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!
I recently became the editor of NorCal Christian Voice and this is a call for submissions!
We are an on-line Christian news network with divisions in multiple states, connecting the Body of Christ by sharing local, state, national and world news, information, inspirational stories, devotions, book and movie reviews, and local events to name a few! Our goal is to write and publish stories that are relevant in any locale for the benefit of all our readers.
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I wonder if you ever feel as if your living your life in the desert. Alone, hot, dry and parched. You may wonder how you found yourself there. What were the choices and paths you took that led you to a place that can be both beautiful yet overwhelming?
We read in God’s word the story of a mom named Hagar. Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Due to circumstances beyond Hagar’s control she found herself walking with her young son in the desert. Their water had run out and Hagar, not wanting to watch her son die, placed him under a bush to shield him from the hot desert sun and went a short way off, sat down and began to weep.
Many times because of the steps we’ve taken God lures us to a desert place out of His love for us. He blocks our path and walls us in and waits patiently until we’ve come to the end of ourselves, sit down and begin to weep. He speaks tender words of restoration and hope while He removes the idols from our life, those things that we turn to hoping they will do only what God can do, fill the empty space in our heart.
He cleanses our heart and takes the desire to sin from our heart so that we will love Him with all our heart and soul so that we may live as recipients of His blessings. (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Precious One the desert isn’t barren or a place of punishment. It is God’s gift and love for you. Restoring you.
Choose God. Choose His will and righteousness. Choose His blessings in your life.
I wonder why Abraham stopped short of asking God to save Sodom and Gomorrah for ten righteous people. Yes, the sins of these cities was severe and surely God’s heart was incredibly broken. But, Abraham had already established that he was being bold and God had established that he would answer Abraham’s multiple requests that began with fifty righteous down to ten.
The angels of the Lord even warned Abraham’s nephew, Lot, about the coming disaster telling him to gather his wife, two daughters and both sons-in-law (six people) and flee the area quickly.
What if Abraham would have asked God to spare these cities for the sake of his relatives living there?
Sometimes, perhaps many, we stop short of asking God for what is really on our heart or we ask out of the alignment of his will. The work of Jesus on the cross gives us the ability to approach God and ask big, bodacious things.
Last year, in an attempt to conserve water and because our state was in a severe drought, we set our sprinklers to come on once a week; just enough to give our plants a drink and hopefully keep them a brownish green.
The summers here can push upwards of 100+ degrees, and even though we live relatively close to the bay, we have micro climates causing the differing temperatures around this region. Needless to say, our plants began to die. I decided to start pulling out the dead plants to prepare our yard to become drought resistant. I started working on a fern like plant that was completely dead and thought that it would simply come up out of the ground with little to no effort. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was relying on the presumption of my first mistake and rather than test the ease of pulling this dead plant out, I grab a hold of it and yanked. Now, mind you, I was wearing some heavy duty, industrial strength gardening gloves; not those dainty gloves with cute designs of flowers and flower pots and gardening tools. There is nothing wrong with those glove, in fact I have owned many in my passion for gardening days.
Did I mention this dead plant had very dead thorns that were still as sharp if the plant had been alive? During my second mistake one of those thorns pierced through my heavy duty industrial strength gloves and into my skin. Thankfully, I was able to get the thorn out and continue my work.
Months later I realized that my finger was still sensitive where the thorn had gone into my skin and realized there was still a piece of the thorn left! With the help of some essential oils I was able to retrieve the rest of that pesky thorn.
Sensitive. That is how the subject of tithing can be. Very sensitive. I mentioned in this blog post about a Bible software I had been wanting and received a complimentary download of the basic package. It was while using this software that Holy Spirit began to speak to me about tithing from a verse in the book of Joel. I know, I was surprised as well and I love when He connects verses together and they walk hand in hand like the best of friends!
The seed shrivels under the clods; the storehouses are desolate; the granaries are torn down because the grain has dried up. Joel 1:17.
This verse reminds me of Malachi 3:10. While the NT does not comment on how much we ought to tithe, only that God loves a cheerful giver, signaling that we, indeed, ought to give.
And what does God say he will do when, we stepping out in faith, bring the full tithe to him? He tells us to test him. The Sovereign King of all heaven and earth and everything in it tells us to test Him and see if he will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing so great that there will not be room enough to store it! When was the last time you tested God with your tithing? Do you trust Him to do what he promises and to be Who He says he is?
The storehouses in Joel 1:17 were desolate because God’s children had turned away from God and having turned away they also stopped giving back to God.
Thank God for giving you the faith to bring your full tithe to Him so that there will be always be food in his house and wait expectantly as he pours out a blessing so large you will simply have to give more back to Him because you will not be able to contain it!
