering a residence that seemed like a perfect fit. Though I had no intention whatsoever of making a move to a different address before walking in the door, once inside my imagination took over.

What a beautiful home….

Here’s the kind of place I’ve always longed to live in….

I’ve often dreamed of staying in a room much like this one, where I could….

It’s a given: As long as I’m camped out here on earth, there will be a part of me that will keep longing for my perfect home, no matter where I am, regardless of how plain or attractive my temporary tent is. Even so, until I reach heaven, I’ll continue praying for the grace to realize where I am now.

Lord, open my eyes to Your eternal reality, that I may see today where I am already abiding.

 

“For we know that if the earthly frame that houses us today should be demolished, we possess a building which God has provided—a house not made by human hands, eternal, and in heaven. In this present body we do indeed groan; we yearn to have our heavenly habitation put on over this one—in the hope that, being thus clothed, we shall not find ourselves naked. We groan indeed, we who are enclosed within this earthly frame; we are oppressed because we do not want to have the old body stripped off. Rather our desire is to have the new body put on over it, so that our mortal part may be absorbed into life immortal. God himself has shaped us for this very end; and as a pledge of it he has given us the Spirit.

Therefore we never cease to be confident. We know that so long as we are at home in the body we are exiles from the Lord; faith is our guide, we do not see him. We are confident, I repeat, and would rather leave our home in the body and go to live with the Lord. We therefore make it our ambition, wherever we are, here or there, to be acceptable to him.” — 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 5:1-9, New English Bible



Early

April 14th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants.

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.

— Psalm 90:13-15, NKLV

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I’m waiting for you, Lord.

The world we live in is not as it once was and not as it will one day be. Our anxious waiting “for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us” is not a soundless, predictable, easy process. The “foretaste of future glory” we have received from the Holy Spirit, rather than eliminating our groaning hunger for Christ and His kingdom, significantly sharpens our longing.

“Suffering makes us want to go there. Broken homes and broken hearts crush our illusions that earth can keep its promises, that it can really satisfy,” states Joni Eareckson Tada, who has lived most of her life in a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a diving accident. “Only the hope of heaven can truly move our passions off this world—which God knows could never fulfill us anyway—and place them where they will find their glorious fulfillment.”

In spite of what currently popular trends, theories, and theology may tell us, just as there is no painless birth, there is no painless life.

Like pregnancy, life can seem strangely meaningless if we discount or dismiss its eternal purpose and value in the presence of painful, confusing contradictions. But when we stop, focus our eyes of faith on Jesus, and quiet our hearts long enough to truly recognize and feel the discomfort, we find Christ waiting to meet us at the heart of our deep groaning.

I’m waiting for you, Lord.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Rom. 8:22-25, MSG



Not As the World Gives

April 10th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
— John 14:27, NASB

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Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.
O Blessed voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction, of pardon, grace, and peace,
Of joy that hath no ending, of love which cannot cease.

— William C. Dix (1837-1898), “Come Unto Me, Ye Weary”

 

For the thirsty, the hungry, and the distracted, the message of Christ is the same. Jesus speaks of pardon and forgiveness, of joy and peace, given freely to all who look to him to satisfy their innermost needs. Are you trusting the Lord with your heart today? Can you accept he is bringing you ever closer to being conformed to his own character and image? We can live in hopeful expectation believing he will complete the work he has begun.



April 9, 1945

April 9th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , ,

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“Good Friday and Easter free us to think about other things far beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering, and events; and we lay hold of a great hope.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis shortly after Easter on April 9, 1945.



Doubt It Not!

April 6th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Look at the cross; behold His precious Gift transfixed to it, and that by His own hand, and for your sins. Then look at your present circumstances, survey your needs, your trials, your chastisements, your bereavements, your heart-sickening, heartbreaking tribulations, and know that God still is love. If He had love strong enough, deep enough, to give you Jesus—to tear Him, as it were, from His bosom, and to transfix Him on yonder accursed tree for your iniquities—has He not love enough to bow His ear to your cry, and His heart to your sorrow? Will He not rescue you from this difficulty, deliver you out of this trouble, shield you in this temptation, supply this need, and support, succour, and comfort you in this grief? Oh yes, He will! Doubt it not! The cross of Calvary is a standing pledge—standing until sin and guilt, need and woe, shall be known no more—that God, who ‘spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things’ necessary to our good, and promotive of His glory.” — Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

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We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

– Hebrews 6:13-20, MSG

 

Holding on to hope with both hands today is possible. The opportunity to see, trust, and believe is here, right now.

Lord, help me today to keep looking for you in every moment, each conflict, all my activities, beyond the noise, above the silence. Thank you for meeting me in the midst of my life as it actually is.