Tag Archives: Hope

Q&A with Becky Thompson

We had the awesome pleasure of interviewing Becky Thompson, author of the upcoming book,Hope Unfolding Hope Unfolding. Below she talks about her initial success as a blogger, dealing with loneliness as a mother, and the book writing process.

1. Becky, your hugely successful blog, Scissortail SILK, began as a fashion blog. How did it transform into a place to share your heart with other young mothers?

I began my blog, Scissortail SILK, because a boutique owner asked if I was fashion blogger. It’s an interesting story that I actually share in Hope Unfolding, but my intentions were to simply post fun outfits and glimpses into my life. As I began to write, I quickly realized that I didn’t just want to tell women how to feel good by wearing certain clothes. I wanted each reader to know that her worth is found in Jesus. I wanted her to be confident of God’s love for her. I suppose the most authentic story we have to tell is the one that always rises to the top. For me, encouraging other women and reminding them of God’s love is the truest message I have to share.

2. Your blog receives more than a million page views each month. In the beginning, did the overwhelming response from women surprise you?

Six months after I first began the blog I wrote a post late one night about the importance of remembering to be a wife after becoming a momma. When I woke up the next morning, I was shocked by the response. The post was shared over 700,000 times, and my readership grew from one thousand monthly page visitors to one million monthly page visitors. In the months following, I received thousands of messages from women across the world who had been encouraged by what they had read. It was a lot to process as these women trusted me with their stories and shared their hearts with me. But I knew that if I always pointed them back to Jesus, if I always reminded them of God’s goodness and His grace, I would always have the answer that they needed to hear the most.

3. For those of us who aren’t in the daily trenches of motherhood, what are some of the greatest unexpressed needs among mothers today?

More than anything, I think moms need to know that they are not alone. They need support, but they also need to feel seen in the stories of their own lives. Beyond this, they need to know that their best is good enough and that God doesn’t expect perfection from them.

4. Loneliness is one of the main topics discussed in Hope Unfolding. With women connecting online in ways previous generations were never able to, what role do you think social media has played in either increasing or decreasing isolation for young mothers?

I think that social media has created a way for mothers to be connected unlike any other generation before us. But while we live so much of our lives online, with access to millions of other moms, I don’t think that there has ever been a time when mothers have felt more alone. I fear we lack authentic relationships and community as we exchange them for digital friendships. We know facts about one another, which makes us feel like we are known, but we don’t get to connect deeply by sharing the realest places of our hearts. This is why I am so passionate about the online community of Scissortail SILK. As mothers across the world reach out for friendship and support from other moms, it is my hope that Scissortail SILK exists as a grace-filled place where women can encourage one another and say, “You’re not alone. You’re welcome here. I have been there too! Let’s talk about what really matters.”

5. The notion of grace seems to saturate many of today’s Christian messages. Why is a true understanding of grace so important to a mother’s emotional and spiritual well-being?

Mom-guilt is a real thing. We are constantly replaying the moments in our day where we feel like we have been less than perfect. We wonder if we should have handled certain things differently. We fear we are ruining our children with our own inadequacies. The truth is none of us are perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and His grace. He is forever filling in all of our gaps and the places where we come up short. And this includes our mothering. When we realize that it is okay to not be perfect, we find freedom from our own self-imposed expectations, and this brings a new sense of hope to a woman’s heart.

6. What kind of response have you had from your readers as you move from the world of blogging into the publishing arena?

I truly think of my readers as my friends, and as I have shared news with them about different parts of the publishing process, we have all been excited together. Many of my readers have said that they are excited to share this book with other moms not just because they are excited about the words inside, but because they feel as though they are offering other women an opportunity to join us in the adventure of grace-filled motherhood! We are looking forward to sharing our community in book form!

7. What surprised you most about writing this book? What did God reveal to you during this experience?

As I was writing Hope Unfolding, I considered how women outside of motherhood would also relate to many of the grace-filled truths found within the text. The truth is the issues that we face as mothers aren’t just as a result of having children. They are often lies that we have believed or fears that have taunted us long before motherhood held a magnifying glass over them. The truth is we all need to find grace for who we are and hope in Jesus. That is the promise of Hope Unfolding. It could be for anyone.

