You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

Suffering can lead to one of two places—a better or a bitter place.  When life’s pains come, and they do indeed come, you can rise to a better place by letting Jesus closer to you and allow challenges to conform you more into Jesus’ character.  A bitter place is reached if you let the venom of adversity flow in your veins so Satan can tempt you with thoughts of hopelessness and despair.  There is a choice.

Jesus came so that we would have life and hope. Yes, life is hard at times.  Life can hurt.  We may even think it will not improve.  These are valid thoughts and feelings.  Jesus understands.  He helps us through these hard times.  How?  One simple way is to say Jesus.  Repeat it, clearly and aloud or as a whisper.  There is power in His Name.  The very utterance of Jesus is a prayer to help, soothe, and guide.  It is always a way to keep Satan and his destructive lives away.  Jesus is the Name of life and hope.  Keeping saying it. Jesus is listening.  Jesus… 

Lord Jesus, we call on You in times of challenge, trusting that speaking Your Name will be an act to encourage hope and stop Enemy plans.  In Thee, Amen. 

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Hope shows itself in different ways.  A verse in the Word of God, a smile from a stranger, a note from a friend—these kindle hope.  The Holy Spirit moves in various ways to help hope be realized as an active agent inside of God’s children.

When sad times come, hope seems far away.  The Holy Spirit stays close to keep hope warm in us even if we cannot feel or see anything positive right now.  Grief veils hope.  Jesus knows this.  That is why He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us as Comforter and Counselor. Even if you cannot look at the future with a promising eye, the Holy Spirit does.  Trust by faith that He is alive inside of you.  He will help you to look to a better tomorrow, and walk with you to it. 

Lord Jesus, You know how difficult life is when we suffer a sad season.  When these times come, everything hurts.  Lord, You promised not to leave us comfortless.  Thank You, Jesus, for the ministering presence of the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit , touch this dear reader now with Your warm and powerful hope.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for remaining with us through the night seasons of our lives.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

As I write, the view I see is of a pristine snowfall that rests over the landscape.  It is a blanket of white, unmarred by footprints, and undisturbed by activity of any kind.  Pure.  The clean cloak with the rays of dawn’s light glistening on the land encourages hope.  Fresh beginnings are at hand.

Jesus brings hope.  He is the endless hope always available to you and to me.  Fresh beginnings often look fresh and pure but do not stay that way.  Circumstances change.  We change.  As a result, hope is trampled and it may appear as though another clear and good beginning will not come to be.  It will.  You can start again with Jesus.   Jesus loves you deeply.  Dearly.  He loves you as you are, and as no one else can.  Take His hand.  He is extending it to you.  Walk out into the beauty of a brand new hope.  He will stay with you, and together you can build a today of meaning and a future of purpose.

Lord Jesus, You remain the faithful hope of those who believe in You and call on You.  Lord, be with those who read this message and need to be reminded that Your hope is real and steady.  May each know that in human weakness, You are the strength.  In Thee, Lord Christ, Amen.

Stories.  We like to tell them.  We like to hear them.  Each one of us is living out our personal story—one day at a time.  Certain aspects of our stories are painful; others are joyous.  What is clear is that while everyone creates his or her story as they go along, we see in the lives of each other the sorrows and smiles that are universal.

No one is exempt from sorrow.  It comes.  But the Christ of Heaven came.   Because He did, no sorrow or transition you and I face is faced alone.  Believers in Jesus have His presence to accompany them.  Whether steps are sad or celebratory, Jesus will be in them.  Therefore, keep living the personal story that only you can live, and tell.  God created only one you; the you He loves so deeply.   

Lord, You give us life.  Life in You, and a portion of time in which to live and create our todays and tomorrows.  Sometimes our days bring joy; others times they bring tears.  But we trust Your promise to be with us always.  Thank You for being the hero of our stories, and for creating meaning out of them.  In Thee, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Time.  We get only so much of it.  The Lord God does not inform us as to how much each person shall receive.  Therefore, each day is a surprise; a gift of time.  A portion of grace to spend as we desire.  A segment of grace to invest.

Portions of grace can be filled with joy and fulfillment.  Portions can be sad.  What the days bring are anticipated and unpredictable.  Therefore, when we face the times that are less than we hope, we are wise to remember that we do not face them alone.  We face them with Jesus Christ.

A new measurement of grace is before us as we enter the 2011th Year of the Lord.  What you will know in it, and what I will know in it, are uncertain.  God, however, knows and sees it all.  It is the better part of human wisdom to keep our gaze focused on Jesus so that we follow His leadership throughout the unfolding of our respective portions of grace.

Lord of Time, Thank You for all the grace that You granted last year.  Thank You for all the grace You shall grant to us in Your next gift of time.   Lord, may You give to us wisdom for the use of all that You give.   In Christ, Amen.

                        TERTIARY ROADS

For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.    Ecclesiastes 5:20

tertiary – of third rank, important or value

When snow falls and accumulation is high, news broadcasts begin to speak of tertiary road closures.  Weather has to be serious and hazardous due to snow or heavy rains to hear about these third ranked arteries.  To some travelers, these roads may be routine pathways to home or work; to others they are ancillary routes rarely taken.  But there are times when new roads must be taken for these are the only passages there are.  Tertiary roads are linked to every meaningful relationship we know in life.  Whether we are ready for them or not, we embark on these roads when grief enters relationships.

Every life knows endings. Endings come as a result of choices we make, and they come due to circumstances imposed.  Endings come due to abrupt deaths and departures for which were is no preparation.  Endings are inevitable.  The question that eventually gets answered (over a lifetime) is how and when endings meet us.  When they do, they put us on paths unfamiliar, emotional, unwanted, and lonesome.  Yet, when grief leads us on these paths, grief offers certain points of worth that could not have been on primary or secondary roads. 

Scripture (as quoted above) speaks of a joy in the heart; a joy that comes from a quick passage of time because life has been busy being lived while the heart was recording the living.  In an odd way, grief takes us on a mental and emotional tour of a particular season of our lives that held someone or something of value.  We may not even realize how much someone meant to us because we were so happy living life.  When a goodbye comes, it hurts to review and to remember.  That is the underside of love.  But it is still part of love.  The ache of goodbye is the heart’s emphasis on the strength of that connection to you, to me.  Even though it is painful to remember moments that cannot be relived, it is grace to have had them at all.  It is grace to hope to know of other joys to come.

God is a promise-keeper.  THE promise-keeper.  Whatever He said shall be, shall be.  He promised in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.  All things.  That includes grief.  That includes loss. I take God at His Word.  I pray that you take Him at His Word.  He assures us that the tertiary roads we rarely yet of necessity must travel, are roads on which He shall accompany us.  They are paths through which He knows the way, and shall bring us through by the integrity and strength of His love.

Lord of Life, You know the way through all the endings and their adjacent emotional roadways.  Grief hurts yet we must travel that path.  In Your steady manner, You show us the way and shield us with Your love as we walk those weak steps.  Thank You, Lord, for Thy precious companionship.  Thank You for the gift of life we are granted to share with others.  What we exchange is a gift that continues to give exponentially beyond a goodbye; in You, Lord Jesus, everything lives and flourishes forevermore.   In Thee, Lord Christ, Amen.