Anchored to Hope

While HOPE is one of my favorite topics to blog about, I have chosen to emphasize it today in honor of a dear friend of mine, Judy, who went to be with Jesus a year ago in April. June 17 was her birthday on earth, and while she is celebrating that day in heaven now, I want to honor her with the following insights regarding HOPE. She anchored her faith to hope throughout her illness. The anchor with a yellow ribbon pictured above, was given to each of us at her celebration of life service. I still cling to this anchor pin as well as to the spiritual promises of hope.

In the bigger picture, the view from which Judy now experiences it, hope is the eternal full manifestation of eternity with God. Our eternal hope is promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” But in the meantime, we walk by faith and not by sight because according to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

My Reader, what comes to your mind when you hear the word HOPE? Do you perceive hope as a fluffy, flimsy desire floating through your mind or do you picture hope as an anchor uniting with faith in your heart? We often have trouble describing hope because it is invisible. There is an anonymous quote that says, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” A scriptural definition of hope is found in Romans 8:24-25, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Although HOPE is invisible, I want us to envision the anchor as a picturesque image of hope.
Hebrews 6:19 states, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Sarah Young says in Jesus Calling, “A good way to remain anchored to Jesus is to whisper His name as often as needed. We can pray and proclaim “Jesus, You are my HOPE!’”

With this in mind, I have created an acronym for HOPE that elaborates upon four descriptions of the Lord that will help us understand why He is the One in whom we must put our hope and trust.

H.O.P.E.

H = Helper – Zechariah 4:6
John 14:26 NASV says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” In this verse, Holy Spirit comes from the Latin term paraclete that means advocate or helper. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us to walk by faith and not by sight, but as human beings this is hard for us to do. We tend to want to follow what we see and what we know in our heads, so we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help us secure HOPE deep in our hearts.
In Zechariah 4:6, the Lord Almighty declares that victory is attained “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” So, with this assurance, we can assume that Helper is an accurate word for the letter H in our acronym for HOPE. Only as the Holy Spirit helps us, can we grasp the assurance of hope.

O = Omniscient – Isaiah 55:8-9
Omniscience is defined as “the state of having total knowledge, the quality of knowing everything.” Although God is beyond our full understanding, He is omniscient. He is sovereign and knows all about all His creation. We serve a God who thinks about our lives, our world, and Yis creation on a completely different level than even the smartest human being can think. Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”
With this in mind, I have chosen Isaiah 55:8-9 as our scripture to describe how the omniscience of God is appropriate for the letter O in our acronym for HOPE. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

P = Perfect – Jeremiah 29:11
Psalm 18:30 begins by saying, “As for God, His way is perfectand Deuteronomy 32:4 declares,His works are perfect.” God is the only one who is perfect, being without sin or weakness. As I looked for a definition of perfect I read such phrases as “complete and right in every way; having nothing wrong” – “exactly right for a particular purpose or situation” – “being entirely without fault or defect.” I also think of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy that describes the Lord as being “perfect in power, love, and purity.” God is the only one who is perfect!
When I want a reason to have hope in God, perfection is a good choice of words to use for the letter P in the acronym for HOPE. Jeremiah 29:11 supports this by stating, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

E = Emmanuel – Deuteronomy 31:8
When the angel announces that Mary will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and have a son, it is declared in Matthew 1:23 that they shall call His name Emmanuel which is translated “God with us.” This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. In Genesis 28:15 the Lord says, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” Not only does He promise to be with us but He also promises to watch over us! So, if God is with us, we can rely upon His help because of what we previously said about the Holy Spirit being our Helper. And, we can trust His help because God is omniscient and perfect, also based on previous statements.
T
he choice of Emmanuel as an applicable word for the letter E of our acronym for HOPE is supported by the scripture found in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” It has been said that “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”

The anchor of HOPE prevented death from having a hold on Judy. I desire the anchor of hope to prevent hopelessness from having a hold on me. To us, our situation may look hopeless, but according to Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” I like the New Living Translation of Hebrews 11:1 that says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” These are the words upon which I desire to anchor my heart to God’s heart.

