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.

Bearing their names…

And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. Exodus 28:12 KJV

Aaron was selected by God to serve before Him in the Tabernacle, he was to be high priest for the children of Israel and his sons were to be priests as well.

Aaron and his sons had duties in their service to the Lord for the children of Israel.

A large portion of their duties was to offer sacrifices before God for the people.

Hebrews 9:22 NKJV — And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

They were to know God’s commandments and to teach the people.

Ezekiel 44:23 KJV — And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

There were other duties as well.

But only the high priest wore the ephod.

It was a special breastplate, and upon each shoulder the priest bore the names of the twelve tribes, six on one shoulder and six on the other.

To bear their names before the Lord.

As a follower of Christ, the application is rich.

Not only are we responsible before God for those He places underneath our care, but we are to bear their names before Him.

We see this truth in Paul’s life.

He didn’t simply preach and exhort those under his ministry, he prayed for them.

Philippians 1:3-6 NKJV — I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Thus, we too must not neglect to fulfill our duties to those God has placed in our lives, including bearing their names before Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, thank You for Your instructions on what is required for us to walk fully, wholeheartedly with You. Lord, You know my areas of weakness. You are familiar with all my errors and sin. Lord, please continue to hone my heart, that I might not repeat the past, but instead walk in the newness of Your forgiveness each day. Lord, please continue to help me to pray for others without being negligent of my other responsibilities. Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You for showing me, through Your Word the way in which I should go. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.

Forgiveness and trust

Genesis 50:20 KJV — But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

It’s one of the more astounding moments in scripture.

Joseph was born into a dysfunctional family.

His father was married twice, and both wives were jealous of the other, which caused no end of strife.

The first wife was unloved and the second wife was barren, until Joseph was finally born.

He, the son of Rachel, was dearly loved by his father.

By the time Joseph was old enough to be working with the family business, his brothers hated him.

It didn’t help that he turned in a poor report on some of them to his father.

To add fuel to the hatred, Joseph wasn’t as careful with his words as he could have been.

He had dreams of a future where he would lead the entire family.

He told them to his brothers and his father.

His brothers’ hatred grew.

There was no excuse for what they did to him, but it is very obvious how the discord in this family led to incredible evil.

Genesis 37:26-28NKJV — So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

They sold their brother as a slave.

Life in Egypt was a rollercoaster for Joseph.

All of the years he was there God worked in his life.

Finally, he was promoted from life imprisonment to second in the kingdom.

God used him to save many people from starvation.

Including, his family, who had no idea that he was still alive.

The scriptures don’t tell us when Joseph forgave his brothers.

But it does show him responding to them with forgiveness and compassion.

Somewhere along the journey of his life, Joseph learned to forgive those who had hurt him and to trust God.

We know this by his words of comfort to his terrified brothers.

Genesis 50:20 KJV — But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Joseph wasn’t bitter, he didn’t seek revenge, because he could clearly see God had allowed the difficult, painful things in his life to bring about incredible good.

We can apply this to ourselves.

We must not allow bitterness to take root, we must forgive those who do us evil, trusting God to work through it.

Although we may not see how God uses the painful, difficult circumstances in our lives while walking through them, we can choose to cling to the truth: He will.

Many people throughout scripture walked through unjust, painful circumstances and God uses those things in their lives for good.

He hasn’t changed.

He’s still working.

Let us choose to both forgive others and to trust God.

Romans 8:28 KJV — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, thank You for Your truth. Thank You for teaching us we must forgive, we must trust You. Please help me to walk in that truth, learning daily what it means in today. Lord, please return our hearts to wholeness, hearts of flesh which have been redeemed by Your sacrifice. Lord, great is Your faithfulness and greatly shall You be praised! Please continue to teach us each day, giving us life and truth through Your Word. Lord, please help us to be on our guard about the lies, discord, and strife of the enemy. Please help us to live trusting in You, loving others, and walking with integrity. Thank You for Your wonderous works! I praise Your holy name Lord Jesus! Amen.

The integrity of a fisherman

I once heard a story about a fisherman.

He was on a bank where others also were fishing.

Where this man fished had some requirements and rules:

A license, a specific season, a limit of the number of fish taken home, and only certain fish were allowed to be kept.

If a fisherman caught a fish which was not allowed he or she had to return it to the water with as little damage to the fish as possible.

Although these restrictions were in place, it was a remote area.

