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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?

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.

 

There is Hope

Can I say it? I kept getting the dreaded question that seems that everyone just kept asking. What do you hope for 2015 or How was 2014 for you? Well if I said I hope 2015 won’t be like 2014 then people who didn’t know how 2014 was  for me wanted more information and I wasn’t about to give it to them. If I said it was a hard year and I’m just glad that it’s over again more curiosity just made me want to cringe actually just made me want to cry. I felt like instead of it being a year of promise it was a year of disappointments, pruning, heartbreak, heart ache, discouragement, just a year of suffering. I often shouted to the Lord where is the promise you promise Lord because I don’t see it.  I had pockets of promises shining like a rainbow on a cloudy day. I had a hard time seeing what God’s plan was for me. Truth is I still want to know what the next steps are. I feel like the disciples after Christ’s death.

After Christ’s death the disciples were discouraged and disappointed. I bet they were trying to figure out where they got it wrong. How were they so blinded by a false Messiah? They were just heartbroken. They knew that sooner or later they may have to face the Jewish council and their families but wasn’t ready to deal with that yet. They had no hope.

In Matthew 28 :5-7 When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go and visit the tomb and the angel of the Lord appears to them telling them that Jesus is risen that his body is not there. Well they run to go tell the disciples, even more in verse 9 Jesus met them and said hello! Then we know what happens from there the disciples saw him, there was some doubt but joy came and hope was restored.

Have you ever been there? You were in a promising situation only to have it vanish from right underneath you? I bet you felt like the disciples disappointed and discouraged, maybe even hurt, felt like you had no hope anymore. Maybe it’s not a promising situation maybe it just something that you didn’t see coming (losing a job, a cheating spouse, a pregnant child) and you feel alone.  Then hope arrives.

When things look bleak and the situation looks impossible. Hope arrives like a bird swooping down. It may come down unexpectedly but it comes just at the right time. There will be hope for you in the situation that you are facing. God maybe quiet right now but He doesn’t stay that way for long. He will reach out to you. Don’t lose hope. Things may look bleak right now. Things definitely looked bleak for the disciples and the other followers of Christ but He came through with his promise of rising again and with it brought hope. If He came through for them, He will come through for you.

I pray that 2015 will be a year of hope and that you see Christ in a way that you never seen Him before. Stand on His word where Hope is found.

Rejoice In The Midst of Your Trial

One day as I was on a walk, I was talking with the Lord thinking about the heartbreak that I was going through and asking him why I was going through so much. This picture came to me of releasing a dove but it came back to me and I held it close to my heart. God said to me when I was ready that it is okay for me to release the dove. Why am I sharing this with you, well the dove represent me holding onto the hurt and pain of heartbreak not yet ready to release it to him and yet I was still walking with the Lord even though I was not yet ready to release the dove back in the sky. Recently I’ve been seeing myself releasing the dove smiling, rejoicing, and continuing to walk with the Lord but this time more joy. I finally realized that I was rejoicing in my suffering, and not because it was the end of it, but because I became closer to God and I got to a point where I was able to say thank you Lord for allowing me to go through this not because you saved me from the “wrong” guy but because I grew closer to you and you helped me through this, grown, and was healed of all my past hurts.

Have you heard these phrases?  Rejoice in the Lord through your suffering for it produces endurance, character, perseverance, and hope or count it all joy when you go through many trials. Both are found in the bible Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2. But you may have read it and went that doesn’t sound like you want to rejoice when you are in pain or suffering or may have said that applies to Christians who are going through percussion.

How can we mature without going through a trial or many trials of suffering? The truth is that we cannot. Our suffering increases our faith in God. Our suffering increases our hope in God. Our suffering increases our dependence on God. Our suffering makes us take up the cross and carry it. Personally I think if we never went through suffering/hurt/pain our faith would remain very babyish and never fully develop. As you are in the process you are being purified and made stronger!

