Main

Hope Archives

November 10, 2003

The Thread in the Fabric of Life

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasure, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14

When life presses in, how do you respond? Are you overwhelmed with worry? Do you cry out in fear because the ship may sink? Do you push away God's blessing because it frightens you? Or do you push through the crowd to seek healing? Do you listen to the Truth when the world laughs at your faith?

Lord, my mind is overwhelmed and my heart seems to be sinking. Sleep eludes me, so here I sit - waiting for Your Word to come to life. But the worries crowd in - I am distracted. What is it that You want me to see?

A name, Susanna, has caught my eye - an obscure name with no explanation other than being a follower of Jesus, who supported Him with her own means. A storm that was calmed - a demon-possessed man who was set free - a crushing crowd that couldn't stop a woman from seeking healing - a synagogue ruler whose twelve-year old daughter was brought back to life. What thread is woven through the fabric of each story?

Jesus.

He is the Thread. He is the One who brings peace, freedom, healing, and life. He is the One who calls us out of obscurity into His service.

Father, I long to be mature - to be able to face the worries, riches, and pleasures of life and not be choked by them. Be the Thread in the fabric of my life. You are my only hope. You are all I need. Bring peace to my heart and mind today.

November 26, 2003

Remember Me

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42

Have you ever considered the immensity of the criminal's request of Jesus on the cross? "Remember me when you come into your kingdom."

This condemned man showed greater understanding and faith as he hung dying on a cross than even Jesus' closest disciples. The very night before, an argument broke out over who would be greatest in the coming kingdom. They still believed Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom, and they wanted to vie for a place beside the king.

Yet, this man was given a place beside the King, and he seemed to recognize that the kingdom of God was not of this world. He knew that despite His impending death, Jesus would still reign.

Lord, how can we still miss the truth about Jesus? We see Him as so much less than He is. Like Herod, we want Him to perform miracles for us. Like the disciples, we want Him to give us a place of high position. Like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, we want Him to prove His authority over us. We seem to live our lives as if we are in control of our own destinies.

Jesus, forgive my short-sighted view. Help me to see that You reign over every aspect of my life. You will reign forever!

Remember me in Your kingdom.

November 29, 2003

God's Kind

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

God created every living plant, every creature in the ocean, on the ground, and in the air according to its kind – until He created man. Nowhere in Scripture does it say man was created according to his own kind. For we are not of this world. From our very beginning, we are of God’s kind.

Interesting… The noun spelled k-i-n-d in the English language refers to a group that is unified by common traits; God created each creature according to its own kind. But the German word k-i-n-d seems to make more sense when considering the creation of man. Kind (kēnd) is translated “child.” Adam was God’s kind (kīnd) and God’s kind (kēnd), as am I.

Lord, help me to remember that I am created in the image of the Triune Almighty God. The world attempts to tear me down, and I too often believe the lie. I am Your kind. I am Your child.

Save me from myself.

December 5, 2003

Our Only Hope

Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. Genesis 7:23

I was talking to a friend last night about our mutual struggle with loneliness. No matter how many people I am around, no matter how much attention I have received, I just can't seem to shake it. There seems to be a pervading sense of loneliness that is buried deeply within my spirit.

My loneliness, however, pales in comparison to what I'm sure Noah and his family felt deep inside a dark, damp ark filled with animals. Everything outside the ark was gone. The only air-breathing, living creatures were inside. How lonely it must have felt to realize you are all that is left. Noah was a remnant; he was the hope for mankind. But I'm sure the blessing didn't come without pain.

Lord, help me to be one who brings hope for mankind. Too many live as if You do not exist, and the Day will come when those outside the ark (a new ark - a new covenant established by Your Son) will perish. How sad that day will be for those outside - and inside. Will we look back and ask, "How many more could we have brought with us?"

Spirit, help me to embrace this sense of loneliness as a reminder of the greatest task of all - to reach the world for Christ. Noah's only hope was you, Lord.

Be my only hope today.

December 9, 2003

On This Side of History

These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood. Genesis 10:32

I wonder what it was like to live on the other side of history. The signs are there. We are living in the end of earth’s history. Oh, it may be hundreds of years, thousands of years, or mere moments until the world as we know it comes to an end. But we are definitely living in the end times.

