Tag Archives: hope

The Big Debate

How happy is the man who has put his trust in the LORD and has not turned to the proud or to those who run after lies!

Psalm 40:4 (HCSB)

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The TV and radio are off. I watched a little this morning but I decided I didn’t need the tension created by the commentators. I read through posts on Facebook and Twitter but it was more of the same. This has been a long year of political rhetoric and debate. I normally enjoy that kind of thing but I will be very glad when November 9th rolls over on the calendar. It has been an unprecedented campaign on both sides.

We have seen and read about the lies and corruption that emanates out of both camps. Tabloids share juicy details. Spokesmen attempt to tamp down the hysteria. The sides are so entrenched that emotion erupts in fisticuffs both physically and in print. And that goes within the parties, too. I fear that reconciliation will be difficult for all.

Suggested debate questions are flowing from the pundits’ lips but my question echoes from King David as I ask you, “How happy are you?”

Neither candidate can assure your happiness or security. Trusting in the government will only bring disillusionment and frustration. I don’t follow the mindset of some of my fellow Christians that this election will result in the end of the world. That doomsday forecast has no scriptural basis because God is in control. He deposes kings and raises up others. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Maybe He is calling the church to kneel down and repent and sees this as the only way He can get our attention. No one man or woman can solve our problems except that one man, Jesus.

Tonight, I will watch the last debate. I’m not expecting any dramatic changes.

My only hope is in Jesus Christ, my Lord.

 

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Light or Shadow

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

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A nine-year-old girl joined her mother and aunt for a week of camp at Forest Home Christian Conference Center, a first for all of them. One evening, during the course of the week, the young girl was introduced to Christ as her Savior by her counselor and as she prayed, she began to cry. The counselor shooed the rest of the girls into another room, hoping to find the cause for the tears. With a limited vocabulary, the young girl could only say that the story had gone deep into her heart and that she was so happy. That young girl was me and the story took place during one summer day, sixty years ago.

Some things may change but the story of my redemption is steadfast and sure. I was pondering changes of things that I miss—singing with the Blackhawk Chorus in California, singing in the 4th of July concert, Let Freedom Sing, here in Tucson, perfect vision with no thought of it ever being otherwise, moving away from family and friends to live in the Arizona desert. We can never go back but we can grow and change, step back and walk forward.

I love that God, our Father, never changes as a shifting shadow does. A shadow is defined as “an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something.” But, we don’t need to worry that God will turn away from us creating a shadow of uncertainty or fear. He won’t do that because He is light and in Him there is never any darkness. Remember — He doesn’t change. We can trust that His good and perfect gifts will flood our hearts with the light of His presence, hope for tomorrow, assurance of salvation, and peace in a stress-filled world.

Change? Embrace it. You’re not alone.

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Know-it-all

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 (NLT)

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Our church has the tradition of greeting those around you. I spoke to a woman today who made me stop and think.

“I’m sorry,” she said. ” I have vision problems and can’t see you very well.”

“I do, too. Do you have macular degeneration?” I asked.

“Yes, in both eyes,” she answered.

“I do, too. Wet or dry? I have wet,” I replied.

“Both.”

“Are you getting shots in your eye?” I asked.

“Oh no. I had laser surgery 12 years ago and it really messed up my vision,” she answered quickly.

“But,” I said, “they have new methods and shots which really help! I get them in my eyes.”

She shook her head, no, and the music began. As I walked back to my seat, I thought of the good news available to her if she would only listen.

How typical is that in life? One of the sayings — no matter the context — that makes me lose it is, “we have always done it this way.”

I wonder what the woman at the well thought when Jesus asked her if she wanted water that would assure her of never being thirsty again. Was she satisfied with the way she currently retrieved water for her household? Maybe she wasn’t thirsty? Had she already tried one of those new “sparkling” waters and found it didn’t quench her thirst any better than regular water? Was she in such a rut that a new way looked too hard?

What area of your life is so routine but without much life and joy? You realize that options are available to make changes but it’s just too much effort, it may not work, and you’re OK with the way it is.