8. What is your greatest hope for those who will read Hope Unfolding?

More than anything, I want those who read Hope Unfolding to encounter Jesus. I want them to find confidence in the truth that He loves them, is continuously with them, and wants them to live in freedom. I want them to experience the promises of God’s love, and as they tune their hearts to His voice, I hope that they discover the one true Hope who will sustain their hearts.

Learn more about Hope Unfolding on our website.

When There is Mourning in Your Merry

Chrystal Evans Hurst DECEMBER 24, 2015

When There is Mourning in Your Merry
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NASB) 

Two Christmases ago, I sat quietly contemplating the cordless phone that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand.

No one was awake yet, so it was the perfect time to pick up the phone and call my grandmother.

But that morning, my heart hurt.

You see, as the eldest granddaughter, every Christmas it was my job, my assignment, to pick up the phone and call her. Then I’d pass the phone around to everyone else so she and my grandfather could talk to everyone.

This Christmas, however, I felt twinges of physical pain because this special day, when I called, I knew she wouldn’t be picking up the phone.

Of course, I would still call my grandfather and everyone would be glad to hear his voice, wish we could be closer and express our love to him … but we would also miss hearing her voice.

Sometimes there is mourning in the midst of the merry.

That Christmas day, there would be plenty of laughter, kids squealing with joy, hugs exchanged and catching up with loved ones. There would be good food shared and memories made. That Christmas day there would be lots of things that are just the same as they are every year.

All except one.

I felt the mourning in the midst of the merry.

I wonder if when Jesus was on Earth, He missed His heavenly Father.

I wonder if He felt off-balance because He exchanged the glorious singing of the angels for the soft sounds of sheep. I wonder if He had immediate grief in His heart as the love He had for mankind was mixed with the mourning of a known difficult and short life and an awareness of a painful and hard death.

I wonder if Christmas day — the day that Christ was born — was a day of mourning, too.

I wonder if Mary wished her mother were there to help her deliver her new baby. I wonder if she was saddened at her station in life. Did she wish that she had more to give her new son than a birth in a manger?

I wonder if she mourned the absence of her friends. Did she feel alone? Lost in a big world that seemed not to see her? I wonder if Christmas day — the day Mary delivered her baby — was a day of mourning, too.

I wonder if the holiday season — the time of year where you sit right now reading this devotion — is a time of mourning for you. I wonder if you’re lamenting another Christmas season spent not quite the way you thought.

I wonder if you’re grieving because someone you love is not here this year. I wonder if you’re sad because you feel alone, or life isn’t quite where you’d like it to be. I wonder if you feel twists or twinges in your heart as the notes from “Joy to the World” don’t seem to ring true in your life. I wonder.

Sometimes, there is mourning in the midst of the merry.

And I don’t have an answer. I don’t have anything monumental to say to get rid of the heart-hurts you might have today.

But I do know that if we keep going, mourning can TURN into merry.

I know Mary saw her Son live the only perfect life in history. Any mother would love to see her children live their lives well.

I know there was glory waiting for Jesus after the agony of the cross.

And I know that while I miss my grandmother, I will see her again one day.

You will not always be in this place. You will not always feel the same intensity of hurt, pain or sadness. You will not always feel lonely.

Sometimes there is mourning. But the merry is still happening.

Walk through the mourning. Don’t deny it. Be honest about the pain or ache that you feel. But don’t miss the merry.

That morning two Christmases ago, I sat quietly contemplating the cordless phone that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. I felt the mourning, but I discovered an opportunity to find the merry.

I pressed the button that would give me a dial tone and began making that call to my grandfather.

Dear God, thank You for knowing me intimately and loving me in the middle of my mourning moments. Thank You for the hope, joy and peace You offer. Please help me through the difficult times I face this holiday season. Lord, please help me recognize the opportunities to find the merry and to see where Your hope, joy and peace are available still. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
If you or someone close to you can relate to the feelings of mourning in the merry, you might appreciate An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell.

