Hope. Such a little word. Such a weighty word. Such a needed word.
And when it's most needed it seems the most elusive.
Hope gives strength, but to have hope where there is no hope requires strength to spark hope into being.
Hope allows a person to persevere, but to keep hope alive requires perseverance.
Hope. It's only one syllable and four letters (at least in English :) ). But it carries the power to uplift, to encourage, to revitalize, to give meaning, purpose and motivation. A small and mighty word.
Rather than going on musing or philosophizing, I shall give a free write poem a try, because sometimes poetry is more satisfying than prose. And I am feeling poeticky. (Yes, I am aware that "poetic" or "poetical" are the correct words but it's more fun to make up words and I am in the mood to make up words. So "poeticky" it stays.)
God of Hope
You say You are
But God, oh my God,
Hope seems so far
Hope is what I want
Hope is what I seek
But despair is lurking
And fear won't leave
The waters rise
as I try to breathe
Lord, don't let me drown
Lord, rescue me!
Where is the God of hope?
Where is the God who saves?
Everywhere I turn
all I see are stormy waves
But then a voice,
I hear a voice pass by
"My child, my child,
don't trade truth for a lie
The truth has not changed
I am still Master of storms
I am still a Promise Keeper
And I hold you in my arms
You still have a future
You still have a hope
You will still reap a harvest
for desires you have sowed
I started something beautiful,
something beautiful in you
And I finish what I start
Remember this truth
So speak out, child,
with the authority I gave you
Rise up, child,
with the power I gave you
And know this:
I am with you,
I am for you,
I am all around you."
So with my next breath
I speak hope
I speak the promises,
the promises God has told
I keep speaking life
and the storm subsides
And up, up I rise
to walk by my Savior's side.
That was mostly unedited. Mostly free write. And that basically sums up my conversations with God lately. In the most "poeticky" way. (Yes. I just used my made up word again. Because I am still in that kind of mood.)
The stories of Jesus stilling the storm and of Jesus walking on the water are two of my favorite go to scriptures to hold on to (Matt 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25 for calming the storm; and Matt 14:22-32, Mark 6:45-51, John 6:16-21 for walking on water). Both stories paint such a vivid picture of what life can feel like and demonstrate the authority of God over circumstances regardless of appearances. And the really amazing thing is that as a Christian, with the power of the Holy Spirit, I have the same authority! Though outward circumstances might not immediately change, if I press into the comfort of God's presence and truth, and agree with what He says, I can have "peace that surpasses understanding" (Phil 4:6-7) and "fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11). And I can trust that God is working on my behalf (Romans 8:28, Psalm 138:8, Phil 1:6). And as I continue holding onto God and His truth in the waiting, He is forming endurance and character in me, which leads to hope (Romans 5:1-5)!
So the same circumstances that cause me to lose hope can have the opposite effect if I switch my focus to God, in which case those circumstances are an opportunity to let hope arise in me.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.~Romans 15:13
Goals and the Measure of Success
Five Minute Friday time! It's been quite awhile... too long...
The link for the link up: fiveminutefriday.com/2019/06/13/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-goal/
Also linking with http://www.spiritualsundays.com/
The word for this five minute spree is GOALS.
The first thought that comes to mind is how much I wish I could be better at accomplishing goals. I have all these ideas and dreams and "to do" list things... and I am lucky if half gets done. I wish I had more motivation, more speed, more time... how will I ever be successful?
And right on the heels of that thought, I clearly sense God gently correcting me. If we were face to face, I am sure He would look at me with love and compassion in His eyes and say,
"My measure of success is different than yours. If you are spending time with me, if you draw close to my heart and know me, if you are in tune with Holy Spirit and sensitive to His promptings, if you understand the Kingdom of Heaven and its principles and are spreading my truth and peace and joy, then you are successful. You are carrying out my goals for you."
And I would say, "But are you really sure that's enough? I feel like more should be accomplished than I tend to get done."
And God would repeat Himself, more firmly, and then say, "Rest in my presence. In the peace I give you. Draw strength from that and know that as long as you are doing things from a place of resting and trusting in me, the important things that need to be done, the lasting things, the things that will be rejoiced over in Heaven, those things will be done."
And I would sigh and say, "Ok." Then I would fall into His arms and rest in His love.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
"So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless." John 15:4-5 (TPT)
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17 (ESV)
What if I let go
And I am finally doing a Five Minute Friday linkup! (Click here to see the linkup)
Yeah ok... so it's a wee bit after midnight... but it is still Friday in some time zones!
Anyways... The word is IF.
The first phrase that comes to mind is "what if?" God has been teaching me how to look at life differently.... through His eyes... and so here is a poem that is a positive spin of the What if game.
What if I truly believed
in God's great love for me?
What if I fully trusted
that Jesus has won the victory?
What if I stopped questioning
and just rested in God's embrace?
What if I listened only
to His voice of truth and grace?
What if I approached life
from the perspective of eternity?
What if I walked in faith
and let God's Spirit lead?
I just let go
and let God
I would rise like the eagle
soar in the light of dawn
with a heart full of joy
and a song of hope on my tongue
If I hold fast to the promises
of the great God who made me
He will ever be my strength
and breath life into my dreams
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Prov 3:5-6
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:30-31
Enter in the Embrace
Five Minute Friday time! Five minutes of free writing, the word is EMBRACE, ready, set, go!
(Linking with five-minute-friday-embrace)
First thoughts... God's embrace. Oh what love...
The more I still myself enough to soak in God's presence, and the more I embrace Who He is, the more I become aware of who I am in Him, and who He is calling me to be.
The more I let Him hold me, the more I believe the truth of His faithful love and promises, the more I believe the hopes and dreams I hold can come to be.