But what are you passing up? The woman heard something from Jesus that she wanted — and she didn’t even know what it was. The more he talked, the more intrigued she became. And to top it all off, He knew all about her.

His offer of living water was irresistable and she realized that this man was the Messiah. She opened her heart to His “water”and could hardly wait to tell her neighbors and bring them to meet Jesus so they could have it, too.

In a world filled with fear and frustration—we have that same Jesus. He offers hope and help to fill us up with joy and peace. Speak to those around you.

Don’t be a know-it-all. Be an I-want-to-know-it. Offer the Living Water as you meet those on your way. They may be very thirsty.

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Messy House

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

1 Peter 2:1-3 (MSG)

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My house is normally pretty tidy with things picked up and a clean kitchen to work in. But I hire a couple of girls to come in twice a month to “deep clean.” The other day I walked into the house after lunch and it looked like a whirlwind had hit it.

Because of the holiday, my cleaning girl brought a couple of extra friends to help her catch up on the missed day. All the furniture was pulled away from the walls. One girl was on a step-stool wiping down bookshelves. Another had the kitchen torn apart and was spraying and wiping the counters and cupboards. I heard others in the back of the house making noises with vacuums and mops.

You would think that I was messy and dirty. On the surface, the house looked fine, but underneath the furniture, behind the books, in the nooks and crannies out of sight, dirt and dust lingered and multiplied.

It made me wonder about the state of my heart and life. I can put on a good face and attitude and people observing will think all is well. Not much cleaning up for her to do. But is my heart and mind free of fear, prejudice, frustration, anger, pride, and selfishness? Honestly, no. If I had to clean them up all by myself, I would fail miserably. But God took the giant vacuum cleaner to my life when I confessed my sins and weaknesses to Him and accepted His offer of love and forgiveness. Jesus’ blood cleansed me and gave me life eternal.

Yet, this world still leaves our feet dusty as we walk the roads of life. The news indicates that things are hardly tidy and free of grime. We have experienced a week with the murders of police officers in Dallas, rallies in cities across the nation to protest racism, lies and distortions by politicians. And that is only in the United States. The rest of the world is hurting, too.

We will never live in a perfect world, this side of heaven, but we have help and hope from God’s word, The Bible. When we spend time reading, meditating, journaling, confessing our sins, and praying over the truths that we read, God promises to grow us up into mature people. Just as my grandgirlies had to learn to walk one step at a time, so do we. The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are a result of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only then will:

  • Anger on the streets be replaced with love.
  • Racism be replaced with acceptance.
  • Rudeness be replaced with kindness.
  • Pride be replaced with humility.
  • Fear be replaced with hope.
  • Division be replaced with unity.

The disorder and disarray in my house? By the time they left, everything was back in place, the sinks sparkled and the floors glistened. Maybe it’s time to check the corners and pockets of your hearts and minds for dust and grime. Give Jesus the opportunity to clean up your mess and make your life clean and whole, ready to be a light and witness for Him to a darkened world.

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Do Good to All

 We ask you, Christian brothers (and sisters), speak to those who do not want to work. Comfort those who feel they cannot keep going on. Help the weak. Understand and be willing to wait for all men. Do not let anyone pay back for the bad he received. But look for ways to do good to each other and to all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NLV)

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From childhood, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love every part of it…from the decorations, to the Christmas carols, sparkly lights and yummy cookies. Christmas parties, choir concerts, family gatherings — it is all the very best.

Yet, this year, there is a pall over my heart. The Paris and San Bernardino shootings, a friend whose son attempted suicide, another in the hospital with congestive heart failure, a neighbor who hurts all the time from a fall and broken hip, family members struggling with anxiety and depression.

If this is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” what happened? Unlike the headline from the New York Daily News, “God isn’t fixing this,” I know that He is. We don’t know what is going on the heavenlies but we do know we have a God who is not surprised, is greatly saddened, and is in control.

So what are we to do in this time of upheaval, fear, sorrow and anger? The verses quoted today give us some ideas.