God sees you and is near to those who are brokenhearted. Click here to download a free printable — a gift that Chrystal Evans Hurst has made available just for you.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If this holiday season is difficult for you, take a moment to share the story behind your mourning. There are others who would love to encourage you today.

If you have ever experienced the pain of grief or loneliness during the holiday season, what tips or encouragement can you offer to someone that desires to find the “merry” even in the midst of their mourning? Share in the comments section.

© 2015 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

A Love Encounter

By Emily Rose Massey

 

I seriously enjoy Saturdays.

It’s the time where I get to spend a few hours of my morning with the Lord and just relax before the weekend picks up speed.

I’m able to slow down and really just enjoy the simple pleasures of life like coffee, PJs, and messy hair.

This morning, as I ended the last couple pages of my journal, I was reflecting on this past year and couldn’t help but praise God for His overwhelming love and faithfulness.

Around this time last year, my husband, Paul, and I just found out that we were expecting our first child, a promise that God had spoken to us about through our pastor during a Wednesday night service just a couple months before.

At six weeks along in my pregnancy, we went in for our first doctor’s appointment and we were able to hear our baby’s tiny heartbeat- this was becoming so real! After the appointment, the doctor asked me to come in again two weeks later. A part of me found it a little odd that I needed to already come back again so early on in the pregnancy, but I didn’t let it bother me and scheduled the follow-up appointment.

Those two weeks passed by pretty quickly, and I was on my way to the doctor’s office again. My spirit was troubled the whole way there. Paul wasn’t able to go with me this time, so I just kept declaring God’s peace over my heart and kept whispering the name of Jesus, even when I was in the exam room. While the doctor was looking at the ultrasound, I heard her sigh and say, “I hate when that happens.”

“What?” I asked.

“The baby no longer has a heart-beat. I’m so sorry.”

Right then, I immediately felt God’s presence fill the room. I sat up and the doctor just looked at me, not really knowing how I was going to react. My eyes began to well up with tears, as I said these words to her:

“You know, I have been through a lot in my short 27 years on this earth. From depression, to the murder of my dad, to watching my family be torn apart by adultery and divorce and God has never left my side. My faith has always carried me through it all and this is no different. God has a plan. He will work this all out for good.”

She said, “I believe He will too,” put her hand on my shoulder and left the room so that I could have a moment to myself.

I got my things together, scheduled my follow-up appointment to discuss the next steps/options, and called Paul to tell him the news, even declaring and believing that God could resurrect that tiny life inside me if it was His will, fighting back tears with each word. When I got home, we went to my favorite restaurant and continued to speak of God’s faithfulness, even through all of our questions and deep pain.

After dinner, Paul reminded me of the gift card someone from church had given us for the baby and suggested we go and pick up some items for our precious promise from the Lord.

Talk about faith!

It was hard for me to walk through those aisles, staring at all of things for babies when I had just received the sad news about our little one, but deep down, I knew God had declared that we WILL have a child. Walking out the pain, we continued to trust in God’s timing and kept believing He would make it happen again for us.

In the car, a song came on the radio that stirred my emotions for what I had just experienced. I tried to hold back the tears, but couldn’t do it any longer. Paul just held me as I cried. Although it was difficult, I didn’t allow my emotions to overtake me.

We pulled the car in the drive-way and I walked upstairs to our bedroom and just cried out to the Lord. Again, in that moment, the presence of the Lord filled the room. His loving arms wrapped around me as I laid on my bed, with a broken heart. As I cried out, a short song came forth from my mouth that I knew came straight from the abundance of my heart:

“Jesus, take my life, display it for the world to see, so that You My King, can receive Your glory….”

