Why I love Easter!

Why I love Easter!

Why I Love Easter

In just under two weeks we will be celebrating Easter and I am so excited, it is my favorite holiday! Not only is it my personal favorite but also it is the most important event on the Christian calendar!

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The Prophet’s Candle – First Week of Advent

The Prophet’s Candle – First Week of Advent

What is Advent?
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is:

• the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent.
• the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.

Advent is much more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. Advent is a season of preparation. Not only is Advent about preparing to celebrate the first coming of Christ as a baby, but it’s also about preparing for Christ’s second coming as judge. In Advent we are reminded that the Christmas story began thousands of years before the birth of Jesus, with the people of Israel. In Advent we are reminded that the Christmas story is not over; Jesus will return. (more…)

Today a community is grieving

Today a community is grieving

Today a community is grieving the tragic loss of one of their own.

I am well acquainted with the loss of friends and family, each one has left a huge hole in my heart, and the grieving process is never easy. However, twice in recent years the news of a tragic loss has impacted me like none other.

A little over three years ago the message was delivered via a text.

I’ll never forget the impact of those words, it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. Waves of nausea washed over me. My ears began to ring and my vision went dark, I thought I was going to pass out.

Still gasping for air I dropped to my knees and began to pray but words eluded me. I heard a sound I didn’t recognize. There it was again. I’m still not sure whether it was an audible sound or that I simply heard it in my spirit, a groaning that seemed to come from my heart. All I could eek out was ” Oh God!”

Today was the same.

Earlier this morning the phone rang, and my daughter’s voice quivered as she delivered the tragic news.

As word is getting out and the body begins to absorb the news, I’m finding once again that my response is not uncommon.

Person after person is telling me of being weighed down with an incredible mantel of grief that nearly crushes the very breath out of them.

Heaven is being bombarded with the intercessory prayers of the saints, begging for mercy, peace and comfort for those who are left behind. Sometimes with words, sometimes with deep, deep groaning.

Once again we join the fellowship of suffering by all who knew her, groaning under mantles of mourning.

For the second time I’m wondering…

Could it be in that weeping and carrying the mantle of mourning, that we are allowing those who are suffering to “breathe” and take care of business. That is until the time comes when they are taken by the hand by the God of all comfort to walk them through – Piercing their darkness with His love, Healing their broken hearts, Turning their mourning into joy again!

If that is true, I’m all in!

In closing, I am reminded that we are called to a life of both weeping and rejoicing—but with a twist. Romans 12:15 challenges us to look outside ourselves to the needs of others. We are to, Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Here’s the twist!

If we rejoice only in our own successes, we miss the wonder of celebrating the power of the Lord, who desires to accomplish His purposes in and through others as well.

If we mourn only our own losses, we miss out on the opportunity of “being there” for those who are hurting by showing them compassion and therefore making God known to a hurting world!

Life is filled with the extremes of joy and sorrow, victory and defeat. But we have been given the privilege of entering into those moments in people’s lives to see the grace of God at work.

Don’t miss it!

I leave you with this thought.

There is HOPE in Christ for both the family and the community! This is the only thing that can calm our grieving hearts.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:26-28

To read previous blog click here Joy Comes in the Mourning!

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

inductive bible study,

No matter who you are at some point in your life you will experience difficult times. You might suffer the loss of a loved one, have an illness, lose your job, have a broken relationship or go through a divorce. It’s so easy to be overcome with a sense of hopelessness.

Whatever you encounter, it is essential that you don’t lose hope. But, your hope must be rooted in something bigger than yourself! It can’t be dependent on a person or life circumstances. The object of your hope must be God alone! Otherwise, you will only be disappointed, and ultimately sucked into a vicious cycle which will lead you down a path of depression and despair. Satan is never happier than when he sees people giving in and giving up to despair and becoming lost in hopelessness.

Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared for difficult times so that you are ready when they come.

How is it possible to not lose hope in difficult times?

 

First, what is hope?

Many people define hope as wishing something will happen. However, biblical hope is a hope of expectation, knowing that it will happen. You might even define it as an eager anticipation of God’s promise coming to pass. This kind of hope is based on knowing that God will do what He said He would do!

Where is hope found?

Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.” 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. – Romans 15:12-13

Before coming to Christ we were without hope (Ephesians 2:12). But now in Christ we have hope! Our hope is found in our love relationship with Jesus. As a believer we are never without hope! But that is not all, as we live a life of surrender to Christ; we also have joy, peace and power! (Romans 15:13) What more could you hope for?

Properly Placed Hope

God is the God of hope. He is the foundation on which our hope is built; He is both the object and the author of our hope. (1 Peter 1:3)

Trusting in God (Hebrews 11:1) by the power of the Holy Spirit we experience

  • Joy which comes as we anticipate seeing our hopes fulfilled.  Much like the excitement of a child on Christmas morning.
  • Peace which comes from the assurance that God will do what He said He would   do. (Philippians 4:7)

Misplaced Hope

Hope that is placed in someone or something other than God/Jesus Christ is misplaced hope. It will eventually lead one into

  • Hopelessness
  • Depression 
  • Despair

Hopelessness usually doesn’t come suddenly out of nowhere; rather it is usually the result of a series of events in which a false belief system is formed. It could be something like “I can do it“, which leads to “I thought I could do it”, to “I can’t do it”, and ultimately “it can’t done, there is no hope.” Hopelessness believes that no matter what you do, nothing will change.

