Tag Archives: hope
The central issue of the poorly named “cultural wars” is trust. People cannot bring themselves to trust our loving God whose Bible is nothing more than instructions on how to have happiness in life. He tells us how to avoid pratfalls and how to succeed.
But many people refuse to trust that He knows what He’s doing. They prefer to take matters into their own hands. Typically, they mock the Bible, sneer at Christians or just plain ignore them. And then they destroy their lives.
That’s ok because at any point you can come back to your Loving Savior, who will NOT reproach you for your rebellion. He’ll heal your wounds and give you a new life.
You can trust putting your heart into the hands of the Maker.
Gif: Gavin on Reddit. I don’t own rights to this gif and I’m not making any money on it. I admire its creator for his talent and work.
[Editor’s note: Mark Ellis is my editor at GodReports.com. He is currently in Southeast Asia reporting on God’s moves there. The following is one of his articles.]
By Mark Ellis
Raised in a strict Buddhist family in Chanthaburi, about three hours east of Bangkok, her parents didn’t understand when she became a born again Christian.
“My parents brought me to the temple, but I never felt connected to those things,” says Blue Erika Ployamporn. “They prayed in a language I didn’t understand.”
An unusual thing happened to her as a young teen. “When I was 13 brushing my teeth God called me,” Blue recalls. Her mother had been ill, and she told Blue she would have to take care of her brother and sister if she died.
She began to weep because she realized she didn’t know where her mother would go after she died. “I didn’t know how to see her again,” she says. “They said there is the next life, but you can’t choose where you go. I felt so hopeless.” Read the rest of the article here: Revival in Southeast Asia.
By far, Bill Sweeney, 54, has already outlived expectations for a normal patient afflicted with what’s otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a degenerative neural disorder that progresses until patients can’t breathe – usually within 3-5 years of diagnosis.
And though his paralysis keeps him cooped up at home, he never complains on his blog. To the contrary, he chides gently those who do rant – and his buoyant optimism would make anyone ashamed about sniveling over trivial inconveniences.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from this long trial is that hope – and the joy, peace and faith that always accompany Christ-centered hope, only comes through a conscious, determined effort,” he writes on his blog through a painstakingly slow process that employs eye-tracking software to detect letter by letter what he wants to write on his computer.
“I’ve had my hope challenged many times, and I’ve become pretty good at conquering these challenges.” Read the rest of this Christian news article.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. — Isaiah 26:3 NKJV.
The devil assails our minds with worry. Trusting in Jesus means having peace.
Photo source: Pinterest. I’m not making any money on it. I don’t own the rights to it.
No longer was it impossible to please a completely holy God, who demanded an animal sacrifice for every sin. That’s A LOT!
Jesus was the last sacrifice to end all sacrifice. He was the price paid in ransom for us; we sold ourselves to sin, death and Hell.
If you experience the love of a family during Christmas, that’s a mere taste of the full flavor of love from God. If you didn’t experience human love during Christmas, you are missing a drop of the ocean of love God has for you.
In fact, his essential purpose in leaving his kingship in Heaven and condescending to take mortal form was to suffer. And it started with his birth in a filthy stable.
During his life, He alleviated pain everywhere He found it. Blind eyes were opened. Condemned prostitutes were forgiven. Tax collectors escaped a life of being despised by others. The demon-oppressed were freed.
Then he died excruciatingly.
If Christmas conjures magical feelings of family and beauty, let us never forget its underpinnings are the Son of God coming to help the helpless, the defend the defenseless, to redeemed the scum of society, to sanctify the sinner and prick the self-righteous to reflection.
He feels your pain. He came to take the pain away.
Photo from soulation org
Don’t give up on dreaming. Don’t give up on praying. Don’t give up on living.
For when you have done any of those three, your life has become a mechanical nothingness.
Original image: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money with it.
The real question is: Where does evil come from? The modern question, “If there is a God, why is there suffering in the world?” is a ploy to trip up Christians. It’s meant to be unanswerable, a knockout punch, a word trap. It’s insincere because if the atheists were TRULY worried about suffering in the world, they would strive to mitigate it. If there are any atheists WORKING (not talking) to ease suffering, then I will join you at your side and work with you. If you then ask me where God is, I will tell you, He is in your heart, my friend the atheist who works to ease suffering in the world.
Pandora was given an irresistible temptation: Whatever you do, don’t open this box. Of course, curiosity got the best of her, as it does with us all. Out flew all the evils of the world: hate, greed, envy, murder, etc. When she realized whas was happening, Pandora struggled to close up the last demons in the box before they flew out, but alas, it was too late.