I want to conclude by extending to all of you the message of Romans 15:13, “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.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Back in Alignment

Physical Alignment…..Physical Alignment…..Physical Alignment…..Physical Alignment…..Physical Alignment…

Spiritual Alignment…..Spiritual Alignment…..Spiritual Alignment…..Spiritual Alignment…..Spiritual Alignment…

 

gratitude-2spine-4Recently I encountered some back problems. I have heard enough about spinal adjustments, misalignments, vertebrae, joints, discs, tendons etc.! Although this somewhat debilitating season lasted longer than I had hoped, I learned several lessons. Often when I face a problem, I look upon it as a time when I am put upon a shelf and I cannot wait until the struggle is past so that I can again be active for the Lord. This time, at the beginning I asked the Lord to use my injury for His glory. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord declares that He has, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  If I was to trust God to fulfill the plans and purposes He had me, then I had to have faith that whatever was happening to me would be used in a positive way to glorify Him.

My problems began with a misalignment of joints in my spine. The chiropractor was able to adjust my spine but the tendons and muscles of my back had been weakened by the injury and were not able to support the adjustment. Little by little, my back had gotten out of proper alignment without my being aware of it. Then suddenly a sharp pain in my lower back got my attention. My discomfort helped me to realize that I can also allow my life to get out of alignment with the Lord. I decided that I did not want to wait for a sharp spiritual pain to make me aware of my need for the Lord’s strength. I believe the spiritual tendon that holds my body, soul and spirit  in align is gratitude. Gratitude keeps me in line with the Lord! I do not feel that it was by happenstance that I decided to reread One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp this summer while recuperating. The Lord’s hand has restored health to my back through the help of my chiropractor and the Lord has strengthened by faith through a deeper understanding of gratitude.

In her life, Ann Voskamp expresses gratitude unto the Lord by writing a list of gifts for which she is thankful. Her list of gifts includes not only good gifts but also hard gifts for which she has learned to express gratitude. Hmmm. Was my back problem a gift? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God wastes nothing! Did God have a better plan for how I would spend a couple of months of my time than I had planned? Of course He did! Since I have now moved beyond the time of most limitations, I can  see how God used me in ways not possible if I had been involved in all of my normal activities. In gratitude, now I try to perceive that all circumstances are gifts from God.

If I were to make a gratitude list, one of my highest priority gifts would be God’s sovereignty. Although He does not promise that everything will always be easy, He is still my Lord. Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The following three scriptures were helpful to me during my season of back problems.

See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and I will heal.

Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB
The
Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job 1:21 NKJV
Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened,
and just as I have planned so it will stand.
Isaiah 14:24 NASB

I do not claim to fully understand sovereignty and gratitude and alignment but I am learning. However, an opportunity for spiritual growth came to me through the difficult time when my back was out of alignment. Often it is in hindsight that I can see the benefit of a hard time. God can reveal important things about himself and life through these experiences.

I want to emphasize two statements made by Ann Voskamp. She points out that the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is. (There were times that I doubted that there was any joy in the pain and stiffness I felt in my back.) And then she says that the art of deep seeing makes gratitude possible. (The longer I struggled, the deeper I looked for the possible gratitude and joy within during this season.) While experiencing a time when it was hard for me to move physically, I came to realize that the only way to move into God’s presence is was through gratitude. In Jeremiah 30:24, I am reminded that “The Lord shall not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the thoughts and intents of His mind.” The Lord had a greater purpose to achieve in my life than just helping me get rid of back pain. He wanted to teach me about gratitude – for that I am grateful!

I close my thoughts quoting Sarah Young from Jesus Calling for May 29.

