Hope

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinithins 13:13

Last week we looked at Faith, this week we are looking at the second of these three things which last forever – Hope.

Let me first of all say what this Hope isn’t! It isn’t wishful thinking! It isn’t saying things like “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow”, when there is absolutely no basis for holding to that hope. We use this word hope so loosely that it is hard to define it in a meaningful way.

But let us start by saying that hope needs a foundation, it has to be placed in something/someone trustworthy. Otherwise we are just going to be disappointed, and every time we place our hope erroneously in something/someone untrustworthy it erodes our hope and we become cynical and bitter and find it hard to take people at their word and which then reflects in our reluctance and inability to trust in God.

So hope, as in one of these three things which are going to last forever, what is it?

It is a desire with an expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. So it isn’t a vague wishful thinking, but there is an expectation of fulfillment. So hope in the bible is based on an expectation that God is faithful and that He will fulfill what He has promised, He will do what He said He would.

How do we know this, that God is trustworthy? Well we can read through the Old Testament and see in the history of the Israelites how again and again God did what He said He would do. We can see that He was faithful and as we move into the New Testament we see all His love and promises for redemption fulfilled in Jesus. Perhaps the thing which proves Him most trustworthy of all is that God did not withhold His own Son, His beloved son, so if He was willing to give up His Son so that we can be reconciled to Him surely this is definitive proof that God is trustworthy and we can place our hope in Him?

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32

God then is our solid, secure anchor on whom we can place our hope.

19 This hope is a safe anchor for our souls. It will never move. This hope goes into the Holiest Place of All behind the curtain of heaven. 20 Jesus has already gone there.

Hebrews 6:19

As we go into Easter week and think of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we see that Jesus has already gone into heaven before us to prepare a place for us. He is there, He is waiting, He is preparing our place.

Do not let your heart be troubled. You have put your trust in God, put your trust in Me also. There are many rooms in My Father’s house. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going away to make a place for you. After I go and make a place for you, I will come back and take you with Me.

John 14:1-3

That hope that we are speaking of then is an eternal hope, it is found in Jesus, it is firm and sure, we have the surety of it, the conviction, the evidence.

Our outward present circumstances then are not the end of our story, but we have a hope for a better, more glorious, more secure future for eternity and that is firm, that is fixed, that is unmovable.

Our hope is sure and will last for ever.

Spring

I used to think Autumn was my favourite season of the year, but this year it definitely is Spring. Spring is the word-prompt for the #Five Minute Friday group of writers today.

I don’t know why this past winter has seemed darker and longer than others but it has, February came and I was hopeful for the first signs of spring, but alas none came which made winter drag out even more. But in with March and wow Spring has sprung in!

Such joy, such hope, such delight, such relief!

I wonder if we are a bit like that spiritually too? We long for the dark winter of our souls to be over, to be past, we long to feel the joy of the Lord again. It seems like such a long time that we have been sitting with this darkness and low feeling at our feet, that we long for it to lift, to see a ray of light, even a beam of sunshine in our souls.

We are not good at “sitting” with pain, with trials, with hardships, with depression, with darkness, we are always wanting to rush on, to move past it, to get to the other side. Yet, Yet often it is in our weakness that we see and experience more of God’s mercy and Grace, so perhaps the lesson of Winter is Patience and the joy of Spring is the reaping of that patience?

Today, I am thankful that I live in a country with seasons and I am thankful to have the God who is faithful through each and every season which come, both of nature and of the soul.

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.’
Gen 8:22

Advent 3 – Joy

When we have been bogged down by our fears the last thing we feel is joy. We feel trapped, we feel down, we feel darkness, we feel despair, we feel hopeless.

Yet in the dark streets shineth

the everlasting Light;

The Hope and fears of all the years

Are met in Thee tonight”

But when we are delivered of those fears relief comes, a lightness comes and joy comes! All those fears from all those years are met in Jesus.

Joy

Joy Comes

Joy comes with the relief, joy comes with the hope. All our fears from all the years are met in Jesus, they are come together in Jesus and He deals with them, He satisfies them, He relieves us of them.

Jesus meets us right where we are, He relieves us from the burden of those fears and brings joy. Joy which no one can take away from us, no-one can rob us of the joy which Jesus brings.

Have you had the burdens of your heart lifted, have you had your fears relieved? Then rejoice, know that deep down joy in Jesus.