Many are out of work and can’t find a job. They may be friends or family and this is about the worst time of year to look for a job or have Christmas less than two weeks away. But you can look them in the eye and speak to them. Let them know they are not invisible to you. Encourage them with a smile and squeeze on the arm.

Some are so discouraged and downhearted. Life is messy and not what was expected. Too much time spent in doctor’s offices or hospitals. No energy to do shopping or make cookies. The phone is silent. Pain lurks and and then erupts. Offer them a ride and have a latte and bit of conversation at a favorite coffee bar. Stop by and wrap some of their presents or take them for mailing. Send an email or text of hope and cheer. Smile and give them a hug.

Be patient. Waiting is the hardest work of hope. We live in a world of instant gratification so that we assume no response or delayed response means no. But that isn’t always the case. Hope gives us the courage to keep on, to trust God with the hard stuff — the parts that don’t make sense — and know that He loves and cares more than we can ever fully understand.

Be on the lookout for someone who is hurting and be that little bit of light and hope. And SMILE. Christmas is coming!

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I’m an atheist

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NLT)

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“I’m an atheist.”

I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly. As the conversation continued I knew that I had. This was new for me because I don’t usually have the opportunity to talk with someone who has no belief in God.

As I slid my feet into the hot swirling water of the pedicure chair, a woman sat down next to me and I could tell she was a little unsettled. Kinda in a hurry but also relieved to just sit. One of the manicurists asked how her daughter was doing and she shook her head and said, “Not well.”

I’m the curious type of person, so I asked her if she was OK. No, her daughter has brain cancer. (Now that is a conversation stopper or starter depending on the person.) But I peppered her with questions and she seemed relieved to be able to talk about it. The diagnosis was quick and death was imminent.

“Does she have any Christian faith?” I asked.

“No, we are all atheists.”

I actually felt like I had hit a brick wall. And the woman followed with she didn’t want me to try and convert her, if I was a believer in Christ.

We talked for several more minutes and I prayed for words. Every tack that I took had a negative answer from her. She was fine, thank you very much. Yet, she seemed to want to talk about it and defend her position.

My pedicure completed, I looked over at her. She’d already told me she didn’t want anyone praying for her or her daughter. So I touched her arm and told her I was sorry and left.

She may tell me not to pray for her but I am. I pray that this crisis will bring her to the end of herself and into the arms of a loving Heavenly Father. I pray that a ray of hope may shine in her heart as she looks out over the beautiful Catalina Mountains and realizes that this all didn’t just happen. I pray that her daughter may hear the Gospel one more time and that it will reach out and soften her heart.

We would all like our witnessing to unbelievers to end up with the angels rejoicing over the salvation of one of God’s children. But with this particular child, my role was to water the seed and let someone else reap the harvest.

God has placed you where He wants you for a reason. Be faithful.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

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Aylan’s Cord

An enemy might defeat one person,

    but two people together can defend themselves;

a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NCV)

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The disturbing image captured my attention. A three-year-old boy’s lifeless body washed up on the beach in Turkey. His red shirt and blue shorts are printed indelibly on my memory. How did this happen? Where is his family?

The war in Syria rages and many are fleeing from the ISIS Army. This boy, Alyan, his brother, and parents escaped on a boat, hoping for a better life. But he didn’t make it—only his father survived the trip. That one picture has circled the globe reminding us that a picture is worth a thousand words. This war is real and the crisis of families in search of peace and safety is both dangerous and severe.

As believers, we know that when one part of the body is hurting, we all hurt. My heart aches for these families but what can one person do?

Pray. I don’t know the future but God does. He sees when these little ones struggle even as when a sparrow falls. He is not blind to these atrocities but the relief and end to all of this is in His time.

Give. Most of these stories come from half-way across the world. But the needs are real for these families fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their backs and no place to go. Support a ministry that gives aid and relief such as Samaritan’s Purse.

Remember. Our world is in such distress from wars and rumors of wars that the end may be near. We are called to share the Good News of the gospel as Jesus instructed His disciples … until He comes again.

