Author Archives: hope

About hope

The Lord has blessed me with life and in living each day I have found the struggles, joys, and triumphs to be each an opportunity to encourage those around me.

September 5

Today’s prayer:

8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: For thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 KJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for using this verse in my life today. Thank You for preparing the way before us, as Your Word says. Lord, I know our circumstances on earth will not always be safe, but as long as our soul is redeemed by Your sacrifice we are safe. Lord, for the many people who are suffering today, I humbly request You meet them where they are, that You will shine Your truth into whatever darkness they may be struggling with. Lord, thank You that we can rest in You and Your truth. For what can man do to those whose soul is safe with You? I praise You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Training the future wall builders

Nehemiah 8:1-2 NKJV — Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.

The people and the leaders knew they needed to be instructed by God’s Word.

To all come together to listen to the book of the law, to understand what God’s commandments are, was the priority.

Nehemiah 8:8 NKJV — So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

Through the teaching of God’s Law people’s hearts were changed.

Nehemiah 8:9 NKJV — And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

Chapter 9 of Nehemiah is recounting the history of their people and the faithfulness of God.

It was vital that the people who lived within the protection of the wall understand that it was by God, not the wall that they were kept from their enemies.

It was also vital that they realize why the wall had been broken down in the past, the hearts of their forefathers had grown hard.

As followers of Christ, we too must realize that our salvation is through Christ alone.

Our spiritual protection is due to Him, not how long we pray or what fancy words might be said.

Building a spiritual wall is an out pouring of understanding that we are frail, our nature is to sin, and we have an adversary who wants to destroy us.

Time in prayer is only part of it.

We must also be in God’s Word, learning His ways, His truth.

But it doesn’t end there.

We need to be educating those who will come after us.

It’s not enough to just pray for our children and grandchildren, we need to teach them why we pray.

We need to live lives which reflect the nature of our Lord Jesus.

We need to be sure we are training the future wall builders.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Nehemiah and this book we can learn so much from. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your guidance and teaching. Lord, please help me to not only follow You in all things, but to train others, to be a light of encouragement. Lord, please help me to speak words of truth and instruction to my children and grandchildren. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for the lessons You have taught me. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

September 3rd

Today’s prayer:

Exodus 31:2 NKJV — “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
Exodus 31:3 KJV — And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word! I love this story. You prepared Bezalel before hand to do the work You had for him. Not only that, You placed in him the skill, the understanding, and the wisdom he would need. You didn’t give him a half measure either, but gave him in abundance. Lord, You know the needs of each of us. You understand what You have called each one to. Your way is perfect. Your truth is enough. Please help me to rest in the knowledge that You will and You have supplied so many needs. Your Word and Your Holy Spirit will continue to guide and direct. Thank You for all You are doing. Please, continue to reach those in so much need. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Guarding the wall

Nehemiah 4:1-3 NKJV — But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish–stones that are burned?”
Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”

Once the work began, not an easy task as the workers were just ordinary people, opposition sprung up.

First, the enemy was angry and mocking quickly followed.

Nehemiah’s response is prayer:

Nehemiah 4:4 NKJV — Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity!Nehemiah 4:5 NKJV — Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.”

Nehemiah didn’t get sidetracked, the work didn’t stop.

Nehemiah 4:6 NKJV — So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

The people were not put off and God blessed their diligence, the wall began to be repaired and the gaps to close.

Their enemies were stubborn too.

Nehemiah 4:7 NKJV — Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry,
Nehemiah 4:8 NKJV — and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.

Again, Nehemiah trusts in the Lord.

He also sets up guards.

Nehemiah 4:9 NKJV — Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

The contention continues throughout the repair and rebuilding of the wall.

The enemy tries threats, lies, slander, but nothing hinders Nehemiah’s task.

But it wasn’t easy.

Nehemiah 4:16 NKJV — So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.Nehemiah 4:17 NKJV — Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.

They had to be diligent in their work and on guard at all times.

Nehemiah 4:23 NKJV — So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.

