The word hope is in the bible 144 times.
It is powerful for us to think about for without hope one feels empty and void.
[God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up. God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, Restoring dignity and respect to their lives—] Ist Samuel 2:6
I love it when it says he rekindles us with fresh hope.
That means ‘new’ never used or never given to anyone but you.
[God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.] psalm 62:5-6
Everything I HOPE FOR comes from him, it leaves breathing room for my soul, isn’t that beautiful?
Read it again and say it out loud.
Everything I hope for comes from him…from who? The God who loves you.
[“Would you mind if I said something to you? Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting! You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now? Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?] Job 4:1-6
Even the encouragers need hope sometimes and even a heart to heart challenge to press forward.
[I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing.
I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.] Jeremiah 29:11
What a beautiful and amazing promise.
I think hope is like water to a dry and wilted spirit.
Often I will water my plants when they are almost laying down and looking really parched.
I put them in the sink, soak them and an hour or so later they are standing strong and steady.
Hope does that for us.
[When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself.
Enter the silence. Bow in prayer.
Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.] lamentation 3:28-30
I like it when it says ‘wait for hope to appear’.
That means it will. Always. Come to your rescue.
[I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:] lamentations 3:21
Yes we must keep a grip on hope. Cling to it like a life line.
God also knows our stories.
[“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”] Jeremiah 17:9-10
He knows our heart conditions could not flourish or grow without HIS intervention and or protection.
Then He responds as we move forward.
[God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.] lamentations 3:24-25
He says we wait in quiet. We learn from silence, and we listen.
I love this final promise and I have experienced it myself so I know it’s true and possible.
[Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.] Proverbs 13:12
The word hope is in the bible 144 times.
Faith is mentioned in the bible 458 times.
[Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith] Isaiah 26:2
The nation that keeps faith, just like our ‘United States’ which was founded on faith and slowly coming back to it.
[so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power] 1st Corinthians 2:5
We cannot stand firm on the words of man, we must hold tight to the words of God.
[Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.] 1st Corinthians 16:3
Jesus talked about faith whenever he could. Using it as a lesson, as a teaching tool, as an example for us.
[He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.] Matthew 8:26
[“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”] Luke 8:25
It is fascinating to me that even after all the time they spent with him they still didn’t get it.
[He said to his disciples, “why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”] Mark 4:40
So don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle with it, others did too.
He showed us over and over it is an act of ‘trust’ and also a matter of the heart.
[Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.] Matthew 9:22
He would often ask someone, “do you want to get well?” because it is a choice, to choose a life change.
It is life altering and something we must ask ourselves too, the same question.
Another example of his teaching when in the process of healing a man.
[Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”] Matthew 14:31
It is a trust issue. Can he really heal me, and can I do what he is asking?
I think we all struggle with it.
The not knowing if healing is possible and also not knowing what life would look like if things were different.
[For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God] Ephesians 2:8
It doesn’t come from us because God knew our hearts and our minds were constantly doubting and unsure.
He encourages us to believe and to hold onto it with all of our hearts.
But it is a choice for us. He doesn’t force it.
Faith is a choice. Just as we know the air that we breathe keeps us alive.
Faith keeps us safe if we choose to accept it.
It is powerful. It is life changing.
[I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.] 2 Timothy 4:7
It is something to strive for, just as the word encourages us.
[And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.] 1st Corinthians 13:13
faith is just hope with wings
[I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. Jeremiah 31:25]
The word restore is in the bible 36 times.
In Galatians 6:1-3 it says:
[Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself.
You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed.
Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.]
In the time we are in with the post election there has been too many words said and too much hurt done to those we should be helping.
I have experienced it myself and was disappointed in some behavior that I heard and saw. We must save our critical words.
As my grandson said tonight, who is age 6, “when my brother tries to rat on me I just say, zip it up.”
Moving his hand is a zipped motion across his lips.
Adults can learn the same thing.
The time we are living in has caused more friction, more hatred, more conflict than I can ever remember.
We must restore our friendships with family and friends.
The election is over. Get over it. We have a President who was voted in and whether you like it or not.
HE is in to stay for four years. Pray for him. That would be a great start.
In the book of Titus it says:
[It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that.
It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.
Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously.
God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives.
And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.]
I love it when it said ‘we had nothing to do with it’, like spoiled children wanting our own ways but God makes the effort to change us from the inside out, for that is where our heart is and that is where change begins.
The word refresh is in the bible 21 times.
[Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing! Proverbs 25:13]
[He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right — Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. Joel 2:23]
I love to search out words and find the many ways the bible uses them for us to cling to.
It is healing to know there is so much evidence of God’s love for us and his determination to not leave us in a sad and empty place emotionally.
It is a promise. We do not walk this life alone. He is a guide and hope.
This verse has been playing over and over in my head.
[I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3]
The context of the verse is about Israel but I think we can also allow it to mean the same for us.
Many times we have failed God and many times He remained faithful to us.
Many times we have not done what we know is right or required of us yet He is steadfast and sure.
Let’s break this down, to what we can learn from this verse.
Everlasting means: lasting forever; eternal: incessant; constantly recurring: wearisome; tedious: eternal duration; eternity: the Everlasting, God.
Now read it again slowly and take it into your heart as you read it.
I the Lord God, love you,(insert your name) with an eternal, incessant, constant, over and over with eternal duration, lasting forever tedious wearisome love.
He doesn’t get tired of us OR frazzled by our lack of relationship with him.
Isn’t that a wonderful warm fuzzy promise?
It is constant. Nothing we do can change that. Nothing we do will erase HIS love for us.
It is about choice too, it is purposeful.
I have loved you therefore as a result of that love for you I will remain faithful.
It is powerful. I hold onto it when I feel unsure.
Nothing is required of me for me to receive his love, other than for me to accept it truth.
The almighty, all powerful, all knowing and eternal God loves me.
The other part of that verse when talking about Israel it says,
[when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from afar.]
I thought of the prodigal son story when the son came into his presence the father met him.
God made it known they were not alone. He saw them at a distance and welcomed them.
In the message version it shows us another perspective.
[Israel, out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them!
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again]
He was looking for them just like He looks for us.
What a wonderful exciting promise.
The bible refers to the word change, 71 times.
I find that both interesting and significant because we cannot move forward without change.
In the book of Daniel: 2:21
[He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (or scholars).]
We have a new President of the United States.
Set up and assigned to take care of the people and the law of the land voted by the people through the process of election through electoral votes.
He is not a king but he is in authority and has power through the nature of his job and his assigned duty.
Many do not like him or feel he will do a good job, but we must wait and see and give him a chance.
Change is not easy on anyone.
We are promised if we change our direction God will heal our land.
[If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.] 2 Chronicles 7:14
We have the chance to make our ‘nation’ strong again.
He said he would work towards that goal and I believe that is why many people voted for him.
We can complain or we can encourage our leaders to do the best job they can in leading us and keeping us safe.
I choose to wait and pray for the ones in the positions of power.
We cannot change the course, or the new direction set before us.
We cannot grumble or protest for that would have no positive affect, if anything it can make matters worse than they already are for our ‘USA’.
Some try to create disturbances and they really don’t succeed in anything other than great chaos.
Let us accept this change with a wonder and excitement of a new direction for our nation.
Let us say together, “God bless America, land that we love.
Stand beside her and guide her.”
With pride in our hearts and a prayer in our voice.
Let’s accept this change with an attitude of hope and trust that our freedom and our patriotism is always a topic of pride.
As I sit here in this room looking at the ocean through the rain drop covered windows it reminds me of the power of our great and mighty God.
With a force that is in continual motion.
I pause. I listen. I breathe.
The rain is thundering on the roof top and it’s sound is almost deafening.
There is a powerful force within the dark and moving clouds.
It is a cleansing and a wintery part of the oceans season.
A tree fell down and men are chopping it up and removing the old so the broken parts of it are not in the way of spring grasses and children’s camps.
It is not too different from our lives where the old broken parts must be removed so new life can rise within our spirits.
A new year means change is coming.
Tomorrow we will inaugurate a new President of our United States.
A definite new year of change and passing the baton of responsibility from one leader to the next.
Change is hard, we often walk into it with hesitation and uncertainty and our minds are full of questions.
We move without knowledge of what will happen in the new months.
A new experience can be a positive for us if we are willing to receive with open arms and without reservation.
It is a trust process for sure.
It is a reality that after every storm there is a calm.
After every new change we soon adjust and get familiar with what was unknown to us.
Our daughter starts a new job soon.
She will walk away from the old and begin a new learning process. It is both scary and exciting for her to begin one more time but that is what life is all about.
The storms and the rainbows.
In Ecclesiastes 3 of the Old Testament
[There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,]
A new year is a new beginning.
Will we embrace it and wait with anticipation of what will come?
Or will we fight it with arms folded and never allow anything new to take place.