Read: Colossians 3:12-17

I am really excited about this week. Years ago in counseling, I learned that we all live from a set of agreements we have made with ourselves. They aren’t always healthy and will vary from person to person depending on your experiences.

Agreements you live from may sound like this: I will always get the short straw. No one enjoys my company. He doesn’t want me to get the promotion. I must have upset her today. I can never get it right.

As you read this passage, can you identify healthy agreements you can adopt to change the way you experience life? Give it a try! I know you can do it!

Today as you prepare for Sunday, take a few minutes to listen to this faith affirming song. It truly is Christ alone! He is a person who will not disappoint!

Read: Romans 15:13

God is our source of hope, and when we trust in him, we will be filled with joy and peace. Then confident hope will be ours in abundance through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Hope doesn’t mean the absence of suffering or difficult times. It is the sustaining power during those times. It means we can look beyond this moment, to a future time when all things will be made right again. And we can count on it because the Holy Spirit dwells within as a guarantee – he causes us to overflow with hope now while giving us eyes for a better tomorrow.

May all hope be yours today regardless of the circumstances that surround you.

Every day we say things like:

“I hope we go out for dinner tonight!”

“I hope I don’t get sick.”

“I hope I don’t run out of gas.”

“I hope the kids come home before dark.”

All of those statements reflect something we wish for, something we want to experience (or avoid), but mixed in is an element of uncertainty. All of these things depend on human ability to control certain factors. It may or may not happen.

HOPE, in God is very different. It isn’t wishful thinking or uncertain wanting when we place our trust in him. It is certainty. It is a quality of the Christian life that has its foundation in the person of Jesus. The original Greek word translated hope in the New Testament carries with it an assurance that we can count on, something to be certain of – we will indeed receive what we hope for; God will fulfill his promises.

To be sure, God isn’t a genie in a pot that we can manipulate into fulfilling our selfish desires. His perspective is higher than mine. I look at the minutiae while he looks at the macro.

Read: Isaiah 55:8-9

I invite you to adjust your perspective today. The small details of the day can be quite distracting, but ask him to help you see the big picture. Quiet yourself before him and listen. He is drawing you in, ready to respond, waiting to fill you with hope once again.

Read: Romans 8:23-25

This passage requires a bit of digging into because at first glance it seems way off base. I have observed one thing that keeps us from placing our hope in God is sickness and suffering. That is the million dollar question: Why does God allow it?

Well, I don’t have space in this post to dig into that question, but I do have this to encourage you. When we come to Christ, he immediately gives us a welcome pack. Included in this welcome pack is:

  • The Holy Spirit – he is the deposit that guarantees a future life of unimaginable glory!
  • Adoption – we are adopted as children of the most high God with full rights of a natural born child.
  • Super Bodies – we are promised a new body that isn’t subject to illness or suffering!

Right now, for a little while, we live in bodies that get sick, they have weakness, they are fading away. But all of these promises were given to us so that we might HOPE in what is yet to come. Paul goes on to say that if we already have it, we don’t need to hope for it. But since we are waiting, we wait with confident, expectant patience. It is an already, but not yet situation. We already experience the Holy Spirit, but not like we will later. We already know that we are a child of God, but later we will have full access to all of God’s riches. Already we know that he heals our bodies, but we don’t yet know bodies that don’t break down. Already, but not yet.

Continue reading in Romans 8 for more encouraging words from Paul regarding the provision God makes for us while we are waiting. And let these words renew your HOPE!

Here is a truth I find at work in my life. The more in tune I am with God, the more I find him all around me. I stay in tune by acknowledging his presence at the beginning of my day. I turn to him at the end of the day and review what has happened. I give thanks for the good and learn from the bad. I read his word, I hang with his people, I enjoy his world. The more I tune into his goodness, the more of his goodness I see.

I started looking for shark’s teeth about a year ago. I didn’t do anything special to learn the skill, except ask someone to show me what I was looking for. But the more I do it, the more I see. I consistently find more teeth in a shorter period of time than others. It isn’t because I am better. It is because I have learned to see them. I find them in parking lots, on the beach or when I dig. The more I do it, the more I see.

Perhaps God feels far away and you don’t see him in your everyday experiences. Traumatic events, busyness of life, lack of interest – all contribute to God seeming far away and uncaring. But I assure you, he is as close as your breath and cares more than you can imagine.

Read: Ephesians 3:14-19

Instead you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

I Peter 3:15
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Read: I Peter 3:15

Today I am going to challenge you to give this one verse some serious meditation. Do you live with a sense of hope for the future? If so, what is the reason for the hope you have? Does your lifestyle give evidence of a hopeful outlook? Can you put the reason for your hope into words?

If you find that your life doesn’t have a sense of hope – why not? What keeps you from looking forward with hope?

I am so looking forward to our week together!

Daily Reads 03.17.2019

Read: Hebrews 8:1-2

It’s exciting today to have the privilege of gathering with others to boldly proclaim the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Together we can not only lift up Jesus’ name, but we can encourage one another and become world changers!

Wherever you find yourself today, raise your voice in honor of the one who raises his voice to silence your adversary!

Have I got good news for you today! I find that I sometimes think it’s my responsibility to fight the enemy, to stand up to him in my strength. I am getting better at recognizing when my agonizing thoughts or churning gut are due to his adversarial lies. And I know I should rebuke him or stomp on him or send him away. But is that really my job?

Read: Zechariah 3:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-22; Revelation 12:10-11

The adversary is accusing us before the throne, but the Lord rejects his accusations and furthermore, rebukes him. In Jude 1:9, it says that not even Michael the archangel rebuked the devil, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

After Jesus died and rose again, he ascended to heaven and took his place at the right hand of God the Father. We are invited to come boldly before God because Jesus is our High Priest. He intercedes for us (that means he takes our side) and he will rebuke the accuser of our souls.

We are not alone in this journey. Next time you feel the nagging accusations from the enemy, regardless of what it is about, take it before the Father. Today I was troubled in my spirit. I recognized it as the adversary and finally sat down and reached for my Bible. I turned to the scripture in Zechariah and was relieved to read that I didn’t need to defeat the enemy. He’s already been defeated. I just needed to bring it boldly to the throne of God.

I took my troubled heart to my High Priest, Jesus, and asked him to rebuke the enemy who was bringing accusations against me. I confessed my faith in him and within moments I felt the heaviness lift and the chaos stilled. My soul was at rest.

Are you trying to muster enough courage to overcome the adversary on your own? Do your words seem inadequate? I invite you to take it to the Lord and let him do the heavy lifting. He knows what we need before we even come, and he is prepared to go to battle for us. As a matter of fact, he already defeated the enemy; sometimes Satan just needs to be reminded.

Now THAT is GOOD NEWS!!