Suffering at the time does not feel good at all. Going through a heartbreaking situation does not feel good at all. Being in pain does not feel good at all but it is for our own good! Think about David, look at how he suffered before becoming king. Look at Sarah suffering without a child until God fulfilled the promise. Look at Jesus whose friends abandoned him, being beaten, whipped, and crucified suffering for us!

The truth is when you are going through a hurt, a pain or a trial you will either run to Jesus or away from Jesus. Some blame God for what they are going through and say how can you love me? Others  will open up their hearts to the Lord so much that they can endure the trial even when they cannot understand it, and it is at that point that they are able to rejoice and count it all joy! Not be like Job’s wife “curse God and die.” No that is not the response we should go for instead we are able to praise him in the midst of the trial, able to go to him and ask why, and allow him to answer.

Rejoice and know that he is walking with you in this trial. That he is not going to leave you nor forsake you. He will stand by you through it all. I found this to be true of God of every trial I have gone through (financial, work, personal, and even ministry life). He will not forsake you not for a moment!

Here is the real question will you run to God or will you run away from God in your suffering trial?

God’s Delight

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

For years I felt invisible, a scared little girl. Who people would not see me and abandoned me. I felt ugly because of my dark skin and because a relative has/is makes feel that way. I felt that if I open my heart to someone that they would crush it. In a way I wanted to be in people’s lives but then I didn’t want them to be in my life. I felt used, and abandoned by most people. I often said to myself who would care for a person such as me?

Then one day I hear this: You are God’s daily delight. He delights in you! Wow God can love a messed up, scared little girl, who wants love and attention. How can he delight in such a person? I mean it just seem so unbalanced. Yet what I was thinking was unbalanced. I often thought I was to delight in the Lord and then I would get want I want which was to be loved and healed. Truth I am loved and healed because the Lord takes delight in me. I can blossom under His love and tender care because he takes delight in me.

When you take delight in something you take great care of it. Like a new relationship, a new pet, a new plant whatever it is, you take good/great care of it. It is the same with the Lord that he takes delight in us that he takes great care for us. He may remove us out of a relationship because it was unhealthy, removed you from a job, or he may give us the most thrilling love that you ever know, or a great job that seems tailor made for you because he loves you and wants to see you do well.

At times it may not seem that he cares or delights in you. You may feel abandoned, you may feel the weight of a hardship, a weight of a sin, but that doesn’t mean that he still is not taking delight in you. It just means that you may need to lean into him more. For example I have a crazy cat, which I take delight in, but I admit sometimes because where I have to place her food and water that I forget to refill it. My cat will come to me and tap me on my arm, and making me pet her, I remembered wait did I check on your water bowl before I left! It may be the same with God, that why we pray and ask like the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) just to say hey Lord I’m here don’t you see what I’m going through! Just like my cat when I get up and fill her water bowl she is happy, so are we when we listen to what our Father says about our situation. He remembers and do, because he takes delight in you!

For me my feelings of unworthiness disappear when I remember that God takes delight in me. Even last night when I felt like an abandoned scared little girl curled up, God said to me that I was no longer that but a redeemed woman, who is the bride of Christ, a jewel in his crown, so stand tall and gather into my arms. Wow! Amazing! He said that because it is truth and I’m his delight!

Think about it, if you weren’t God’s daily delight, he wouldn’t have sent his son down here to earth to die for you. He wouldn’t care about how you are feeling, what you are doing, how you are making it through the tough times. But because He takes delight in you so much that He sent down His son Jesus Christ to die for you. Because He takes delight in you He sent down His Holy Spirit to dwell in you, to guide you, to comfort you, to listen to you, and to counsel you. Because He takes delight in you, he find ways to show His love for you on a daily basis (but are you looking for it). Because He takes delight in you he gathers you to his side and just love, love and love upon you, no matter where you are at in your walk with him!

You are God’s Great delight! Take joy and live in that truth today!