As we stand together in support of these our brethren, we become that strand that is not easily broken. Help them, Jesus.

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Bubbling Brook

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

John 4:13-14 (NLT)

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I love sitting in my screened porch, early in the morning during the summer, with my devotionals, Bible, and a hot latte. The fountain, a few feet away, is a gathering place for all the birds to stop by and get a drink of water. I’m not a birder so I have no idea about the various species but they are all colors, sizes, with different voices. Some coo, some hoot, some squawk, some call to others—waiting for a reply. They remind me that God cares for them just as He cares for me.

But this morning, I had a very unhappy bird. Bees had infested the fountain and the only recourse was to drain it until they found another watering hole. That didn’t make one bit of sense to my friendly bird who arrived expecting to drink its fill. It hopped from one side of the top bowl to the other, into the bottom of the bowl, hopped to the bottom bowl, squawking the entire time.

It felt like it was looking right at me, “Where is my water?”

No water. It flew off in disgust, squawking all the way.

Water is life-giving and without it, we would squawk and complain, too. A woman in Samaria met Jesus when she stopped by to get water for the day at the local well. He offered her living water but she didn’t realize she was thirsty for His water. Yes, she was searching for something and discovered that He had what she needed. She believed, drank, and her thirst was quenched. Her excitement was so contagious that many of her neighbors believed the good news when she told them her story and sought time with this Jesus.

Are you irritated, frustrated, depressed, or weary? God offers refreshment to all who turn to Him with water to soothe your heart, soul, and mind.

Drink deeply, my friend.

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Supreme Court Decision


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I was very active in the political arena in California for 25 years before I moved to Arizona nine years ago. I can remember one other day when I felt as low as I feel today and it was the day Bill Clinton beat George HW Bush. I had worked hard on that election and tears dripped down my cheeks as the election returns flashed on the TV screen that night. But the next morning I woke to a fax from Gary Bauer that quoted Winston Churchill saying, “Never, never, never, never give up.” So, I pulled up my big-girl panties and got back into the fight.

Yet, I began to see that politics is not the solution to our problems as a nation. Only God can restore this nation to one of peace, love, and security. It makes me very sad for my granddaughters that this land of America is so different from the one I grew up in. They will be called on to stand up for righteousness in ways that I never encountered. I pray daily the prayer that Mordecai prayed for Esther—strength, courage, and hope—for such a time as this.

But the work is not done for we who believe. The Apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

We have our marching orders — praise, patience, and prayer.

May your heart be comforted and encouraged.

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To Stand

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    whom he has redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

    from the east and from the west,

    from the north and from the south.

Psalm 107:2-3 (ESV)

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It’s the middle of Holy Week. I’ve been reading Lenten devotions for almost 40 days in preparation for the remembrance of my Lord’s passion, culminating in the Resurrection this weekend. Death is conquered forever, to the consternation of Satan.

Rather than celebrating this amazing event, the world around me is in a mess.

Christians are cowering before the press as the LGBT community presses for advantage after the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana and now debated in Arkansas.

I have the right to my beliefs according to the Bible’s teaching, and guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. God offers no doubt about His standards and condemns homosexuality.

Discrimination goes both ways, but should never be condoned. A generational gap does not make changing the bill the right thing to do. Nor does a larger megaphone make true false assertions bandied about the media, Twitter, and Facebook.

As believers, we no longer have the luxury of silence, apathy, and tolerance. I refer to Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  He also said, “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”

ISIS, beheadings, suicide bombers, nuclear bombs in the hands of the Iranians, coups, release of enemy combatants, Israel threatened are just a few of the hot spots around the world — when will it stop? What is in the future for our children and grandchildren?

We can put our head in the sand and hope it blows over. However, I think the better option is to put on the armor of God and fervently pray for a third Great Awakening.

We are called to be watchmen on the wall and alert all to impending danger. Be vigilant, ready with an answer for all who ask.

…and having done all, to stand.

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