Last to struggle out was a misfit among rogues: Hope came out. So as the Greek mythology goes: With evil, comes suffering, but humans can look up with hope for better days. The story so resonates with humans.
Obviously, I adhere to the Creation account of Eve and the apple. But I see in the Pandora version a universal questioning. Ultimately, I believe that if you’re sincere, such questioning will lead you to merciful and loving arms of the Father.
As Americans, we are willing to lose to win. After all, an investment of money or time is a present loss that holds the potential for a future gain. Even if we lose on an investment, we keep making them. Some are risk-adverse, others risk-takers. In investing, the higher the risk, the higher the return.
Would you leave one modest business for the opportunity to make it big? That’s what the disciples did. They left fishing fish to get in on fishing men.
They probably didn’t understand everything at the beginning. They thought, like all Jews at the time, that the Messiah would inaugurate an earthly kingdom like King David’s. So the disciples were banking on becoming his cabinets heads. As things panned out, the investment was far greater than expected and the payout, in Heaven.
Is it worth it to lose 80 years of life for an eternity of glory?
You can’t “do it yourself” when it comes to earning Heaven. Only what Jesus did suffices to earn your entrance. He lived perfectly according to the law. After he passed sinless on the earth, He took our punishment upon Himself. If you have received Jesus, believing in Him, you possess salvation.
Many have tried to earn salvation. Some whip themselves. Some make huge charitable donations. Others become suicide bombers. It’s all pointless.
It’s good to do good things and bad to do bad things, but all are irrelevant is you are trying to “do it yourself,” to impress God enough that He lets you in. We are saved by grace, not by works.
Jepthah was run off by his brothers. He was an illegitimate son. When he became a man, he carried out great exploits, vanquishing Israel. But he never healed his hurting heart, and in consequence rejected his daughter. His lack of family love led him to a wrong-headed idea of an unloving God. He made a stupid vow (to sacrifice whatever came first out of his house to greet him when he returned victorious from battle) and instead of repenting and recanting his vow, he stupidly carried it out. He killed his daughter.
The greatest danger of rejection is NOT how lousy we feel. It is that we will do the same to others. As the saying goes, hurting people hurt people.
Supposedly, the church is a refuge for hurting people. Instead, it turns into a lair of cruel critics. I don’t leave the church because there is no where better to go. After all, Christ left His church. Nothing else.
I wish to be different: loving, accepting, patient, comprehending, optimistic with people, seeing the positive and not the negative.
Don’t think I’m touchy-feeling. The naked truth is I have rejected too many people in my time. God, forgive!
I am determined to change. I am determined to praise my children instead of criticizing them. I am decided to see good in everybody, to be patient with problems, to love the unlovable. It is not easy. I must pray every day before the day begins because, if not, bile flows from this wicked mouth of mine.
True change is not a glib meme or a mantra. It takes work and, I believe, divine assistance.
You may be involved in the most prosaic business or ordinary life, and God is looking for you to give you the most extraordinary life.
Many people aren’t looking for God (maybe they’re trying to avoid Him). But God is going to find them.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.
The darkness, as it grows, only serves to beautify the light. People will be drawn more and more naturally to the lighthouse under the gathering storm of godlessness. The more hopeless it becomes, the greater the need for hope.
How do your actually feel happiness for trials?
- Realize God is using them to bring you much-needed growth.
- Realize God is bringing you through them to a blessed end.
- Realize God wants you to rejoice in trials.
When you pass the test, you pass the class!
Trials come in all sizes. Generally, beginner Christians get beginner trials. And older Christians are in advanced classes, so to speak. Don’t despair by the size of your trials.
My definition of “pure joy” was something else. Like if Argentina would have won the World Cup. But I have to change my definition of “pure joy.”
You never had time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi. But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you.
— Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms
All the existentialists and atheists have to offer is a dismal outlook. Hemingway’s message: have as much fun as you can in life, enjoy selfish pleasures, but in the end death is cruel and capricious.
This is a far cry from the Christian cosmovision. Our sins have separated us from God, but we can repent and run to God’s mercy. If we do, we are no longer subject to an arbitrary and harsh life and death. God protects and sustains us. And when we die, we go to Heaven, where we continue to enjoy joy — not the fictitious joys sinners continually try in vain to grasp.
It amazes me that people can read Hemingway and not turn to God. They embrace his hopelessness and rail against God. His message led him to commit suicide at 61. The Bible says: You will know the tree by its fruit. In other words: Before you buy into someone’s message, see if it worked for that person, at least.