Noah lived at the beginning. Yes, there were many generations before him, but he lived on the opposite end of the spectrum from where we are today. His sons became the fathers of nations. I wonder if he realized that thousands of years later, the earth would be filled with his ancestors. I wonder if he could have imagined how his actions set the rest of history in motion. I wonder if we could understand the impact of our actions on future generations, or have we completely lost all perspective – on this side of history?

Lord, we live in a time when most people tend to consider only themselves. Oh, it is true that as we get older and our children begin to have children, we may start to see how we have made an impact. But do we understand that even we, living at the end of history, can be nation builders? Who knows what God has in store? Who knows how many generations will be lived out before God says, “Enough!"?

Father, help me to live my life in such a way that godly nations could be formed from my body. Give me an eternal perspective. I may not have a world of ancestors awaiting me as Noah did, but I long for all of my descendants to spend eternity with You. Please, Lord! Until You return, draw each of my children’s future children into a relationship with You. Don’t allow even one to be lost!

I wonder… if Noah prayed for me.

January 1, 2004

What Our Sons Should Know

When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elom the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35

Men, are we taking the time to teach our sons what they should know? Are we deliberate about it? Some lessons are taught; others are caught. Unfortunately, our sons seem to learn the things we wish they hadn’t. Like us, Isaac learned both good lessons and bad lessons from his father, Abraham.

Sadly, a lesson Isaac caught was how to deceive those around you when you are afraid. Since Isaac’s wife Rebekah was a beautiful woman, Isaac feared the Philistines would kill him and take her. Just as his father had done with Sarah, Isaac told them Rebekah was his sister. Fortunately for the Philistines, Abimelech saw through the deception; he was burned once by Abraham and most certainly wouldn’t allow Abraham’s son to pull the same trick. On the other hand, there was a lesson that Isaac learned, either through Abraham’s teaching or his modeling, that would serve him well. Isaac knew how to build an altar and how to call upon the name of the Lord.

But there seems to be an important lesson that was never learned. If Isaac had learned it, he might have taught his favorite son, Esau. When Isaac was forty years old, his father sent a servant to another land to find Rebekah. When Esau was forty, he married two Hittite women who brought much grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac never taught Esau the importance of a godly wife. He could have intervened earlier. He could have demanded that his son not marry the women in Canaan, but Isaac turned a blind eye to Esau’s choice.

Lord, am I teaching my son as I should? There are so many things he has caught from me. I pray that somehow I have been able to model more of the good and less of the bad. I want so much for him. Continue to teach him the importance of godly relationships – with others and with You.

Bless him, Lord. Teach him what I forget. May he bring glory to You and You alone!

January 31, 2004

Oppression

But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread... Exodus 1:12a

Why does oppression seem to bring growth? The Israelites were oppressed by Pharaoh, yet they multiplied in number. The early church was oppressed by Rome, and they grew in number. Even today, the underground church in China expands as the oppression increases.

What is it, Lord, that causes good to come from bad?

Today, I feel oppressed - oppressed by an enemy who want to see me fail. When we are oppressed, we have a choice to make. Will we give in to the enemy? Will we suffer the consequence? Or will we trust that God will deliver us and increase His blessing?

Father, deliver me. Show me the road out of the oppressor's lair. Give me the strength to face the enemy and to cling to You. May you be glorified!

February 16, 2004

Chased by Darkness

So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. Exodus 10:22

Those whose hearts were hardened were plunged into total darkness. Despite Pharaoh's promises, the people of Israel remained in captivity. God showed His power, yet Pharaoh's heart didn't change.

Lord, I feel like the darkness is chasing me. If my heart were hardened, there would be no hope. Total darkness would be my just reward. Continue to soften my heart. Continue to mold me into the man of Your making. I fear the darkness, for I have lived there for far too long. Shine Your light into my life, so I might live. Thank You for the fruit of Your Spirit. Make self-control my closest friend. I long to walk with You.

Make me holy - as You are holy.

