Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!
Two young women sat at the bar sharing their day with each other over hors d’oeuvres. They wore their game day best and were ready for some football! My husband and I and our friend sat at a table directly behind them. We too were wearing our game day best, however, we were cheering for the opposing team. We were in the land of the frozen tundra. Not the arctic but the state that is home to the football field known for that name. With the exception of the sweet older woman who wore all purple to rep her favorite team, we were the only ones not dressed in the hometown color.
The game started and as it progressed the hometown fans were loud and shouted in unison as their team made good plays. The place was eerily quiet except for my husband’s and my whoops when our team was doing well. Soon we noticed that every time we would cheer the two women at the bar would turn slightly and give us the stink eye [I guess they take their football seriously in the frozen tundra]. I mean, I like our team and I would have been disappointed if they would have lost but I wouldn’t have been giving the opposing fans a sidewards stink eye glance.
Soon one woman left leaving her friend to watch the rest of the game by herself. When it was clear that her team would not be the victors she abruptly got up, firmly pushed her chair in and left the establishment. Her body language spoke louder than any words she would have spoken. She was downright mad.
“My grace is sufficient for you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9
What caused her to be so mad? Is it simply because her favorite team had lost or is there a deeper issue? I don’t know the answer but it caused me to think about empty love tanks and the places we look to fill our love tank. I use to use food of the simple carbohydrate kind to comfort myself whenever I was stressed or upset [I also use to have a terrible anger issue that was a learned behavior as well as a spiritual stronghold. Praise God He delivered and healed me!].
So how do we ensure that our love tank is full and where ought we turn when we feel it beginning to deplete? God’s grace. His grace which He extends to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus is free. Like any relationship this takes practice. It takes a commitment by you to carve out time for Him daily.
When you allow yourself to accept His grace you become content and you acknowledge that God is enough. He is sufficient for anything you face in life. Even your favorite team losing.
If you need prayer or believe you are ready to ask Jesus into your life please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top right or if you are on a mobile device click on the menu button.
Whatever happens. This reminds me of a movie [not one in particular] but one where the characters have been fighting the good fight. All looks lost and the encouraging character says, whatever happens…
Paul is encouraging the Philippians to stay strong amid the provoking, teasing and ill-treatment they were receiving and would continue to receive because of their proclamation of faith in Jesus and their commitment to share Him. Whatever happens.
Where I live and maybe where you live the ill-treatment we receive isn’t the possibility of stoning with large boulders or massive crowds surrounding us, taunting us with slurs and bodily harm [as Paul and the Philippians faced, however, this still happens in many parts of the world because faith in Jesus is against the law]
But, when you are provoked by the driver at the stop sign who doesn’t acknowledge you and simply drives through even though you arrived first. Or, you’re in that store or perhaps someone you thought you were building a friendly relationship with suddenly becomes curt and distant. How will you respond?
As believers in Christ we have the mind of Christ but do our thoughts, actions and how we live our life reflect this?
Are we allowing Holy Spirit to transform our mind to think like Him?
Are we putting on the full armor of God daily?
Specifically, are we putting on the helmet of salvation, which is the protection of our soul and also a picture of protecting our head where our mind and thoughts live?
Are we conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?
I’m sure you’ve heard of her. She has the figure that has been impossibly unattainable since the day she arrived on the shelves of toy stores. What was most likely meant to bring little girls hours of make believe fun has become the subject of poor taste and irresponsibility to generations of young girls and women striving to look like her. And it doesn’t end there. In the late 70’s early 80’s a plastic bust was made of this doll with hair that could be styled and makeup to be applied teaching little girls how to eventually do this for themselves. Nothing wrong there.
I experimented with makeup my later years in high school and I have absolutely nothing against wearing makeup. Wearing makeup makes many women feel special. I’m so practical in my ways that applying makeup is more a chore than satisfying. Our two daughters went through the teenage phase of heavy makeup [my husband would always tell them, “don’t ruin the Rembrandt!”] to their beautiful natural look with the occasional application.
Some theorize that Daniel and his friends chose not to eat the meat from Nebuchadnezzar’s table because of the possibility that it had been offered before idols. Others believe that their decision had nothing to do with vegetarianism. Still others theorize that because Daniel and his friends were held against their will they took the opportunity to exercise the few choices they had and preserve their distinct identity. They chose to stand apart from all the other people around them by choosing to eat food that would cause their appearance to look healthier.
There is something deeper in this story. The spiritual appearance of Daniel and his friends. In addition to requesting a veggie only diet to improve their appearance they had a relationship with God. One in which they honored and revered Him resulting in an outward appearance that couldn’t be matched regardless of dietary habits.
Precious Friend. Jesus loves you and when you allow Him to settle in your heart something happens. The power of Holy Spirit begins to transform you from the inside out and your appearance takes on one of heavenly dimensions. Your appearance shines with the joy of Jesus in your heart. No coverup is needed because He infuses you with His confidence and boldness.
For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.
Trust me. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times you’ve lost count. Or perhaps you, like me, have used these two words in the past.
When we decide to trust someone we are relying on their character or putting our confidence in them to follow through on what they’ve promised to do for us.
Jesus left us with specific directions to go and make disciples of all the nations. Like Paul we are heralds and it is our responsibility to share the good news of the gospel message with everyone!
Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and my sin. When we choose Jesus we are cleansed of the sin that once plagued us and while sin will still tempt us, sinner is no longer our identity. We are righteous in the Righteous One.
When you place your trust in Jesus he safeguards your salvation until He comes again or calls you home. You can trust the character of Jesus and place your confidence in Him to follow through on all the promises you find in His word.
