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Despair to Hope

Psalms 27:13 I would have despaired  unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

 

I really wanted one. I was so ready for one. Everyone had one but me. Even the guy that I had a crush had one. I was hurt that he wanted someone else not me. I wanted to have a Christian boyfriend. I cried out a lot for a boyfriend. I finally had gotten tired of waiting so I went on eharmony to find the man that I had hope to marry. I had a secret I was desperate when I met him and for a while I thought that he was my last hope. I did everything I could to try and keep him around.

 

Desperate means to be upset because having little or no hope. Have you ever been in a situation where you were very desperate for something to happen. That you would do anything to make it happen? What were the results of the situation? Did you end up even in a worst situation? Did things become better? Often times when you are desperate the situation does not turn out as good. It is the certain truth for me.

 

It was as well for David. He was in a desperate situation. He was running for his life. He did not have a place or friendship with other nations to keep him safe. The only person he could count on was the LORD. That is why in Psalms 27:13 he wrote: I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Despaired in this version is very similar to the definition of desperate. Despair mean to no longer have any hope or belief that a situation will improve or change. Remember desperate means having little or no hope. One is right on the edge and the other is to give up completely.

 

When I was dating my eharmony guy again I was in despair in truth desperate I did not think that I could do any better. I wanted it so much that if this relationship did not make it what is the point of trying for another relationship. In truth it was not a good relationship for either of us. At that time we both were in despair because we wanted someone but tried to make the other into the person that we wanted them to be.

 

Despair comes because we stop believing in the goodness of the LORD. We begin to believe the lie that nothing is going to change. We begin to believe the lie that God is not hearing our prayers. Finally we begin to believe the lie that God does not want to do good for us just allow us to keep suffering. In truth that is what they are just lies. God does want good for you in the land of the living. He is not withholding any good thing from you. He just does not want anything to spoil, he desires to having ready in his timing.

 

I am learning to combat despair with truth and promises. I have to stand on the truth of God’s word. I have to stand on his promises. If you never heard this before and it is mentioned twice in the bible GOD IS NOT MAN THAT HE SHOULD LIE, THAT HE SHOULD BREAK HIS PROMISES. God is not human. Humans we lie and cheat and make desperate moves. God does not. That is where I have to stand. That is where you should stand. Out of every promise in the bible, out of every truth in the bible. This is the truth and promise to stand and understand that God is not man that he should lie. God does not lie to us. The voices, thoughts of you are this or this is not going to happen are the lies. They are not from God. Why listen to them. Those voices, thoughts are trying to take your hope away. God does not take hope away.
God is a hope giver. He brings you hope every day. Look to him and know that his promises are true and they will come to past soon. See His goodness in everything that you do today. 

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Where is God when I need Him?

Isaiah 40:27-28: O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depth of his understanding.

Of late I have seen a pattern in myself and in my many of my friends it goes to this question; Where is God when I need him? Where is God? To my human eyes God has abandoned me. That he has left me to figure all my problems on my own.  I realize through each trial I go through I have this tendency to take matters in my own hands. When I do it takes me on a road that can lead me to mistrust God.

I have a hard time trusting people in the first place. I naturally have a tough time trusting God. Guess who else also had a tough time of trusting God? Adam and Eve, Cain, Jacob, Rebecca, all the tribes of Israel basically everyone in the bible except of course Jesus had a hard time of trusting God. They each had a choice to look beyond what they wanted, beyond to what they thought was right and look right at God instead. Yet the question remained where is God?

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah about this very issue. In Isaiah 40:27-28 O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? During this time it was being prophesied that the children of Israel would be held in captivity for their unbelief and mistrust. God wanted to comfort them because they forgot how he works. Are we not the same? I know that I tend to forget what God has done many times before. When I’m in trouble, or desire something I just cannot remember how God brought me through it before. I start questioning is God there does he not see the trouble that I am in. The answer is yes he does.

God continued to speak through Isaiah that he is the creator of all the earth that no one can measure the depth of his understanding. This is very much the truth. We cannot measure how much he understands our situations, our trouble, or our needs. He knows what needs to be done. Perhaps this is why we sense a delay or no answer because he just wants us to trust him and not our eyes.

