Tag Archives: Hope

I. Still. Believe.

People ask me from time to time how I can still believe for things that have seemed so completely hopeless for years.

I love this question. It gives me an opportunity to share my unwavering faith in a God who specializes in the “impossible.”

“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
– Romans 4:20-21

I didn’t always have this kind of faith.

Actually, I don’t always have this kind of faith.

Believe me, there are many days, when I feel much closer to the Centurion than Peter.

In fact, there aren’t too many days that I don’t think those very words, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

I grew up reading the stories about these men and women of great faith and thinking, “well, that’s not me.”

It discouraged me tremendously.

See, I wanted to believe that kind of faith was possible, but it didn’t feel very real to me. At least not in my life.

Looking back though, I realize that, by definition, I had no faith.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
– Hebrews 11:1

The truth is, I pretty much only believed in what I could see.

I believed in my circumstances.

I believed in my feelings.

I believed in things I could define, in what I could understand.

Too often my feelings told me that my circumstances proved God wasn’t there and didn’t care. When the exact opposite was true. (And still is.)

Those tough times were opportunities to build my faith, for me to trust and obey and for God to show himself to be real and active in my life.

God always uses the challenges in our lives to build our faith, bring us closer to Him and do great things in and through us.

– God’s glory was demonstrated to both His people and enemies when David had the courage to face Goliath.
– Mary and Martha had to suffer the loss of their brother, Lazarus, to really understand Jesus’ love for them.
– Paul and Silas had to be imprisoned to bring the jailer and his whole family to Jesus.
– The apostles had to be in the middle of a storm for Jesus to calm it.
– The man had to be born blind for Jesus to heal him, and more importantly, reveal himself to him.
– The disciples had to live through the pain of watching jesus die, to experience the joy of his resurrection.

Listen, if we want to be men and women of great faith–we’re going to be put in some circumstances that require great faith.

There is no other way.

There are no short cuts.

It’s gotta be lived through, tried by fire, earned in battle,

Now, even stepping in to those circumstances, and each step through them, requires some faith.

We need enough faith to obey.

That’s the critical first step, the key to our breakthrough.

Do we have enough faith to obey?

Even when it isn’t what we want to do?
Even if we’ll lose some friends?
Even if it hurts?
Even if it makes no sense to us?

Joshua had faith that God’s unorthodox battle plan would work. But how much more faith did he have when it actually did?

That’s the reward on the other side.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Faith is the fountain, the foundation, the fosterer of obedience.”

It is also true that obedience leads to greater faith.

See, I believed that God could, but wasn’t quite convinced that He would. So I did what I wanted. I did what was most expedient for me. I did not obey.

Today, I am striving to do what God says. To do it His way, no matter the cost.

From an earthly perspective it might seem more convenient and comfortable to find my own solution, but I know how that ends.

And please don’t believe that God understands our disobedience and that He’s okay with it. That we can blow off what God says because “our situation is special.” That we are some sort of an “exception.”

That is a lie straight from Hell. A lie that’s tempting to believe because it feels so good.

But God warns against doing what we think is right, over and over again in His word: Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 3:5-7, Jeremiah 17:39.

God is never ok with our disobedience.

Don’t trust books, gurus, experts, TV preachers or blog writers. Check with the Word.

Even well-meaning Christian friends and family will encourage us to choose our own path, in direct contradiction to what God’s Word tells us, by saying things like, “Hey God wants us to be happy.”

And He no doubt does. But the path to the joy He has for us–peace that we can’t comprehend–isn’t in choosing our own way. It’s in exercising enough faith to obey.

Its trusting that if I do what God says, I will always be better off. And that my obedience will bring glory to God and point others toward Him.

So, back to that original question. How can we trust enough to obey, even through the hardest of times, when there seems to be no hope?

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “By faith Abraham obeyed…

We just have to have enough faith to obey. That faith is rewarded with confidence in God and deeper faith. And the process, the journey, is key, as Paul reminds us, because it ultimately ends in the hope we’re so desperately searching for:

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope..”
– Romans 5:3-4

And know this, God is trustworthy. There’s a purpose to your pain. Whatever you’re walking through right now, He’s got this.

For King & Country put it this way in their new song, Shoulders:

You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

MORE: Charles Spurgeon’s mind blowing message on Faith

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Inspiring | Tedashii: Trusting God Through Tragedy

“This momentary trouble is a lot to own, but I’m not alone.”

It’s amazing to me how God gave these lyrics to Tedashii, years before he’d need them like never before. He provides for us in ways we don’t even realize.

When Tedashii wrote this song in 2011, he didn’t know that he and his wife would soon be blessed with a son. He also didn’t know that a year after that, they would lose that little boy.

Long before I was born, my Dad lost his wife and two sons in a car accident. It was that tragedy that ultimately led him to the Lord. He never looked back, and finished strong, serving God with his life and impacting lives for the next 50 years.

It’s hard for us to imagine why things like this happen. I can’t answer that for you either.  What I do know is that, like my father was, Tedashii is a man who is truly growing in grace.

After the unspeakable loss of his 1 year old son, He told The Christian Post“God’s goodness isn’t predicated on our circumstances, He’s good regardless and I think that was really a wrestle early on and is still is at times. I mean this is something we’ll live with for the rest of our lives. We’ll be in that select group of people who experience this but God’s goodness is evident, even in my hardship,” he said. “And it’s cliché for some when the book of James says ‘count it all joy’ when you go through various trials but I think in some moments, being able to count it all joy wasn’t just this conjuring up of emotions … it was a genuine, sincere look at who God is and joy kind of welling up from that.” (Read more from that candid interview by following the link below.)

