Monday, November 28, 2011

The Season of Advent - Part 1

The word "Advent" means "coming" or "arrived". And the season of advent is focused on the coming of Jesus. Not only His first coming, but for His glorious second coming.

Jesus brings hope to all who will ask Him & it always amazes me how He works. In all honesty, i have been struggling with my blog today. And then a little bit ago, it hit me! First let me back track a little. I've been distracted today. A sweet lady that i know had a kidney transplant earlier today & the donor was one of her daughters. So, i have been distracted in prayer for them both. In the meantime, i've now sat here for over 2 hours, writing & writing, but nothing came together. I said my prayer asking God to give me His words & still i struggled. I just thankful right now, that they both came through the surgeries & everything went well. 

So, as i started over for the third or fourth time, i realized that God was giving me his message all day long...Hope in prayer. In everyday language, we might say "hope so". But when we take things to the Lord in prayer, hope is a part of faith. We have hope for all things through Him because we know that Jesus is always there for us.

And as i sit here wanting to share hope with you, i find that i'm very hopeful for this season. I can't tell you specifically for what or who. I just know that the Spirit is sending me hope & that's a wonderful, peaceful feeling!

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

So here's an advent challenge to you:
This week, make a list of your own hopes. Personally, at the top of my list is those who don't know Jesus & therefore, don't have hope. Then add hopes for yourselves, people you know, charities, your local area, national & world situations, etc. Pray your own prayers of hope for those on your list. Give it all to God. 

Jesus, You do bring hope into hopeless situations. Thank You for Your heavenly rescue missions. We offer up our prayers of hope, knowing that you care deeply about each & every one of these situations.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Psalm 100 - A Psalm. For thanksgiving

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth." v.1

I give you all the praise & all the glory Lord. Hallelujah!

"Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs." v.2

Today Lord, i come to you with a humble heart full of thankfulness for the uncountable blessings you have given. You are so much more than amazing!

'Know that the Lord is God
It is He who made us & we are His.
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture." v.3

Father, thank You for making us in Your image. Thank You for being there for us 24/7. Help us to reflect Your image to all those we meet. You are our Shepherd. Lead us to do your work & to serve only You.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise'
give thanks to Him & praise." v.4

You are such an awesome God! There is no way that i could ever say thank You enough for Your love, Your forgiveness, Your grace, Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

"For the Lord is good & His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations." v.5

Thank You Lord for the faith of my family who have instilled the roots in each generation. Help me to continue to keep those roots of faith. Help them to grow stronger with each passing day. So that they are even stronger for future generations.

Praying that you all have a safe & HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just a note....

I just wanted to let you know that there wouldn't be a post today. I've been a little bit under the weather. But days like this, i just want to say how much i appreciate each & every one of you who read my writings. Thank you so much!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Forgiveness - It's not always simple, but always necessary.

This past weekend, i heard some disturbing news about someone that i have admired for more years that i could remember - or even if i could remember probably wouldn't admit. I have dealt with feelings or hurt, betrayal, disappointment, anger. You get the picture. I had been in a funk the majority of the weekend. I've prayed about this situation off & on all weekend, but this morning, i was able to turn it all over to God. I've quit having questions of "why" & "how could he". I still feel betrayed, but am peaceful about it now.

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to achieve without God's strength. It doesn't come easily for most of us. We have a natural instinct of self-protection. Protection from hurt feelings, anger, confusion, betrayal, etc. We aren't naturally full of mercy, grace, & forgiveness when we are disappointed or feel wronged. But God has commanded us:

"Forgive as the Lord forgave you"
Colossians 3:13a (NIV)

How do we forgive? Forgiveness is a choice we make that is motivated by obedience to God. We need to forgive by faith, out of obedience - whether we feel like it or not. We need to surrender our feelings to God, ask Him, & trust Him to do the work in us that needs to be done to forgive. 

"being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

How do you know if you have really forgiven? Corrie ten Boom is quoted as saying, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, & to realize the prisoner was you." I think that we know that forgiveness is complete when we experience freedom from the betrayal. That the betrayal really doesn't matter to us anymore.

I have found that prayer is the best way to breakdown the wall of unforgiveness. Before i started writing today, i prayed - again - about the situation that has been eating at me. God gave me new eyes to view this situation with. And a new heart to care for that person. I am not without sin & i know that God forgives me. And although it is perfectly normal to feel anger toward sin & injustice, it's not our job to judge.

"Do not judge, & you will not be judges. Do not condemn, & you will not be condemned. Forgive & you will be forgiven."
Luke 6:37 (NIV)

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may for give your sins."
Mark 11:25 (NIV)

Yesterday morning, on Facebook, a friend posted this:
Anyone can hold a grudge by it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn't mean what happened was ok & it doesn't mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain & are ready to let go."

I'm ready to let go. I hope & pray that you are too.