Thankfully, this was only a season, once the wall, their defense, was restored completely they were not in the same danger as when the wall was yet finished.

However, one of the first things Nehemiah did after the wall was finished was to appoint guards and leaders.

Nehemiah 7:1 NKJV — Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,
Nehemiah 7:2 NKJV — that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

The application is simple, we need to guard our wall.

Our spiritual wall should be our time of intercession for ourselves and others.

We need to realize we will be building something the enemy doesn’t want.

When we hedge ourselves,our families, and our church in prayer we are building a spiritual wall.

We should expect to come under attack.

The enemy will throw doubt: “Does God really hear?”

He will lie: “Did God say…?”

There will be distractions, interruptions, and trials, but we must not allow ourselves to be removed from praying for ourselves and others.

Daily intercession in prayer, built with God’s Word, upon the foundation of Christ Jesus, is a must for followers of Christ.

For even when regular intercession is a habit and the spiritual “wall” is built, we should be on our guard.

The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy.

But God gives us life and it’s abundance is unfathomable, because His gift of life is eternal!

Our time here is limited, let us live wisely and redeem the time.

Colossians 4:5-6 NKJV — Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth and wisdom. Thank You for freely giving these things to us. Lord, please help us to understand the importance of prayer and the value of humbling bring our requests before You. Lord Jesus,help us to pray with understanding, not asking according to our will or our ideas, but truly seeking Your face and praying Your Word for in it is life. Lord, please help us not to be sidetracked by the snares of the enemy. Please keep us from living shortsightedly. Lord, You alone know every detail of each one’s life. Please help us to join together in prayer and stand for those who are helpless, needy, wayward, and lost. Lord, please soften hearts, open eyes, unstop ears, that they might turn and be healed. Thank You. Amen.

September 1st

Today’s prayer:

Ruth 2:12 NKJV — “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word and the hope we have in You. Lord, please help my work, my life to be an out growth from my trust in You.  Lord, in “the shadow of Your wing” is where I want to remain, patient and at peace. Lord, please let all those who trust in You find peace even in the midst of tragedy. For You are their comfort and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. What can man do to those whose soul is safe with You? Lord, thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your love. May the whole Earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of You. Amen.

Wall inspection

It doesn’t take long for physical things to begin to wear down if they are not properly maintained.

It’s an even faster decline if it’s purposefully attacked and broken down.

The book of Nehemiah chronicles the enormous task of bringing order to a broken and defenseless city.

Jerusalem had been laid waste.

Which God allowed due to the stubborn refusal of the people.

(The book of Jeremiah is one of the places which tells this heartbreaking story.)

The Lord sent many prophets to warn them, many chances to turn to Him and serve Him only.

But they had refused and chosen judgement and thus their city was left broken.

The wall, which was the best defensive protection, lay in ruins.

The people had returned to the land from captivity to rebuild the temple.

Ezra 1:1-2NKJV — Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.

They encountered a great deal of opposition to this, but they did eventually get it done.

Yet, many years later the wall was still broken and the gates were unusable.

Nehemiah 1:2-3 NKJV — that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

God sent Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.

Nehemiah 2:17 NKJV — Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”

It was a difficult task.

The odds were completely against them and their enemies threatened them continually.

Nehemiah 4:16 NKJV — So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.

Yet, God was with them and the task was completed.

Nehemiah 7:1 NKJV — Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,

Once the walls were rebuilt Nehemiah set up honorable people to organize and coordinate the city and to maintain it.

Nehemiah 7:2 NKJV — that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

After all this, the Word of God was brought out and the people were instructed.

Nehemiah 8:1-2 NKJV — Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.

The book goes on to chronicle how Nehemiah deals with sin amongst the people, especially the leaders.

There are numerous applications for the follower of Christ within this book.

The book of Nehemiah starts with the knowledge of the condition of the wall.

It was broken down and the gates were burned.

What is the status of our wall?

Not a physical structure, but a spiritual one.

Job shows us what a spiritual wall looks like.

