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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

ID-10057677In the bustle of what can be the holidays, the temptation to overspend and regret it later, and the crowded confusion of lights, music and noise that fills the stores, it is easy to lose the true reason for the season. But tucked into a message to the Roman Christians two thousand years ago is the key to keeping Christmas what it should be – a time to draw nearer to God as we recall Him drawing nearer to us in the form of a babe lying in a manger.

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)

We hear those words this time of year – hope, joy, peace. We hear them in Christmas carols, read them on greeting cards. The first Advent candle is for hope, the third for joy, and the fourth reminds us of the angels singing, “Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.”

If we ever hope to truly have a merry Christmas, then we must let the merriness grow in our hearts and not let the outside world taint it. Because we have hope through our Savior for eternal life later and for guidance now, we can have a joy that is not dependent on good cheer, highly caloric foods and the latest gadget in the electronics department or jewelry design from the diamond stores.  And once we experience that ebbing joy that comes form the Holy Spirit, we can find peace in the midst of  all the cacophony that can be the holidays.

So when the season starts to crowd in, take two steps back. Find a quiet place, even if it is in your parked car, and ask the God of hope to refill you with His joy. Let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you and bring you that peace that no one understands, but everyone wants to experience.  Then, maybe, just maybe, you can bring joy to others– especially the frazzled shoppers and store clerks, hope to those who are not having a merry Christmas due to grief or hurt, and peace to all you meet.

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This is floating around Facebook – in case you haven’t seen it.

Whoever wrote it, it is a sweet sentiment with a good message.

The point is this: What will your hands say about you?

946710_538609626211707_2006193824_nGrandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn’t move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn’t acknowledge my presence.Finally, not really wanting to disturb him, but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.

He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine.
Thank you for asking,” he said in a clear strong voice.

“I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to him.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” he asked.
“I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making. Grandpa smiled and related this story:

“Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak have been the
tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.
As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer.

They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.

They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.

They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.

Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I
was married and loved someone special.

They trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse
and walked my daughter down the aisle.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and
cleansed the rest of my body.

They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw.

And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works
real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again
continue to fold in prayer.

These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the
ruggedness of my life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will
reach out and take when he leads me home.

And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there
I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”

 When my husband passed, I signed papers for one of his hands to be transplanted onto a worker who had just lost his in an accident over 1,200 miles away.  I pray every now and then that worker uses it well to God’s glory and to benefit others.  I pray he folds it over his own each day when he lifts his heart to God in prayer.

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reblogged from Prayer For Freedom

 

Weakness to Strength

Posted: 12 Jul 2013 05:08 PM PDT

The number of slaves estimated in the world.
The number of slaves estimated in the world.

Human Rights Watch estimated 15 million children are bonded labor in India alone. In the U.S. there are American children being sold on the streets for sex, numbers as high as 15,000 with 100,000 at risk of becoming trafficked victims.

I started to work with inner city children to help prevent trafficking. I sat and listened to girls as young as 10 tell me about their 18-year-old boyfriends. Frustrated, I began fighting battles and tried to force change. But I found there were only two things that brought real change and opened the doors for me to help. Prayer and my own weakness, because that is when I depended solely on God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Many times people feel helpless to bring change to the world, they don’t know what to do or how to help. As Christians we are never helpless to bring change, in our weakness we will be able to bring change when our dependency is on Christ. Prayer and faith will always bring change to a world in desperate need of hope and justice. Our commitment begins with weakness in ourselves, seeking Gods heart through prayer, listening and walking in obedience.

When you are listening or reading the Bible what do you think God has called you to do to end slavery?

 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Prayer for Me: Father, thank you because in my weakness you are strong. Let my ears and heart be sensitive to you as I pray for the captives to be freed. And in faith I believe you are bringing freedom to people around the world.

Prayer For My Generation: Father, bring freedom to the children of my generation trapped in slavery. Let them never give up hope and know Christ’s freedom.

By Staff Writer at Prayer For Freedom

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Two sleepless nights. The worry monster sat on the edge of my pillow. It crops up every now and then since I’ve become widowed and lost the safety net of my husband’s income. Each time when it looks like I am running out of money, something, a definite God-thing happens.

Yet, I still go through the ritual toss and turn as each worry floats to the surface of my thoughts like a Magic Eight Ball phrase on the floating triangle.  I haven’t been able to find a job, the freelance work is drying up, the books need to sell more, I should be speaking more, I got denied a lower rate of insurance because I have occasional muscle pains? Really??    . . .  yah-di-yah, yah.

Last night, even my cats snuggled close and purred comfort–or maybe it was because it got below freezing and the cold air was seeping through their pet door in the window near my bed.

Anyway, this morning my daily devo hit my mailbox. Often when I write for this site, people tell me my words were exactly what they needed to hear. Today, I was on the receiving end of Becky’s words. She wrote that God’s grace is what gives us the courage to stay the course and we should embrace the challenges we have and ask God to give us endurance while His plan is being revealed.

(Here is a link to the whole thing – it’s a good read: http://powertochange.com/blogposts/2013/02/22/receive-his-grace/)

Then, a new blogger buddy, Steve  with iChristian,  who sends a thought for each day to my email popped up with this:  “Sadness, disappointment, and despair have to flee in the presence of hope.”

Next, the daily psalm verse that pops up on my cell phone read- Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,  for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.   Psalm 42:5

I had to laugh. You see, God always seems to speak to me in threes.  I get it.

Hope = Having Optimistic, Positive Endurance.

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