Putting your hope in yourself is telling yourself a lie. You place your hope in yourself, others or your circumstances rather than God and you will ultimately be disappointed.

Loss of hope can also result in depression. Depression can be nothing more than a signal sent by your mind telling you that hope was lost. Often if you find a way to restore hope your depression will disappear.

What do you do when you find yourself hopeless, depressed and in despair?

What happens when you put your hope in God?

Have you ever been in despair? The answer is simple. Quit looking at your circumstances and look at God. Go to the Bible for direction. Jesus overcame every conflict he had with Satan by using the Word of God. The Word is a door for those in the prison of hopelessness through which they can look, see the light of hope, walk out of darkness into light, and find direction for their lives. (Psalms 119:105, Romans 15:4)

When you are in a difficult time, remember: don’t lose hope. Hope is essential; once you lose it, you have lost the game. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to not lose hope.

Depression is the emotional result of hopelessness.

Joy is the emotional result of hope.

Peace is the emotional result of faith.

Our hope is based on knowing God will do what He said He would do. And so we wait expectantly knowing that Jesus is coming back!!!

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World!

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World!

Finding Hope No matter who you are at some point in your life you will experience difficult times. You might suffer the loss of a loved one, have an illness, lose your job, have a broken relationship or go through a divorce. It’s so easy to be overcome with a sense of hopelessness.

Whatever you encounter, it is essential that you don’t lose hope. But, your hope must be rooted in something bigger than yourself! It can’t be dependent on a person or life circumstances.

The object of your hope must be God alone! Otherwise, you will only be disappointed, and ultimately sucked into a vicious cycle which will lead you down a path of depression and despair. Satan is never happier than when he sees people giving in and giving up to despair and becoming lost in hopelessness. Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared for difficult times so that you are ready when they come.

How is it possible to not lose hope in difficult times?

First, what is hope?

Many people define hope as wishing something will happen. However, biblical hope is a hope of expectation, knowing that it will happen. You might even define it as an eager anticipation of God’s promise coming to pass. This kind of hope is based on knowing that God will do what He said He would do!

Where is hope found?

Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.” 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. – Romans 15:12-13

Before coming to Christ we were without hope (Ephesians 2:12). But now in Christ we have hope! Our hope is found in our love relationship with Jesus.

As a believer we are never without hope! But that is not all, as we live a life of surrender to Christ; we also have joy, peace and power! (Romans 15:13) What more could you hope for?

Properly Placed Hope

God is the God of hope. He is the foundation on which our hope is built; He is both the object and the author of our hope. (1 Peter 1:3) Trusting in God (Hebrews 11:1) by the power of the Holy Spirit we experience

  • Joy which comes as we anticipate seeing our hopes fulfilled.  Much like the excitement of a child on Christmas morning.
•
  • Peace which comes from the assurance that God will do what He said He would   do. (Philippians 4:7)

Misplaced Hope

Hope that is placed in someone or something other than God/Jesus Christ is misplaced hope. It will eventually lead one into

  • Hopelessness
  Hopelessness believes that no matter what you do, nothing will change.
•
  • Depression
  • Despair

Hopelessness usually doesn’t come suddenly out of nowhere; rather it is usually the result of a series of events in which a false belief system is formed. It could be something like “I can do it“, which leads to “I thought I could do it”, to “I can’t do it”, and ultimately “it can’t done, there is no hope.” Putting your hope in yourself is telling yourself a lie. You place your hope in yourself, others or your circumstances rather than God and you will ultimately be disappointed. Loss of hope can also result in depression. Depression can be nothing more than a signal sent by your mind telling you that hope was lost. Often if you find a way to restore hope your depression will disappear.

What do you do when you find yourself hopeless, depressed and in despair?

• Acknowledge where you are and refocus. 
  Take your focus off yourself and look to God. (Psalm 42:5)

•Focus on God and the fact that He is your hope (Psalm 25:5)

• Rehearse the names of God (Psalm 52:9)
• Read the Bible (Psalm 119:74, Romans 15:4)

What happens when you put your hope in God?

• You will have rest (Psalm 62:5)

• You will know God’s unfailing love (Psalm 33:22,2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)


• You will praise God more and more (Psalm 71:14)

• God will sustain you in the difficult times (119:116)


• Your heart will be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18-19)

• God will encourage and strengthen you in every good deed and word

Have you ever been in despair? The answer is simple. Quit looking at your circumstances and look at God. Go to the Bible for direction. Jesus overcame every conflict he had with Satan by using the Word of God. The Word is a door for those in the prison of hopelessness through which they can look, see the light of hope, walk out of darkness into light, and find direction for their lives. (Psalms 119:105, Romans 15:4)

When you are in a difficult time, remember: don’t lose hope.

Hope is essential; once you lose it, you have lost the game. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to not lose hope.

Depression is the emotional result of hopelessness.

Joy is the emotional result of hope. 
Peace is the emotional result of faith.

Our hope is based on knowing God will do what He said He would do. And so we wait expectantly knowing that Jesus is coming back!!!

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