God longs to give us the strength to keep pushing when we cannot see. He wants us to have faith and belief that is not based on our own strength. In our American culture we tend to say that we have to be self-reliant on ourselves and no one else. God desires us to work with him to be reliant on him and no one else.  A new concept I know. He does not want us to grow indifferent to his timing. How do we change this knowing what God desire is during our troubles?

It starts with an attitude change. My attitude needs to change from looking at people for my validation/answers.  My attitude needs to change from one of suspicion to one of trust. My attitude needs to change to absolute surrender. I know that I cannot continue to search everywhere else for an answer, that I need to look to hills (to the cross), to the heavens for my help. My help comes from the Lord.

In other words God has not abandoned us in our time of need. We have abandoned him in our time of need. It’s time for a change in attitude, thinking, and action. Are you ready to trust God in the midst of your troubles?

Hope-Where is God?

It was one o’ clock in the morning when I heard the news. Another attack in the black community and this time it was also against the body of Christ. I cried as my heart broke as I read the news. My first thoughts were why God, where are you, why have you forsaken us? My next move was to get on my knees and pray.

I have lived in a place where there were guns going off daily. Where sometimes I had to make sure if there was going to be a drive by that I had a place to jump and hide. I have even seen a man shot and killed by a drive by, the men who did the deed get out of the car and look so proud of what they have done. Even more so I saw how the cops reacted to the shooting one smiled as the man was laying on the ground dying and not letting the ambulance through.

I understand. I feel the rage, hurt, anger. I wonder how much more can my brothers and sisters in the black community can take. We should not have to live a life in fear, in anger, or in rage. We should have a life of peace. It is hard when you have so many things coming against you like judgmental attitudes, racist people, and oppression.  Where is the hope I wonder and where is God in the midst of all of this?

There is a picture that is stuck in my mind is in the aftermath of the shooting, instead of finding angry sound bites. The news showed people that evening who were crying but holding hands in prayer. The people at the scene of the church knew that angry words will not solve anything. They know that if you call on God he will rescue us. Later that morning I came across this verse in Psalm 22:4-5 “Our ancestors trusted in you and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.” Then I looked backed at the picture of people holding hands in prayer. They were crying out to God, singing praises. For they know only God can rescue from the evils and perils of this world.

Where is God in the midst of all this? He is right there crying and grieving with us. He is giving comfort, peace and hope. He knows that this world is fallen and people will do what they wish even if it is evil intention. He is right there already preparing for justice and to rescue us from all these messes. I can and do take great comfort that he is right there. Where is my hope?

My hope in the midst of despair is in God and not in man. I cannot place my hope in man or that things will get better because it will be a letdown, as all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. I cannot put my hope in politicians or laws because they have to fit everyone. I have to put my hope in the LORD who will never let me down or forsake me. Even though sometimes it does seem like God did forsake us. But that is not who God is. He made a promise to never leave us and never forsake us.  He never has forsaken us; he always came down to our rescue at the right moment.

In this moment as I grieved. I am not trying to get angry but to forgive or get into crazy judgmental debates. As a mourner said “Love is stronger than hate.” God’s love is stronger than anger, hate, and fear. I can ask God to help me to love instead of living in fear or anger.  In this moment what I am doing is  what my ancestors did, cry out to God, and trust in God. For I know in time that he will rescue us. For he hears us when we call upon him.

Count It All Joy-For Real Count it!

My birthday is coming up and that is a reason to celebrate right? Not always. For most of my life my birthday was filled with heartache and trepidation. I did not look to it at all. To give you an example one birthday my brother was arrested for bank robbery, and another a relationship ended on my birthday. When I was younger people really just did not celebrate my birthday at all and I did not have friends to celebrate it at all. I had often wondered if there was any way to turn this despair around.