Job 1:5 NKJV — So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.

Job prayed and offered sacrifices for his children, incase one of them had sinned.

He did it often, it was a habit.

Job’s spiritual wall was an outgrowth of his personal walk with the Lord.

Job 1:1 NKJV — There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

Job understood the importance of covering his family in prayer.

The enemy also understood the spiritual wall God had placed around Job.

Job 1:9-10 NKJV — So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”

One might argue that Job’s spiritual wall wasn’t good enough when his life turns upsidedown due to the enemy being allowed to touch his wealth, his family, and his health.

But these things do not occur because Job sinned.

They are a test of Job’s character.

The end of the book of Job reveals the difference, God restores everything more than before and Job’s integrity remains intact.

Spiritual protection doesn’t mean everything will always be “good”.

It means we are secure in knowing everything is in God, not a consequence of sin.

For sin harms us and our families, which is why God teaches us so much about it and warns us to avoid it.

Through Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to live free from sin and upright before God.

We also have a responsibility to build boundaries and fortify ourselves and our families against evil.

We too can maintain our spiritual wall through prayer and living upright before the Lord.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for Nehemiah and Job and the lessons we can glean from their lives. Lord, please continue to teach me how to maintain a spiritual wall. Lord, I do not want to be defenseless against sin or the enemy because I have neglected my walk with You in any place. Lord, please show me my weaknesses that I might confess them and turn to You. Lord, my family is Yours and I trust You with them. Please help me to pray fervently for them with wisdom. Lord, please grant me discernment as I stand in prayer for each one. Lord, thank You for Your Word, Your love, Your truth. It is such a joy to put my trust in You! Amen.

Arguing

Like this picture, my perspective was a little skewed.

My husband had said, “Why do you do that? Why do you contradict everything I say?”

I nearly laughed when I responded with, “I don’t.”

He raised his eyebrows at me and smiled.

I apologized.

Although, I really didn’t feel I always contradicted my husband I did feels prick about it when I was praying.

If it’s important to my husband it should be important to me.

So, I asked the Lord to help me see when I was arguing with him.

Turns out, I do contradict him, often.

It’s not malicious nor was I really aware of it.

But there’s so many little moments when I was not careful with my words.

Yesterday we were Zooming a friend and I realized my “quick to listen and slow to speak” was backwards.

I’d been quick to speak and slow to listen.

Uhg.

Thankfully, both God and my husband are very patient and forgiving.

Today, I’m asking the Lord to continue to help me with this area.

First, that I see myself clearly and then that I am careful with my words.

Because words that build up are not words of contradiction.

Yes, there are times and places to stand for the truth when a lie is being pronounced as truth.

But between my husband and myself, there’s no reason for me to speak as I have.

I know if we have a conflict or misunderstanding the way to handle it is not before others, not with words that infer he is completely wrong, but instead with honesty, compassion, and love.

My contradicting him was simply a blindness to my own carelessness.

Frankly, I’d be embarrassed if it weren’t for my husband’s loving attitude.

Which in turn makes me want to deal with this poor behavior even more.

It’s wonderful how God has brought to light an area which was askew and is teaching me how to correct it.

Just another example of God’s love, His goodness, and His grace.

1 Peter 2:24 NKJV — who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

I’m so thankful to God!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for showing me my error. Lord, please continue to teach me to guard my words, to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Lord, please continue to heal my perspective, that I might not sin against You or anyone else. Lord, my heart is glad You have broken through an area I was stubbornly refusing to see. Please let the words of David stand for me as well.

Psalm 69:5-6 NKJV — O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.

Lord, please do not allow my sins to hinder my family’s relationship with You. Instead, please use my errors to help my family avoid these things in their own life. Lord, I thank You for Your mercy and grace. I thank You for Your truth and patience. May Your name be glorified today. Amen.

At the foot of the cross

Frequently, I experience very vivid dreams.

Since the Bible tells of more than one person having a dream God used in their life, I always try to pray about my dreams and ask the Lord if there’s anything to learn from them.

