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
Finally I am getting around to another post... Five Minute Friday. The word is START.
***So AFTER finishing this, I realized "start" was from the FMF post last week... but this turned out really beautiful so I shall keep it, I just won't be able to put it into that link up. However, I was able to link up at Dance with Jesus and Faith 'n Friends.***
There are a few directions I could take with this. However, I feel this post is to be one coming from the perspective of God. I asked Jesus what he had to say about "start," and I can picture him looking me straight in the eye, taking my hands in his, and firmly but lovingly saying,
"Start believing that I really am God of the impossible. Start calling on my strength more often and relying less on your own. Start grasping that I am a mighty God, your warrior and defender, and that you also are more than a conqueror when you tap into my strength by the Holy Spirit.
Start believing that I am a God of complete, unconditional love. Start letting the pain and hurt, the scars and aches, fade and disappear as you lean into me as your lover and comforter, confidant and protector. Start letting me speak loving truths into you.
Start believing, deep down to your core, the truths that I say about you. Start fully believing that you are fully forgiven, fully loved, and fully beautiful to me. Start believing that you are worthy of such love. Start living every moment like you really believe it. Start living in the freedom that is yours because you are mine. Start living with a victory mindset, full of hope and faith. Start living the abundant life that I have won for you.
Start taking hold of the authority I gave you when you trusted me as your Savior, the authority to live without fear, to live with a heart filled with joy, the authority to be fully healed. Start trusting me also as your Lord and watch the pieces of everything else fall into place. Start letting go of control and rest in my peace as you lay things in my capable hands.
Start understanding that I have better plans for you than you have for yourself, that I know and care about your desires, but I am also looking at things from outside of time, and I see everything down to the tiniest detail, and I know what you need and what you can handle.
Start fully taking part in a journey with me and see what wonderful adventure awaits."
Ahh... it's always beautiful when I listen and let Jesus talk... I have come a long way, had a lot of inner healing, and have grasped the above to an extent... but it is time to start going deeper... deeper into God's goodness...
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
(Jesus speaking) "Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me."
Matthew 11:28 (TPT)
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)
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
Well, over a year! I kept meaning to get back to this, would get busy, and time goes by so fast...
Anyway at long last, I am finally posting something!
It was my birthday three days ago, which causes me to get in a reflective mood. First to come to mind was how God has moved me over the past year. Figuratively and literally!
A little over a month ago, May 10, was my closing date. I sold and bought a house. A year ago, I was considering moving perhaps within the next five years. Although a part of me really wanted to move within a year. However I just assumed that was not possible; I was sure I did not have the equity and finances necessary to move to a place that would be worth moving to.
But the Lord is a God of surprises! Last September, at the urging of my mom (who was obviously sensitive to the urging of the Holy Spirit) I looked at a place for sale. I was only going to please my mom, and was amazed by how much I loved it. I felt God was saying to go ahead and try for it, and He would close the door on the opportunity if necessary.
So, I went to the bank, was startled and pleased by the fact that I could get pre-approved for the loan needed, made an offer contingent on me being able to sell, and waited.
And waited.... and waited...
...and the house I was trying to buy was sold before I was able to sell.
I chose to trust this was God closing the door on that particular house and felt at peace with continuing to attempt to sell and move, for at least the next few months. Move where, I was not so sure, but I believed God would either open the door to buy a better place for me, or close the door on moving altogether.
So, more waiting.
Finally, after several months of trying to sell, I had an offer! But there no longer seemed to be any listings that I could afford and want to move to. I wondered what God was up to. Why did I have to wait so long only for there to be no place available? Would I actually get to move? Would I end up being at my parents for awhile because I had sold and not found anything? As much as I love my parents I did not want to have to move back in with them, no matter how temporary.
After a few days of nothing turning up, again God used my mom to bring about a shift. She had heard about a place for sale and it sounded like it might be just the place for me. I went to view it the very next day and LOVED it. It felt so right.... like home. I asked God if I could please, please have it. But that I would trust if not, there was something even better.