But this one fisherman was a man of integrity.

He followed the laws and restrictions out of an honest heart, because of his love for God.

While fishing, he was always careful to obey the restrictions.

One day, another man came near.

He too had his rod and tackle and ice chest.

After a brief introduction, he asked the first man if he minded that he share the bank.

The other fisherman did not mind and continued to fish.

Not far after the new comer’s arrival, the first man caught a beautiful fish.

Large and shiny, it would have been a delicious meal for the man’s large family, but it wasn’t allowed to be kept.

Without hesitation, he carefully unhooked it and returned it to the water.

The new comer didn’t comment, but continued to fish.

After a while both caught fish they could keep.

Neither man had reached their limit of fish, so they each continued.

Although, the new comer, at random moments would wind up his bait, ask the first man to keep an eye on his things, and leave for a bit.

He’d then return and go back to fishing.

Finally, after much time had passed, the new comer walked over to speak with the first fisherman.

His words were a surprise.

“I wasn’t completely open with you when I first introduced myself.”

“You see I’m the Fish and Game Warden for this area and I came out to catch those who are not following the rules, to write fines for those who keep fish they shouldn’t.”

“I used you as my cover, because the two of us just looked like fishing pals.”

“I want to thank you for being the kind of guy you are. You follow all the restrictions no matter what.”

The Fish and Game Warden said his goodbyes and left.

This story is a good example of a truth Jesus taught.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:45‭-‬51 NKJV

We as followers of Christ need to be people of integrity, no matter the circumstances.

Because our Lord Jesus is coming back some day and in-between then and now we are witnesses to His goodness and His greatness by our actions, our attitudes, and our words.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for others who are people of integrity. Lord, please help me to walk in Your ways today. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, and grace. Amen.

Supporting one another

So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. Exodus 17:10‭-‬12 NKJV

This wasn’t about Moses getting even.

Joshua wasn’t picking this fight.

These were God’s people trying to go where He called them and instead of helping them, Amalek chose this opportunity to attack God’s people while they were on the way.

Already, the people of Israel had complained about no food.

So, God provided Manna.

Then they complained about no water.

So, God provided, from the rock, water.

Now, they are being attacked.

So, God provides an incredible picture of people supporting and encouraging one another through days of great peril.

Moses told Joshua what to do and he didn’t hesitate, but obeyed.

Moses went up on the mountain and stood with his hands raised to God.

(Have you ever tried holding your hands up in the air for a long time? It’s not easy.)

But when Moses’s hands lowered the battle began to go poorly.

Thus, Aaron and Hur got a stone for Moses to sit on…

“And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

Wow.

Talk about tangible support.

No easy task, but so needed.

What about Joshua?

He’s the one literally fighting the enemy, whose out to kill and destroy them all.

So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Exodus 17:13 NKJV

God is the Reason for the victory.

Both then and today.

Then, He gave Joshua and the children of Israel victory over their enemies.

Later, God’s Son came to earth to save all from sin.

(Doesn’t the picture of Moses’s outstretched arms point to Christ and His arms, stretched out on the cross?)

Through His sacrifice, we can have victory in Jesus.

But we still have an enemy, whose out to destroy us in one way or another.

Thus, God gives us the body of Christ.

Not just for our support and encouragement, but also for us to be that support and encouragement of others as well.

This story shows us the beautiful way we as followers of Christ are to lift up one another, especially in prayer.

For the days are full of peril for many throughout our world.

And what a privilege it is to lovingly support others in anyway available.

Romans 12:10 KJV — Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this beautiful story of Moses, Aaron, Hur, and Joshua. Lord, please help us to see those opportunities to lift up one another. Lord, help us to be diligent to prefer one another in all things, looking to build up those around us. Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your love and faithfulness. You are the reason Joshua was victorious that day and You are still the reason we can be victorious today, not over other people, but over sin. Lord, thank You for Your wonderous works. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Moving Sale

Job 1:21 KJV — And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

These words speak so deeply of a truth I have a hard time learning.

But I love them.

And I am learning.

Today, we are having a moving sale.

It will be open tomorrow as well and I’m praying for understanding that nothing belongs to me.

No things.

No people.

Not even myself.

Because my tendency is to hold on to stuff.

After as many moves as I’ve had throughout my adult life, I was expecting to find it easy by now.

But it still is a lesson I’m having to put into practice.