Frederick Nietzsche went insane. Christopher Hitches died of alcoholism-induced cancer. He confessed that he was so bored of people that he kept himself drunk. Jean Paul Sartre took speed to stay up for days and not have to take a break in his writing. The list goes on.
Actually, the lighted waterfall is a sunset striking directly into the water. I read on the site where I got this photo that it’s not photoshopped.
Incredible photo. Nature provides a powerful image of truth.
Happy Resurrection Day! Keep your feet on the ground, your heart on the cross and your mind on Heaven.
As a Christian, I believe the chief work is done by Christ. But we Christians must do the work of focusing our thought life on positives. Maybe you’re surrounded by hounds who criticize. Maybe you need to cancel your EnvyBook account. It’s astonishing what a little Bible-reading and prayer can do to lift your spirits.
I needed to remember this.
My father-in-law had been a big shot in LA’s Chinatown. A community watchdog and advocate, he built a sub-station for police use. He haggled with politicians for stop signs at dangerous crosswalks. He fought for neighborhood-sprucing funds to resist Chinatown’s downward spiral towards ghettodom.
For his indefatigable self-sacrifice in pro of mankind, he was named “Man of the Year” by the City of Los Angeles in 1982. As he lay dying, the newspaper clipping trumpeting his feats was pinned to the wall like a specimen. The only thing that mattered to him now was family and sleep.
Fortunately, Stan was a Christian. His departure Sunday from Earth meant his arrival in Heaven. When you think about the common denominator of death, what do earthly accomplishments, pleasure or riches signify? At best, they are a news article.
We packed Stan’s plaques, crystal glass awards gathering dust, from the shelf, into a box. There they rest. His body is being cremated and the ashes will lie in the Veteran’s Administration cemetery. A titanium identification will be placed in the urn, the only lasting memory on this planet.
But as his memory fades, He will live on in Heaven. His achievements for the gospel will be remembered.
He is discouragement. I can’t seem to get rid of him. I constantly need to get rid of him.
Just because I constantly am trying to encourage others, doesn’t mean I’m free of discouragement myself. It is the contrary that is true: Because I struggle with discouragement that I try to help others. This helps me.
- Exercise and eat right.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid destructive behaviors.
- Flee drugs and alcohol only mask, don’t heal, the inner pain and fears. They make things worse.
- Prefer uplifting music. The lyrics affect your soul, whether or not you’re “listening.”
- Eschew movies and shows with morbid themes
- Feed on the Word of God.
- Surround yourself with people who can lift you up, not those who tear you down.
- Pray and ask God for help.
- Don’t pretend and pose.
- Don’t be afraid to get help.
As with any stalker, we don’t want to take discouragement lightly. He can do us great damage, and we need to take action.
If you lose millions of dollars, you can get it back. If you lose your health, you can get it back. You can get back just about most anything. But the one thing you can never get back is t-i-m-e.
Many things we think are a “waste of time” are not. Those things we hold to be a best use of time, actually are a waste. Time will run out into the ocean of eternity one day and will stop marching forward. On that day, you and I will be in either Heaven or Hell. What we do here on earth in favor of eternity is the best use of time.
Have you hugged your family yet? Have you hugged God in prayer today?
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE for yourselves THIS DAY whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. — Josh. 24:15 NIV my caps.
The results of doubt are disaster. The much-admired atheist Frederick Nietzsche died insane (brought on by syphilis?), fighting against a carriage driver who was whipping his horses. A tree is recognized by its fruit — Matt. 12:33b NIV.
Aside from total doubt (atheist, agnostic) there is partial doubt. This is the “believer” who does not believe for healing or for answers to prayers. This is a midroader, neither an unbeliever, nor a total, radical, Bible-believing Christian. I find myself constantly trying to wrestle my way out of this quandary.
The addict struggles to believe he can be free. The failure struggles to believe he can be a success. The sick struggles to believe for healing. The pioneer pastor struggles to believe for people and finances. Write your circumstance here: ____________ struggles to believe.
Belief is a daily choice. It requires effort. To not believe, requires no effort. That’s why prayer and Bible-reading in the morning is such a good idea: it fills you with faith. Choose to believe today.
Pain brings change.
I am so resistant to change that I leave God no other option but to let me go through difficult circumstances to bring me where He wants me. I’m screaming bloody murder the whole way. Then, when I find myself in His blessing, I smile and say, “Oh, this is where You were bringing me!” The pain dissipates; pleasure fills my heart.
