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!
Pulling one from the archives with a little make over. Originally posted July 2013.
I’m old school when it comes to reading. Whenever possible I like holding a book in my hands, feeling its weight and turning the page with a sense of satisfaction as I read on. And I must admit the cover will either draw me in and captivate me into reading more or cause me to not give the book a second glance. Yes, in some instances I do judge a book by its cover.
Many times we can look at situations in our life and see only the negative. Somehow we’ve taken our eyes off of God above and placed our vision firmly in front of us. We fall into the trap of judging our circumstance by its prickly, misshapen and unappealing exterior. On the outside perhaps this ‘book’ has been passed over many times seemingly discarded and worthless.
Let me ask you, what if this time God has chosen you to read this ‘book’ acquainting yourself with the characters and their story and sharing His love with them? This ‘book’ is most likely not your normal genre of choice. But what if you choose not to read and you miss a plethora of blessings and opportunities? What if you were chosen for such a time as this?
Not long ago I read something to the effect of God speaking only through his written word and implying that God does not talk to people on behalf of others or for the masses but that when He speaks to someone it is for that person only. This left me feeling very unsettled and because I am an internal processor it has taken me awhile to reconcile why I was feeling this way.
I believe, without any doubt, God speaks to us mainly through his word. That is why reading and studying his word is so vital to our spiritual health. But, I also believe God speaks to us in different ways; through dreams, visions, pictures and prayer. I also believe God gives us messages of encouragement and prophetic messages to be given away to others. He has done this through me many times and I always suggest to the one who is receiving a word from God through me that they take this spoken word to God and ask God what part of it is from him and what part of it can be tossed out, because many times my human-ness and my impressions can be mixed in with the message from God.
It is the hearer’s responsibility to be alone with God and pray about what was given. Oughtn’t we be doing this on a regular basis to begin with? Most of us attend church on Sunday or Bible study during the week, simply because one has been anointed by God to preach or teach does not mean we will ever get it right one hundred percent of the time, again, it is the hearer’s responsibility to go God and ask God for his discernment on what was preached or taught.
Paul gave these words of wisdom about worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When we always imply that what God speaks to one person should be only for that person we negate the truth of God’s word. All of these things including prophecy, further in the passage Paul addresses prophecy, are meant to strengthen the Bride of Christ! Have they and are they currently misused? Yes, BUT it is each believers responsibility to go to God and ask for his wisdom, his discernment on what was spoken or taught. Let’s give each other the freedom in Christ and encouragement to seek the spiritual gifts Holy Spirit wants to lavish on us; gifts that are meant for the greater good of the entire Church.
Precious One, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to see angels. I am a visual person and there are a lot of things about God’s word that I desire to ‘see’. Angels is one of them.
God’s word has several instances, that are recorded, of others being approached by angels. Take Mary for instance, Jesus’ mother, she was approached by the angel Gabriel, who said to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” and told she would conceive a child and name him Jesus and he would be the Son of the Most High.
Right before Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, Scripture tells us that Gabriel spoke to Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin and told Zechariah that Elizabeth would became pregnant with John the Baptist. Gabriel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”
One of my favorite encounters is when an angel of the Lord approaches Gideon and greets him with, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Is it just me or how cool is that, that the angel of the Lord greets Gideon as a mighty warrior?!
I’ve never really stopped to ponder the reactions of those approached by angels in God’s word until now. Mary was troubled by the angels words, Zechariah was startled by the appearance of Gabriel and Gideon, oh Gideon, he carried on a conversation with the angel as if it was the most natural thing to do! Maybe that is why his angel encounter is one of my favorites!
Yesterday I was leaving the grocery store, (I’m not sure what it is about grocery stores, but God always invites me into his work there!), and as I was getting ready to cross the parking lot to my car, out of the corner of my eye I saw a lady sitting on a bench in front of the store. I didn’t even make full eye contact with her but somehow she knew I had seen her. She very quietly asked me for a quarter. The first peculiarity is that I actually heard her quiet request crystal clear. As I reflect now, the second peculiarity is that she asked for only a quarter. I immediately told her that I did have a quarter and began to take out my wallet. Before she began to walk toward me she said, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” I told her there wasn’t anything for her to be sorry about. As she approached me she did so with a slight limp. I asked if I could pray with her and instantly she grabbed both my hands, held tight and bowed her head. Before I began to pray I asked her name and what happened to her leg. I prayed a simply prayer of God’s love, provision and healing touch upon her.