I am with you, watching over you constantly, I am
Emmanuel (God with you): My Presence enfolds you in radiant
Love. Nothing including the brightest blessings and the darkest trials,
can separate you from Me. Some of My children find Me more readily
during dark times, when difficulties force them to depend on Me.
Others feel closer to Me when tier lives are filled with good things.
They respond with thanksgiving and praise, thus opening wide the
door to My Presence.

I know precisely what you need to draw nearer to Me.
Go through each day looking for what I have prepared for you.
Accept every event as My hand-tailored provision for your needs.
When you view your life this way, the most reasonable response is to
be thankful. Do not reject any of My gifts; find Me in every situation.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: I quoted two of my favorite books in this blog. I want to give credit to One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Zondervan, 2010 and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson, 2004. I highly recommend both of these books for your reading.

Gazing in the Garden

garden-hearteye-gaze-pink

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to sit at Your feet, as the great mercy seat,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to gaze in You eyes, so that faith may arise,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to feel Your embrace, and receive Your grace,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

My Reader, are you ready to grasp another key to unlock the garden of your heart? Last week, we examined the first key while humbly sitting at the feet of Jesus at the mercy seat. This week we will look at the second stanza of this praise chorus that verbalizes the desire to gaze into the eyes of Jesus so that faith may arise within the heart. Please join me in this garden.

If I apply the words of this praise chorus to my natural surroundings, my picture might be as follows. I am sitting on a park-like bench in a tranquil garden on a summer evening. I gaze at the stars. The longer I focus upon the sky, the more stars I see and the beauty of the heavens increases. Making a spiritual application, I describe the scene as follows. As I humbly sit at the feet of Jesus and meditate upon His Word, I realize how merciful the Lord is to me. Although I began with my head bowed, I now lift my eyes up to His face. The longer I gaze into the eyes of Jesus, the more I comprehend what it means to live by faith.

To understand the meaning of gazing into the eyes of Jesus, I focus my eyes upon scripture. I repeatedly find the phrase “the apple of the eye” that speaks of a place of priority and importance. This phrase seems to go along with the concept of gazing. Zechariah 2:8 says, whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.” Wow – God considers me the apple of His eye! If the Lord keeps His eye on me, then I desire to keep my eyes on Him! Proverbs 7:2 says, “Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.” This Proverb gives me insight to how I can gaze upon the Lord. Along with David, I plead the words of Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”

The words of my song promise me that if I gaze into the eyes of Jesus, my faith will increase. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hmmm. I have been reflecting upon gazing and now I read words about not seeing. Is this contradictory? Not necessarily. Webster’s dictionary defines gaze as to look intently and steadily; to stare, as in wonder or expectancy. For me, to look with confidence and expectancy is faith in action. Gazing in faith involves spiritual sight rather than physical sight. For me to live by faith, I will follow the instructions of Paul in I Corinthians 4:18,“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” In her book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young embellishes this verse by saying, “Fix your eyes not on what is seen (your circumstances), but on what is unseen (My Presence).”

What is my response to gazing into the eyes of Jesus and having my faith arise? The last three lines of this chorus say that I want to laugh and sing. Last week I focused upon how I want to laugh. This week I want to look at the concept of wanting to sing. I reiterate Psalm 126:2 from last week because it mentions both laughing and singing. “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy…. ‘The LORD has done great things for them.'” In Ephesians 5:19, Paul speaks of “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” I like this because the setting for my singing is in the garden of my heart. Psalm 28:7 says, “My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” This is what I want to do!

I conclude by saying, I want my eyes to look into Jesus’ eyes and I want to see what He sees. My purpose for gazing into the Lord’s eyes is for my faith to increase and never cease. This will create a song within the garden of my heart. My Reader, is there a song in your heart today?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: Next week we will conclude our time in the garden of the heart by looking at the third stanza of this praise chorus.

Human Beings not Human Doings

 

human-beingsWe are human beings, not human doings.” I do not know the origin of this quote but I like it. It is a phrase that has stuck in my memory bank and quite frequently these words come to the forefront of my mind. While using some scripture references and quotes from various books, I am taking time to unpack my personal interpretation of this quote today.