February 25, 2004

Be Still

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

Some challenges are so great that our only hope is to be still and trust the Lord. The Israelites were hemmed in, or at least this is what they thought and Pharaoh hoped. Pharaoh's army stood on one side; the sea was on the other. But between them was the Lord. Moses knew the truth; God would always show Himself to be faithful.

Father, the challenges of life seem so great. I fear the enemy's army. I fear the sea of my sin that has hemmed me in for so long. Can I defeat the enemy? Can I make a path of escape? Without You - NO! With You - no challenge is too great.

Lord, help me to trust You. There are seas to cross and mountains to climb before the Promised Land will come into view.

Help me to be still.

March 8, 2004

He Prepared the Way

"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

God always prepares the way for His Chosen. Do we understand the immensity of this fact? He prepared the way for the children of Israel to enter the land of Canaan and occupy it - just as He promised Abraham. He prepared the way for us to enter eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son.

I saw The Passion of the Christ this weekend. What an amazing movie. Some have complained about the brutality - saying it is "over the top." Yet amazingly, it was an accurate depiction of what the Romans did to one sentenced to die. How horrible it must have been. Some have complained about the dramatic license taken with the characters, but how interesting it was to imagine... what would it have been like to be Simon the Cyrene, the one who carried the cross? To have been caught by the whips? To have been scratched by the thorns on His brow?

Lord, You prepared the way. How You withstood it, I cannot comprehend. But to think - You did it for me. Help me to live up to Your faith in me. Help the world see how You prepared the way for all who believe.

April 12, 2004

Being Good Enough

If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. Leviticus 5:17

There is no way we can be good enough on our own. Even the sins we commit unknowingly are our responsibility. When we stand before God's throne, the excuse, "I didn't mean to do it," won't mean a thing. No amount of trying to be good will ever be enough.

Lord, there are so many in this world who believe they can somehow be good enough. They are in need of a Savior! Thank You for sending Jesus. Without Him, we would certainly be lost.

I would certainly be lost.

Jesus, although I know the truth - although I have been saved by Your blood, there are times I chase the idea of being good enough. Your Spirit is my only hope of righteousness. Help me to seek holiness through my relationship with You rather than through ritual. Be my only Hope today!

April 23, 2004

His Dwelling Place

"You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in the uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them." Leviticus 15:31

God takes His dwelling place very seriously. It was required of the people to be ceremonially clean in order to present themselves at the Tent of Meeting. Disregarding God's requirements could result in death; Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's sons, were proof of that.

Lord, how is there any hope? Jesus sent the Counselor to dwell within us. Are we not Your dwelling place now? How can we ever be clean in Your presence? You know everything that makes us unclean; we cannot hide it from You.

Yet You choose to live among us.

Help me see that Your Son has cleansed me from all unrighteousness. His action alone is my hope. Keep reminding me who I am. I am Yours.

May 11, 2004

Under One Banner

So the Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards and that is the way they set out, each with his clan and family. Numbers 2:34

There's something I've never done. I've never lived in a big city. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a city with well over a million people. I also wonder - what would it be like to move that whole city from one place to another? There are many large cities today, but how many of them have simply picked up and moved? The idea of it is truly astounding. The logistics of such a task amaze me.

Yet this is what the Israelites did. God is not limited by numbers. With His help, the Israelites - well over a million of them - moved across the desert to the Promised Land.

A Day will come when He does it again. There is a Day coming - maybe very soon - when God takes every one of His children and moves them from this earth to a land of eternal hope. It's exciting when you think about it. We will all be under the same standard - the same banner - the One who was lifted up for us, Jesus Christ.

Lord, I know You want none left behind. Help Your Church to reach the lost. Show us how to make room for them in our camp. Guide us along the way.

June 2, 2004

Let's Go!

Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements. Numbers 21:25

Sihon king of the Amorites refused to allow the Israelites passage through his territory. In fact, he sent his army to attack them. God was with the Israelites, and all of Sihon's land was taken away from him. If they could do this with a tired, depleted army, what could they have done when God originally commanded them to enter Canaan?