So I made an offer, left it in God's capable hands, and the offer was accepted the next day! I will never forget receiving the news! And it was extra special because I happened to be with my parents and they rejoiced with me!
Next came the inspections and renegotiation regarding those, the appraisals for the value, and finally the actual physical work involved with moving. God was incredibly faithful the entire way.
While it took longer than expected, and turned out differently than planned at the start, God proved He was watching over every detail, and He does know best. God delivered on what I asked, and even went above and beyond! My home is very much my home sweet home. I have actually had tears of joy, I am so thankful and overwhelmed by God's goodness.
As mentioned, God has moved me in more than just the literal sense. I am feeling more and more like myself, like the me I am supposed to be, who God intended me to be. I have more confidence, and for the first time ever, more often than not I have a comfortable sense of feeling at home with myself.
So... God has physically and spiritually brought me "home," more so than ever before. And it is a wonderful feeling.
Thanks be to God who has moved me forward in more ways than one! He has moved me more and more into freedom... freedom to let go of what has held me back and cling to the truths that will guide me on in the right direction... until the only thing holding me, that has a claim on me, is Jesus and His love.
Ephesians 3:20 ~ Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Psalm 37:4-5 ~ Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Philipians 3:13b-14 ~ Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
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 are moments in day to day life when I pause to peer at the beauty going on beneath the superficial surface… I look for the extra in the ordinary.
These moments tend to happen the most with family and friends. Recently my immediate family finally got schedules coordinated to spend an afternoon together. As my mom, dad, brother, sister and brother-in-law and I sat around the table, the conversation was a rather normal one. There was nothing deep about it. Nothing phenomenal. But there was plenty of laughter in it... and love underlying it, which is the part I noticed and appreciated when I peered past the veneer of the ordinary.
Another memory that stands out is from Thanksgiving. ...Yes, that was quite awhile ago, but it still sticks out vividly in my mind. Anyway, I was chopping up fruit for a salad, my dad was trimming the turkey, my mom was finishing up mashed potatoes, my sister was setting the table and my brother-in-law was slicing some bread. There was not a lot of chatter, and what talk there was mostly revolved around what needed to be done.
And I thought, how beautiful. This is what really matters… this is the good stuff of life. The bond of family. Being with loved ones. Working together for a common goal… even if it is just to make a meal.
Beauty is brought to ordinary tasks when love is the undercurrent flowing beneath. That time with my family, though no words were spoken about it, I could feel the tie of the love that bound us together as we worked. And my soul thrilled in it.
I have been paying more attention to those moments lately, purposefully looking out for them. When I spot one I take the time to pause and soak it in, and praise God for the gift that it is.
And something else I have noticed… the more connected I am with the beauty in the ordinary around me, the more connected I am with God, because I am actively aware of what God has done for me, how He has blessed me. That in turn has cultivated an attitude of thankfulness and optimism in me. And life is much more enjoyable that way.
Another positive side effect of this awareness is that I have a desire to infuse beauty into the ordinary… paint some color into the common black and white… by spreading love and kindness to those around me. It could be something as simple as a smile, a cheerful word of encouragement, or a listening ear. Whatever way God can use me, I want to make myself ready and willing.
Thank You God for opening my eyes to the beauty in the ordinary… for the ones that occur without any effort on my part, and for the opportunities You provide for me to make it into one.
Linking with spiritual sundays , mondays musings, glimpses link up
And so the last chapter of 2016 has concluded... and the open book of 2017 has begun...
Amidst the pages of 2016 there have been many stories, but the theme running through it all has been "God is faithful."
The beginning of Psalm 40 reads:
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God"
God has done that for me. He heard me, delivered me, and restored me. And now I can sing again.
Over the course of 2016, God has been bringing me back to life, healing my heart... and teaching me many things as I found my new song.
I learned that healing cannot be rushed or forced, but must be journeyed through.
The healing just... happened... by me just... letting it... it's not easy to explain... but now I feel free... light... new.