A few days later, the Lord gave me the rest of the song:

In You
Verse 1:
You’re my desire
Lord, You are my everything
It’s in You I find
My purpose, my meaning
Verse 2:
So take my life
Display it for the world to see
So that You, my King
Can receive Your glory
Chorus:
I’ll hide my life
In You, Jesus Christ
It’s You who gives me strength
To rise above the storm
Oh yes, My life
Is a living sacrifice
So that You can shine
And draw all men to Your heart
I live and move and have my being
In You
Bridge:
Jesus
When I stand in Your name
Your blood cleanses me of all my shame
The Father sees what You’ve done
How You died on the cross to save us

I encountered God’s amazing love during that trial last year and I know I will never be the same because of it. He is faithful to me in loss and faithful to me in gain. His promises are true. I can’t wait to tell our son, Isaiah, who I will be able to hold in my arms in just a few short weeks, about them.

All glory to God!

The Faith To Believe

We come to this Christian walk at varying stages of life. Some of us barely remember a time when we didn’t believe. Some tried to figure out this life in many different ways before coming to a belief in the one true God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. While still others struggle to believe even now.

And no matter where you fall on that journey, we can all lack the faith needed to believe when life isn’t easy. When the choices are hard. Our hearts are broken. Our spirit tired. When we wonder, even if we don’t have the courage to say it out loud, if God sees our circumstances.

Please, reader, know you’re not alone in this.

*****

To the wife of many years who realizes, with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, divorce is a very real next step in her faith journey. A decision sure to affect friends and family as well. For years to come. Believe.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

*****

To the one struggling with an addiction. Not only today, but every day. Who, no matter how much faith he conjures up, still has trouble getting up, going to work, putting one foot in front of the other. Every. Day. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us be the church. Believe.

“Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1

*****

To the sister who knows God has placed a calling on her life. But struggles to find a church where she can serve freely. Who often contemplates if perhaps she misunderstands the God-given gifts she sees in herself. Believe.

“But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.” I Corinthians 12:18

*****

To the pastor who has seen it all. He has served faithfully for years. And knows the depths of the fall of man. But also knows the heights we can reach when we exercise

the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Who would somedays give it all away to get a job where he worked the day shift, 40 hours a week. When you’re not sure you can continue living into this calling God has on your life. Believe.

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

*****

To the mama of many children, blessed enough to spend her days with them. So worn out from all these blessings when she finally gets them to bed at night. And, when she’s very honest with herself, often wonders deep down if she’s doing things right. If her children will have the faith she tries to instill in them. Believe.

“Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9

*****

To the brother who’s been waiting for a really long time. For a wife. A home. A job. An opportunity to serve. Whose heart longs for his circumstances to change. But God appears silent. Believe.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 *****

To the family member who celebrates an anniversary every year. Honoring the death of a loved one. An infant. A child. A husband. A parent. No one gets to tell you how to grieve. Or how long you should bear the sorrow. Know God weeps with you. Believe.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

*****

The real hope for a Christian lies in the fact that there is so much more for a believer. More than this broken, fallen world can offer us. His Word promises, again and again, we can have more in this life. And an eternity of better awaits us. Believe.

“Blessed is she who believed.” Luke 1:45a

Traci Rhoades can trace God at work her whole life, preparing her for various seasons of ministry. In a big picture kind of way, that very idea encompasses her blog, http://www.tracesoffaith.com.  Her articles offer an honest look at how we can trace ways God prepares us to glorify Him with our lives both now and for eternity.

Bringing Hope

Nicki Koziarz

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)

I stood in a field with two Kenyan pastors, resting after we’d traveled long distances.

For five days we’d gone from hut to hut sharing the life-changing truth of Jesus. We prayed, listened to others, and I cried tears of disbelief over the devastating poverty.

In our short time together these pastors taught me new definitions of boldness, courage, and passion for others to know the Lord. They would often walk 30 miles just to have the opportunity to share about Jesus with one family. Sometimes I barely even want to say hello to my 30-feet-away-neighbor who desperately needs God.

Yes, these men were living examples of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (NLT)

Biblical commentaries tell us the messenger in this passage was bringing good news to the Jews who had been enslaved for a long time. The messenger could be seen as he ran on the distant hills toward the people who’d been in captivity. He came with a message of great hope and joy to tell them they were free! Free from bondage, free from despair.

