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!
My momma, a beautiful woman inside and out, would spend at least an hour everyday doing her hair just right. She had a standing weekly appointment with her hair stylist and was part of the last generation of women who carried over the bouffant hairdo from the sixties into the nineties! Each night after her hair appointment she would pin curl her hair in order to keep the shape. In the morning she would tease and back comb the top, sweep her bangs to the side and all those pin curls she would tease and flip up individually. I’m exhausted just remembering this!
I’ve never considered my momma to be vain. Certainly many of us have a daily routine that includes styling that makes us feel good about ourselves, however, there is always the danger of going to far and falling into the trap of vanity.
In our verse Paul is telling the Corinthians that the apostles proclamation of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and their faith is in vain if they do not believe in the resurrection. He is telling them that their faith is ineffective, foolish and worthless. This is exactly what vanity does to our true identity in Jesus. Vanity attempts to cause us to believe our identity is ineffective, foolish and worthless.
How do we protect ourselves from this sneaky and subtle ploy of the enemy of our soul? Consistency is the key by reading and studying God’s word. Asking the Holy Spirit to highlight what He wants to speak to your heart through His word [I like to take Scripture that speaks to me and turn it into personalized prayer on neon colored 3×5 cards], through prayer, here again, asking the Holy Spirit to lead your prayers and taking time to listen to what God is speaking to your heart. When we commit to practice these disciplines we begin to understand the work God has carved out for us to accomplish. The power of the Holy Spirit [the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead] causes us to be steadfast, immovable and always excelling in the work of the Lord.
…because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58c.
Stay tethered to Jesus because you my friend are priceless.
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It was treasured and given to me by two of my four adored older brothers. They don’t know where it came from. It simply was and it made me feel very special. They truly meant no harm and it stayed with me for years to come. It was my childhood nickname, Boosh, and it was harmless, or so I thought.
Our name is important to us. It lets others know how to address us. Our name identifies us to others. I grew up in an era when a lot of importance was put on naming children after family relatives. The middle name of three of my four brothers is the first name of three of our uncles. The youngest of my brothers and I somehow missed out on this tradition, but nonetheless, I have always really liked my name, especially because it was very uncommon while I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I met another girl with my name and even then, she spelled hers differently than mine.
Throughout Biblical history not only were names important they carried meanings that names in our current culture might not. The meaning of a Biblical name could have been prophecy about future events, the outcome of one’s life, or an indication of the hopes and dreams of parents for the life of their child.
Hannah gave her son the name Samuel because she cried out to the Lord for a child and God answered her prayer. In the original Hebrew Samuel means I have asked for him. The name of one of Isaiah’s son was Shear-Yashub meaning a remnant will return. And Joseph was told by an angel of the Lord in a dream to name the baby Mary was carrying Immanuel, meaning with us is God, or God with us.
Do you identify with your birth name? If so, how [family name, Biblical or cultural or perhaps your mom liked a particular sports player and decided to name you after him/her].
I encourage you to read 1 Peter 2:9 [if you don’t have a Bible you can search this verse online] and list the different names God calls you that are your true identity found in Christ. When you start with the negative self talk or you find yourself speaking negatively to another person, gently remind yourself that we are all created in the image of God and say to yourself the beautiful words God calls you and others.
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The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum…
Even if it was only a pack of gum given to her ‘just because,’ our oldest daughter’s love language continues to be gifts. When she was younger it was challenging to fill her love language while raising a young family on one income. The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum will always remain imprinted on my mind. That is when I realized that gifts didn’t and don’t have to be the latest and greatest. For someone whose heart is filled to overflowing with a thoughtful gift, it really is the thought that counts.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.(NIV 1984).
2 Timothy 1:6-8
While gifts is not my love language I do love to give gifts and watch the surprise erupt into joy on the face of the person receiving my gift. God works through us to bless others and ultimately display His love for us with His knowledge that He knows exactly what we need. HOW gracious is He?!! Can I get an Amen?!
In today’s verse we find Paul encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul is suggesting Timothy take action. God has given the gift and now it is Timothy’s responsibility to learn to use this gift wisely for God’s glory and His kingdom and the saving of many lives. Because truly when we think about spiritual gifts, like gifts in the physical, they aren’t meant for us but for giving! For sharing Jesus with others by giving them hope that the sun really will come out again.
Laying on of hands can seem spooky, hocus pocus or downright uncomfortable to some. But it is Biblical. Perhaps we are not learning about this aspect of discipleship in our churches or through our own studying of God’s word and guidance from Holy Spirit or maybe it has been practiced out of context and abused and church leaders have put up their fingers in the sign of the cross attempting to ward off some sort of evil.