Then I went off to college. I had these two crazy friends. I had let it slipped that my birthday was coming up. Let me paint a picture of where I was for college, out of state, my mom was hundreds of miles away and I was alone. My two friends just rubbed their hands together said okay when I said that I did not want to celebrate my birthday in fact I had hated to celebrate my birthday. Even though secretly I wanted to celebrate my birthday, and a secret birthday prayer was that I would have special friends who would celebrate my birthday. On my birthday I got the usual random birthday calls and the gift box from my mom. No celebration. Later that night around dinner time, I get this call from one of my friend that knew it was my birthday to come down to the main hall. I go down they had decorated the hall with a strawberry theme think pink, complete with my favorite Mexican food dish, strawberry soda, and a strawberry shortcake. Ever since that time any group of my numerous friends always tries to make my birthday special even when I do not want to celebrate. Even last year when I was going through my heart break, my best guy friend got me a cake I didn’t ask for a cake but he got me one anyways.

James 1:2-3, 12 says Count it joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance; Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. I have to say whenever we are going through a hard trial, a hardship, a hurt that it does hurt. There are many times that we want to give up or stay in the place of bitterness, despair, unforgiveness, or even anger. God does not want us to do that. Instead he wants us to push ourselves forward and lean on him to endure the heart ache, the hardship, the trial. The question comes how we do that. The answer is hard yet simple, is to count it joy. What joy because there is no joy to be found right now? I found that when I find joy in God that it make the trial much easier to go through because I’m leaning into him instead of the trial. On my birthdays when I was sad, I looked to God through my aching heart. I found myself praising him and on a side note this is when I was closer to him not during my teen years.  Any ways just looking to him brought some relief.

Here are a few examples of what I mean of “Counting” it joy:

  1. God sees my tears, he sees me (Gen 16:13)
  2. It is a sunny day, thank you God!
  3. He is my comforter, he is comforting me right now
  4. He is my redeemer, one day he will redeem this heart break (Ps 31:5)
  5. A rainbow in the sky, He keeps his promise!
  6. I got out of bed, I don’t know how, God is my strength
  7. I got an encouraging word today, God is so encouraging
  8. He is faithful
  9. He loves me, I saw a heart cloud in the sky
  10. Unexpected gift arrived today, God is a gift giver
  11. I opened my eyes today, he is my life giver
  12. He intervened on my behalf today, He is my intercessor

When you begin to look at God instead of your of circumstances things just seems to get slightly better. Then when you come to the end of it there is a joy a sense of relief. You can give God a sense of a high five that we made it through the trial. Like for me I actually do enjoy my birthday now even though I dread it coming, I look forward celebrating with friends. I had to go through a lot of suffering to get to a point of joy. Whatever you are in Count it All Joy in God, for end the end you will receive a blessing of life. I bet that it will make you smile and say I made it!

Hello, Are you There?

John 16:12 There is so much more I want to tell you but you can’t bear it right now.

I am a person that likes to be in the know. In truth I hate surprises very much unless you are giving me a gift.  As I don’t like surprises and love to be in the know that is why I often ask God what is my next move, when are you going to move, why are you moving in such a slow pace. I usually may get an answer I don’t want to hear, or I may hear wait, no, not right now. What usually drives me crazy is when I get complete silence. I often say to God but aren’t you my guide, aren’t you suppose to tell me what is ahead so I don’t fall completely. Often God will reply yes I am but are you really ready for the next step? God knows the plans for our life and what the next step should be when we are ready.

Jesus was with his disciples before he was to be taken to be killed. He had been speaking in parable speech for three years when he referred to his death. Now he was speaking very plainly telling them what’s about to happen after he is gone.  In John 16:12 Jesus says; There is much more I want to tell you but you can’t bear it now. Meaning I wish I could tell you everything but you cannot handle it at this moment, but when you are ready the Spirit of Truth will reveal to you the next step. That is exactly what God is doing when you think he is not speaking or moving. He knows how much you can handle and what you cannot handle in a specific moment. He desires for you to be ready in a timing that he knows.

Often I get frustrated when I do not know what is about to happen, or which direction I need to go. I even get frustrated or down hearted when all I get is either just receive encouragement or no answer. Yes I throw a temper tantrum at God. Just like Job did. After God questioned Job. Job finally realize what God was doing when he says I know that you can do all things that no plan of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:1). This came after everything was taken from him, when his friends try to explain it was Job own sin. When God questioned him like that he finally understood God plan. It was at that point Job was ready.  When Jesus revealed the plan to the disciples they were in a state of readiness. When God revealed to Abraham Sarah about the child she would bear they were in a state of readiness in God’s opinion. God knew that the next generation of Israelites would trust him and when Moses died the Israelites were in a state of readiness.