I had to let the pain and bitterness and guilt be felt, bring that to God, and then let myself feel His truth, His love, and His forgiveness. I had to let people pour into me with their encouragement and support.
I found spiritual renewal and healing with God, and received what I call "spiritual hugs" from Him, and I received physical hugs and support in abundance from the wonderful family and friends God has given me.
And it was through those healthy relationships, those healthy emotional connections, and letting the feelings come but then releasing them to God, that healing came and I was restored.
Restored after emotional abuse that almost got physical. Restored after betrayal. Restored after divorce.
Restored and freed.
Focusing on those good relationships, with God and with the people who care about me, brought about the full restoration I needed. I had to let the truth sink in, the truth that I am loved and valued, by God, family and friends. My spiritual relationship with a good God and my physical relationships with good people... those were key to healing.
Over 2016, I have been "loved on" and uplifted by God Himself and the many people He sent my way, and I could not be more filled with gratitude.
God has taken me out of the mire and set me on a rock. He has taken me out of numbness, out of brokenness, and given me joy and peace. He has given me a new song... a song of hope, of freedom, of praise to Him for how faithful He has been.
God made me alive again.
I have learned that time with God is the best balm for my soul, that Jesus is the most patient, loving friend and the Holy Spirit the provider of the comfort I need.
I have learned that true strength comes by persevering, that forgiveness is freeing, and that love is healing.
I have learned that God can revive the heart, and breath fresh life into hopes and dreams.
I have learned that with God, all things are possible, and that His love is very deep, and very real.
O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things
~ Psalm 98:1
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34
Linking with momentsofhope and whatjoyismine.net
Five Minute Friday time again! (A five minute free write)
Joining the linkup: Kate Motaung and Dance with Jesus
So the word prompt for this one is JOY... 1, 2, 3, GO!
This word is very appropriate for me now... for two reasons. One, the Christmas season is one of joy, and two, for me personally it has been a season of joy.
Christmas joy... this joy is because it represents the moment God stepped into time... into human flesh... so that He could heal the world of brokenness and sin by His perfect love and grace...
And my joy... this joy is because I have been set free...
While I understood the gospel some years ago, and was then set free from sin's bondage and gained entrance into eternal life, and given God's spirit and abundant life for this side of heaven, I was recently set free in a whole new way.
For the first time in a long time, probably about five and a half years, I am completely free of bitterness and unforgiveness, and at peace, and I have complete JOY.
I got a divorce about eight months ago and God has been healing me with His amazing love.
God can take away hurt, and wash away resentment, and cleanse wounds, and restore and bring wholeness and freedom.
GOD IS SO GOOD! He took away tears of pain and gave tears of joy!
Seek God... trust Him... and anything is possible...
I can come to Him, totally undone, steeped in despair, torn apart and broken, and He can release me from it and replace that with peace, hope, and joy.
Praise God for a love that never lets go, never gives up, but instead holds tight, and waits patiently, and steps in to satisfy and overwhlem in the most amazing way.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB) "O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
Psalm 63:7 (NASB) "For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy."
And, at long last, I am finally doing a blog post again. Wow time goes fast!
So this post will be a quickie, a five minute Friday link up with Kate Motaung.
And it's on the word crave.
There are many things I get cravings for. Some are smaller... chocolate, a chai tea latte, sunshine, a hug, a chat with a friend...
And some are more substantial... financial security, a sense of belonging, a healed heart, the chance to fulfill dreams...
The smaller things are much easier to come by, but they are also very brief. The larger things may be available for a season, and are wonderful while they last, but these can prove to be temporary as life brings changes.
Is there such a thing as a craving that can be fully and forever satisfied?
The good news is yes, yes indeed there is. The deepest longings of the heart, the desire for joy, peace and wholeness that can be had during any circumstance, can be found in the God who made your heart.
I have been through a lot and I can attest to the truth of this. When I seek God's presence, when I praise Him no matter the situation, that is where I find every craving satisfied.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." -- Matthew 11:28, NASB
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -- Romans 15:13, NASB
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him." -- Psalm 62:5, ESV
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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.