Tuesday, October 22, 2013


What do you place your hope in?  Hope is defined as a person or thing in which expectations are centered.

I have met many people over the years and what they place their hope in defines how they live their lives. 

The following examples are based upon numerous people and stories mixed together. 

 A young woman based her worth on her intellect.   She attended the best schools and received the highest grades and achievements she was labeled a genius.  She landed her dream job and pulled in a six figure income before she turned 30 years old.  One day while, at work, she suffered a dizzy spell and passed out.  Sadly, it was discovered she had a brain tumor and after the surgery she was never the same.  She could not remember anything and to follow a simple recipe was even a challenge.  All of her years of hard work and study were gone.   Her hopes and dreams had dissipated overnight and her life would never again be measured by her intelligence.

A young woman found peace and comfort from always being around her friends.  She did not know how to be on her own.  She needed people and constant contact.  She was put into a situation where she was on her own far away from family and friends.  A tragedy left her far away from family and friends.  Fear and loneliness knocked at her door in the middle of the night, and she had no one to talk too.

Fame and riches belonged to a young man.  Money and power belonged to him.  The stock markets crashed, and he lost it all.  All of his friends and his wife left him; they disappeared almost as fast as his fortune.

I would like to share with you a few real life stories of hope.  These are people who taught me a lot about faith and hope.  I will share them over my next few writings.

The first story I would like to share is in honor and memory of my Grandma Katherine.  She went to be with Jesus almost 10 years ago, and I will always miss her. 

My Grandma was a young mom with two children when her husband left her for another woman.   Pain, shame, poverty, broken hearts, and dreams are all my Grandfather left his family.  My Grandma did not sit and feel sorry for herself; she had two young children who needed food and shelter.  She went to work and provided for them the best she could.  It was difficult and a struggle.  My Grandfather was also an alcoholic, and so it made a heartbreaking situation even worse at times.

My Grandmother never held it against my Grandfather.  In fact growing up they would both be present at family gatherings, and she was always kind and pleasant towards him.  She did not dwell in bitterness.  I do not understand from my own human perspective how my Grandma could have forgiven my Grandpa.  But I do know , God was with her and He carried her and helped to go on. 

My Grandma did not have a lot of earthly treasures.  Grandma was one of the most generous people I have even known.  She was always helping someone in need, and she loved to give to people. 

Grandma found her hope in God.  She prayed Psalm 91 every day for all of her family.  She put her trust in Jesus. 

My Grandma was not perfect, and I am not trying to make her out to be a saint.  She would have a fit, if she thought  I was making her sound perfect.  Grandma was a poor miserable sinner just like me and you.  But she put her faith, hope, and trust in the One who was perfect, Jesus.  And now my Grandma has perfect peace in the arms of Jesus.

“5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces 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: 1-5

My Refuge and My Fortress

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”


Friday, October 18, 2013

Father Forgive Us

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or a loved one?  The hurt and the disbelief go so deep it takes your breath away and you forget to live your life for a while.  Oh, there are days and weeks that go by and you think maybe the pain has gone away, but it comes back again trying to steal your joy like a thief in the night.

Yesterday, the bible study I am in had us focus on Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  In this verse Jesus is hanging on the cross, we cannot even imagine the agony he was feeling at this point.  The word crucifixion comes from the word excruciating.  We are unable to comprehend the physical, spiritual, and emotional pain Jesus endured for us.  The soldiers were casting lots for His clothes, while Jesus the Son of God suffered on our behalf.  I could easily stand in judgment of the soldiers, but I cannot because I am no different. 

I would like to share the two main thoughts I had about this verse.   Jesus is speaking on our behalf.  Pleading with God to forgive us because we do not know what we are doing.  They knew; I know...what I am doing when I sin....at least I think I do.  But I do not always realize the enormity of my sin.  How much it hurts God and others.  How destructive it is.  God used their sin, to accomplish his purpose for us in Jesus.  It boggles my mind.  The love Jesus has for us even in our wretchedness is hard to fathom because we do not think that way.  That leads to my second thought.  When I feel someone has wronged me, I often get stuck in my pain over it.  I need Jesus to help me say Father forgive them for they know not what they do.  We (both parties) get stuck in sin and are unaware of what we have done.  I am not able to fix myself or them.  When we forgive we our giving it over to God.  It doesn't mean that my actions were okay or the actions of the other people were okay; it is only letting it go.  And more times than not, I need God to pry it from my hands, because I am not willing to let go of the hurt or the anger.

I do not know your life circumstances or the events that may have caused you pain.  God gives us peace and comfort in His Word.  Jesus tells us Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me all who are labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 God can take your battered and confused heart and fill it with the joy that can only be found in Him.