Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

A Party!

Eugene Peterson applies years of experience and pastoral training to capture the essence of Psalm 91 in the Message Bible and it has been very encouraging today — take a moment to absorb it.

If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,

I’ll get you out of any trouble.

I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me

Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;

I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.”
— Psalm 91:14-16 (Message Bible)

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As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field. — Psalm 103:15-18

Ingrained in us is the desire to build/accomplish something permanent — isn’t going to happen! Life is not designed that way.

Only God and his purposes endure.

John the baptizer, in the Bible, uses an additional metaphor:

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly …

He must increase, but I must decrease.” — John 3:29-30

The Best Man at a wedding knows the wedding is not about him and he’s happy with that.

As youth fades don’t be sad at the decrease, recognize your purpose and put the focus on the one whom life is, really, all about — our time comes later (Rev 19:9). Next time something you do, even with the best intentions, fails to produce results you want, offer those efforts, desires, and results as a sacrifice to Christ.

— fritz

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Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. – Deuteronomy 31:6

My professor of Prayer and Spiritual Life at Asbury Seminary had a saying that has stuck with me over the years:

“I may not know what the future holds,
but I know who holds the future
and He holds my hand” – Dr. Thomas A. Carruth, 1979

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“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” — Proverbs 15:15

Secular thinkers have discovered an important fact known by the sages long ago — Happiness is found before not after “success”.

“The formula is clear: Work harder, then you’ll be successful, then you’ll be happier. When I asked some of my Harvard students, their answer was easy: “I’m working … now so I can be happy when … [fill in the blank with a six figure banking job, make a scientific breakthrough, get into medical school, etc.].”

But here’s what these brilliant students often forget: Getting into Harvard was supposed to make them happy….

It’s hard to find happiness after success if the goalposts of success keep changing.

Now for the good news … If you reverse the order of the formula, you end up with greater happiness and greater success rates … If you cultivate happiness while in the midst of your struggles, work, at school, while unemployed or single, you increase your chances of attaining all the goals you are pursuing, including happiness.” — Shawn Achor in “5 Ways to Turn Happiness Into an Advantage (Read Shawn’s full article “here.)

Christ provides what we really need to be happy — complete acceptance, an enduring purpose, and bright future.

“[W]e know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose … What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” — Romans 8:28,31b / Psalm 118:6

— fritz@langgang.com

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Going Bald!!

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore” – Jesus (Luke 12:7)

Personal experience informs me that number of hairs on my head is changing! And that’s exactly the point.

Jesus is bringing us back to a simple fact. If God is so aware of the least significant is he not also aware of what is most important in my life — my spouse, my work, my children, my loved ones, etc? Though, as with my hair, I don’t always like the results, I know God is involved and working the events of my life to my good and his love. And since I trust him, it is enough.

As the chorus of Civilla Martin’s 1905 hymn says,

“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Kink in the Hose

[B]e ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” – 1st Peter 3:15b

The admonition to be ready to give an answer for our hope presumes there is hope in there to give an answer for.

Normal Christian living is filled with Hope. If hope is not there it’s time to find the kink in the hose and get it fixed.

– fritz@langgang.com

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Joseph Wept

Joseph’s brothers … sent a message …”Before our father died, he told us to ask you, Please forgive the crime your brothers committed” … Joseph cried when he received this message. – Genesis 50:15-17 (GNB)

Joseph’s family relationships never completely healed. In fact his whole life was a strange mix of joy and sorrow.

So is ours. Some things can’t be fixed, only endured — yet through the endurance comes something obtained no other way.

The apostle Paul wisely decided not to just endure but to embrace these, focused on the results.

And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory! We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. – Romans 5:3-4 (GNB)

Difficulties show God is not finished, yet. Our value to him isn’t in what we can do for him, cast off like an old shoe when we’re done. We still have future and God is preparing us for it; changing our character to be able to embrace it.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving grace to endure and a living hope for the future.

Sound Bite: I shall not only endure, but embrace God’s character building process!


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