When you do get a silent answer or no answer from God, it is not because he does not hear you it’s just not the time yet.  Instead of giving up tune in what God is doing. Maybe you are seeking the Lord in what you should be doing for the rest of your life. God is being quiet but not really maybe he is opening job doors for you (not the lifetime of a job) but something to do in the meantime, or even you start to notice because of your free time you are able to help others or even just resting. Maybe you are seeking the Lord on the desire to be married. God is being quiet but not really, maybe he is showing you that you need to work on some issues, maybe he is just encouraging you in this moment right now that being single is okay. Maybe you are seeking God on saving your marriage or child. God is being quiet but not really. Maybe he is saying that he is working on the other person heart just wait, at the same time working on your heart, as for your child maybe he is saying not now I need to a work in your child’s life, so he is just encouraging you to pray for your child. Here is the point God is never quiet, he is working in ways we can’t see or fathom. He wants your trust.

Can you trust that in the right time he will reveal the next step? Can you trust that you can take a step of faith/trust? Can you wait for the answer instead of trying to move ahead of what his plans are for you?

Disappointment to Hope

I had so much hope that this relationship was going to lead into marriage but in an instant it was gone. I had so much hope that this interview was going to finally lead me out of unemployment but only to find out that I didn’t get the job. I had so much hope that my tuition was about to be paid off and no more struggling but yet it didn’t happened. Has any of this stuff ever happened to you? That hope just rises in you but only to be let down like salt poured onto a wound. Then you find yourself asking God why? Yet I find that disappointment or disillusionment is where God can do his best work!

I don’t know about you but I think about the disciples often especially during the Lenten season. I think about their 3 year journey with Jesus. Then I think about how they felt let down when Jesus was at the cross dying. They saw Jesus do nothing after all they saw many wonderful things from Jesus. Yet Jesus didn’t save himself. They were disappointed, they were disillusioned. They asked themselves from Friday-Saturday were they duped all along. They asked themselves what were going to be their next steps. They asked themselves what people were going to think. They asked themselves what the Jewish leaders were going to do to them. Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions or similar questions when going through a disappointing time? Have you ever asked God where is He in the midst of your situation?

Then Sunday came and hope came alive again for most of the disciples. They learned through this disappointment to lean into Jesus and teach others that when you are going through hard times, anxious times, hurtful times, to lean into Jesus because they knew what it was like not to lean into Jesus during that awful time. See, I wonder if they had taken Jesus at his word would they have waited at his tomb for him to arise and lean in believing that he would rise from the dead and not be sad, if one would just believe would we have had different lessons instead of those wonderful lessons on anxiousness, disappointments, heartbreak, and even courage through trials. At times it is easy to take a different road.

It is so easy to stay in a funk. It is so easy to stay in fear. It is so easy to stay in the wondering. It is so easy to stay in the unbelieving. However God is not in the business of easiness. He is in the business of the impossible to possible. He is in the business of turning disappointments into hope but maybe not in the way we really want to see it. Yet he does do his best work during these times.

I say that God does his best work during disappointments or disillusionment because it’s during these times that you can fully see His full power, His full strength, and His full word in action. It’s a time where you can choose to lean into God and place your hope into Him and not into yourself or other people. You can choose to abide in Him or even learn to abide in him. This is a time where you can place your hope in him. In I Peter 5:7 Cast (Give) all your anxiety (fears, doubts, disappointments, disillusionment) on him because he cares for you. God cares for you too much for you to walk alone for too long, just like with the disciples, or with the children of Israel he never let them walk alone for too long. He is standing in front of you.

He is standing right in front of you today saying that He is here, He is risen, He is living, He is in the midst of the disappointment and disillusionment. He has come to give you life and give it to you more abundantly. Whatever the situation that you are in, he is giving you hope today. Just like with the disciples on that Sunday when he rose up he brought them hope to each one individually. What joy that day was for them. What joy that day will be for you when you believe and see when your disappointment/disillusionment turns into a beautiful hope!  Why does he want this for you because He loves you.

