Archives For February 2012

Hope – 29 Reasons to Hope

February 29, 2012 — 7 Comments
 Hope   29 Reasons to Hope

Hope: 29 Reasons

Hope in the wrong things, and you’ll be disappointed.

Hope in Him is never misplaced.

(Verses are links to biblegateway.com, one of my favorite Bible websites – click for further reading)

  1. Psalm 9:18  “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”
  2. Psalm 25:3 “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.”
  3. Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
  4. Psalm 25:21 “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.”
  5. Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
  6. Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,”
  7. Psalm 33:20 “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.”
  8. Psalm 33:22 “May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
  9. Psalm 37:9 “For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.”
  10. Psalm 37:34 “Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.”
  11. Psalm 39:7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
  12. Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
  13. Psalm 52:9 “For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.”
  14. Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”
  15. Psalm 62:10 “Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.”
  16. Psalm 65:5 “You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,”
  17. Psalm 69:6 “Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me.”
  18. Psalm 71:5 “For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.”
  19. Psalm 71:14 “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
  20. Psalm 119:43 “Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.”
  21. Psalm 119:49 “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.”
  22. Psalm 119:74 “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.”
  23. Psalm 119:81 “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.”
  24. Psalm 119:116 “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”
  25. Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
  26. Psalm 130:7 “Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”
  27. Psalm 131:3 “Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”
  28. Psalm 146:5 “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.”
  29. Psalm 147:11 “the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

For thousands of years people have learned to trust God through His Word. Today you can do the same.

Allow His words to speak to you. Understand that He knows about you. He cares for you, and wants the best for you and your life. He doesn’t promise us a serene life, but He does promise to calm the raging waters of the storm long enough for us to refocus on Him.

We have good days and bad days. But God’s Word outlasts them all. Put your trust in Him. He’ll never steer you wrong.

 

Need more fuel for the journey? Read “Running on Empty“.

Are you worn thin by pain in your life? Read “Pain is Never Wasted“.

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“You’re a pastor, duh…”

I know. That’s what you’ve got to be thinking.

Sure, I have to show up because, well, I like being employed. But there are plenty more reasons why, even if I wasn’t a pastor, I would make commitment to the local church a top priority. These next few Sundays I’ll give you a few of those reasons.

I’ve tried to do this whole “growth” thing on my own before. It gets ugly, ingrown and weird pretty quick. There are things I need that are best available at church.

  • I go to church to hear good teaching.

God’s Word is accesible, and I read it every day. But it helps me understand when someone explains it to me. Sure, I can tune in or download lots of teaching. But there’s no relationship attached to it. I love to share a learning experience with people in my own community who I’m going to run into all over town. There’s something powerful in that.

  • I go to church for inspiration.

Worshiping in my car is great. But singing with 200 other people and a rocking worship team is better. It’s an opportunity for me to be transported in my heart and mind. It’s also less risky when I close my eyes while singing.

  • I go to church to gain perspective.

When I get worship with others, I get a higher view of God. When He is lifted up in my life, my problems get put back in place. I see them in light of God’s power, rather than my solitary limitation.

  • I go to church because my week needs punctuation.

My week needs a rhythm. If I don’t stop and worship, then really listen to God, I run the risk of carrying all the junk from last into next week. Over time that leads to a gunky build-up of spiritual nastiness. So make a weekly appointment to do some spiritual housecleaning at church.

  • I go to church because I need “togetherness“.

Life is tough enough to begin with, and being a Christian in this world can be hard. Showing up at church triggers this alarm that says, “Look, you’re not alone!” I love meeting people who are at all points of their journey. That in itself is inspiring.

That’s why, even when I don’t feel like it, I go to church.
This passage from Hebrews was penned just for me:
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
 Running on Empty? Heres 3 Ways to Refuel

Running On Empty?

I often realize I’m running on empty.

My life is busy. In that way, I’m just like everyone else. Four kids. Ministry. Chores. It never ends. The demands made on me always exceed my total possible output.

Sometimes it seems like I’m spinning in circles, stuck in an endless cycle of activity. For me, that scenario seldom ends well. I often veer from pressure to frustration into anger. Then have to do some serious cleanup.

Ever been there?

But sometimes I step back and change course.

How do we survive?

How do we get what we need to move forward?

We refuel. Here’s how:

  • Pause.

A wise man once told me, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do it take a nap.”

Stop all your activity, even if it’s just for a half hour. You may be shocked that the world does not grind to a halt. God created us to live to a rhythm. Work, rest; work, rest…stop. Seriously. Stop.

  • Refill.

We’re not designed to run for long periods of time without rest and refueling. My favorite refueling activity is reading Scripture. God’s timeless truth has a way of putting my day in perspective. You can refuel anytime with the resources on www.youversion.com . I highly recommend their mobile app and the reading plans.

  • Reconnect.

Set aside technology. (Believe me, it’s possible.) Go to a quiet place. (Even if that’s in the shower.) Turn off the noise and turn on the quiet. Simply open up a conversation with your Father in Heaven. Remember how He has provided for your needs in the past, and allow Him to speak to your weary soul.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Pause, refill and reconnect.

It will benefit your physical, emotional and spiritual health. You just might be surprised that life once again becomes enjoyable. You’ll feel human again in no time, and you’ll remember what you were working for in the first place.

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Pain is Never Wasted

February 25, 2012 — 3 Comments
 Pain is Never Wasted

Pain is Never Wasted

Plans fail. Loved ones die. Relationships end unexpectedly.

When pain invades our lives, greeting card Christianity just won’t cut it. Real answers are needed to develop lasting faith.

These facts won’t erase the pain, but they’ll help you endure it and process through to the other side.

  • Pain is inevitable.

The most dangerous lie to believe is that our pain is unique. Since the Fall of Man (Genesis 3) every man, woman and child has suffered the effects of living in a fallen world. However, it’s tempting to believe the lie that we are suffering like no other person has before. Don’t fall into that deception. Your hurt is real. But knowing it’s not original is the first step toward lasting healing.
  • Pain causes us to cry out.

When you bottle up your hurt, trying to be strong, you add insult to injury and retard the healing process. God is God. You’re not. You were not designed to bear burdens on your own, so there’s no shame in calling out to Him. Go ahead. Complain. Cry out to God. Scripture is full of examples of people of faith bearing their soul to Him.  The result will not be rejection. It will be embrace.
  • Pain is productive for you.

Your suffering isn’t pointless, and it’s not hopeless. I have a friend who’s been suffering chronic pain for 3 years. Multiple surgeries and hope for improvement have been met with one setback after another. After his latest trial, I sent him this encouragement from Romans 5:3-5. Suffering produces perseverance, which builds character, and results in hope, which is valuable forever.
  • Pain has a purpose. (for more than you)

The most painful episodes of my life, the ones I wasn’t sure I would live through, have been used by God more than 1,000 days where everything has gone right. That’s the power of God’s economy. What we think is lost is found. What we think is dead can be raised again. If we cry out to Him and receive His comfort, we’ll be able to share that comfort with others. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Hang in there. Process through the pain. God will carry you, and He’ll use your suffering to bless others in ways you never dreamed possible.

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