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A biblical hope

2 Aug

To hope in Christ is not to wishfully think he might fulfill his promises; to hope in Christ is to stand firm on the truth that he lived, he died and he will return again. It is a knowledge and confidence. It is not a wish.

From the 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language via this website:

HOPE, n. [L. cupio.]

1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

The hypocrite’s hope shall perish. Job 8.

He wish’ed, but not with hope–
Sweet hope! kind cheat!
He that lives upon hope, will die fasting.

2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.

A well founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of ineffable happiness.

3. That which gives hope; he or that which furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good. The hope of Israel is the Messiah.

The Lord will be the hope of his people. Joel 3.

4. An opinion or belief not amounting to certainty, but grounded on substantial evidence. The christian indulges a hope, that his sins are pardoned.

…and that, in a nutshell, is my hope.

Jen

The hands that hold the world

11 Jul

I’m in awe.

Last night I was reading Hebrews 12 and the last two verses just grabbed my attention, so I had to share them:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

A kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us offer to God acceptable worship. Our God is a consuming fire.

These verses give us a tiny little window-sized view into just how big our God is, even though we can’t fathom just how great he really is. But it simply amazes me that the same God that created the entire universe also created me and you, and he cares for us deeply. It reminds me of Phil Wickham’s song “Safe,” which I absolutely love:

“You will be safe in his arms, you will be safe in his arms

Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart

This is the promise he made, he will be with you always

When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in his arms.”

Isn’t that incredible?

Jen

A little message of hope

10 Jul

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

Jen

Longing for eternity

6 Jul

You know, I’ve grown up in a Christian home and served God as long as I can remember. I’ve always believed in heaven and heard it described as “streets of gold” and the whole shebang.

But not until this year, my 21st year on this planet, have I known what it means to long for eternity. To no longer care for the desires of this world and to only want to sit at the feet of Jesus.

It hit me earlier this week as I sat in my car listening to KLOVE Radio on my lunch break at work. I was having a super tough day and decided that instead of going shopping on my lunch hour, I was going to just rest and allow myself to be encouraged by KLOVE. Then, “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe came on the radio. I have to admit that I’ve heard this song literally hundreds of times since it first came out many moons ago. But this time it was different. I just sat there and listened closely. And I started to cry.

Truthfully, this feeling–this longing for eternity and desperation for Jesus–often results from going through difficult times on this earth. But I think we’re blessed when we learn that longing and when we learn that this world is not our home. Something greater is ahead. It puts everything into perspective. And it teaches us perseverance as we “count it all joy” when we face trials. (You know I’m gonna reference James 1 every chance I get!)

I pray someone finds hope and comfort in this today…

Jen

When you feel your weakest…

3 Jul

…put on the armor.

It’s not a cheesy children’s church song. It’s the Word of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Jen

Some of my favorite words from David

22 Jun

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

(Psalm 40:1-3)

Loving ______ as yourself

20 Jun

Monday night’s post from James 2 presented us with a reminder about loving our neighbors as ourselves. And I’ve come to realize how often young people, in our naiveté and self-centeredness, neglect this responsibility and think we know better than our parents. To put it bluntly, that sometimes results in treating them like crap.

But if you really love your neighbors, that means you love your closest neighbors. And who might that be? Well, whoever you live with–most likely your parents, siblings, children or spouse.

For me, “loving my neighbor as myself” means applying this command to the way I treat my parents. At 21 and a college grad with a full-time job, it can be so easy for me to roll my eyes during a disagreement with them and say, “Whatever mom and dad, I’m an adult.”

But…

That’s not what Jesus would do. That’s not what the Word tells me to do.

I live with my parents. They are my closest neighbors. (And they give me a rent-free roof over my head as I dig myself out of student loan debt for the next year or so!)

And, I am to love them. And love them like I love myself. No questions asked. And no blowing them off when I’m mad. Cause that’s not love.

The truth is, my family should come first in my life, after God. No guy, no job, no hobby will take the place of them. I mean yes, one day I hope to be married. But until then, my parents are the most important.

And, learning to love my parents in this authentic way is the perfect preparation for marriage. If I want to be married someday, I’ve gotta learn how to love someone I live with, which includes accepting their faults, flaws, failures, annoying habits, etc. Honestly, if I allow myself to be under the impression that my future spouse is going to be perfect and a joy to live with my whole life…ha! I’m in for a reality check. (Can I get a married person to back me up here?!) Long story short, if I think I can disregard the way I treat my parents now, I will be ill-prepared for marriage later on.

So…I’m gonna do it. I’m going to love
my parents as I love myself.

What neighbor of yours are you neglecting to love today? I encourage you to set it right. It’s worth it.

Jen

Ladies, hold out for a man who makes this his prayer

9 Jun

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling, but on the inside

Oh, I can hear her saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They’re just children from the outside
I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine
They’re independent, but on the inside

Oh, I can hear them saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be

Oh Father, show me the way
To lead them

Won’t You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can’t
Don’t want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing things that I could give up

I’ll show them I’m willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone

Father, lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone

(Lead Me – Sanctus Real)

Livin’ like Hebrews 12:1-2

8 Jun

Are you willing?

Are you willing to press on in your walk with Christ and strive to become more like him with each day, even if it means leaving some parts of your old life behind? Such as friends who influence you and hold you back? A relationship you’re not supposed to be in? A pathway of life that leads to destruction? A career change? The approval of your peers? Repentance?

I was asked something along those lines this week.

And, I am willing. Because, as Paul said in Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Oh, and it’s not about me. It’s not my life. It’s HIS life. The purpose of my life is not for Jen to be happy and feel good. It’s for Jen to glorify Jesus.

Living like Hebrews 12:1-2 (look it up!),
Jen

Someone may need this today

6 Jun

Alone and confused, your heart is bruised from sin;
Your joy is gone from love gone wrong
And you’re longing to start again.
I know that you’ve been hurt,
And you don’t know whom to trust;
I won’t pretend I understand your pain.
But I can see repentance in your eyes,
And I know it’s not too late.

White as snow, He has made you white as snow;
The moment you confessed, His heart forgave.
You might think you’ve ruined all the plans He had for you,
But it’s for that very reason Jesus saves.
White as snow, He has made you white as snow;
Pure an innocent like a dove,
Though you have done nothing to deserve His pardoning,
You’ve been purified by Jesus’ blood–
White as snow.

The guilt and shame, keeping you chained,
Not wanting to let you go;
It’s not how you dreamed, not how you planned,
And you can’t see that still there is hope.

Receive His healing for your bruises,
Receive His riches for your rags.
You cannot imagine all the plans He has for you,
So take His hand, and don’t look back.

(White as Snow – Eric & Leslie Ludy)

Jen