Here is peculiarity number three, from the time this sweet woman approached me until now this thought keeps running through my mind, “This is an angel, this is an angel.” Even as I was praying, I was thinking, “This is an angel.”
Precious One, may you remain alert and aware, who knows but God, that some days you may be touched by an angel.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2.
When I was little I use to love to talk – a lot. Okay, maybe talking is just what I like to do even now as an adult. I grew up in the free love and peace of the seventies, that would be the 1970’s. And, as decades go the 70’s was not one of my favorites. None the less, during this time many parents still practiced ‘children are to be seen and not heard.’ At least mine did to some extent, greater than less.
My paternal grandmother was a little, itty, bitty, stern Italian woman who immigrated to her new Country from the Old Country with her husband to start their new life and family. She use to love to say in Italian that she didn’t understand English, which is funny because in English she would call me a talking machine!
Yesterday was Thanksgiving in our Country and we were invited to celebrate with an amazingly gracious family. They were loud, there was laughter and most of all there was love. There was one other thing, they love to talk! All of this reminded me of our family get togethers when I was younger.
As I was having individual conversations throughout the night I sensed it wasn’t my time to talk but to simply listen. Sometimes we talkers are not good listeners, something Holy Spirit and I are working on! I realized something I have known and that made the shift from my head to my heart; everyone has a story and everyone wants to be heard.
As I reflect on these thoughts this morning I am reminded of James 1:19,20.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
These verses are some good food for thought as we make our way through leftovers for the next several days.
Precious One what would the world look like if we practiced being quick to listen and slow to speak? Perhaps there would be less anger and more love.
If you are a believer in Christ where do you put your hope? Is your hope in the media, in the world, or in Christ? As believers in Christ our hope ought to be in Him and him alone.
In view of recent world events I ask you, “Do you not know have you not heard you are only a sojourner in this land until Christ returns or calls you home?” Now, I am in no way making light of recent devastating world events, my family was directly affected by September 11th and we will never forget.
Do you understand that the events playing out in the physical realm are the result of a greater battle in the heavenly realm?
And, so, I ask you another question, “Are you praying about these events as much as you are talking about them on social media?”
The moment we became believers in Christ God gave us two of many very powerful tools. First and foremost the very Spirit of the living God lives in you. The same Power that raised Christ from the dead lives in every believer in Christ. Which leads me to ask, “how are you staying connected to the Vine?” Apart from Him we can do absolutely nothing, and connected to him we are blessed with His peace that is nothing like or in comparison with the peace the world attempts to offer us.
Changing my profile picture, no offense to those of you who have, will not stop this raging spiritual war. But prayer, prayer has the power to move mountains! Are you upset with the way your government is handling the threat of terrorism? If so, I encourage you to stop talking about it and begin or continue praying only. God’s word instructs us to pray for all those in authority so that we can live peaceful lives. (1 Timothy 2:2; emphasis added). Part of our responsibility as believers in Christ is to share the love and hope of Christ not get caught in the fray.
And what about those caught up in the bondage of terrorism? Are you praying for them? I am. Why? Because they too were created in the image of God. Because God’s love, his grace and his gift of salvation are for all his creation. Romans 5:8 confirms this for us –
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Bondage is bondage regardless of what name is placed on it. And God’s heart breaks when anyone who is caught up in bondage and doesn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior dies because it means eternity apart from Him.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. (emphasis added).
If you are a believer in Christ your life was paid for with a ransom; His blood that was shed for you. Your life is not your own, but belongs to Him and he calls you to share his love and his grace with the rest of humanity.
So, who are you working for? Are you placing your hope in Christ, even more so in these unstable and unsure times, staying so closely connected with Him that you can’t help but offer His hope to a frightened world, or are you allowing yourself to be distracted by the age old schemes of the enemy?
God’s word speak to us and tells us there is a time for everything.
A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7b
Silence may be golden but prayer speaks volumes. May the Bride of Christ arise.
I have uttered many words over the course of my life, and some not so desirable. In high school, back when we use to walk to and from school regardless of the distance, I would stop to pick up one of my friends, who would endure that very long walk with me.
One day this friend decided I needed to pay him a quarter for every swear word that came out of my mouth, because, apparently, I could swear like a sailor. Here was a guy, telling me, a girl, I had a problem. I’m sure you can appreciate the severity of that situation. Unfortunately, the quarter system didn’t last long.