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.”
– Psalm 52:7

However difficult things may be at the moment, whatever mountain stands in front of you, or storm may be swirling around you, I encourage you to:

HOLD ON to God’s promises.
GET IN to God’s Word.
STAY ON God’s path, choose His ways.
CRY OUT to God. He listens, He cares. Don’t hold it in. You’re never alone.
REACH OUT to others.
TURN ON some Christian radio. Fill your heart with encouragement! (Check out His Radio.)
PRESS ON! God’s molding you and making you into something awesome.

Don’t you dare give up!

Some audio encouragement courtesy of Tedashii today:

More:
Tedashii
Shane and Shane
The Christian Post

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The Comfortable Prison Cot | Stephen Jones

It’s not hard to tell that there is a lot wrong with the world. Sometimes, that makes it tough to live with the joy that the Bible tells us to live with.

We can easily forget what God has done for us, is currently doing, and what God has in store for us in the future.

The other day I was listening to an album by hip-hop artist J. Cole. One of the tracks was a skit in which he described the day that he got signed. He got the news via text message while driving in the car with his friends. He was so excited that he was finally going to get paid and be famous; a reward for his hard work. Moments later he got pulled over for driving with a suspended license in an unregistered and uninsured car that he had been driving for months.

Perfect timing, right?

He described that night in prison as the easiest time anyone could ever do. All he could think about was the new life he was about to live.

Sound familiar?

Although, to my knowledge, J. Cole doesn’t profess a relationship with Jesus, we can learn spiritual truths from that story.

Whatever we’re going through right now, whatever pain or trouble we endure in this world, we can take heart because of the HOPE we have in Jesus.

A few people in the Bible come to mind. First I am reminded of Job, whose troubles were much greater than a night in prison. Still he was quoted in Job 2:10 for saying “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job was well aware of the goodness of God. And for good reason as he was given back twice as much as he had lost.

Another man that comes to mind is Paul. He too suffered greatly, and his attitude is greatly admired. In Philippians 3:8 he says “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

He describes knowing Christ as having a surpassing worth. The definition of surpassing is incomparable or outstanding.

All the things that the world considers “gains” are described as garbage compared to Christ.

People who collect garbage are thought of as second class citizens, scraping the bottom of society’s barrel. When I see someone who is collecting cans, I see them as unfortunate, and feel bad for them.

But even the “gains” of this world are being compared to garbage! We put a much bigger value on them than they really have. Our expectations of earthly wealth and success to satisfy, only leads us to disappointment.

Instead, let’s look ahead to the greater glory that awaits us.

If we were truly focused on Christ, and the hope we have in Him, we would be living happier than J. Cole in prison the night he got signed.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:17

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Song Of The Day: Today Is Beautiful | David Dunn

If you see more then what’s in front of you
You might see more of heavens view.

It’s kind of ironic that I’d choose this song for our SOTD.

Today doesn’t feel beautiful.

I mean, the sun is shining where I am at the moment; but if I’m being honest, life is anything but blue skies and butterflies right now.

We’re facing scary things. Giants, mountains, aches, worries and other challenges. It feels impossible sometimes. It seems like there’s just no way.

But as much as that FEELS like reality, the truth is, we’re loved by the God who created this universe. A world of minute details and intricate systems.

As we stand here, we are spinning around in space at 1000 miles per hour, in perfect safety, thanks to something we call gravity. A scientific principle so reliable and dependable we call it a “law.”

I was talking with my daughter about this last week. If we could see this ride, we’d never get on. Stepping onto the earth, would feel dangerous and unsafe, like jumping onto an escalator moving 500 times faster than we’re used to. (Avg escalator speed is less than two miles per hour.)

In truth, we’re not going to fly off the planet. But if we could see it spinning as we stepped on, our minds wouldn’t believe it. We’d have a hard time trusting in the gravitational force that we couldn’t see, explain, or really even comprehend.

I think that’s part of why Jesus tells us to fix our eyes, not on our circumstances, or the swirling seas, but on Him.

I’m filing this one under #NoteToSelf.

It seems we go through seasons where we need constant reminders of God’s promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes it seems so hopeless and we feel so alone.

But no matter how dark these days and nights may be, God’s Word says that today is beautiful.

“This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

As we hurdle through the time, space and challenges of each day, there’s another truth we can absolutely rely on: God’s got this.

He is able.

He is on our side.

Today IS beautiful.
____________________
David Dunn
Today Is Beautiful
Album: “Crystal Clear”

Teen’s Original Song About Hope Goes Viral

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Minnesota teenager Molly Kate Kestner‘s senior solo is touching hearts and tearing up eyes all across the world.

Her original song about a girl who questions God, and life, after her alcoholic father abandons her, has been viewed by almost 4 million people and shared by thousands more (including this blogger.)

It’s a song of hope as she eventually finds the true meaning of love, in spite of her difficult and painful circumstances.

Check out His Daughter and let us know what you think!


Thanks to Chaneika Aunjalique for sharing this video.

“We Will Praise You In This Storm” | Living It Out

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“I don’t understand this, but I trust God.”

The words of a mother who lost her 9 and 7 year old boys in the tornadoes last week in Arkansas.

THEIR STORY is a must read!

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:19-23

Thanks to Stephen Jones for sharing this story!

SOTD: Hope Now | Addison Road

Hope.

It’s the lifeblood of our existence.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

I really like what Love Does author, Bob Goff tweeted yesterday:

Check out our Song of the Day from Addison Road:

The hope Jesus gives isn’t like the word hope as we usually think of it. It’s the very opposite of uncertain. It’s a sure hope that cannot fail, an anchor for our souls.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
Psalm 62:5

More:
Addison Road
Jenny Simmons
Bob Goff
Love Does
Hope