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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

The bible is filled with stories of failure. I think you could label the Old Testament as the “Old failure Testament.” As you read the Old Testament you can see that the theme of failing is a direct result of the Israelite’s attempts to find life outside of God. Many of the stories talk about a people who did everything they could to seek after life in any form. This is not a new concept as we still have this problem today.

If you look back and read about the Israelites journey through the desert, you will see a people who wandered around for a long time. The Isrealites made what could have been an eleven day trip to the promise land a long forty years. That is a long time of mundane walking before someone decided to do something about it. It took forty years before the realization that the reason for the wandering was taking God off the throne of being King. The Israelite’s suffered a lot of hardship and frustration in trying to make life happen on their own.

The longer the people of God spent away from him the more suffering was experienced in the journey.

I am very aware that I do this all the time. I battle with the tension of moving in the direction of God being my king, and seeking life outside of him. Let me tell you, I experience failure every time. Failure is a guarantee.  Outside of God being our God, life is meant to fail. The lie is that life works and is available outside of him. You can see Satan attempt this lie with the temptation of Jesus.

Failing affects me emotionally. After experiencing failure, I am really bad about not attaching the label of failure to everything about my identity. God, in his gentleness, reminds me that failure is a gift. Failure is a tap on my shoulder reminding me of the path I am meant to be on. There is so much freedom to be known in releasing my failings to him.

Changing my mentality has taken me a long time. I have not mastered this by any means. I have definitely taken one too many laps around the desert.  I want to rejoice in failing. I want to be so grateful that God loves me so much that failing is the gift of being one step closer to experiencing life to the full.

Where do you get get stuck in releasing your failure to him?

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Hope

Hope is a small word that packs a huge punch. Hope plays a larger role in my life than I have been aware of.

For the past couple of weeks I have found myself to be easily frustrated, quick to be unedited in my words, and easily discouraged. This is not a fun place to sit in or experience. As I have thought about it, hope, or a lack of hope, seems to be at the root of my issues.

I have found that hope is a catalyst to standing firm when all else fails and falls away. Hope can keep one from falling away.

Proverbs states, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” It really does. When we put hope on hold discouragement is not far off. When I stop hoping in something I have placed pressure on myself to make something happen. I have definitely failed at most things when choosing this mentality.

Job states it so well as he wrestles with his own stubbornness, “Why do I put myself in jeoprady and take my life in my hands?”

So many things are rooted in hope: joy, strength, endurance, and perseverance. Hebrews describes “faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.” My faith has everything to do with how I hope. And my lack of faith has everything to do with how I choose to rely on what is seen.

Paul talks about hope being attributed to the development of character in the time of experienced suffering.

Hope takes me out of myself and fixes my eyes on the one greater then myself; the one who promises plans for me. Hope gives breath and strength to your dreams and desires. Hope builds character, faith, and dependence on God. Hope is powerful.

Paul also states, “for in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

I have not been waiting patiently in my hope. I have grown in discouragement and frustration. I desire to fix my hope on him.It is time to hope again.

Take one million….and action…

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I work in an office where  all day I watch people respond to thousands of things. I have found that in the majority of the responses are those that don’t rock the boat. We are a people who hate conflict. For some, they will do anything to keep the peace.

What happens when this desire to “keep the peace” keeps you from experiencing life to the full. Keeping the peace doesn’t just stay quarantined to just one area of your life. What about when it comes to standing up for yourself or another? What about when it comes to living out your faith in a world that will make sure to show you some persecution?

Jesus rocked the boat every where he went. I am not just talking about his words, but his response of love and value to every one he talked to. Jesus just lived his life out of a secure relationship with the father. That rocked the boat for all. His words provided new hope for those going through the motions of life. His touch provided healing and grace for those who had given up on knowing life. His stories enlightened those who struggeled to find meaning for their life. No matter what Jesus said or did, he rocked the boat.

I want my life to rock the boat by how I respond, love, listen, know when to speak, challenge, provide hope and grace. I want my life to rock this worlds boat just by how I follow after the one you did it first!

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John 16:33 states, ” I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

This verse speaks truth that echos right into the heart of grief. Grief takes on many forms and can be spotted wearing many different masks around us. At the heart of grief resides an ache that what happened, what we experienced, should not have happened.  Grief introduces an imbalance into our world as we know it.

The world is a fallen place. Our humanity and fallen nature grieves the Lord. He had an original plan and design for our lives. We were created to enjoy and be enjoyed by a perfect relationship with God the father, Son, and holy spirit. In our sin we fall short of that glory; that perfect relationship. We are left with grief. We are left with a longing for that right relationship once again. When we experience grief either directly or indirectly, we become painfully aware of something that is not supposed to be.

When I was sixteen-years-old my whole world was changed in one night. My family as I knew it had been changed. My life as I knew it was disrupted and forever changed by grief.

Just before my junior year started in high school, my father decided that he was done with our family. My father had been having an affair with another woman for quite some time and he was done living his life with us. At 11:30pm one night, I watched my father leave and my worlds around me fall. Grief had taken me like a hurricane and all that was left was confusion, immense pain, and a desire for what was. As I sat there on my broken pile of life, I looked around at the overwhelming rubble that was now me and asked, “where do I start?”

Wounds of that night, and the proceeding days, have left gaps in the foundation of me that I am still dealing with today. That night was over 14 years ago, yet I can still feel the sting of grief. Grief will always find it’s way to the surface. It will take me a life time to process all the ways grief manifests itself through me. I feel sadness in what was lost. I go through days of anger as I grieve what seasons of life my father missed in me. I also grieve for the broken relationship that didn’t have to be. Each day I work through the ways grief has left me to question trust and to fear in ways that are not in my original design to fear. This is my process of life. I grieve just that sentence. My experience of grief came by the way of another’s choice that has greatly affected me. I am left to work through the pain.

Experiencing pain is never the plan. Watching others experience pain and grief is never what anyone would ask for. Grief has no announcement. Grief has no starting or end point. Grief leaves her mark on all in some way.

I look at that verse again and see the hope and comfort of one who grieves deeper than me, for me. Jesus came to this earth to remind us that in this world we will experience grief, but to be hope filled that he has “deprived [the world] of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.”

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