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
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
Finally a month later, another Five Minute Friday! ..... Technically, its very very early Saturday........ but I have not gone to sleep yet so for me it is still Friday. :)
The word is Protect.
The first thing that came to mind upon seeing "protect" was the idea of protecting the heart... thoughts, attitudes and perceptions...
There is this idea found in Proverbs 4:23 --
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
Biblically, the heart involves the mind, will and emotions... so all that encompasses should be "protected" intentionally - as much as is possible anyway. It is certainly not easy, especially with emotions.
But as what happens in the heart influences attitude and leads to action - the "springs of life" - guarding it is very important.
I want springs of life that are clean and pure... that resemble a joyful, nourishing, fresh mountain stream... that are life-giving to me and those around.
How does that come about? Well there are several verses to that effect... two of the best, or at least my favorites, are:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
It starts with the thinking... the right kind of thoughts lead to a sense of peace, calm, joy... which lead to actions rooted in care, wisdom and rationality.
I have been shifting to a more positive focus, rooted in God's promises and His love, and I notice I am much happier and better off for it. That does not mean I am in "Lala Land" or am out of touch with reality - I remain fully aware of responsibilities, obligations, and needs that have to be met. But I am trusting God instead of wasting worry on matters. I am figuring out when I just need to wait on God to act, and when and what I need to act on. It takes practice... it's a process... but thankfully God is patient and faithful as I continue to keep a check on my attitude.
And it's time for another Five Minute Friday post! Linking up with katemotaung.com. The word is HAVEN.
1, 2, 3, GO:
Haven is one of those words that sounds like what it is... it is like a peaceful exhale of breath when saying it softly...
Haven... security... safety... shelter... refuge...
What a lovely word!
For me, a haven is where peace can be found, and healing can happen. Chains are undone and wings of joy unfurled.
I have two kinds of havens - one based in the physical, one in the spiritual... one tangible, one beyond normal reach.
The physical is found in the listening ears, the encouraging words and loving arms of family and friends. To be heard, understood, validated and lifted up by people I fully trust... it breathes life into broken areas, it soothes and strengthens... brings smiles and laughter... and firmer footing through reminders of the truth.
The spiritual is found in my faith - not religion, but a relationship with the God of the universe... with Jesus, the Son, and the Spirit... God's presence brings a peace like no other. A relationship with God means He is always available, always understands, and always comforts. When I call on Him, He pours love and joy into heart beyond description.
There are seasons when God feels far away, but I know He is still with me, and after coming out of those, the sense of His presence suddenly is back in a flood of sweet renewal like water after a desert journey, and that is when I realize the strength and grace He gave me all along.
...And God is so good, that though He might feel far away and His haven unreachable, He sends His love through the haven I find in friends and family. And eventually... the wilderness ends and I am enfolded once again in God's haven.
I can go through anything and come through stronger, be renewed, and have all the broken pieces knit together and healed by running to my haven.
One more thing.... this is after the five minutes, but inspired by "Haven" and still a rough draft...
Healing in the Haven
Searching for safe harbor
amidst the stormy seas
Where is the calm
Where is the peace
The exhale of a breath
A cry for calm
A plea for peace
A whispered prayer
A waiting heart
Then a stir in the air
Love is outpoured
From the author of love
The God who holds the world
This God holds my heart
and sends His healing touch
throughout every part
Every part of my being
is becoming renewed
as I am being healed
In God’s haven
I am forever sealed
Psalm 73:28 (NASB)
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge
Psalm 94:22 (NASB)
But the Lord has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].
Wow......... over a year....... and I'm finally back to blogging...
And to kick off the close of the long hiatus, I am joining up with Five Minute Friday (http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ ) - a five minute free write inspired by one word, which in this instance is: EASY.
So... here goes...
Easy... I wanted to chuckle at that word choice... at the irony. That has been the farthest thing from reality, and what I have been craving most.
Seas have been stormy indeed. I have been tossed about and lost all sight of the shoreline. There was only wind and waves...
However, I was often so distracted by the waves that I missed the One walking on them.
Life has not been easy... but now that the seas have at last started to calm, and light is visible through the clouds, I realize that God was indeed there with me, watching over me, but the storm had to run its course. And if I had realized it then, I could have found more peace in the midst of it.
Thankfully, God is very patient with me, and is proving again and again that He really is good, and He really does keep His promises, though it may involve painful waiting.
Life is not always easy, but God is always good.
And it really is true that through the hardest lessons, the most is learned, and strength is forged.
"I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you.
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you."
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
© 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.