Tag : hope
Tag : hope
At one time in my life, Easter was only about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. I remember a family 8 mm film where, as a toddler, I took one of those beautifully died eggs and smashed it on the sidewalk. Always curious, I guess I wanted to see what would happen to that egg at high impact!
I still like the colorful eggs, and the fun of the Easter bunny. In fact I passed by him on the street Thursday—he had a police escort—so I snapped a photo to share.
But Easter is so much richer now that I know the risen Christ, and as I reflect on why Easter is meaningful to me, three things come to mind.
Access- When Jesus breathed his last breath, the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. That represented a type of access to our Holy God that was unfathomable. At one time it was only consecrated Jewish priests who could enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle where God resided. I just read that priests had to yearly go through thirty-five steps on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. One wrong move and they could die. Now, because of Jesus’s sacrifice, every believer is a priest and is covered by the blood of Jesus so that we can enter the presence of God 24/7. Because of our High Priest, Jesus, we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). This access shouldn’t be taken for granted. I never had a father in my life, so being able to sit in the presence of our heavenly Father has been a precious gift and has sustained me all of these years.
Forgiveness of Sins- I am not proud of my inappropriate behavior in college and those single years following college. I wish I could undo a lot of it, but because of Easter, I repented, and I know Jesus has washed me clean from those wrongdoings (even though the enemy of my soul tries to bring it up every so often). 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). The word for cleanse here also means to “purify.” So when we believe, the kind of true belief that results in change, then Jesus bleaches out the stains of our sins—he purifies us—and enables us to overcome temptation and gives us the power to turn from our past way of life.
The Hope of Eternity- As I am living in what is probably the final quarter of my life, I am holding onto this hope that when I pass, I will transition into Heaven and into the arms of Jesus. This could only happen because of Easter. Hebrews 6:19-20 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (NIV). Jesus made it possible for us to live on in His presence. The apostle James called our lives a “mist that appears for a while then vanishes” (James 4:14). Psalm 39 tells us we should number our days. But if we believe in what Jesus did for us on Easter, we know this is not the end. I call this life a “holy boot camp” to get us ready for eternity.
So these are just a few of the reasons why I am grateful for Easter. I hope you all have a beautiful celebration of our Savior’s resurrection and take this time to reflect on what Easter means to you.
I’m getting to be that age where friends are starting to pass away.
Tomorrow we will honor an old church friend of ours from San Antonio who died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Beth had an underlying heart condition, so she herself joked that she probably would not live a long life, but even so, it’s still shocking when you get the call.
It’s been fifteen years since we lived in San Antonio but I believe the people God brings into your life—from childhood, college, that first job, and adulthood—are all a part of God’s plan for you. I can still hear Beth’s voice.
As a child, I remember being excluded a lot. I was a poor girl in a wealthy environment. I was extremely insecure because of my dysfunctional home life, so my personality was suppressed in many ways. But what I remember about Beth is that she was always inclusive. My husband was in an Emmaus small group with her husband. I was not in her Emmaus small group, yet when there were gatherings, she still invited me, and that was meaningful.
We even played tennis together in a tournament once and we were great doubles partners. In fact, we made it to the finals of one tournament and we were determined to win the title, but then it was obvious that one of our opponents in the championship match was fighting cancer. She wore a scarf to cover her head, probably because of the chemo treatments. Beth and I just crumbled in compassion and lost the desire to win at all cost. However, our opponents did not let down and proceeded to thrash us soundly!
The beautiful thing about a Christian friend’s death is that we are confident we will see them again. It’s goodbye for now. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20).
It’s a hope that I am betting my life on. It give me peace knowing that when a friend or loved one dies, it’s not the end if they have accepted Jesus as LORD and Savior. There will be an eternity of fellowship waiting for us when we cross over into the next life.
Yes, I am mourning the loss of a friend, along with so many others who knew her, but while there is grief, there is also joy that she’s with Jesus now, the One who made it possible through His sacrifice on the cross. Beth, save a spot for me on the heavenly court. I can’t imagine losing in Heaven.