Science may define me as a human being, but the type of life I live may reflect me more as a human doing. Physically, I am a human but I want to go beyond this fact. I am both a “human being” (an entity) and I am a human “being” made perfect according to God’s plan. This takes me to two scripture references.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”
Exodus 3:14
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image…”
Genesis 1:26

God is the great I AM and He is perfect. I can hear God saying I AM loving you – I AM forgiving you – I AM healing you. I could go on to list a multitude of ways the I AM statement could be completed but I will stop with three.

I am made in His image but I am not perfect. My first reaction to this fact is for me to be doing something to make myself more lovable, or to be doing something so I can be forgiven, or to be doing something that will allow me to be healed. However, what I truly need to do is claim scriptures that confirm that I am being loved, being forgiven and being healed by God. These effects will not be evident within me because of anything I am doing, but they will be the result of my being in the presence of God and allowing Him to work in me. Once again I go to scripture to learn how my “being” transpires without my “doing”.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Mark Batterson says in All In, “Religion is spelled do. The gospel is spelled done.” A religious person is caught up with trying to please his god by doing. For me, faith is based on what Jesus did for me when He died upon the cross. My faith entails a relationship with Jesus Christ that gives me the privilege of “being” in His presence. He did the “doing.” Jesus did it all so all I have to do is be His child. Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Yes, I will honor God by doing good works, but my motive will be to serve Him. My doing is not nearly as important to God as my being! However, I still want to know more about how I am able to “be” rather than “do”.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

While reading these words of Paul to the Galatians, I realize that I need to put to death my inclinations of doing for God when my goal is to attain His love. Instead, I am to concentrate upon being in the presence of Christ and then allowing His love to flow through me.

God desires me to do things for Him, but my doing must be the result of my being in His presence. My being should influence my doing. I am a human being a child of God to do good works, not a human doing good works to be a child of God. I desire to be a human being aware of the Lord’s presence in my daily life. My goal is to be a human doing with Him and for Him not to earn His awareness of me but for me to be aware of Him.

Max Lucado sums up this concept well with the following words, “No more performing for God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection isn’t one of them.”

For in him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28

If I live and move and have my being in the Lord, how do I best live as a human being rather than a human doing? Several writers help me answer my question.

In God Calling, Sarah Young writes as if Jesus is speaking the following words, “Trust Me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day. Refuse to feel guilty about something that is so pleasing to Me, the King of the universe.”

In The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson talks about how we tend to focus on what we are doing or where we are going, while God’s primary concern is who we are becoming in the process. He says that the will of God has much more to do with being than doing. “It’s not about being in the right place at the right time; it’s about being the right person, even when you find yourself in the wrong circumstances…. It (success) has nothing to do with how gifted or how resourced you are; it has everything to do with glorifying God in any and every situation by making the most of it.”

Steve Fry is the last author I want to mention. He says in his book I Am, “Who we are is more important to God than what we do.”

Be still, and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

As a human, my being in the Lord’s presence is the best preparation for my doing for Him. My doing will have more depth and power when I am aware of being in His presence. I realize that I am not just a human doing my own thing to impress the Lord. I am a human being transformed into His likeness by being in His presence which prepares me for doing the works He has planned for me to do.

My Reader, may you and I remember that “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Challenge for you: We are approximately halfway though Lent. This season of the Christian calendar is the time period of forty days when we prepare our hearts for Easter. It is a time of moving closer to the cross. Sometimes moving closer to the cross is accomplished more by being than doing. May you set aside time to be alone with the Lord this week. Be a human being rather than a human doing.



