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!
Interesting story about the above picture. I saw it some time ago as I was searching for a picture to use in an article about writing. When I saw it I thought those look like my daughter’s hands. I took a screen shot and sent it to my daughter telling her the picture looked like her hands. Imagine my surprise when she responded, “They are!” I use this picture whenever I have the opportunity!
Some of you may not know I am the Editor of NorCal Christian Voice[www.norcalchristianvoice.com]. We are an online magazine and one of many divisions across the nation of One Christian Voice. We report local, state, national and world news as well as many other areas of interest, such as, movie and book reviews, recipes, technology, sports, poems, testimonies, short stories and inspiration to name a few.
I enjoy reading your blogs and very much appreciate when you have the time to stop by to read and comment on mine. You each have a unique gift of stringing words together to create a work of written art.
Submissions are open at NorCal CV and we would be honored to read and consider your work for publication. You can submit to email@example.com.
She stood just outside the make believe perimeter. A part of, yet not. She longed for their companionship, their understanding, their love and their acceptance. She doesn’t remember, really, how she came to be where she currently found herself—on the outside.
She had known this group for years. Her children grew up with their children. They had shared graduations, children getting married, the birth of grandchildren along with close calls and the grief of losing loved ones.
These were her people, her community, her tribe. Yet somehow she felt so disconnected from them. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Was anyone praying for her? Would anyone reach out to her?
In this moment she felt like the one lost sheep that unknowingly wandered away from the flock and couldn’t find her way home. She needed help, yearned for it, for someone in her tribe to help her find her way back into the fold.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is addressing the lost sheep as a sinner that is found and saved. But what about those within the Body of Christ? The ones that aren’t lost physically or spiritually rather emotionally. The ones that once were included but now feel disconnected not sure why nor how to reconnect.
Surely Jesus wants us to go after those within our believing communities that have lost their way, to ‘find’ them and carry them back to the fold.
Jesus wants us to be inclusive not exclusive.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20.
Who is Jesus asking you to include in your circle of friends/influence? More importantly, what will you do?
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.
I saw that two real friends, people I have known for years, unfollowed me. Gasp!
Not long ago my husband and I were having a conversation about relationships. As he thought about a ‘friend’ he said to me, “I wonder what he really thinks of me? No, I really don’t care because it doesn’t matter.”
I told him about an app I have on my phone for one social media website. The app shows me who has stopped following me and who new followers are. I mainly use the app because of the accounts that follow only to unfollow later. I delete those accounts allowing me to interact with those who truly want to stay connected.
A few days before my conversation with my husband I was doing a routine deletion of these follow/unfollow accounts and I saw that two real friends, people I have known for years, unfollowed me. Gasp! I also noticed that they had not unfollowed other mutual friends. Yes, of course I looked! It is entirely possible it was done by accident as I have done this before. Or, maybe it wasn’t. As I thought about the possibilities of why, I decided not to fret. I told Jesus I simply have to release this to Youand not care why. In that moment I experienced such a peace and calmness in my heart.
Human nature might be to immediately unfollow the real friends who have unfollowed us [oh, I thought about it!] but Holy Spirit reminded me of Whose I am. My identity is not found in who follows/unfollows me or how many likes I get [this is a delicate balance in the writing world because we are told we need to have a platform with followers, again all we can do is give this to God and allow Him to promote us and not be overwhelmed by striving for numbers]. My identity is in Jesus and Jesus alone. It would be exhausting to please everyone so I aim to please the only One that matters.
And at the end of the day the only thing that matters is if I shared Jesus with everyone I met so they would want Him to.
Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth.
What does wealth mean to you? Do you consider yourself wealthy
In Proverbs 10:4 wealth is wealth. It is monetary wealth. Before you fall off your chair, if you are sitting, or raise your hand and utter, “but, but,” I am NOT preaching a prosperity gospel. I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel.
So what are we to do with Proverbs 10:4? Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth. Certainly God provides all our needs and there are times that He blesses us with considerable financial wealth. In those times what we choose to do with that wealth perhaps is an indication of our understanding of proper stewardship.
What speaks to me the most from this verse is wealth in serving God especially as it pertains to God calling me to speak, teach and write[three spokes of the wooden wheel!]. Many times wealth is truly measured by our heart connected to God’s and the joy of the wealth that is Him. This leads to the condition of our heart and the practice of reflection.
I am very thankful when Holy Spirit highlights verses such as Proverbs 10:4 causing me to take inventory of my heart. Rather than thinking in one direction about God’s ordination for me it opens up my mind and heart to joyfully and simply serving God.
Proverbs 10:4 reminds me I am a wealthy women indeed!
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.
Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own.
I use to be the queen of checklists. Okay, I still make lists. It’s either that or you’ll find me standing in front of the pantry wondering why I am there.
A checklist is how I use to approach my relationship with God. Read my Bible ✅ Prayed✅ Did my Bible study✅ But this strenuous system soon burned me out and my time with Jesus became more of a chore than a relationship.
I still practice the ‘check marks’ daily but I don’t put pressure on myself to spend time with Jesus in a certain way or in a certain amount of time. I suppose I should also add I am a black and white thinker and a rule follower and over the years Jesus has taught me to live in the gray area where grace resides.
These days it is so freeing to sit in His presence and choose to allow Him to show me how our time together will be. Some days I am immersed in His word and only have time to offer up a few prayers. Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own and that can turn out disastrous for me and those around me. Some days its simply sitting in His lavish love not uttering a word-this one definitely takes practice! And, yes, some days all the check marks are accomplished but they are no longer check marks rather the ebb and flow of Holy Spirit guiding me.
What fills God’s love tank is that you simply choose to spend time with Him.
Today I bless you with a growing desire to spend more time in His presence.