The more I step forward into His open arms, the more He reveals to me of His nature, and the more I can step forward in confidence in who He has made me to be.
Abiding in God's embrace leads me to a deeper appreciation of Who He is, to a fuller connection with my Creator, which leads me to be able to appreciate who I am in His grace and who He has created me to be.
Abiding in God's embrace allows me to fully live, to fully embrace every moment.
* Spontaneous Poem *
Come dear child,
step into my embrace,
come away from routines,
step out of the race.
Breathe and let go,
Come as you are.
Be still, exhale,
for my peace is not far.
In my arms
you will find rest.
In my arms
you will be blessed.
(So, I may have gone a wee bit over five minutes *ahem* in fact did indeed go over with the poem... oh well... 'twas still a brief free write)
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
There is something fascinating about "new."
Whether it's a kid with a new toy, an adult with a new car, a college grad moving to a new town, or parents expecting a new baby...
...from trying new food to a new job...
...from a new hairdo to a new house...
With anything new there's a mix of emotions involved -- a thrill of anticipation, a chill of fear, a surge of happiness, a rush of excitement, a sense of wonder.
Each new thing has these emotions in varying degrees, but even a simple new thing brings at least a small measure of emotional energy. This is the first common thread among "newness."
What is the other common thread?
Think about it. What happens after some time passes? Does something that is new stay new?
By its very definition, something that's new cannot remain new. The new wears off and it becomes familiar. And the emotions tend to fade along with the newness.
At a glance, this is no different with the Christian experience.
As a new believer in Christ, after realizing who I am and who God is and putting my faith in Him alone, I was so excited and “on fire for God” as the expression goes. I had such a thirst for knowledge and such a passion for growing in faith and following God.
But then that wore off. The routines and busyness of life set in and crowded out all that energy and zeal. And now sometimes God is just part of the routine, and sometimes I just ignore Him because I get too busy, or because it seems like too much work.
Every so often there is a spark of renewal – brought on by a retreat, a touching sermon, a deep discussion at bible study… but then the kindling for that burns out as well.
But that is not how it should be for those following the God that the Bible presents.
The God of the Bible is about more than just a ticket into heaven -– yes, if you repent and believe in Him you will be guaranteed to go to heaven, but God wants to give you more than that –- He wants to see your life changed, renewed, on this side of heaven.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Every day is an opportunity for an adventure with God. Something new to learn, a way to grow, a chance to share His love. If I could wake up in the morning and have this attitude, and ask God to guide me and be mindful of Him through the day, I would never be bored from the ordinary, nor overwhelmed by the busyness. Rather, I would be "staying new".
Staying new –- it may seem like an oxymoron, but with God all things are possible. And He is all about making things new.
In fact, as a Christian I am called to "put on the new self" (Colossians 3:1). God has made me new, and that is more than just a one time deal; it is an ongoing process. Each new day is a chance to be renewed -- as long as I "stay new" by abiding in Christ.
Linking with http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/02/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-3-new/ for five minute friday (although with this I believe I went a bit beyond five minutes... I was on such a roll!)
Groceries bought. Check. Laundry folded. Check. Garden watered. Check. Dishes clean and put away. Check. Carpets vauummed and linoleum mopped. Ummm… no check… I didn’t get to that…
Do you ever feel like life is just a series of to do lists? I know I do.
I am very much a list person. To do lists, to buy lists, wish lists, fix it lists, contact lists… you name it, I’ve probably made list of it.
And when I get to check something off, oh the joy! The sense of accomplishment!
But when I look at my lists and see so much left unattended to, oh the how heavy the burden. And when I do get to check a few things off, sometimes the joy is diminished by how much is left. Even when a list is completely checked off, it’s not long before another list begins.
Even if I haven’t made a physical list, I always seem to have one in my head.
I can be sitting at work and an errand I have to run will occur to me. I can be on the phone with a friend and see the dishes piled up. I can be watching a movie and notice the clutter that needs tidying up. I can be at the grocery store and realize I’d better email somebody soon about something.
Sometimes I use the excuse that because I am a woman that’s the way my brain works. It’s just always going all over the place and I cannot help it. I can’t compartmentalize like a man can.
But while that may be true, that doesn’t mean I have to give in to it. I have a choice about whether I change my attitude.
Jesus gave very practical advice when he said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NASB)
When I apply this to my endless lists, I think of Jesus telling me, “Do not constantly worry about every single item on your to do list. It does not have to all be taken care of now. Do what you can for the moment and take care of the rest another day.”
Of course I naturally want to reply with “But I have to worry about it or it won’t get done! I cannot relax until it is finished!”
But the thing is, it’s never going to be all done. It’s neverending. The dishes are clean, then they get used and have to be washed again. The laundry gets folded, gets worn and dirty, and has to be thrown in the wash and folded again. The fridge and pantry get emptied of food and need to be restocked again. On and on and on…
And that is why I have to shift my attitude from, “I can relax when its done” to “I will get done what I can, when I can, and give myself a chance to rest in between.”
I am not advocating laziness or irresponsibility by any means. But it is important to focus on what is priority and have realistic expectations of what can be completed, and to relax instead of fretting about everything left undone. And enjoy that sense of accomplishment for the things that do get done.
More energy should be put into a different kind of neverending list. A list of blessings. A list of God’s mercies. When I do that, everything else falls into perspective. I have a better frame of mind, and I can do the things on my other lists with a positive attitude.
So are you ready to give yourself a break and start compiling your blessings and mercies list?
© Seeking Life Beyond
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Hi, I am Angela, and welcome to my blog. I am a woman trying to rise above the tides of this life, seeking to grow closer to God and share His love in the process.