Hope

The pain intensifies as the minute’s drag by. There is an indescribable ache and stabbing pain nearly with each breath.  A sickening feeling overwhelms my body along with waves of nausea from the pain. As quick as possible I unsteadily get up as the urgency increases to get to the bathroom and on my way, I partly dislocate a knee.  Weakness consumes my body from lack of nutrition and hydration. Anxiety plagues the mind as I come up with theories of what is occurring.

Moments like these it is impossible to read or to focus for more than five seconds to pray. Moments like these are when I need hope instinctively. “Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty.” He promises no matter how dark, painful, and hopeless things feel that joy comes in the morning.

There are times when all looks hopeless to others that Christ fills me with His hope beyond explanation. On the contrary, I am sad to admit, there are too many times that my heart aches with sorrow and hopeless tears spill out.

There have been times friends feel so hopeless they have walked out of my life never to return. Countless times, doctors tell me things are hopeless that they are stumped. Thankfully, my Savior has never felt that my health is hopeless.

What are the things which leave you feeling hopeless?

Look! The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days, when the time is right, I will cause a righteous Branch to sprout from the old stump of David’s linea.png

 

Hopelessness seems to fill this fallen world. Maintaining the hope that Christ calls us to have can seem like an impossible task. Hope is not a feeling. It is so much more to the believer. It is an anchor to our soul that connects us to Christ.

Advent is a time to rekindle our hope. The story of the birth of Jesus bursts with hope.  Jesus is the source of hope and furthermore our ultimate example of remaining hopeful.  The Lord is renewing our hope today through the first Sunday of Advent.

 

Look! The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days, when the time is right, I will cause a righteous Branch to sprout from the old stump of David’s linea (1).png

Lord,

I am amazed at the way the whole Bible is connected to the birth of Jesus. I am amazed at the way that you are always at work mighty ways. Thank you for providing hope when all seems lost. Thank You for the joy You provide. Thank You for who You are. Thank You for the grace You provide.

I praise You for the hope found in Your Son, Jesus, Christ. Thank you for the renewed hope of Advent. Allow me to read the Advent story with an open heart and new eyes. I surrender this Christmas season to You knowing that You will do a new awe-inspiring work in me. Fill me up with You, Lord Jesus. Allow me to be a blessing to others.

Amen

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Holy Thursday

 

The washing of feet occurs multiple times in the Gospels, furthermore, in Biblical times, this was common. In this song, it is believed that Mary Magdalene is the woman washing Jesus’ feet. Some time later, it is witnessed in Scripture that Lazarus sister, Mary washes Jesus’ feet. Lastly, Scripture records the tender moment that Jesus compassionately washed His disciple’s feet.

There are plenty of overlapping details and each has details that make it unique from the other feet washings in Scripture. One of the disciples proclaims Lord if you only knew who was touching you as well as the horrifying sin in her life. He was more aware of the depth of her sin than she ever could be.

Sin is a focal point for each foot washing story. Holy Thursday, Jesus is with His disciples. Jesus was aware when He cleanses the disciples that He was about to take on the sins of the world unlocking the power of Salvation. Even so, He put on a garment of humility as His heart’s sorrow increased for all He was about to endure; not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

“Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God,  stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel,  poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel.

Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches): Lord, are You going to wash my feet?

Jesus: Peter, you don’t realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.

Peter: You will not wash my feet, now or ever!

Jesus: If I don’t wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.

Peter:  Then wash me but don’t stop with my feet. Cleanse my hands and head as well.

Jesus:  Listen, anyone who has bathed is clean all over except for the feet. But I tell you this, not all of you are clean.

Jesus is lowering Himself to servanthood as an example for His beloved children.”

John 13:3-10 The Voice Translation

Each person is in desperate need of the cross. In need of forgiveness, mercy, grace, God’s love, and salvation. Jesus lowered Himself not only to servanthood but to a horrible unexplainable death on the cross. Regardless of what anyone does, we will never fully comprehend this sacrifice on this side of Heaven. May we strive to understand it better consistently.

Numerous examples are displayed by Jesus for us in Scripture, however, none of them are natural or easy. To live in His footsteps requires us to surrender ourselves to Him, to be connecting with Him, and to have His Holy Spirit.

“Now tell me why do we gather together in His name, Are we like the ones who merely watched, Tell me is that why we came, Are we like this sister, Do we truly enter in, In spirit and in truth, Have you come to worship Him? With your hands, are you touching him, And with your heart are you loving Him, And with your hands are you holding on to His, Then the source of life was right there in your hands.” Touching Him by Ray Boltz.