The Israelites had to be asking themselves, "Why did we not listen to God before?" Standing on the edge of the promised land, they had a full army. God Himself was saying, "Let's go!" Yet the people hesitated. They did what they did best - complain. God banished an entire generation to wander in the desert. Now many had died from battles and plagues.

Lord, too often I hesitate in chasing Your will. Time after time, You say, "Let's go!" I reply, "I'm too small." The promised land will always be out of reach as long as I don't trust You. When I trust, I see success.

Help me, Lord, to take the land that is destined for me. I'm tired of living in fear.

June 7, 2004

The Shout of the King

"No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them." Numbers 23:21

Balaam received an oracle from God to bless Israel rather than curse them. God said there was no misfortune in Jacob; no misery was in Israel.

Now, wait a minute! Is He talking about the same people who have been wandering around in the desert complaining and dying from plagues? How is that not misery? How is that not misfortune?

The truth is: God's presence overshadows any and every circumstance. No matter what the Israelites experienced in the desert, the mere presence of God at the Tent of Meeting - the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that led them - was enough to say they were truly blessed. The shout of the King was among them!

Okay, Lord. Lately, my wife has been telling me that I am too pessimistic. She says I'm looking at the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. It seems that I have forgotten that Your presence in my life can overshadow the challenges of living it. I'm too caught up in what others think. I'm more worried about the opinion of men than I am about the opinion of my God.

Spirit, help me to stop grumbling. Help me to not take everything so hard. Help me to remember that You are ever-present. I have much about which I can rejoice.

The Shout of the King is in me!

June 10, 2004

Life Carries On

These are the ones counted by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they counted the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. Numbers 26:63-64

Life carried on in the desert.

Despite the years of wandering and the death of an entire generation, each Israelite clan was sustained. Soon, the land that was promised so long before would be theirs. Not one man over twenty years of age who had been counted in the first census was alive. Yet, over the years the number of men of fighting age in Israel was only reduced by 1,820. Some tribes grew; some were smaller. But they were strong and ready to fight.

Lord, life does carry on in the desert, doesn't it? Despite the years that my heart has wandered, You are still here - I am still here. Help me, Father, to seize the life You promised - a life of freedom in Your Spirit. Counselor, be my guide, my strength, and my all today.

June 24, 2004

A Place to Call Home

"No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal land inherited from his forefathers." Numbers 36:7

Finally, a place to call home! Since the time of Abraham, there had been no place where his descendants could call home. Even Abraham moved about from place to place - from Ur to Haran to Canaan to Egypt, then back to Canaan. Abraham was a nomad.

How exciting the promised land must have been for these nomads - these wanderers in the desert. And to know, the land would not be taken from their children; how wonderful it must have been!

Lord, as Your children, we are all nomads on this earth. The concept of inherited land is tough to grasp, especially in a western culture constantly on the move. I long for that place that will never be taken from me - that eternal inheritance in Your kingdom.

Come, Lord Jesus! I am weary from wandering in the desert. Give me a place of joy by Your side - a place to call home.

July 2, 2004

Can it be real?

For the Lord your God is brining you into a good land - a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. Deuteronomy 8:8-9

For a generation that had been raised in the desert, the promised land was a dream come true. Moving from place to place for forty years with only what you could carry and eating manna that miraculously appeared each morning probably made the Israelites wonder if there was ever hope of a place to call home. But here they stood, ready to occupy the land of their dreams.

Lord, a lifetime of wandering in deserts has left me wondering if the promised land can ever be in my future. I know that Your Son offers a life of freedom - of purpose and joy. Yet it doesn't seem real. Help me, Lord, to do what it takes. If it requires facing an unseen enemy or tearing down his city walls, give me the strength and courage to do it. Thank You for the brothers who stand beside me.

How glorious You are! I am not alone.

July 6, 2004

With Nothing in His Way

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow - to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him - then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. Deuteronomy 11:22-23

Careful observance of God's laws is not enough to save us, for we cannot follow them perfectly. That's why Jesus came. His grace paves the way for our entrance into heaven. But following God's laws - loving Him and holding fast to Him - can sure make life today more complete. When we obey, there is nothing to stand in His way. His full blessing is poured upon us. Our enemies are destroyed by His very hand.