Precious One you were set apart to have faith that God will do what he promises and to believe He is Who he claims to be.
When our son was a little guy he was quite the curious boy. I spent a lot of time telling him not to do certain things. Not because I didn’t want him to explore, his curiosity is one of the things I love about him, but because his curiosity was usually about things that could hurt him.
There was the time we were getting out of the SUV and before I could tell him, “Don’t touch that!” He stuck his sweet chubby hand in the exhaust, yep, still has a scar on his pinky from that one. Or, the time when we were at the happiest place on earth and he decided to see if he could fit his head through the slats in the metal gate as we were waiting in line for a ride. Thankfully, another dad was there to gently help my husband extract our son from that predicament!
We teach and encourage our children about the things they should and shouldn’t do, hoping they are listening and will eventually pass down to their children these nuggets of wisdom. In the same way the prophet Joel was admonishing the children of Israel to remind all future generations of what turning away from God looks like.
This reminds me of God’s promise to bless a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep his commandments (Exodus 20:6). When we choose to love and obey Him, to seek out his will for our life and live accordingly, he promises to bless a thousand generations. PROMISES. Wouldn’t you love for a thousand generations of your family to be blessed simply because you love and obey him?
Pray in faith, thanking God for showing and helping you to love Him and obey his commandments. Thanking Him for the gifts of confession, repentance and forgiveness, thanking Jesus for showing you the sin and unforgiveness in your life and thanking Holy Spirit for always helping you to confess, repent and forgive.
Precious One, you have the ability to bless the generations. Will you?
I don’t know about you, but waiting is hard for me, yet patience is a fruit of the Spirit, that which is done in true partnership with Christ. When we wait on the Lord we WILL see his goodness in the land of the living, which includes this current age and our lifetime and in our lives.
When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a mommy. A mommy who could stay home and raise her children and do mommy stuff, whatever that entailed, in my five-year old mind. In the late 70’s we finally moved into the 20th century and got shag carpet! Think mult-colored carpeting in avocado; brown with shags of gold and tan; and blue. Each room had its own color designation; a true kaleidoscope of color! However, before that time we had hard wood floors with a huge area rug in the living room. I would lay out a blanket and line up all my dolls and play house. Some might say that during that era, that’s what little girls did; played house, but there was something more to that for me. My mom was a stay at home mom, or in those days, housewife. Despite her flaws my mom was really good at her job. So good was her love of being a mom that I wanted that for me too. My mom modeled to me motherhood.
Recently, a dear Friend posted the above picture and caption on social media and it caused me to stop and wonder, “Indeed, when did we get so far from this?” The same morning I began a journey through the Book of Isaiah; this was days ago and I am still only on chapter 1! The method that feels comfortable to me is asking Holy Spirit to highlight words, thoughts, themes or ideas and He never disappoints, because, well, He is the Spirit of God and his job is to reveal to us insights into God’s word. Holy Spirit is really good at his job.
As I was reading through Isaiah chapter 1, verse 4 really stood out at me.
Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD: they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their back on him.” Isaiah 1:4.
As I thought about Isaiah 1:4 my mind connected it to what my Friend had posted. Initially, what came to mind are the words from Ecclesiastes.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9.
When I sat down to journal this morning Holy Spirit brought to mind the words of Moses.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9.
How did we get so far from what God originally intended? Somewhere along the way and over centuries there has been a consistent breakdown of the commands of God. Rather than adults modeling lives of morals and integrity, we have adults leading innocent children into corruption.
Precious One, be the person you want the children in your sphere of influence to be.
Well my blogging friends and audience. It has been awhile since my last post. I do think of each of you often. Especially those I interact with often. @DonCharisma, I miss looking at your pictures and @OpinionatedMan, I miss, well, your opinion! @PatrickHubbard your unending encouragement, @SubmissiveCharacter your heartfelt comments, @Altruistico your deep thoughts on Christianity, @YouBe, your encouragement and Bible quizzes and @TheWannaBeSaint your insightful look at life. I have been caught up in preparing for the season and posting has had to sit patiently on the sidelines for the time being.
However, as I opened my Bible this morning the pages fell to this passage in 1 Chronicles and the idea for a post quickly took shape.
“Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29: 10b-13.
This passage from the Old Testament has me reflecting on God’s goodness. For me this passage directly relates to God’s greatest gift, that of his Son, Jesus Christ. Even though there isn’t any direct correlation in the printed words of this passage, that is what my heart feels.
And, so my friends, as I traipse through this wondrous season, I stop and give thanks and praise for each of you. Most importantly, I give thanks and praise to God for the greatest gift of all!