Because our new home is much smaller than this one, a lot of things have to go.

But I know it’s for the best.

I trust God with all.

As I stopped for a break in the middle of our preparations, I was struck by the phrase:

“…blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Because that’s what everything comes down to.

God is worthy of all glory, all honor, all praise.

His name is blessed!

Psalm 113:2 KJV — Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your character, which is holy, just, and righteous. Thank You for being worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. Truly, Your name is the greatest treasure. Your salvation the only thing worth clinging to. Thank You for the reminder. I love You, Jesus! Blessed be Your name!! Amen.

Six things…

“These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16‭-‬19 NKJV

Taken together or individually, these seven abominations are weighty indeed.

One might dodge a few of these, but can anyone say they’ve never lied?

What about “a proud look”?

When one meditates upon God and His goodness, it’s little wonder these things are an abomination to Him.

Each of these causes pain, strife, broken relationships, or evil of some form.

God is good, holy, just, loving, kind, merciful, full of grace and forgiveness.

He created this world without sin and it was very good.

But when sin entered, it began to mar His beautiful creation.

His faithfulness is incredible.

Through His sacrifice on the cross we can find freedom from sin and because of His resurrection from the tomb can we find freedom from death.

We have the opportunity to choose life through Christ and freedom from living in ways God finds abominable.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV — Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for showing us what You find abominable. Lord, help us to despise those things You despise, that we might not harm ourselves or others. Lord, please help us to be humble and honest, that we realize we are capable of sin like everyone else and that because of Your great mercy and grace we can choose life eternal in You. Lord, each of us is a work in progress. Our hearts, minds, and souls need to be washed by Your Word. We need to be redeemed by Your truth. Lord, please teach us how to love like You do, to be willing to die daily. Please let my life be Yours, entirely. Amen.

God’s Word is truth

Psalm 119:160 NKJV — The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

What does it look like, to live in complete understanding that all of God’s Word is truth?

For this to happen, we need to be well acquainted with the entirety of scripture.

No small task.

But one worth our time.

Psalm 33:4 NKJV — For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.

When we understand what God tells us both about Himself, history, sin, and about the world we live in, our relationship grows.

Even if it’s just baby-steps of learning, when we study God’s Word, we find truth.

In these days of uncertainty and skewed perspective, truth seems more valuable than ever.

God’s truth is not only pure, it is from the best perspective, God’s.

Psalm 18:30 NKJV — As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

In the Bible we find not only truth, but salvation, security for our souls.

That’s definitely worth spending time on.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word, for the entirety of scripture. Lord, please help us to not just read it, but truly understand and grow in our relationship with You. Lord, please place Your Word into our hearts. Help us to make scripture a priority and something we find joy in, not a task, not a chore. For in Your Word we find life, truth, wisdom, and knowledge. Please continue to open our minds to Your Word and teach us what You would have us learn today. Thank You for Your Word. May we cherish the gift of Your scriptures and the love You pour out upon us daily. Amen.

Monday’s encouragement

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. Psalms 24:1 NKJV

I needed this verse this morning.

To be honest I woke up in a less than joyful mood.

To put it in one word, I was cranky.

The Lord, being so patient and merciful, brought me this verse as I read this morning.

It’s truth reminded me of what is important.

God.

No matter how I’m feeling, either physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally, God is the One in charge.

He is on His throne.

He does what is best.

He loves me and paid for my salvation.

What do I have to be upset about?

I could argue, complain, choose to be offended, or miserable, but in the end I’m only choosing hurt when I allow myself to do those things.

I don’t want to hurt others, myself, nor dishonor my Lord.

Thus, these verses are my lifesaver, my necessary flotation device for my attitude and thoughts.

I will cling to God’s Word rather than sink into the waves of self-pity or self-focus or discouragement.

Because:

Psalm 73:28 KJV — …it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Please:

Psalm 143:10 KJV — Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

For:

Psalm 18:30 KJV — …God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for reminding me of what is truly important this morning. Lord, I trust You with my day, my “list”, my needs. Please teach me how to be discerning and what to focus on. Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for providing for all my needs, including the verse of encouragement. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Choosing to lean…

…on Christ.

I’d not been home from my shot appointment for very long, (I take allergy shots every three weeks) when Handsome took me out to the garage.

He and Anne had poured the top of this table in high quality resin, same stuff used for restaurant tables.

