Hope and Rest – Spring is Coming

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“For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19 It is February and the temperature is in the 70’s. I love the spring weather. We have had a cold, wet winter and it is nice to see some warm weather. I am sitting on my front porch enjoying my coffee. The daffodils are in bloom. It so nice to see God has given us a promise of life to come. The ground is bare and brown, looking like there is no life. Then God sends us these beautiful flowers to remind us that something wonderful is soon to come. You may be going through some difficult times. Your life may look bare and brown just like the ground looks during the winter. You may not be able to see an end to the storms in your life. God is there with a better hope. Even if you cannot see Him working, He is there. He loves you and wants the best for your life. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Just remember spring is coming!

Hope and Rest – Hope in Jesus

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“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 Dr. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who lived as a prisoner in Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II. Dr. Frankl experienced unimaginable horror during his years of captivity, yet during that time he was able to discern the reason why some people survived the camps while others did not. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Dr. Frankl writes about how hope was the key factor to a prisoner’s ability to survive. “For the prisoner who had lost faith in the future, his future was doomed. With the loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and become subject to mental and physical decay… The only chance people had of making it in the camp was their ability to focus on some future goal, it had nothing to do with who was the healthiest or strongest, but who had someone waiting back home for them or who had some vocational goal they dreamed of realizing one day” (Dr. Viktor Frankl) Our hope is in Jesus Christ. This is the only hope that we have in a world that seems to be falling apart. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God promised us in His Word that Jesus Christ was our hope. God promised that because of His Son’s inheritance He would take care of us.

Hope and Rest – God’s Rest

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“For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.” Hebrews 4:10 We all need rest. God told us that we needed at least one day a week to rest and recharge so that we can move on with life. I find this is so true. This scripture is not talking about a day at the beach. It is talking about the rest we get when we turn everything over to God. To me this is the hardest thing that I can do. Turning everything in my life over to God and letting Him have complete control. We all feel that we have to do something. We have to make things happen. If we don’t, we are not doing what we should. When we try to make things happen, we become exhausted. We become frustrated. To me this is not a fun place to be when we feel that we must be in control. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) This scripture is telling us that if we don’t rest in God, we will lose our confidence in God. We need patient endurance. This is what I need more than anything else. I have stopped praying, telling God what He should do. My prayers are, “Lord, help me to know your will” or just “Help me!” The Lord will give us the rest that we need if we just take our hands off and allow Him control. “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and […]

Hope and Rest – God’s House

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“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NLT) “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NKJV) I will dwell in God’s house forever. I have lived in many houses in my years. I have moved more than most people. I have lived in the city. I have lived in the country. I have lived where I could see the Rocky Mountains every day. The view every morning was inspiring. Most of the houses I lived in, I was content to live there, but it just was not quite enough of what I wanted. I have always felt that the next place I lived would not be as good as that I was presently living in. I always wondered if I could make the next place home. The house that I am looking forward to live in is God’s house. This is the house that I have been looking for all of my life. The view of the Rocky Mountains was inspiring, but the view will not even compare with the view from God’s house. Some of our journeys have been long and hard, but we just need to fix our sights on that heavenly home that God has prepared for us. God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile. The Twenty Third Psalm is a psalm of hope and rest. It is a Psalm that we need to mediate on often. God wants to give us the hope and rest that we need. All we have to do is […]

Hope and Rest – Trust God

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“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NLT) “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NKJV) “Our mood may shift, but God doesn’t. Our minds may change, but God doesn’t. Our devotion may falter, but God’s never does. Even if we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot betray Himself. He is a sure God, we can state confidently, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” (Max Lucado) What a promise. This verse gives me hope. It tells me that I serve a big God. A God that can make these promises and there is no problem with Him keeping them. Every day the news in the world is depressing. It seems that there is no hope. What are we going to do? I am going to put my trust in a loving and caring God. There is no other foundation in this world but God. The people that put their trust in God have a great energy for God. They have great thoughts of God. They have great boldness for God. They have great contentment in God. We need to get back to our trust in God. “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Hope and Rest – Blessings

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“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” Psalm 23:5 NLT “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” Psalm 23:5 NKJ My cup overflows with blessings! I am so blessed. God has blessed me so much over the years and He is still blessing me. I don’t know where I would be without God and His blessings. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, a great son. I have a roof over my head and food on my table. I have friends that care for me and take care of me if I need them. How could I ask for anymore? I am blessed with some of the best neighbors. Last summer when I had surgery they cut my grass without even asking. I praise and thank God for all of these blessings. “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:6) This is God’s plan to bless us with His love and then we get to live with Jesus forever and ever.