As heralds of the good news of salvation through Jesus we also bring with this message an eternal accountability to all who hear The Message. If you haven’t placed your trust in Jesus, what will you do with this message of salvation? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready to make the choice for Him! If you already believe, what will you do with this message? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready or continue to nurture a deep and intimate relationship with Him walking in His will in complete surrender! We all have room to continue to grow.
Of all the things I could ask you to trust me with, this one thing, salvation in Jesus, is the only thing that will stand up against the test of time.
Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs.
Life really can be simple but our human nature is to convolute our life by attempting to take control rather than surrender all to Him. And I am grateful in His grace He chooses to continue to teach me how to simplify my life.
Fearing the Lord is honoring Him. Following His guidance. Speaking words that encourage and brighten the life of others. Troubling thoughts that are given to Jesus and asking for Him to replace them with His thoughts about our identity in Him. Actions that cause others to take notice that there is something wonderfully different about you!
Shunning evil is turning aside from it. Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs. This doesn’t mean we turn away from the evil being committed around us and around the world, no, rather in those instances we ask God how can we be a part of the change for His kingdom.
I love the word nourishment! It makes me think of satisfaction. God is our satisfaction in all areas of our life. Another reason to stay connected to Him daily for His nourishment to flow to us non-stop! Truly, the choice is ours it didn’t stop when we chose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Everyday we have the opportunity to choose Jesus. Not for salvation purposes [that choice is one time] but to choose Him daily for His wisdom, guidance, knowledge on how to live life.
Fear, shun, nourish. I pray you choose all three today and every day!
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Do we step off the path at times? Absolutely! Sometimes a minor course correction is needed and sometimes it can be a major correction.
Living a righteous life takes courage, it takes boldness, it takes wisdom.
You can do anything through the strength of Jesus. He promises. He wants you to do more than keep your head above water. He wants you to walk on the water of any situation in your life in the victory He won at the Cross for you!
Let’s stay tethered to Jesus together. Cheering, encouraging and holding each other accountable along the path of life and restoration.
I often marvel at the grace and humbleness of royal families that are in the news frequently. They always seem to have a smile on their face and always seem to be kind to the press and paparazzi even as our culture has an odd sense of curiosity about them. They always seem mindful of their behavior upholding the family name.
Johoiakim was king of Judah during a period of time when Nebuchadezzar, king of Babylon took Judah captive. Nebuchadezzar ordered his chief of court to gather Israelite men from the royal family and place them in Nebuchadezzar’s service.
These royal men were builders of their family name. Through them the continuance of the Nation of Israel would be born.
Likewise, every believer in Jesus, the moment they believe, becomes a part of this ancient royal family. We may not wear crowns, and robes, and jewels of old and we may not be followed incessantly by the press and photographers. But we are royalty. We are sons and daughters of the Most High King. We are princes and princesses in the kingdom of God.
We have a royal duty and responsibility to not only build our heavenly family name but to bear our family name with integrity. To be honest, kind, gracious and humble. To practice forgiveness and learn how to hold one another accountable for Christlike behavior. Please don’t misinterpret. Accountability does not mean we are better than each other. Accountability is loving one another in Jesus and learning His characteristics together.
Accountability requires discipleship which is critical to a believer’s life. When we are open to be discipled and to disciple we grow together in our faith. We enter into community with one another and allow ourselves to ask our core circle of friends to hold us accountable.
I am blessed by a group of women who hold me accountable. They have no problem speaking truth, sometimes hard truth into my life. I welcome their voice in my life. They help keep me from tumbling down the rabbit hole of spiritual darkness.
Accountability partners. Don’t leave home without them.
Today’s reading is Daniel 1:3-4. Ask God for His revelation and journal any words, impressions or thoughts. Meditate and pray on these.
She is the only one I never corrected even though my husband would gently remind her. My husbands grandmother would always call me Teresa rather than Terese.
Our names are important to us. Our names let others know how to address us. And while our names are not our identity, they are our identifier.
During ancient Israelite culture names were very important. Parents chose names, many times, to coincide with a season of life they may have been in.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah. Daniel 1:1a.
Jehoiakim’s name means the LORD raises up. How amazing it must have been for Jehoiakim to go through life with his name as a constant reminder of who he was and Who he belonged too. It get’s better. Jehoiakim’s name is derived from the name YHVH which is the proper name of God.
You and I, we may not have a name that means the LORD raises up and we don’t have to. As a believer in Jesus you are called, His child. He raises you up simply because He loves you. You don’t have to do anything in your own strength. It is the power of Holy Spirit that propels you in the direction He wants you to move. It is YHVH in you and through you.
We do have a responsibility when we are called a child of God. Our responsibility is nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. Stay connected to Him and meet Him in His word daily.
Today I encourage you to read Daniel 1:1-2 and ask God to open your eyes to what He wants to reveal to you and how He wants you to apply this to your life. How will His revelations help you to grow in Christlike behavior?
Are you sold out for Jesus? What does that even mean and what does that look like?
I have heard the expression ‘sold out for Jesus’ often in my faith journey with Him and I’ve often wondered where the term came from. This verse could quite possibly be the origin.
To be a disciple of Jesus includes persecution and promise and suffering and blessing.
Are you willing to leave your family, your home, your job and your lifestyle for Jesus and the gospel? Am I? If you and I are willing Jesus promises we will not fail to receive a hundredfold in return in this present age. But it shouldn’t be the promise that causes us to be sold out. It should be Jesus and only Jesus.