I have these bar stools situated near my kitchen. They look good, but I put them together over a year ago, and question their stability. We were having an event in our house (pre-Covid) and my husband was out of town so I took care of the assembly myself, even though the task was overwhelming. I was determined to have the new stools for the party! I realize now that I should have hired a handyman or some kind of an expert to put the furniture together because this type of construction is not my gift. Some parts did not go together right. I forced others, but in the end, this over achiever put the chairs together—yes—but to this day I never sit on them because I know the foundation is a little shaky.
This analogy made me think about our spiritual lives and the foundation we’ve laid. In the midst of the continuing Pandemic, and with word that there are new strains of the virus popping up worldwide, is our construction strong enough to endure added turmoil? What are we doing to shore up our spiritual strength on a daily basis?
The answer is that Jesus is our firm foundation. In Luke 6:47-49, Jesus said, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
So what does it look like to build a solid foundation? First of all, we need to give our whole being to the expert builder, instead of trying to do life in our own strength. We have an incomplete skill set without Him. Now, more than ever I wake up in the morning and immediately thank the LORD for another day, acknowledge His all encompassing greatness, then worship Him. I also ask Him to provide the strength I need because it’s not easy right now. I want to be more like Jesus.
How did He treat people?
How did He handle crisis?
What was His primary mission?
The only way we can know this is to study His life in the gospels. And most importantly, I desire to stay connected 24/7, seeing all that is going on through His eyes rather than my own. I want to provide hope to others even when hope seems far removed. We can only be lights in the world if we fill ourselves with the light of Christ.
So on what kind of foundation do you have? Maybe you look good on the outside, but inside the parts are not connecting, creating instability. Is the blueprint your own or are you surrendering to the Master Builder? It’s not too late to pour the slab.
“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Margaret Feinberg wrote in her book, More Power to You, that “power awaits in believing, speaking, sharing, and declaring the transformative truth of God’s Word…[because] when you acknowledge your fears in light of God’s truth, you gain the confidence to move forward in spite of your fears, thus undoing fear’s enslaving power.”
The Lord commands, warns, and soothes us all 365 times in scripture to not be afraid, fear not, fear no evil. As we continue to struggle through our daily lives, I am excited with hope and filled with peace because I know who is in control. I know my path has been perfectly laid out before me. I will not worry about the mistakes I will make because I know my Heavenly Father will teach me with each step and misstep.
Each of us have the power to take control of our lives with gratitude, positivity, and grace that we extend to ourselves and to others. Our lives can be riddled with fear, or we can take the power that we have been given with our words and the Word of God and transform stress into opportunity and worry into gratitude. I choose to use my power for good. How about you?
Need a spiritual lift? We’d love for you to join us for our next POP Chat, Wednesday, January 27th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST. Our guest speaker is former Principal, Current Life Coach and Ministry Leader, Starlet Bell, and her topic is “Praying and Fasting for a Turnabout Year.” Our guest Worship Leader is Author, Singer-Songwriter and “Bible Chicks” Podcast Host, Carole Brewer. It’s one hour of Worship, Teaching, Discussion and Prayer. The entire Pearls of Promise Team will be there as well! Here’s the link to sign up:
I wanted some help this morning.
I have been bombarded with phone messages, mostly fake news, about things that are happening in the country. While there is certainly unrest, my mind is pulled in different directions by what appears to be fictitious scenarios. There have been rumors of martial law and warnings that we should stock our pantry. Last night we waited to see a certain television broadcast that never happened. False information.
This morning, needing to move back to center, I worshipped God through the song, Champion by Bethel. I placed the focus on the true victor, the one who holds our country in His hands, Almighty God.
You are our champion. Giants fall when you stand undefeated.
Things are a mess right now and what is going on is a giant, but I am trusting in the giant slayer.
And if we are shaking with worry or angst about anything, we have to move back to our sturdy foundation Jesus, who will provide what is needed to endure or defeat whatever giant we face. Scripture says we must keep “our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus says when we are thirsty for truth or peace, we can come to Him for a drink, and this living water, the Holy Spirit, will comfort us in the midst of uncertainty. He is our champion.
What is your giant that needs to be slayed today? Do you long for hope? Just remember that there is no other Champion like God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, He can take down any giant that threatens to defeat you. It’s a promise.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of Heaven and Earth” (Psalm 121:1–2)