 

 

Slippery Slop

During the time when I had to walk to work, there was this shortcut. The shortcut took a couple of minutes off and avoided a small climb up to the church. There was a problem with this shortcut, it was between two blackberry bushes and when it rained the path was slippery. One day I was running late and I guess I didn’t pay attention to how slick this path was! I started to go up, next thing you know I’m sliding down! Yes you guessed it, I slipped kneed first and got my clothes muddy. After that incident the church put down some bark in case other people took this shortcut. What this reminds me of is the slippery slope of sin.

Sin comes in when we want to do things our own way, in other words be very selfish and throw God out of the door so to speak. What we don’t realize at the time that with some sins that other sins will follow and you are this slippery slope without knowing how to get out of it. For example a sexual sin, let’s say that you are in adultery. The sins that follow is lying, and stealing. Then you are caught and the next thought is how did I end up here.

In Psalms 40:1-2 it says: I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. When we are struggling with a sin, or an aftermath of a sin that was devastating to you, the first thing you do is call out to the Lord. When you call out he will turn to the cry and pick you up from the mud the slippery slop. He will steady you. The result will be as he begins to steady you he will place a new song in your heart to the point where you will praise him. The bonus the people who knew and saw what you were going through will be amazed for some will turn their life over to Christ. However, I’m not saying that you should go out and sin to bring someone to the Lord, Paul addresses this point in Romans 6:1. What I am saying if you are free from the sin that had entangled you, guilt and shame does not belong to you, this verse is a promise to you. I’m going to break it down even further.

Turning to the Lord, means turning from your sin. When I was in sexual sin with an ex-boyfriend, I knew spiritually that I was separated from God. I didn’t have hope in him at all. When things started to spiral out of control, meaning that I was in despair, the Lord came. I called out to him. He showed up. When the Lord shows up it will always be in a mighty way, but it takes you to call out to him. It takes you to be repent heart and repent from your sin. The key factor is you and your heart. He can’t move with you repenting.

When the Lord shows up, he will steady you. Also when the Lord is steadying you, Satan is right there to knock you off your feet again, using various weapons but the first weapon is guilt. When God has forgiven you, he remembers your sin no more. The guilt comes from Satan accusing you and reminding you of what you have done. How can God steady you, if you are ready to be knocked down again? There is freedom in God forgiveness, and we always don’t feel it. Satan often reminds me of my past mistake to the point where I want to cry, so I’m ready to go be knocked down. Yet when I find myself leaning on God, delighting in him, and taking full authority Satan flees from me. In a way you have to stand up and fight. You have to remind Satan that he has no authority in your life. For who the Son has set free is free indeed! To gain this freedom, to gain the authority you have to be leaning, steadying yourself into the Lord. You can do it because he has forgiven you and he does not hold your sin into your face.

As you find yourself becoming stronger you go into praise. You praise God for what you have been through even though it was hurtful. In a way you are into thanksgiving. You called out to God, and you see what he can do. I have seen couples in which a partner had lied almost tore the marriage apart. Yet when they both lean first into God, before leaning into each other, thus a new song arises. Many have told me, even though they hated to walk through that circumstance they are thankful for going through it because it has made them stronger with God first, and then their marriage. As I’m walking through forgiveness of myself and what I did, I find myself becoming stronger in the Lord, and surprisingly thanking God for going through it! Now the song that I am singing is one of hope and reconciliation.

After going through the sin trial people will take notice of what the Lord has done, and be amazed. They will wonder how did you go through that and still come out with your head straight. You will tell them and they will see God! Even someone else who maybe going through the same thing will have hope.

Sin is a slippery slope. I’m so thankful that the Lord is there ready to pick us up, dust us off. There is one key thing, don’t go down that path again. I can assure you that even though there is bark dust on that muddy path, I never went through it again. I took the hill. When you turn from your sin you don’t go back as you know and remember the devastation it caused and the separation from you and the Lord.

 

Prayer:

Who the Son has set free is free indeed. Thank you Lord that I am free from my past mistake, and my current mistakes. Thank you for freeing me from my guilt. I lean into you.