31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 24} – Hope Prayers

When this finally gets published to the web, I will be in Ohio with thousands of youth (16 from First Trinity) learning about Jesus and praising Him together.  I can’t wait to get back Sunday and tell you all about it!

 

Yesterday I asked you to finish the sentence, “HOPE IS….”

Today, I want to ask you to do something as well.  It doesn’t involved commenting (unless you want to), but today, I want to ask you to pray for people in this world, specifically in your life, that need hope

For those in difficult situations, ask God to surround them with the assurance that He is faithful. 

Maybe those people you know that need hope don’t even know God and so your prayer would be that in the midst of their hopelessness they would find Hope in the salvation Jesus has for them. 

Maybe people need hope in the midst of an illness or the loss of a loved one.

Maybe they need hope in a marriage that’s falling apart or a child that is making some difficult choices.

Maybe the person that needs hope… is you.

 

Take a moment right now and pray that God would reveal Himself as the God of Hope to those people.

Need some ideas of where to start?  Here are a few groups of people that could probably use some prayers for hope:

  • The thousands of youth at the Acquire the Fire conference as we explore the theme “Collision: Mend the Broken” … that as they realize their brokenness, they would find hope in God.
  • The people in Haiti and other areas hit by natural disasters recently
  • People struggling with disorder eating, self-injury, depression or contemplating suicide. 
  • Couples in struggling marriages
  • The MILLIONS of people unemployed in our country

See you all tomorrow for Day 25!

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 23} – HOPE IS…

As I glanced through Facebook recently I saw this posted as one of of my friend’s status updates (and of course since it had the word “hope” in it, it caught my eye):

 

“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” ~ Jean Kerr

I don’t know about you, but it took me about 3 or 4 times reading through it to understand, but in a way, I kind of like it.   It also got me thinking about how YOU, yes YOU… reading this post right now… how you might define hope.  I’ve been wanting to ask this question for the past 23 days and since I’m going out of town today and don’t really have time to write much of a post, I thought this would be the PERFECT opportunity to have an INTERACTIVE post. 

 

We’ve got Emily Dickinson who says: 

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all….

Samuel Smiles says:

Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.

So, you’ve listened to me for 22 days about hope, and we’ve heard from Jean, Emily, and Samuel.  But what about YOU.

Now it’s your turn… comment back finishing this sentence:

HOPE IS…

 

I can’t WAIT to get back Sunday and read all of your responses! 

(Please note: if you’ve never commented on my blog before, your comment may not show up right away.  To avoid getting spam comments, it is set so that I have to approve new comments coming in.)

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 22} – A Prayer of Hope for Haiti

Gracious God,

We bring before you the people of Haiti and pray that you would provide HOPE.  In a country that has needed so much help for so long, we continue to see devastation after devastation… an earthquake, the cholera outbreak, and now a hurricane on it’s way and those are only the “big” things.  We don’t see the unbearable daily struggles these people face.  We sit here far away in geographical distance… but for many of us not far in heart. We sit and we pray.

 

This country (and many others like it around the world) probably could easily sound a lot like Job asking, “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? (Job 6:11).

 

One thing after another after another keeps impacting the beautiful people of Haiti and it must be difficult to have hope… difficult to be patient.  But, Lord, we have this promise from Your Word as well, “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” (Psalm 9:18)

 

You have not forgotten the people of Haiti and you never will.  Lord, I do pray that as they are afflicted in so many ways that their hope would not perish, but rather that you would restore their hope and that they would find it in You alone. 

 

It seem like there’s no way possible people can survive.  There’s nowhere to go… many of them are living in simple tents that probably don’t even protect them from a normal rain shower, let alone a hurricane.  It seems hopeless… but Lord, we wait in hope for You, for You are their help and their shield (Psalm 33:20) 

 

You are a powerful God and your Word proclaims that NOTHING is impossible for you.  So today, we pray for safety and protection for the people in Haiti.  Get them safely through this storm and continue to be with them as the rebuild and rebuild and rebuild their country.  Keep them healthy despite the many illnesses going around.  Lord, it truly does seem hopeless, but we know that YOU ARE HOPE and so we trust that all of this is in your hands.

 

All this, and so much more, we pray in Jesus’ Name,

AMEN! Let it be so!

 

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(Side note: I will be out of town until Sunday.  I’ve written a post for tomorrow and Saturday and hopefully they are set to post themselves on those days.  But if it doesn’t work… don’t worry… you’ll just get three doses of hope on Sunday!  While we’re on the subject of the trip, and of prayer, please pray for the First Trinity Youth Group and many more youth groups who will be gathering in Cleveland Ohio for Acquire the Fire this weekend.  Blessings to you all!)

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 21} – How to Hand out Hope

Sometimes I look around me and wonder if Christians really could have an impact on this world anymore.  It can be discouraging at times to look around and see our friends, our family members, our country, our world drifting farther and farther away from the Truth revealed to us in God’s Word.  BUT we don’t have to lose hope!