Lord, I want Your full blessing. You are strong enough to help me take hold of the life You intended. Spirit, help me to follow the truth. Help me to cling to Your chest. Hold me tightly as I face the strong enemies in my life.

July 13, 2004

A Fresh Start

...because the Lord's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. Deuteronomy 15:26

What a blessing it would be to experience a jubilee year - a year when all debts are canceled. Life would be filled with fresh starts.

Lord, I need a fresh start. To experience financial freedom is more than I could ever dream. But this isn't the freedom I most desire. I need full assurance in the depths of my soul that my sin debt has been canceled. I know that Jesus paid the price, but I still seem to carry the weight of my sin everywhere I go. It feels sometimes like my ear has pierced by the enemy - that I belong to him for life. In truth, You were pierced so I might be free.

Help me to walk as a free man. Give me courage to face my sin creditors and say, "You no longer own me." Make me Your own today.

August 16, 2004

Will you give me a drink?

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." John 4:10

When was the last time I asked Jesus for a drink of living water? Or have I ever truly done it? If I had, wouldn't it be a flowing spring as Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well?

Lord, for so long I have felt like the well is dry. All my attempts to search for water have failed. Yet all I need to do is ask You. You have the water I need. Only You can fill me.

Jesus. Will you give me a drink?

August 21, 2004

I was blind, but now I see!

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:3

A baby born without eyesight - it must have been devastating! I wonder how his parents felt. Oh, they loved this child, but what kind of a life was he going to have? Blind men in their day normally lived out their lives begging on a street corner. All their hopes, all their dreams were shattered. Maybe it would have been better if their son had never been born. Little did they know that their son would someday be healed by the Messiah - the Christ - the very Son of the Living God.

For over two thousand years, generations have marveled at the story of their son's healing. A man born blind received his sight!

Lord, there are so many circumstances in life that I don't understand. I may not have been born with an infirmity, but I have plenty that I need to overcome. Why did I, as a little boy, feel lost in the crowd? Why do I still feel lost - wandering like a blind man through life? Unlike the blind man, many of my troubles are due to my sin or the sins of my parents. But regardless, the work of God can and will be displayed in my life.

Heal me, Lord. Put mud on my spiritual eyes so I might see and understand. I no longer have to live as a beggar on the street, for I have been touched by the hand of Christ. I worship You, Jesus - the Son of God. I was blind, but now I see!

September 5, 2004

Love and Action

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:18

Faith and love have a lot in common. They both must be seen by what we do. Faith requires action. Love requires action. Without it, they are merely empty words.

Father, I am blessed. You have given me a wife who displays both faith and love. All her words have not been proven empty - not even half-empty. I am amazed by the calming and restoring power of Your Spirit. Give me faith, Lord. Help me to display this faith in what I do. Give me the courage to take the action that will restore my soul - that will fill my cup to overflowing. May my actions truly reflect a heart for You.

October 20, 2004

Defying Reason

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Joy, peace, and hope - these three things seem to defy all reason, and they have probably been sought by every man who ever lived. Interestingly, I feel these are quite possibly the very keys to the Christian life. If an individual can grasp the concept of them on a deeply spiritual level and understand how Christ makes them possible, it's hard to believe that one could reject the salvation God offers.

So what are they? What do I really mean by this? Consider what they represent spiritually and how they are the complete antithesis of the world. Consider how trusting in God makes them reality.

What is joy? It is a deep contentment that is ever-present despite the circumstances of life. It defies reason. The world defines it as happiness. The world believes that circumstances can be manipulated in order to find it. God promises that by following His Son, you will find it regardless of circumstance.

What is peace? It is a deep sense of calm that surpasses all understanding. It defies reason. The world defines it as the absence of turmoil or hostility. The world believes that it must be obtained by defeating your enemies. God promises that by trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will experience a calmness of heart in the strongest of storms.

What is hope? It is the belief that despite anything that might happen in life, a brighter day is on the horizon. It defies reason. The world defines it as wishful thinking. The world believes that by working hard enough, by doing all we can, that wishes can come true. In truth, the world has no concept of it; the only future the world can see is death. God promises more than what we see on this earth. Jesus is the gate. Jesus is the path. Through Him we have life eternal.