 

Ponder these lyrics in your precious heart as you reflect on each aspect of the Holy Week story. Come to the Lord, in spirit and truth; laying every sin and burden at the foot of the cross. Be transparent with Him in prayer. He knows your every thought, sin, and desire but wants to hear from you and connect deeply with you. Allow The Souce of Life to renew your heart.

Jesus Christ,

I am constienly amazed when I read the Scriptures of Your precious life. Help me to continue to know You fully and to pursue You in my daily tasks. Open the eyes of my heart this Holy Week. Soften my heart. Give me a deeper understanding.

I am like the woman in the song a sinner from birth so unworthy of Your love. At times, my sinful nature takes over. I make dozens of excuses for my sins. I confess that I have not obeyed Your commands, I have not kept You first in my life, I have lacked compassion, I have been selfish, and much more. I cry out, Lord have mercy on me! Extend Your amazing grace. Lavish Your forgiveness onto me. Make me pure once more. Enable me to turn from my sinful nature.

The concept of Your completely free love can be hard to understand. My good works would never have been good enough, but You do not require them for my salvation. My countless mistakes are as far as the east is from the west in Your Sovereign eyes.

I surrender all I am to You. I do not want to merely watch I need to enter into Your Holy presence in spirit and truth. I desire to reach out, touch Your hand, and walk with You daily. I want to love You with all my heart. Move my heart in a new way as I reflect on the Easter story. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all that You have done for me. I love you.

Amen

Thankfulness

Tis the season to be thankful and pass the turkey. Thanksgiving is a magnificent holiday. A time of reflection. Recounting all the blessing in life. Cherishing moments with those we love most.

There are infinite Biblical lessons on thankfulness. Thankfulness in trials, daily life, and for the joys in life are a few examples. Eucharistia is the Greek word for thankfulness. Bible Study Tools additionally defines it as, ” gratitude; giving of thanks, thanksgiving”. An attitude of thanksgiving is a foundational element of a Christian’s life.  At the soul of each element we are thankful for is God.

Not long ago I heard a sermon by Frances Chan (The Author of Crazy Love). He had posed an excellent question, which I would like you to ponder. When is the last time you thanked God for your salvation? Additionally, when is the last time you thanked Him not only for material things but for who He is? Those amazing gifts He has graciously bestowed on you, which are not tangible. When is the last time you thanked Him for your personal relationship with Him? “Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 The Voice.

While it is excellent to thank God for all the material things and all the countless ways He has provided for you. It is equally important to thank Him for who He is and Your personal relationship with Him. “Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.” Psalm 100:4 The Voice.  Praising God shifts our perspective. It renews our soul. Worship is as vital as air for the soul. 

Elohim,

We adore you. Praising Your holy name. Thank you for the breathtaking gift of salvation, sanctification, and Your agape love. Your love endures forever. We find deep joy in having a personal and daily relationship with You. You have abundantly blessed us beyond anything we could ask. We sing of Your faithfulness. We rejoice in You for the deep blessing of today. Enable us to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Deeply bless this lovely Thanksgiving day.

Amen

 

 

Uninvited Devotional

Worry sits shotgun barking endless commands. Like weeds the to-do list grows. Anxiety suffocates us. Yet it was never meant to accompany our DNA it is merely learned behavior another aspect of our fallen world.

As we process pass rejection, worry and doubt are front and center. We try to blend in by dressing like those around us. Perhaps even fixing our hair and makeup just so before heading out the door. In addition, we go to extra lengths to please others, whether that is compromising our standards or acting a certain way to fit in.

I love that Lysa includes Matthew 6: 26-27 in the study guide as well as the video for section one of the Uninvited Study.  “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don’t plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?” (The Voice Translation). These two short verses are treasure packed with love. Reread the verses. Allow them to sink in. Jesus is gently whispering to you, darling daughter, I’ve got this, there is no need for you to worry. With Him you are safe, provide for, and always invited in. 

Jesus knows the depths of your heart. Who you really are. You don’t need to try to fit in or to be someone you are not there is no pressure. He loves you more than you can understand even with your flaws.

Jehovah Jireh (God Our Provider),

We praise you for the blessings in our lives. Thank you for this time to grow closer to you, to study your word, and to heal from our past. We surrender our past rejections and hurts to you. We surrender every anxiety to you. Provide for and bless each woman in a personal way this week. Amen