 

What triggered my thinking about this was just two short verses in Luke yesterday.  Luke 13:20-21says:

Again [Jesus] asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 

This world may be big, but the kingdom of God is POWERFUL!  Just like yeast seems so small and insignificant to the “large amount of flour” when making bread, anyone whose forgotten it in something knows that it makes ALL the difference. 

 

This verse says that the kingdom of God is like that yeast… it may seem insignificant at first but you just wait…. and wait…. and wait… and eventually, you’ll see an impact…in ALL the dough.

 

As God’s kingdom permeates this world, it can’t help but spread throughout the whole dough.  We don’t have to LOSE HOPE when we look around and see such pain and suffering in the world.  Rather, let’s HAND OUT hope and let it impact the entire world!

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 20} – Long Term Hope

This morning, as I read in Luke, I came upon this story:

On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

 

The story goes on, as typical for these kinds of stories, with the synagogue rulers indignant and ticked off that Jesus would heal on the Sabbath.  And then, of course, Jesus rebukes them basically saying, “you care more for your animals than you do for the needs of a person.”

Two main things caught my attention with this passage.  First of all, it was a Sabbath and Jesus always seemed to be doing things that the Pharisees didn’t like on the Sabbath.  But more, so this phrase caught my eye… and my heart:

 

EIGHTEEN YEARS.

This woman, had probably lost all hope of being healed.  Seriously, eighteen years… that’s a long time.  And going back to the other thing that caught my attention… this was a Sabbath… even if this woman knew who Jesus was and had any hope that maybe healing could be provided, she probably would have never thought that healing would come today of all days… it was a Sabbath.  I imagine, any hope that was there, was very small.  Yet, I do believe there was hope.

If there was no hope, then why was this woman who had suffered from an evil spirit for so long even AT the synagogue that day?  In my opinion, she had long-term hope.  Maybe, JUST MAYBE, SOMEDAY I will be healed. 

As I think about this story, I think about people I know and love and care about who have been suffering for a long time.  Whether the struggle is physical, spiritual, or emotional, as each day passes without relief, hope slowly fades.  “It’s already been so long,”  their minds protest.  “How could healing EVER come now?” 

Yet, God doesn’t call us to understand.. he calls us to trust him.  Our healing may not come today.  Our healing may not come tomorrow or next year, or even in this life time.  But even if it doesn’t, we continue to ask God to give us what we need to remain faithful and trust.  We ask God to help us to come into his presence, like this woman did, time and time again, knowing that in your time and in your way, you will call us forward and say, “My son… My daughter… you are set free from your infirmity.” 

God, please give us hope for today… and tomorrow…. and the next day… and the next day… and the next day… until THAT day:

 

“Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching head.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev. 7:16-17)

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 19} – Made New

I’ve heard the stories again and again.

Each one so distinct and unique, yet, so similar at the core.

Something happened-

Many things maybe.

Something so horrifying it rarely,

if ever,

gets any attention in conversation.

Yet, it gets all the attention in the heart.

 

Neglect.

Rape.

Abuse.

 

The death of a loved one.

The death of a marriage.

The death of a friendship.

 

An eating disorder.

Depression.

Self-injury.

 

A monstrous mistake.

A horrific memory.

A crippling fear.

 

“I’m not good enough.”

“Will I ever change?”

 

The shame is too much.

The guilt is too heavy.

 

Forgotten.

Alone.

Afraid.

 

Whether it was “their fault” or not, the pain obviously runs deep as the story eventually flows out. But it’s not just “them.” 

 

It’s me

and

it’s YOU. 

 

We all have had those secret things buried deep in our hearts… those times when we seriously wonder…

 

Is there any hope?

 

Can God REALLY do anything with this messed up life of mine?!? 

Through the darkness comes a marvelous Light responding:

“YES! THERE IS HOPE!  I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW!

No matter what mess you’ve gotten yourself into… no matter what anyone has done to you… no matter how much sin has messed up your life and messed up your heart, I can, and will, through Christ, make something BEAUTIFUL out of your life! 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

 

Isaiah 43:19 See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Things
by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

 

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 18} – Back to Square One

As I continue to explore and discover hope, there are many things I could say and I even wrote an entire blog post for today already. However, I decided that instead of posting it, I just want to direct you to this blog post that I stumbled upon earlier today written by a woman named Myra.   May it encourge you and remind you of the HOPE found simply in delighting in Jesus’ love for us!

Finding My Way Back To Square One 

My prayer today is that as we go back to the basics… as we open God’s Word, as we seek him in prayer… as we share with others what God is doing in our lives…  that we can find HOPE for whatever we face. 

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 Dear Jesus, help us to find hope by delighting in your great love for us.  When life gets confusing and complicated, remind us to come back to the simple truth that You love us and are more than enough for us.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!