Bible Study – Possessing Change

 is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a

bible-for-study-mfBible Study
Possessing Change
“The Promised Land is a Land of Promises”

Definition of Possessing Change: taking ownership of a new activity or place or stage of life – realizing responsibility for a transition that has occurred

Master Key Verse: I will give you every place where you set your foot. – Joshua 1:3

While we were on our Life-Journey-Change experience regarding our new home, one of the major things I learned was that possession results in potential, not perfection. I expected things to reflect more perfection when we moved into our new home since this was the home God had revealed to us as being where He wanted us to live. (Remember the posts for September 10 about “Hidden . . . then Revealed and September 17 about “Expectations or Expectancy.”) However, such was not the case. I have now come to realize that the new home had potential that we needed to develop. There were some functional issues that my husband had not planned on needing to do, but there was still potential with this house. I became frustrated with some cleaning projects but there was still potential with this house. Possession did not mean everything was perfect but possession did allow us the opportunity to maximize the potential of the property. It all depended on my perspective of our situation.

The same was true for the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land of Canaan after being set free from Egyptian slavery. I imagine they expected their new homeland to be perfect and void of enemies since God had led them to this location. Such was not the case. According to Joshua 1:3, the Lord has promised to give them every place where they set their feet. God fulfilled that promise but the land was still inhabited by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, etc. who needed to be driven out of the land. The land had potential but the Israelites had to fight battles even though they had possession.

Possession resulted in potential, not perfection, for the Israelites in their new homeland. Possession resulted in potential, not perfection, for us in our new home. When anyone become part of the family of God, one is promised a new home for eternity. (Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3) We possess the promise of an eternal home, but while living our earthly life we have the responsibility to develop our potential to become more like Christ. (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son – Romans 8:28-29)

Possession gives us responsibility and accountability for the potential of what had been purchased or attained, but it does not mean perfection. Going back to my theme of Life-Journey-Change, I must say that writing the check for the financial cost of the house and attaining the deed to our new home was not the completion of our journey. There were still promises for us to claim for our life’s journey that continued even after we had taken the step of change that took us into the promised land God had for us. I still needed to keep the proper perspective and hold tightly to specific promises in the Bible.  This holy book is definitely a “land of promises.” Let us look at three of these promises in the following study.

Bible Study of Promises

#1 – The Promise of Battles

We may not like the promise that battles will occur but it is something we must face.
There can be no victories without battles!
John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have over-come the world.”
Trouble may refer to battles, so let’s see how the Israelites fought their first battle.

*The Battle of Jericho
Read Joshua 6 for details of the Battle of Jericho.

God gave the instructions and the people were obedient to follow His instructions.
****Although some of the instructions were unusual, the people did as they were told.
****Isaiah 55:8For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

Reference to the number 7 is important because 7 is symbolic of God’s completion while 6 is symbolic of man. God is in control of all aspects of this battle.
****7 priests with 7 trumpets led the march around the city once each day for 6 days.
****On the 7th day they marched around the city 7 times. They then shouted and blew the trumpets and the walls collapsed.

An oath was made not to rebuild Jericho. The battle belonged to the Lord and His victory was not to be overturned.

* The Battle of the Mind
Our battles are often fought within our minds, but we can learn strategies for our battles from how the Israelites fought the Battle of Jericho.

Read II Corinthians 10:3-6
When our battle is spiritual, we must capture our thoughts in order to capture our spiritual enemy.
If we do not take thoughts captive, imaginations take over. Imaginations come from images. Imaginations appear to be logical to our mind but in reality they are the illogical images that the enemy wants us to believe.
Notice in verse 5 that we are to be obedient just as obedience was required by the Israelites.

One reason we must take our thoughts captive is because the battle is not our responsibility. It belongs to the Lord according to II Chronicles 20:15Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Oswald Changers has stated in My Utmost for His Highest, “We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles.”

The battle in II Chronicles 20 was fought with praise (see verses 16-40) and the Battle of Jericho was won with shouts to the Lord. One of the ways we, too, need to fight the battles of our minds by praising the Lord.

 #2 – The Promise of Proper Protection

Knowing that the battles we fight belong to the Lord, we can have the confidence that He will provide the proper protection or armor for us.

Think of the story of David and Goliath recorded in I Samuel 17. Goliath was a Philistine and the Philistines were some of the people who needed to be overcome by the Israelites. (Read the complete chapter to refresh your memory with details.)