There is another message this herald was bringing to all people, including you, me, my friends in Africa, and the whole world: the good news of the coming Messiah, Jesus. That good news is about His birth and His death and resurrection. It gives us the hope that came to earth as a baby, died as a man, and rose as our Savior to offer us eternal life. It’s the same news the two men trekked all around the dusty Kenyan land to share.

For days after I returned home the passion of these pastors consumed my thoughts. And brought to life the call I have to share the Word of God—not just with people in other countries—but with those around me.

I learned so much from my Kenyan friends. I may not walk hundreds of miles to take the good news to others, but I can drive across town to minister joy to the homeless. I can cross the street to speak with my neighbor about how Jesus can set us free from the captivity of anxiety. And I can share the peace people are looking for.

As weeks, months, and now even years have passed since my trip to Kenya, the memory of the pastors walking mile after mile to share about the Lord stays with me. And it continues to spur me on to be intentional to go out of my way to herald the good news talked about in Isaiah 52:7.

To whom can you bring this good news?

Dear Lord, life is hard, but You are good. Please ignite within me a passion to share the good news of Your peace and salvation with those around me. Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Christmas is a great time to reach out to those around you. Make a list of people in your neighborhood and/or community that you will talk to about Jesus this week.

What are some ways you can share the good news? Here are some ideas: Conversation over coffee or at a Christmas party, handwritten notes in a card, Bible verses on Facebook or Twitter.

Power Verses:
Luke 2:10-11, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (NIV)

© 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Hold on to Hope

Boyd Bailey

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Faith creates hope, so where faith is conceived hope is birthed. Yes, hope is the daughter of faith. Those who profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior possess hope. Hard times try to hinder hope’s comforting company, but it is unhindered where faith in God is the focus. Those who hold on to hope are happy. Where faith peers hope makes clear. Where there is a wall, hope finds a door. Where there is darkness, hope looks for a light. Hope expects Christ to come through.

What is hope? It is confidence in Jesus Christ, period. Confidence He is faithful. Faithful to follow through with His promise to provide us peace in the middle of our turmoil. Faithful to answer our prayers in His most productive process. Faithful to give our children what they need as long as they look to Him. Faithful to facilitate financial resources when we steward well what we already have. He is faithful by His restorative grace to heal relationships severed by sin. Hope bursts forth in possibilities when we embrace the promises fulfilled by the Lord’s faithfulness.

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

Since your security is in your Savior Jesus who has conquered sin, sorrow and death, hope is your wise weapon. Your Heavenly Father holds you in the palm of His hand, therefore nothing can reach you lest your divine protector gives permission. The Holy Spirit is your guide, thus you have a trusted leader who directs your path. “Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Your two-handed grasp of God includes His double fisted hold on you!

When hope is deferred avoid rejecting God and giving up. Wait on the Lord and hope in Him. He helps you when you feel helpless. He empowers you when you feel powerless. He encourages you when you feel discouraged. He gives joy when you feel joyless. Hope never disappoints. It gives life and a reason to live. If you let go of hope, your gracious Lord doesn’t let go of you. Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus!

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to hope in You when all seems hopeless.

Related Readings: Psalm 33:22; Proverbs 13:12; Lamentations 3:21-29; Romans 4:18; 1 John 3:3

Post/Tweet today: Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus! #holdontohope

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

Hopeful Love

Boyd Bailey

Love always hopes. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Love is hopeful because it is fixed on Jesus for its assurance. It is a healthy optimism based on the promises of God. Love only loses hope if the Lord loses His way, but He is the Way. There is no way Christ would lead His children astray. He is a rock of refuge and truth for a Christian’s compass of faith. Indeed, love finds a hopeful path through listening prayer. It’s in moments of quiet solitude that the Holy Spirit quiets the soul with His reassuring presence. Love hopes in Him.

Has your hope been shaken by circumstances that rocked your world? If so, retreat to a safe place with your Savior and invite Him to calm your spirit with His sensitive love. Your hope becomes unshackled from fear when your loving Lord Jesus comforts your heart. Human love has its limits, but His is limitless. Your heavenly Father’s love has never failed the test of providing hope that perseveres. His Spirit whispers, “It will be ok, I am with you, be hopeful.”