And speaking of sailors, it wasn’t until I met my husband, that I began to clean up my language. He taught me and showed me what respecting myself looked liked simply by his display of respect toward me with his actions and his words. I am truly a blessed woman!
These days I am an encourager. Encouraging others with words that lift spirits and bring smiles to faces is a part of my identity in Christ. It is a very natural thing for me. Many times I don’t even realize I am encouraging until the words have left my lips.
Now, I know there are many people who have a hard time accepting words of encouragement. My encouragement to you is to look at this from the perspective as a blessing from God. He loves you so much he wants you to know through the words he has given another to express to you. Also, I would encourage you to remember that we encouragers really can’t help ourselves. Words of encouragement burn deep inside of us until they are released.
After all, we were born to say those words.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29.
Oh, he is a crafty one isn’t he? He comes slithering in all covert and be like, “I am going to stir up some trouble to mix in with their hot salted caramel mocha” “Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas didn’t turn out to well.” “Let’s see if this simple plain planwill work!”
Plain, that’s how the enemy is he has no original idea’s he simply recycles and repackages and many times we fall hook, line and sinker.
As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I am late to the party! It took me a few days to figure out what all the hoopla was about concerning red cups and a popular coffee joint. As I’ve watched people debate this for a few days, I sit back and giggle just a little bit.
Now, I mean no disrespect to those of you who are offended by the fact that these popular seasonal red cups are void of any decorated theme this year. If you are offended then I pose these questions: How big is your God? Do you think Jesus is offended by a simple plain red cup? Where do you place your hope? Are you praying about it as much as you are talking about it?
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.
What exactly would Jesus do in this situation? Here’s what I think he would do; bring out his most colorful Sharpies and start decorating his cup however he wanted! He is after all the Creator of creativity and if you are a Believer in Christ creativity is part of your identity in Him and I would venture to say a part of your inheritance in Him!
Precious One, as one of my best friends always says, “Holy Spirit does His job really well!” Let Him; let Holy Spirit take on any offense of the enemy, and whether you choose to drink your hot beverages from a red cup or not, you place your focus on and your hope in Jesus.
Let’s remember the reason not only for the holiday season but for every season; a Savior who died so we could live for all who believe. A Savior whose love and grace is for all His creation.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Psalm 39:7.
This morning one of my sweet friends messaged me a prayer request and I messaged her back with a prayer for her request. This led me to reflect about why I pray. For obvious reasons because God’s word says by prayer and supplication make all your requests known to God and his peace that transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind. (Philippians 4:6-7).
As I think about these verses I realize I don’t pray because of what I will receive from God, I pray simply because his word tells me too. Yes, I am a bit of a rule follower, hey, every family needs one! But, I don’t look at this in a legalistic rule following kind of way. As I reflect further I also realize that my reasons for praying are quite honestly selfish.
Praying makes me feel close to God. I like the way I feel when I pray. When I pray it’s just me and God, even though many other people could be praying at the same time that I am, but in that moment it is just me and God. It’s as if I am an only child, which I know isn’t the case, but God has a way of doing that with his kids! That I also receive his peace when I pray is a beautiful gift from a good, good Father.
Praying also reminds me Who God Is. Praying reminds me how powerful a weapon God has entrusted to us to do his kingdom work.
I remarked to another friend that many times God will show me things I don’t necessarily need to know and when I ask him why his answer is always the same, “So you’ll pray.” Think about that for a moment. God shows us things not because we are entitled to know but because he trusts us to pray! That adds another skip to my step!!
Precious One it is a privilege and honor to pray for others. Who will you be in prayer for today? Ask God to show you!
Ever since I was a little girl all I ever wanted to be was a mommy and I had a wonderful example in my own mother of what it looked like to be a mom who was devoted to her family. But, I didn’t want to be just a mommy, I wanted to be stay at home mommy, just like my mom. I know now that God placed this dream in my heart even before I was born. He set me apart for the best job I’ve never gotten paid for and the joys along with the sorrows far outweigh any monetary value.
Gratefulness is an attitude. We choose whether we will be grateful for the blessings in our life or simply expect them as something that is due us. I am grateful for God’s blessings and the challenges and struggles he allows because the challenges of life have and are what builds perseverance and shapes my character.
This morning as I dropped my youngest love bug off at school I was especially aware and grateful that I have the ability to do so. Being grateful this morning reminded me that I ought to spend more time everyday being grateful.
Precious One, what is one thing you are grateful for today?
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 1 Chronicles 16:34.