*Protection for David to Fight the Battle with Goliath
Read I Samuel 17:38,39 to find out how Saul wanted to dress David to fight Goliath.
****Saul used “his own tunic” and a heavy coat of armor, a bronze helmet and a sword the size Saul would need.
****David was smart enough to know this would not work for him and he fought with his staff and five stones.

Notice verse 45 for what else David took with him – “You (Goliath) came against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”

*Protection for Us to Fight Spiritual Battles
Today we have God’s Armor.  Read Ephesians 6:10-18 for its description.
****Notice in Verse 10 that we are to be strong in the Lord rather than our own strength
****Also notice the reference to “full armor” in verses 11 and 13

Just as David came “in the name of the Lord,” we can apply the name of Jesus to each piece of armor because He is our mighty warrior.
****(v14) Belt of truth – John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (a belt is placed around the waist near the part of the body where birthing takes place)
****(v14) Breastplate of righteousness – I John 2:1 refers to Jesus Christ as the Righteous One (the breastplate protects the heart and it is the center of our being)
****(v15) Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace – Isaiah 9:6 prophecies Jesus to be the Prince of Peace and the gospel is the good news of this fact (we stand firm on our feet and we must be ready to share the foundations of our faith with those we encounter in our daily walk)
****(v16) Shield of faith – I Timothy 1:14 refers to faith being in Christ Jesus (we can move the shield to cover whatever part of our lives needs extra protection and faith assures us that it will be done)
****(v17) Helmet of salvation – Luke 2:11 tells us that a savior has been born and he is Christ the Lord. (we need our head protected because we make decisions with our minds and according to I Cor. 2:16 we can have the mind of Christ)
****(v17) Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God – John 1:1 quotes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.” This refers to Jesus. (this is our only offensive weapon, but God’s Word pierces deep into the soul)

Protection through prayer
****Ephesians 6:18 tells us after putting on the armor of God to pray in the Spirit.
****Prayer is not a piece of the armor, but it definitely is an action that will keep us on the offensive, especially when we claim God’s Word when we pray.

#3 – The Promise of Promises

Remember, the Word of God is our only offensive weapon so we must claim our promises!

God’s Word is a double-edged sword that can cut out what is not of the Lord as well as pierce the soul with what is of the Lord.
****Isaiah 55:11 NKJV, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it.”

God’s Word contains all the promises we need – this is “the land of promises.”
There is power when we speak the words spoken by God in scripture.

I challenge you to find personal promises within Gods Word for your personal battles. You may be in your Promised Land, but through your life the journey continues and there will still be changes and challenges.

I encourage you to write a declaration of faith filled with the personal promises God reveals to you. Speak these promises out loud. God is faithful to fulfill His Word!

Conclusion

To bring everything together that we have studied today, read Joshua 24.

In this chapter, God speaks to the Israelites through the voice of Joshua reminding them how He has led them throughout their entire journey that started when He called Abraham to a journey out of the land of the Chaldeans. This chapter recounts the changes the Israelites experienced and the battles they fought. The people were assembled at Shechem to hear these words. We each have our own personal Shechem, the place where God meets us in a special way as we continue our life’s journey. Our Shechems are places and times God has provided for us and fulfilled His promises. He has blessed us but He also wants us to bless others by sharing our journey experiences of change.