The amazing truth is: all of these are available for those who trust in Him!

Lord, sometimes I don't get it. Sometimes, despite how hard I try - joy, peace, and hope seem to escape me. How does this happen? When I honestly consider it, I realize that these fade when I haven't put my trust in You. When I trust myself, when I trust the world, despair is often the result.

Help me, Lord, to trust in You fully. Help me to discover what is missing - to discover what I have always been seeking and have never been able to find. Make me a whole man - completed by You in every way.

November 1, 2004

Still on His Throne

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. Psalm 11:4a

When the wicked are threatened, their natural response is to flee, but a righteous man has nothing to fear. God's hand covers him. Regardless of the circumstance, God remains on His throne.

Lord, the more I consider this passage, the more troubled I am. My natural response has been to flee. It may simply be an emotional escape, but my tendency has always been to run. When the enemy threatens, when he stands at the city gates tempting me to flee the loneliness, my first reaction is to consider the escape route. If the natural response of the wicked is to run, what does that make me?

With each new day, I am finding new strength to face the fear. Rather than running, I am learning to trust. But it troubles me how easily I could slip away. My fear makes me vulnerable. Help me to not be afraid.

Father, this is the day before an important election in our country. Many are afraid of the outcome. But regardless of the victor, You will remain on Your throne. Help us to trust You. You are watching Your children. May Your will be done.

December 15, 2004

A Chosen Inheritance

He chose our inheritance for us... Psalm 47:4a

Have you ever considered the importance of a will? A will is a very important document. It generally expresses one's wishes regarding the disbursement of belongings and the care of children. Sadly, it is sometimes powerful enough to separate families. At the death of someone they loved, too many can become selfish and greedy.

But the most powerful aspect of a will is what it represents. It represents one's choices. A will reflects who has been important in one's life, for it describes a chosen inheritance.

God has chosen an inheritance for those who have loved Him. And He left a will.

In an amazing way, His will was written over the course of many centuries through the pen of many different authors. His written will is the Bible. The Bible describes those who have been chosen - those who will receive an inheritance upon His death.

The interesting thing is - the inheritance is the One who died. Jesus is our inheritance. For those who choose to follow Him, an eternal life in Him awaits.

Lord, thank You for choosing my inheritance. Thank You for sending Your Son to live, to die, and to reign forever.

January 27, 2005

Hope for the Lonely

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:6

Loneliness.

There are so many people who face it everyday. So many circumstances can leave someone feeling alone - feeling invisible.

Sometimes the circumstance is physical. The single life can be a lonely thing. I know a man whose unmarried brother died unexpectedly and wasn't discovered for three weeks. How lonely he must have been.

Sometimes the circumstance is emotional. For a variety of reasons, a child seems to disappear in the middle of the crowd. Although others are present, he feels utterly alone. Many adults still feel invisible.

But there is hope. "God sets the lonely in families..." He is all about relationship. We must be willing to receive it.

Are you lonely? Reach out! Grab the hand next to you. Rejoice, for the Father will never leave us alone.

Lord, help me to grab hold of the family in which You have set me.

February 27, 2005

I am so ashamed...

Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O Lord. Psalm 83:16

I have always believed my shame is an enemy. It longs to see me hide from the world. Under the cover of darkness, others cannot see what I am really doing - what I am really thinking. Shame keeps telling me, "If they really knew you, there are none who wouldn't reject you!"

Isn't it interesting, though, how one man's shame - the very thing that keeps him hidden in darkness - shines light for other men to follow? There are so many lessons that are learned that can bring hope and life to others - if only a man is willing to share them. The hope that one finds in the shame of another can be a path to righteousness, for knowing the pitfalls can often keep us from falling.

The challenge is: how many men trapped in shame are willing to share? The very nature of shame is to hide the truth. Sharing anything is contrary to what a man would choose. How can one who is lost in the darkness find the courage - how can he find the hope for his own freedom?

Truth can set any man free!

The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the sins of every man. He bore our shame, so we can life. This is truth!