It is important to remember that the gift(s) is not given by the one who lays hands on the receiver the gift(s) it is given by God and God alone. To lay hands on another is God’s instrument of conveying His supernatural encouragement and revelation. When we pray for the one we are laying hands on we are seeking God’s guidance and confirmation of God’s will for that person. Some theologians believe it ought to be a regular practice in church for others to discover God’s will.
Do you ever wonder about the power you wield through your faith in Jesus by His Spirit. It may not be physical power and it certainly isn’t an abusive power. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and you, as a believer, have access to this 24/7/365. Doesn’t that leave you awestruck in wonder?! Power, love and self-discipline are all a part of your identity in Jesus. These identity characteristics, like gifts, are also meant to be used wisely.
And lest we think we can do anything in our own power, Paul reminds us that we cannot even suffer on our own. We need the power of God to push through and remain focused on Him.
I bless you with choosing to be a good gift giver through Jesus and the gifts He has given you and to be open to the gifts He has for you through the giving of others.
Have you ever gotten into your car turned the key and nothing? No click, no sound, only silence. You realize you most likely have a dead battery. The solution is a new battery. In the meantime a jump start may bring the dead battery back to life.
Over the last several months my time with Jesus has not been the vibrant, exciting, can’t wait to meet with Him time it has been in seasons past. I have known for quite some time that I needed a jump start, something to propel me into new territory with Him.
Today I had the amazing opportunity to attend a small intimate gathering of women and learn some new and valuable ways to enter into some very sweet time with Him. I experienced Jesus on a new glory plane. As is His nature, he went above and beyond anything I can ever ask or imagine. He showed me wounds from my childhood that I didn’t realize were within me. He walked me through healing and reminded me of my identity and authority in Him.
He increased my freedom!
My prayer for you is that you would ask Jesus to meet you in new and unexpected ways and teach you to simply sit in His presence, listen for His voice and draw you ever closer through His word.
I’m reading the devotional, “Draw the Circle,” by Mark Betterson. Today’s reading is about prevailing in prayer according to Luke 11:8. As I was reading, I kept asking myself, “Does God’s word really say shameless audacity?” Sure enough, right there in the NIV translation….shameless audacity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this parable and those words have not stood out to me until today.
The Greek word isἀναίδεια and literally means shamelessness as it relates to carrying out God’s plan with unembarrassed boldness, in dignity of faith. It is the faith-led believer who isn’t concerned with human fears even when they are being accused of being extreme or excessive.
I want to live everyday in shameless audacity. So strongly connected to my Lord and Savior Jesus that I am the bold ambassador to His kingdom that he has called me to be. Throwing human fears to the pit because Jesus is my strong shelter and His banner over me and mine is love.
Shameless and dignified because of Jesus. Persistent in prayer and he will surely give you all that you need.
Restoration. The word holds hope and joy and of things yet to come.
When my husband was a teenager his stepdad bought this 1960 356B Porsche Cabriolet. At the time it was in perfect working condition, or so we thought. My husband has always wanted this car and his stepdad told him one day it would be his. A few years ago, after we had comfortably settled my father-in-law into assisted living, we brought the car home. The car had sat garaged for many years and began to fall into disrepair. My husband’s intention was to always restore the 356 to its former beauty.
Here are some things we’ve discovered in the process. It is by the grace of God alone that whenever my father-in-law drove this car he was safe. The ‘mechanic’ that had originally restored the car had done so in such a way that if it weren’t for Providence, driving this car could have resulted in a catastrophe.
The other thing we have learned is restoration takes time. A.LOT.OF.TIME. My husband completely gutted the inside of the car, has taken apart all mechanical and moving parts and has spent countless hours cataloguing all parts, researching and locating original or close to original parts as possible, networking with other Porsche restorers and finally coming to the point of putting it all back together. Please don’t misunderstand me, even though many times this task can be frustrating and seem daunting, it brings my husband joy. He loves working with his hands and God has uniquely gifted him with knowledge, wisdom and passion for this type of work. By trade he is an aircraft system engineer and aircraft mechanic.
Restoration. It can be the same in our own life can’t it? Allowing Holy Spirit to completely empty us of who we thought we were in Christ. Taking apart all the working pieces only to make room for the putting back together with a newness in our minds. It isn’t easy and it most definitely can be messy, it can take countless hours of prayer and crying out to God and may even require godly counsel for spiritual and emotional healing.
But, God promises that after suffering for a little while HE will RESTORE you. He will make you stronger, firmer AND more steadfast.