It’s okay to be down now. Maybe you’ve lost everything… your house, your family, your ministry. Don’t drink to
forget. Keep slogging through the Dark Valley. On the other side, you will come out into Wonderland. Life goes by cycles; you can’t always be on top of the world; you won’t always be on the bottom.
Believe in yourself. Believe in God. After the war comes rebuilding and prosperity. As one blogger says: Become better, not bitter. Current circumstances could drown you, or you could learn to swim. Tread water long enough in the Noah-like flood, and you’ll win a gold medal at the Olympics.
Incrementally improve. When the blessing hits, it will come suddenly, but it will have been through incremental improvements.
This one struggles with money. That one struggles with addiction. He has no self-esteem. She is losing her marriage. Injustice stalks us all; don’t think anyone leads a charmed life.
But if the common denominator is struggle, there are too many options for numerators. He masks pain with rash behavior, abandonment to hedonism. She locks into power struggles, putting down others to plop herself on top.
It seems the vast majority go everywhere except the Answer. I go to God, the answer. Call to me and I will answer you — Jer. 33:3a NIV. Despair not your struggles; everybody has them. Just go to the Answer.
The praying Christian triumphs over insurmountable odds. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. — Josh. 23:10 NIV. Joshua recounts the extraordinary victories God wrought to the wandering Israelites as they settled into the Promised Land.
Because they carefully depended upon God, they achieved the impossible. Prayer is careful dependence on God. Prayerlessness is reckless and baseless self-confidence. It’s no
wonder we fall on our face when he neglect prayer.
You will overcome 1:1000 odds — if you pray. Don’t fret about mounting bills as you try to establish God’s promise for your calling, don’t panic and surrender, don’t bail out. If you remain steadfast, God will deliver you. Trust and wait confidently in the Lord. While you wait for the miracle, keep praying and believing.
Pain is off the charts these days. I believe the multiplication of evil prophesied by Jesus for the last days is to blame. There’s more disintegration of families, more sin abounding, so hearts are hurting everywhere from betrayal. Where love is supposed to be, rejection abounds.
English obviously correlates “cry” and “cry out” in the translation of the Bible. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent — Psalm 22:2 NIV. Distress
is associated with shouting. Our desperation turns to prayer, our anguish to hope. Prayer, if anything, is pathos.
I asked God for His toughest assignment because I was cocksure of the solution: prayer. Then He allowed me a trial that blindsided me and left me staggering and confused. I had to laugh at myself: I got what I asked for, and then I didn’t know what to do.
Prayer is the outpouring of pain, a solution, not a reveling in hurt. Unlike cutting or pity-partying, it doesn’t celebrate the ouch in an upside-down way; it heals it. Turn not your anguish into alcoholism. You have a God above you who loves you and cares for you.
She showed up mysteriously and asked to be allowed to pray for him. Troubled by poor decisions and an acrimonious divorce, the youth received her warmly enough. Though it seemed strange to him, he let her pray in his room with him there. After the first session, there was another, and then another, and then another. Sometimes he cried, and he didn’t know why.
She was being led by the Holy Spirit. Just barely known to the family, this saint helped the youth carry a burden he didn’t know how to handle. And at the end of the prayer sessions, he was a transformed man. He no longer acted like a rebel. He became a leader for his brothers, in his school. Everyone marveled at the radical change of heart.
God changes people, and He
uses prayer warriors like this lady. They don’t follow an agenda. They have no personal ambition. They feel promptings in their heart and follow them. The uncomprehending regard them as nutcases. But psychologist, no counselor, no life coach can achieve better results.
Having lived 16 years in the Third World, I decry poverty mentality that blames “destiny” and takes no action to improve oneself. Thank God I learned the Protestant work ethic from childhood: through study, hard work, creativity, one can achieve any dream. Third Worlders see themselves as powerless to get ahead; as a result, they just goof off and be lazy.
BUT, I have witnessed the short comings of a strong work ethic. Too often, too much hard work is not rewarded with results: it’s a lot of spinning wheels. I labored intensely as a missionary, and the church did NOT grow. After more than a decade of killing myself believing in the do-it-yourself mentality and seeing an essentially stagnant church, I tried prayer.
Things exploded. When man moves, it’s never as good as when God moves. I am NOT denouncing work. I am just tempering it. There’s a balance. If you’re tired of tiring yourself out without seeing results, try entering more God into the equation. He may be waiting for you.
If it’s going to be, it is up to