Father, help me to set aside my shame. Help me to see the light others are shining. Help me to follow the light of Your Son. Be glorified, O Lord. Use everything in my life - even the things I would hide - for good according to Your great purpose.

March 27, 2005

Upright in Heart

Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Psalm 97:11

Encouraging someone to draw closer to God may not always be a pleasant suggestion, for being in His presence may not always be a wonderful experience.

It all depends on the condition of one's heart. For the righteous, His presence brings the utmost joy, but for one whose heart is plagued by guilt, to be near Him brings the deepest gloom.

Lord, there are times in life that all I want is to be in Your presence. Other times, I want as far away as possible. My only hope is in the blood of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice took away the guilt and shame of all our sin. I've seen darkness, and I've seen light. I prefer life in the light.

Make me upright in heart.

April 19, 2005

"A" Solution

I fade away like an evening shadow... Psalm 109:23a

Have you ever felt like you are merely fading away? Like an evening shadow that is swallowed by darkness, you simply begin to disappear.

For much of my life, I've been afraid of fading. Like a bad actor trying to steal a scene, I've reached for the lime light because in the light, maybe I won't disappear. Yet anyone who has been in the lime light will tell you - it doesn't solve anything. The attention fades, and before long, you are invisible again.

I think I've found a solution - not "the" solution, but something that can counter the enemy's lies.

Get a dog.

Ever since I was a little boy, I've liked cats. A cat is independent. He is distant. He does his own thing. The whole world revolves around what he wants. Everything a cat does is about himself. He can be visible, or he can disappear; he simply doesn't care. Maybe that's why I've liked them.

But a dog never disappears, and better yet, he'll never let you disappear. The people around you might not notice when you seem to be fading like an evening shadow, but a dog always seems to be saying, "I still see you."

Lord, thank You for the reminder - I am not fading into the darkness. If I ever feel unnoticed, if I ever feel invisible, Your Spirit reminds me - even through the disruptions of "man's best friend" - that I am still here. Open my eyes to see those who are fading around me. Help me to remind them how visible they are. Help me to not be afraid of the shadows.

April 26, 2005

A Doorway to Light

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalm 112:4

For the unrighteous, darkness only leads to more darkness. But for those who seek the Lord, darkness is a doorway to light. Darkness has been my friend for far too long. The darkness of sin, the darkness of depression, the darkness of a hopeless existence - how have I come to know these so well?

I guess it doesn't really matter. What matters is where I go from here. Will I return to the dark corridors that have kept me trapped in a maze of despair? Or will I push through in a new direction? Over the years, I have learned to follow the paths that lead further into the darkness. Yet even those paths brought me to places that sustained me. This is a point that many Christians don't understand. Even I struggle to understand. How can I keep returning to dark places when the light lies right outside the door?

Why wouldn't I?

Seriously, would I not return to the only source of satisfaction and gratification I have ever known? A mouse who lives in a maze will return to his source of food simply because he knows where it is.

Lord, it's normally easy to have compassion for someone who simply doesn't know any better. Why can't I give myself the same consideration? For years, my routes of escape were all I knew. It's time to forgive. It's time to follow a different map.

Jesus, help me to see the light. Help me to seek out the Source. Sustain me along the way. I want to know Your ways. I want to know You.

April 12, 2006

Prepare a Room

And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers. Philemon 22

Paul was in prison when he penned the book of Philemon. But in typical fashion, Paul was filled with hope. His physical circumstances rarely seemed to dissuade him from believing God was completely in control and caring for him every moment. Despite his chains, Paul asked Philemon to get the guest room ready for a visit.

I wonder if Philemon's guest room was used by Paul again. Even if it wasn't, I'm sure Paul's faith was unshaken.

Lord, help me to see beyond the circumstance of today into the bright future of Your design. The chains of work and debt so often keep me from believing in tomorrow. Give me a faith that rises above the stress and anxiety. Give me eyes that can see the path - eyes that can see the goal. I want to go where You lead. Show me Your way, and I will follow.

And prepare a room for me.

About Hope

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in the Hope category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Holiness is the previous category.

Humility is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31