Last night I had a dream.

I was in church with many loved ones when a circumstance caused a part of the roof to give way and a fire suddenly erupted from another area.

Chaos ensued and I was very upset.

I wanted to help others, but couldn’t.

I’d been very close to the roof collapsing and had fallen, hurt.

Smoke from the building was making it difficult to breathe.

I rolled over, crying, trying to figure out what to do when I saw it.

I’d landed at the foot of the cross.

It was a very large wall decoration, the kind that are hollow on the inside with lights.

It was already lit, but as I looked at it, in the midst of the chaos, it grew brighter and brighter.

I remember thinking, “There’s a reason I’m at the foot of the cross.”

I stopped feeling scared and panicked.

I started praying.

And everything got better.

When I woke this morning I prayed.

Placing the people my heart has been burden for at the foot of the cross.

Today, I will continue to pray for those dear people around the world who are experiencing fear, devastation, and chaos.

That they too might find peace at the foot of the cross.

1 Peter 5:6-11 NKJV — Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word! Thank You for Your truth which makes clear the chaos. Lord, thank You for showing me that I can always find comfort at the foot of the cross, because death and suffering is not the end, You rose from the dead! You saved us from sin and death and You are preparing a place in heaven. Praise You, Jesus! Nothing on earth compares to that. Thank You that You give us exactly what we need to walk through each circumstance. Please continue to sustain and supply all the needs of our dear brothers and sisters around the world. Thank You, Jesus. I praise Your holy name! To You be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Odds and ends

I’ve been trying to get some things finished up and make time for stuff I’ve put off.

With all the changes of late, I’m needing to get some projects either done or gone.

Throughout my life, I’ve had “projects”.

Normally, some form of craft.

As a child my mother taught me to embroider, just simple stitches, but I would gladly run for my work to show grownups.

I also remember decorating all kinds of things with buttons.

Our elderly lady neighbor taught me to crochet.

Mom is left-handed so she couldn’t teach me as I’m right-handed.

I had mounds of paper crafts, everything from drawings to construction paper cut-outs.

As a teen I branched out into painting.

Watercolor was my favorite, but I did acrylic and oil.

I also dried flowers.

After I got married I started scrapbooking and did a little rubber stamping.

I also sewed.

My favorite craft is crocheting.

Anyone might guess this if they saw what I get for Christmas!

As of right now I have three sewing projects which have gotten pushed aside.

However, I have been able to finish up most of my crocheting.

The final project is making a replacement table runner for my dining room.

It’s nearly finished and I’m excited to see it in use.

As I prayerfully work through my projects, I’m so thankful for the opportunity.

Part of the reason I make things is my desire to “work with my hands”, but the main reason is the joy of doing something useful, to glorify God.

For life has taught me that things are always changing, but the possibility of using what I have for Him is constant.

Whether I’m piecing scraps of old jeans for a blanket or cooking a meal for our family, I’m blessed to be able to give my time to God.

I want all that I do to bring honor and glory to God.

Proverbs 31:30 NKJV — Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the different gifts and abilities which You bless each of us with. Thank You that these things can be used for Your glory. Lord Jesus, unto You do I want all my efforts to be focused on. Lord, I don’t want to do anything from my own desires or my own ideas, but instead I want to be centered upon You in all things. Lord, it is easy to get caught up with the busy of life and to forget to check my heart and my schedule with You. Please do not allow me to stray into my own ways, but instead call me, that I might return quickly to You. Thank You, Jesus for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for teaching me so much each and every day. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.

August 26

22 Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail).
Psalms 55:22 AMP

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, in it we find all we need. Thank You for being the One who sustains us. Thank You that You guide and direct our paths. Please continue to teach us how to live each day unto You. Please help us to hear Your voice and respond to Your Word. Lord, please do not let us wander from the truth, nor walk in our own ideas. Please help us to learn quickly from our errors and to live wisely. Lord, we want to redeem the time and to live honorably before You. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for salvation! I love You, Jesus. Amen.