My prayer for you this week is that you will know relief from you fears and that you will find joy in Jesus.

Advent 2 – Hope

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Yet in the dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
The Hope and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

This Advent week we looking at HOPE.

Hope for the “fears of all the years”.

Fears of all the years – that is a lot of fears, over a lot of years!

Even in our own lives imagine if all our fears from all our years were written in one long list, how long would that list be? Some years there may be more entries than others, but still, I know for me that would be a very long list.

YET

Yet Jesus

Yes Jesus is the hope for all those fears which we carry, sometimes we carry them from one year to the other, Yet Jesus.

Jesus is our hope. Our hope is placed in Jesus for our saving, our hope is placed in the fact that Jesus died for us, He has opened a way to God for us, He has gone into heaven before us to prepare a place for us and He will come back again to take us to our forever home.

So we don’t place our hope in the temporal, material, dispensable, fleeting things of this world, but we place our hope in the eternal, the everlasting, the imperishable, the truth and the trustworthy things of God.

Jesus alone is the answer to our hope and fears of all our years, let us place our hope in Him today, giving Him our fears and know assuredly that He will come back for a second advent when He will remove all those fears and tears from all for all time.

My prayer for you this week is that you will find hope for all your fears in the midst of your years.

Advent 1 – Light

I AM the Light of the World

So it is Advent! Lots of busy, lots to do, also lots of Advent Devotionals and Studies, but these lines from the Carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” have really touched me this year and seem so appropriate for this Advent, this pandemic, this life.

Yet in the dark streets shineth

the everlasting light;

The Hope and fear of all the years

Are met in thee tonight

O Little Town of Bethlehem

In the dark streets – our streets are dark, it is winter, the weather has closed in, it is dark, bleak even. There are fears on our streets, fears in our homes, fears in our hearts.

We are still in the midst of a Pandemic, it has not gone away, it mutates, grows, finds new ways to get a grip. Similar really to our fears, they mutate, they grow arms and legs, they can get hold of us and it is difficult to let them go, difficult not to focus on them, difficult not to let them control us.

BUT.

But Jesus.

But Jesus is the light.

In the dark world shines our Everlasting Light.

Jesus is the Everlasting Light, in Him is no darkness at all.

When we turn our fears and our darkness over to Him we find that His light comes into those fears and dispels them and His light shines sanity, serenity, peace and hope into our darkness.

So what are our fears today that we need to turn to Jesus in? Where is the darkness in our life that we need to let Jesus shine into?

My prayer for you is that you will find the Light of Jesus in the midst of this dark world and that you will be the light of Jesus in this dark world!

See Grace

This is part of a wee mini series I am doing on the Five Senses looking at Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace.

This week we are looking at Grace – what does Grace look like?

For me Grace looks like Victory!

Grace is strong, Grace wins through every time, Grace reaches down to the depths and comes out victorious!

It is the strength of Grace which reaches down and pulls you back up. It is Grace that calls for you when you are in the depths.

It is Grace which takes you small, dirty, insignificant, as you are and transforms you into being a son/daughter of the King of Kings.

It is Grace which takes you at your lowest and puts you back on the path of life. It is Grace which seeks for you when you are lost. Grace meets you where you are, but doesn’t leave you there! It is Grace which takes you and led you, it is Grace which sustains you, it is all of Grace.

It is Grace which takes you home, through all the trials, all the tribulations, pains and fears of life, it is Grace which wins through and takes you to your forever home with our Gracious Lord and Saviour.

What does Grace look like to you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Touch Kindness

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness, and Grace.

Ephesians 4:32 Be Kind to One Another - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads - Bible  Verses To Go

This week we are looking at – What does kindness feel like?

To me it feels soft, warmth, almost fluffy but not quite!

Against the harsh realities of the world, jagged personalities, bitterness’s and resentments kindness feels soft.

Against the anger, hurts and even violence kindness feels soft.

It is not so much that we touch kindness, but that kindness touches us and when it does it leaves its mark. Strange that something so soft can have such a profound effect, and can leave a mark.

But kindness can soften hard hearts, kindness can dispel anger, kindness can stop violence in its tracks.

Kindness can wipe away tears of loneliness, kindness can take away the sharpness of broken personalities, kindness can remove barriers between those who were estranged.