The resin looks great and I was praising God for His help with this project.

Handsome and I were discussing what else was required for this set to be finished.

That’s when I realized, it needed paint.

One side of the top had marks across it.

They wouldn’t come off.

I didn’t want to paint this.

For starters, I wasn’t feeling well, shots alone make me tired, and I’m not feeling good this week.

On top of that, this table has a decorative edge I knew wouldn’t be easy to paint.

I still needed to homeschool Jase.

It was supposed to rain, requiring me to get this painted as soon as possible so we could bring in the other furniture.

Thankfully, the rain wasn’t supposed to start till night time.

My husband could tell my mind was a whirl as he waited my response.

“What can I do to help you? Remember I have to leave for work in 40 minutes.”

I smiled.

I told the Lord, “I trust You” and asked Handsome to tape off the table for me.

Then I changed clothes, set up some work for our son, and headed to the garage.

God was so gracious.

He helped me finish in plenty of time.

I sent the above photo to my husband.

The kids brought in all the other furniture in the afternoon and we gladly closed the garage for the day.

When the rain hit last night, my heart was glad.

Not only had the Lord provided all I needed to finish the table, the kids and I also got all the ripe tomatoes picked and a bowl of apples.

Jase was able to get his school work done and I spent part of our evening reading to them.

It hadn’t mattered that I didn’t feel good.

God provided for all my needs.

Today, I’m still leaning upon Him and looking forward to seeing how He is going to walk me through another day.

Things go so much better when I do not lean on my own strength.

I’m humbled and grateful for His mercy.

Monday, I’d leaned on myself and things went poorly for days.

Friday, I leaned on Jesus.

I’m so thankful for another opportunity to learn to lean on Him.

2 Samuel 22:31 KJV — As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth. Thank You for Your patience! Please continue to help me learn how to lean on You alone. Please help me to walk with You daily. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your ways, how much better they are than ours. Thank You for holding us in Your hands and guiding us. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Reading

We stayed up later than intended.

Anne is home for a few days and Jase asked if I would read while she was here.

Because my children (18 and 16) still love to be read to.

I began reading aloud to our children when they were small.

I can’t remember when I switched from children’s books to novels, but it was some time ago.

We have a few books I’ve read aloud more than once.

But it was weeks ago when I’d been praying for our son that God put something on my heart.

It was the lack of Christian books in our home library which would interest our son.

Because I want all our children to read and to find enjoyment out of it, I’ve worked at building our home library, but I’d focused on books for girls.

It is important to me that our children read.

Mainly, because the Bible is vital and I want my children to be able to read it and enjoy reading it.

I also understand the entertainment we choose makes an impact.

It is important to me that our children have books and movies which encourage them in righteousness.

As I prayed about the lack of exciting books on the shelf the Lord brought to mind one.

It was the first book in a series for middle school kids by Jerry B Jenkins: the Red Rock Mysteries.

Later that day, I asked Jase if he’d like me to read some of it aloud after homeschooling.

He wasn’t super interested, but after a few chapters, he was hooked.

We both were.

Some time after we finished that book Handsome took us to the Christian book store.

Jase spent his own money to purchase three more books in the series.

He was so ready to hear the next one.

Since then, I ordered all 15 books.

Anne was home on a visit during one of the books.

(Grandma is off all restrictions from her first surgery and doing great. She’s waiting for the hospital to open up so she can have the next one done, so Anne is free to come home often.)

She too enjoyed listening.

Yesterday, we stayed up later than normal as I read through most of book number 14.

I think Jase will be a bit sad when we reach the end.

But God had already pricked my heart and we have another series waiting for us, Chuck Black’s Kingdom Series.

Truly, it is a blessing to spend time reading aloud to our children.

I know these will be cherished memories for each of us.

Out of all our time together, I pray God is honing their hearts and mine.

Because I want our family to bring glory to God, no matter what activities we are doing.

Ephesians 6:8 KJV — Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your guidance. Lord, I am very thankful to You for all You have done and are doing in our lives. Lord, please continue to guide and direct us in Your ways, teaching us the way to follow You. Lord, speak as Your Word says: Isaiah 30:21 KJV — And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Let our ears be quick to hear and to respond to Your Word. Thank You for blessing us with so much. Please continue to teach us how to pass it on to others. Lord, I want to glorify Your name each day. I love You. Amen.