31 Days of Hope Day 12
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
These days as I have sat for hours in the hospital or doctor’s office with my wife I have felt anything but strong; and not courageous at all. I have felt overwhelmed, weak and alone. We often look to the Bible character of Joshua as a tremendous example of courage but I wonder if as Joshua was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor Moses if he felt alone/ I wonder if as he faced the daunting task of leading a million or more of the children of Israel into the promised land if he felt weak at the knees. Could Joshua have felt afraid? I believe he did! What other reason would God have come and commanded him not once, not twice but three times to be strong and courageous?
If like me, you are facing life changing events that are out of your control then know that we have hope this morning not in our own bravery and muscular faith, but in God’s unfailing strength and His promise to be with us. We can draw courage from the eternal and unshakable promise that the enemies we face are no match for our God! He is not at all surprised by our weakness. He is not impatient with our faltering steps. But like a good father teaching His child to walk in faith He stretches out His arms today and calls. Take another step! You can do it! Be strong and be very courageous: I will be with you!!
31 Days of Hope – Day 12
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:6-7
Whether you are facing life from inside the four walls of a nursing home or the four walls of your apartment or house our need for God’s help doesn’t change. There are hours we all pass through when we have lost patience and through tears of frustration hope seems far away. But God’s presence and promise to take care of us as our shepherd and provide for our needs hasn’t changed.
At that very moment when we can feel the dark shadows closing in around our world God stands close and anxiously waits for us to leave our anxieties and needs at His feet. He will not stop caring for us when the cares of life press in. He will not abandon us when we feel alone. He hears our worried thoughts and listens to our prayers. He stands ready to come to our aid. He has not failed, forgotten us or written us off. Our great Savior guides us through every night and carries our hope in His hands.
This is day 11 of 31 days of Hope. The hymn In the Garden begins with the line “I come to the garden alone – while the dew is still on the roses. That quiet garden time is what we all need to recharge our hearts with hope.
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not Isaiah 30:15
Hope that will carry us through the battlefield of life is a gift we receive in the quietness of our time alone with God. When Jesus taught about prayer He said:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret Matthew 6:6 ESV
Noise is like angry storm water that pours over the dikes in our lives! In Jesus’ day that noise took the form of dawn till dusk work days, family expectations and the corrupt Roman government’s demands. Maybe your noise comes from TV or continually checking your status on social media. Whenever it enters, the sounds of this world have a way of blocking out the still small voice of Jesus. When we hear more of what everyone else thinks than what God has to say we rush into our day without the spiritual reserves of quietness and hope. God is waiting to give us hope and His strength for what lies ahead. So when you go to that quiet secret place with your heavenly Father, please – don’t forget to close the door!
Day 9 of 31 Days of Hope
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory Colossians 1:27 KJV
One of the great religious mysteries of modern times is the unraveling of the story of the shroud of Turin. The shroud’s history is a bit uncertain though its present location in Turin Italy since 1578 is fairly well accepted. That the shroud carried the images which we know of today was not commonly known till the late 1800’s. There have been films, treatises and television reports made supporting various conclusions about the origins, authenticity and meaning of the shroud. One thing is clear however from the debate: no one’s mind is easily changed about who Jesus truly was by an historical artifact.
Just before Jesus went to the cross rose from the Last Supper table and began to wash His disciples’ feet saying:
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet John 13:14
Yes Jesus did leave us a living artifact behind: He left us His spirit to come to live on the inside where it could never grow old, be destroyed or forgotten. Yes there is a great biblical mystery on display today. But this mystery is not whether the face of Jesus can be seen in the shroud of Turin but rather that His face can be seen in us!