We can reach out in kindness to our neighbours, our friends, our colleagues, our family, those whithin our sphere of influence. We can be kind, in word and deed, we need to extend kindness in this harsh world.

But we also need to let kindness into our own souls and lives, to feel that softness against the harsh realities, to know that touch when we are feeling bitter, to feel that touch of forgiveness when we feel judged and condemned. We need to feel that touch of the loving kindness of the Lord.

And be kind to one another

What does kindness feel like to you? Let me know in the comments section!

Hear Courage

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Grace,

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courage...

This week we are looking at – what does courage sound like?

For me it sounds like a bell!

Courage for me means that I am having to be brave about something, it means taking a big gulp and doing that something which naturally doesn’t come easy for me and so courage may at first sound like the little tinkle of a bell.

I may have to face a difficult day, I may have to apologise to someone I don’t find easy, I may have to face a medical issue or I may need to step out in faith and do something God is asking for me. However little or however big the thing is I need to garrison my courage.

And then when I have garrisoned the courage, taken a deep breath and start out on the pathway of the difficult task, I hear that little tinkle of courage, but as I progress along that pathway the tinkle gets louder, as my courage grows so does the sound of that bell, it is no longer a tinkle of courage swamped by fear, but a boldness comes and with it the sound of courage changes to a much more resounding gong.

So often in the bible God tells us to ‘Be of good courage’ to be ‘courageous’. He knows our fears you see and when He calls us to do something which goes against our natural instincts He is asking us to step out and trust Him, that He will bring it to pass, that He will step in where we are weak and make us strong.

What does courage sound like for you? Let me know in the comments section.

Mind Your Senses - The Research Group
wordpress.com/post/findinggodintheeverydayblog.wordpress.com/1851

Taste Forgiveness

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace,

Sweeter than Honey — Intentionally Yours

This week we are asking – What does forgiveness taste like?

For me it tastes like honey – sweet and soothing.

If we are living in unforgiveness, not having accepted that Jesus died for us, died for our sins; that our sins are removed from us, along with the guilt and shame of those sins, then we don’t know that sweetness of forgiveness. We are not experiencing the soothing forgiveness of Jesus washing away our sins.

If we have unforgiveness in our heart towards others it taste like bile in our mouths, it is bitter and it comes out like poison. Honey sweetens that. Honey smoothly slips down and on its way it touches everything around transforming them to sweet.

Honey heals, honey soothes, honey sweetens.

Forgiveness heals, forgiveness soothes, forgiveness sweetens a sinner heart.

We are told to taste and see that the Lord is good’

Tasting, partaking of the Lord’s forgiveness is seeing He is good, tasting of His forgiveness, His compassion is like tasting honey.

If we have a sore throat and drink a little hot water with a spoon on honey it soothes.

If we have a wound and rub a little honey on it, it heals.

If we are sore with our sin, drinking in of the Lord’s forgiveness soothes our sorry souls,

If we are wounded, broken, shamed, rejected then finding the Lord’s forgiveness and applying that to our wounds heals our sad, broken souls.

Honey, honey on the comb, sweet, healing

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

What does forgiveness taste like to you? Let me know in the comments!

Smell Hope

A while ago was listening to a Podcasts by Emily P Freeman, #The Next Right thing where she was talking about the senses and posed the question what does Hope smell like? I found the question interesting and began to ponder what our senses communicate to us about Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace and so for the next five weeks we will look at these very things.

So today we start with the sense of smell – one of the most evocative of all the senses they say, bringing us back to childhood memories and can conjur up situations both good and bad. Yet strangely enough my own dad was born without a sense of smell and I remember trying to describe a smell to him, but in my bad effort it was only comparing it with other smells!

Anyway, what does Hope smell like?

For me, it smells sharp, citrus like Lemon. It is something which awakes the senses when you have been dull, when you have been in a fog and then you smell something citrus it freshens your other senses, heightens them even and you begin to wake up, you begin to pay attention and as that smell increases, gets stronger you become fully alert

That for me is what hope is. You get a glimmer, maybe just faintly at first, but a glimmer and with that glimmer, you sit up, you pay attention, you are on the lookout for further signs. Then as you see further signs, maybe something you had missed in your dismay, too wrapped up in your despair to see, hope stirs within you and awakens you.

Why are you cast down O my Soul

Hope in God, my Help and my strength

What does hope smell like to you? You can let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know!

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