Hope and Rest – God’s Healing

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“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” Psalm 23:5 NLT “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” Psalm 23:5 NKJV The reason the shepherd used oil on the sheep was for the healing of their many wounds. The wounds of the sheep happened in the pastures. It happened on the trails they traveled to the new pastures. They were wounded just by living. This is so true with us; we are wounded just by living in this world. Just by doing life. Just as with sheep, some of us have more wounds than others. Jesus wants to heal our wounds. He wants to heal our broken hearts. To heal our relationships. He wants to apply the oil to our wounds so that we can have the healing that brings peace. The peace that comes from walking with God. Do you doubt the healing power of Jesus? Even John the Baptist had his doubts. “John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (Luke 7:20) Jesus demonstrated His power to heal while here on earth. “Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.” (Luke 7:22-23) He is still in the business of […]

Hope and Rest – Protection from the Enemy

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“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” Psalm 23:5 NLT “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” Psalm 23:5 NKJV Shepherds will protect their sheep in many ways. Just as God protects us from our enemies. The shepherd was always searching for danger. He was looking for poisonous plants, wolves, coyotes and bears. There was one enemy that was hidden and would come on the sheep before the shepherd knew it. This was the Adder. It was a small snake that lives underground. Adders lived underground and they would come out and nip the sheep on the toes. The bit would often become infected and kill the sheep. As defense against the snake the shepherd would pour a circle of oil at the top of each Adder’s hole. He also applied the oil to the noses of the sheep. The oil on the snake’s hole lubricated the exit, preventing the snake from climbing out. The smell of the oil would drive the snake away from the sheep. God does the same for us. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11 NKJV) God has provided the oil that we can use to defeat our enemy. This oil is the armor of God. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV) We need to take on the whole armor of God. Satan is like the Adder, he is lurking in the dark to […]

Hope and Rest – Claim to Believe

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“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV) “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NLT) I believe that in this verse we can see that God is with us when we go through our dark valley here on earth and then He is with us as we walk through the valley of death. If we are walking with God, we have no reason to fear death. We are only stepping into another world and I believe that the Spiritual world is more real that this physical world. I don’t know where I got this poem, but it speaks volumes about how we should look at death. Claim to Believe: “We claim to believe in Him and eternity of the soul. Why, then, should we all fear death if God is in control? We weep, we grieve, we gnash our teeth when a loved one’s end is near. Shouldn’t we, instead, be envious? Instead it’s death we fear. We suffer life; God knows it’s true. We pray to avert death’s due. Isn’t it really rather selfish of me and you, does it really make sense? To congregate and confess before God our truest sin…Of doubt in Him I guess? If in our faith we trust, and in God we believe, wouldn’t it surely make more sense, sing and dance, instead of grieve?” (Author Unknown) “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have […]

Hope and Rest – Darkest Valley

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“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV) “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NLT) As I walk through my dark valley God is with me. Last year was a year of a dark valley for me. With my cancer, my surgery and the death of my brother. The one thing that I can say about this dark valley is that I grew in my walk with God. This valley was more of an emotional and mental valley than physical. At times I felt like I just could not make it. I have always been the positive one and during this time, I felt more fear than I ever have. Even knowing that God was with me. The fear at times was there. I really don’t know what I was fearful of. I can look back on that year and I can see where God was with me even if I did not feel it all the time. I believe the reason that I did not feel God walking with me was because He was carrying me. At times, I just need Him to carry me. I am writing a new book on living in the Spirit. We need to adopt the Twenty-third Psalm as our Psalm if we are to live in the Spirit. I know that God is showing me more and more how much He loves me and how much He wants to be our shepherd.