The Israelites needed to meet at Shechem to be reminded of the faithfulness of God and His promises. Joshua 24:14 says, “fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.” God is faithful and He desires us to be faithful. In verse 15 Joshua gives the people a choice, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”  What is your choice? Do you choose to enter the Promised Land and cling to the land of promises? Joshua concluded this scripture verse by saying,”But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

I again quote Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest, “to turn head faith into a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes.” We may have stepped into the Promised Land and held on to our land of promises within scripture, but there are still battles to fight. Many of these battles begin within the mind. Remember the three promises we have studied today and apply them to your personal journey. Take possession of all God promises you and give a victory shout!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

 

 

 

 

 

The Rope of Hope

 

The Rope of Hope

hope-rope-2-mf

free-ropeA couple of weeks ago I awoke in the night and had trouble going back to sleep.  My mind started going a hundred miles a minute in directions it should not have traveled.  Before I got back to sleep, I had a pity party with me, myself and I. I even began to feel depressed.  The next morning, I began my day as usual by reading the daily devotional by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling.  She writes as if Jesus were talking directly to you, and this morning Jesus was definitely speaking to me.  Listen to some of the words I read: “Hope in Me and you will be protected from depression and self-pity.  Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  The more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens; thus, you are lightened.”  The Lord knew what I had experienced during the night and He was giving me the solution to resolve my negative thoughts and feelings.  God is good!

This led me to a scriptural study of the word “hope” that I found very interesting.  My Reader, let me share some of my insights with you.  According to the Word Wealth notations in The Spirit Filled Life Bible, there are two different words in the Bible that have been translated hope. Tiqvah is the Hebrew word and  elpis is the Greek word.

hope-rope-3-mfThe original meaning of “tiqvah” is “to stretch like a rope” and can be translated line or cord. This reminds me of the story of Rahab in Joshua 2 where she used a rope or cord to let down the Israelite spies from her house and allowed them to escape.  In Joshua 2:18, the spies instructed her to tie a scarlet cord (tiqvah) in the window as her hope for rescue for when they would come back to take this land. The promise is fulfilled in Joshua 6 when her life is saved during the conquest of Jericho.  For me, this rope or cord is a picturesque description of the rope of hope!  The definition of hope (tiqvah) is expectation or something yearned for and eagerly anticipated.

rpoe-in-heart-mfThe Word Wealth for the Greek word “elpis” says that hope is not just an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but portrays a confident expectation based on solid certainly.  Biblical hope rests on God’s promises, particularly those promises pertaining to Christ’s return.  This notation distinguishes between faith and hope by saying, “Hope is never inferior to faith, but is an extension of faith. Faith is the present possession of grace; hope is confidence in grace’s future accomplishment.”  I want to grasp the rope of hope when I grasp this interpretation of  “elpis.”

hope-rope-7-mfA friend and I are doing a book study entitled Cast of Characters Lost and Found by Max Lucado.  He talks about hope in a couple of chapters of this book.  When I think back to my experience of feeling hopeless during the night, I identify with one concise comment Max Lucado makes: “Hope hibernates.”  This is reassuring to me because I realize hope lives deep within my spirit even though I may not always feel the most hopeful.  God understands my meandering mind in the middle of the night, and that is why He gave me such a powerful word of hope the next morning!  Another statement I underlined in Max Lucado’s book says, “Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one.”  In most instances, I would prefer an immediate solution but hope keeps me going until a solution is realized.

free-ropeIf hope is going to keep me going until I experience a solution, then I need to make myself a rope of hope!  Sarah Young’s words said that I am to hold on to a golden cord of hope that will allow the Lord to bear the biggest portion of my burden.  So, how do I make or where do I find this golden rope of hope?  The Bible is the correct answer.  My rope of hope is made of strands of scripture woven together for strength.  Some of the scriptures are verses that include the word “hope” and other verses are promises that pertain to a specific situation for which I need hope.  The makeup of my rope of hope changes from time to time. My Reader, I encourage you to make your personal rope of hope.  I will include a few scriptures relating to hope that are a part of my rope and may be helpful to you.  Then intertwine your favorite verses into your rope of hope that will keep you connected to the Lord.

For You are my hope, O Lord God.
Psalm 7:5
Be joyful in hope, patient in affection, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12
your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
  I Thessalonians 1:3
(hope entails time and work – it is not always easy)
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
So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [a]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.
Hebrews 10:23 AMP

I am holding tight to my rope of hope! I encourage you will do the same.

Joyfully,
Cheryl