Your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

 

Furthermore, you are a pass through for heaven’s hope. Those around you hunger for hope in life after death. Their soul thirsts for salvation and eternal security in their Savior Jesus. In their quest for authentic assurance you love well when you share with seekers Christ’s commands. Hope humans provide is riddled with inconsistency, but God’s hope is rooted in consistency. You love when you share the hope of heaven. Hope fills a heart that hears you lovingly pray for them.

 

Hope is alive and well, because Christ is alive and well. He rose from the grave to become a living hope for all who embrace His resurrection. His love did not end in giving His life, but it culminated by Him coming back to life. Hallelujah our hope is in our risen and living Lord Jesus. Hope and love can never die, because Jesus is alive for evermore. Our hope is based on the two greatest historical events (the Cross and Resurrection) that exhibited the greatest love ever. Therefore, we can love someone today by helping them find hope in God. Love hopes in Him!

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

Prayer: Heavenly Father thanks for providing a living hope in Jesus for life’s journey.

Related Readings: Psalm 119:43, 147:11; Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Peter 1:13

Post/Tweet today: In moments of quiet solitude the Holy Spirit quiets the soul with His reassuring presence. #HolySpirit

 

© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

Never Give Up Hope

Boyd Bailey

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” Luke 2:25-26

 

Sometimes the Lord gives His children a promise or assurance that is not fulfilled until later in life. It’s in this process of time that trust needs to stand firmly vigilant over a soul, like the ever present Queen’s Guard at the gates of Buckingham Palace. God’s promise sometimes requires a pregnancy of obedience before the vision is birthed. Hope in Jesus is a lifeline that leads Christians to trust in His promises. Hope holds on to God.

The coming of Christ at Christmas is our hope incarnate. The promise of His first entrance to earth took generations to fulfill, just as His second coming has. So, as we wait on our ultimate hope of reigning with Jesus, we enjoy His presence in prayer and faithfulness. What has the Spirit revealed to you that you will one day experience? A loved one’s salvation, children who love God, a healed hurt, a volunteer ministry or a best friend? 

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Your hope in Christ gives you the capacity to grow old with grace. You anticipate being better because, with understanding, you come to know the Lord better. While the body gradually grows old, your faith grows more robust like an aged bottle of fine wine. The flavor of your words are tasty to other thirsty hearts and your luscious love gives hope.

Furthermore, do not discount the hope you personally provide for other people. Your weekly visit to the nursing home gives life to those ebbing toward the end of life. Your coaching and mentoring of younger leaders gives them confidence and peace to persevere. Your financial gift to a ministry gives them hope to carry on for Christ. Never give up hope and you will always be able to give hope. Hope in Jesus brings great joy!

“May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.” 2 Thessalonians 2:17  The Message

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I place my hope in You so I can extend other’s hope.

Related Readings: Job 6:8; Micah 5:3; Hebrews 3:6; Titus 2:13

Post/Tweet today: Hope in Christ gives us the capacity to grow old with grace. #hope

© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

Order our new book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, vol. II… http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

God of Hope

Boyd Bailey

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

I struggle with consistently placing my hope in God alone. I say He is my support, but then I add a secular safety net as a back up to my belief in Jesus. So, my prayer is to hope in God without any worldly props. When He is the sole focus of my faith then trust in Him trumps any whispering idols in the temporal. Christ’s hope is all I need to persevere though pain, change and challenges. His hope anchors my soul in His unchanging grace.

There are many gods who offer fleeting hope. The god of more money offers financial hope. The god of bigger government offers entitlement hope. The god of blind loyalty offers relational hope. The god of harder work offers security hope. However, all hope not founded on God is false and disappoints. Hope in heaven gives peace on earth. And any earthly competitor for the Lord’s hope is powerless. God’s hope generates real joy! 

“Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” Jeremiah 14:22

Is your hope in God conditional or unconditional? Is it merely words or the conviction of your heart? You know your hope is all in with the Almighty when your life overflows with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bad news only emboldens you to look for the Lord’s creative solutions to sticky situations. You hand over people out of your control over to Christ’s control. Your focus on heavenly hope silences howls from the hounds of hell.

Therefore, hope in God, the Savior of your soul. He is your sole provider who needs no supplementary support. Intensified belief in Jesus is your back up plan. Thus, you embrace hope—an unchanging attribute of God. He is the object and author of your hope. Joy comes from being justified by Jesus. His peace produces perseverance. When Christ’s hope has its way—He shows you the way. Open hope’s door; it hinges on God!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Prayer: Heavenly Father, my hope is in You—not the competing hopes of this world.

Related Readings: Psalm 43:5, 62:5; Micah 7:7; Ephesians 2:12; Titus 1:2, 2:13

Post/Tweet this today: Hand people out of your control over to Christ’s control. #hope

© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

Delivering Hope for Those in Crisis — An Interview with Matt Hammitt from Sanctus Real

Family Christian Stores: Matt, God has used your song, ”Lead Me,” with Sanctus Real, to touch and heal many lives. Now, over the last year, it seems there is another chapter in your story. Can you share with us how your new solo project, Every Falling Tear, was birthed?

Matt Hammitt: When I wrote “Lead Me,” I had no idea that God was preparing me to lead my family through a season of great adversity. It was only a month after Pieces of a Real Heart was released that my wife, Sarah, and I found out that our son had a severe, life-threatening heart defect. They told us five months before he was born that we had a long and hard road ahead of us. That’s when I started writing the songs that ended up becoming the album Every Falling Tear. I was writing songs because I needed them, songs about trusting God in difficult circumstances. We listened to the songs while we were in the hospital for both of Bowen’s open heart surgeries.

FCS: Many people have been following the story of Baby Bowen. How is he doing? Are there some specific ways we can pray for you and your family as you continue on this journey?

Matt: Bowen’s cardiologist is pleased with his progress. They’re telling us that he won’t need another surgery for two years. We welcome prayers for healing, but also know that our story is part of God’s sovereign design. Please pray for perseverance as we continue on this path with Bowen.

FCS: We understand that each of the songs has a specific story behind it. Will you tell us about one of your favorites, and what it means for you to have it on this album?

Matt: One of my favorite songs from the album is “Holding You.” We were told by some friends and doctors to prepare ourselves to not to be able to hold Bowen for, potentially, weeks after his surgery. A few days later, I heard our guitar player Pete playing a riff on the bus. I began to think about Sarah, and what it would be like to be a mother watching her child in pain, not being able to hold him. Within an hour, I had almost all of the lyrics written.

FCS: How have you been able to “Consider it pure Joy when you face trials”? Has there been “joy” in the midst of this storm for you?

Matt: Seeing the way that God has been faithful to work what appears to be a tragedy for our good and His glory has been the greatest source of joy and comfort. The gift of a son is pretty amazing as well.

FCS: Is there a specific Scripture verse the Lord has given you and your family as you have walked through this last year?

Matt: 2 Corinthians 4:16–18, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

FCS: That’s beautiful. You and your wife have found a way to bring hope to many families facing a similar situation. What has the Lord led the two of you to do in this regard?

Matt: Sarah and I have started the Whole Hearts Foundation to support families with children suffering from heart defects. We’re still in our infancy, but some exciting things are on the horizon. We believe Whole Hearts will be assisting families by the end of the year.

FCS: What are some things we can do to help in our communities?

Matt: Serve your neighbors (like your next-door neighbors). It’s a good way to get to know them better and show them what Jesus is about.

FCS: Matt, thank you for sharing your heart with us. It’s our privilege to partner with you. May God continue to bless your family and your music ministry.

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NEW Every Falling Tear

Matt Hammitt

Delivering hope for those in crisis, Every Falling Tear shares the heart of Sanctus Real’s lead vocalist Matt Hammitt. Sparked by the joy of a new baby and the pain of learning his son would be born with a heart defect, this heartfelt solo debut chronicles his journey with deeply personal songs that claim God’s faithfulness.