World Pollution

Published March 10, 2012 by imdaddysgirl

James 1:27  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Polluted by the world?  There are many ecological nightmares related to pollution in the world.  Pollution has impact on our lives and health, sometimes unbeknownst to us.  I love animals and nature and have hopped on many a Save the_____ band wagon.  All well and good.  But, what James is referring to here is a pollution of much greater magnitude.  It is a pollution of the heart.  It is this pollution which is less obvious and more detrimental than a pile of trash along a beautiful beach or the slums of Calcutta.

James chapter 2 goes on to speak of the pollution of favoritism in our lives.  If we are honest, we can search our heart and find a time when we’ve shown preference toward someone over another… on the job in friendships, in the church.  It is human nature to have likes and dislikes of personality traits, lifestyles, attitudes.  That’s normal.  That’s not what James speaks of here.

James speaks of discrimination.  He speaks of favoritism based on an outward appearance.  He relates a story of a man with gold rings and fine clothes attending a meeting and being given a better seat than a man with shabby clothes, who was left to stand or told to sit on the floor.

Can you relate to anything here?  Have we not all at one point or another been the one who showed favoritism… toward someone we esteemed because of some external characteristic?  The rich, the ___ skin tone, the cool kid, the pretty people, the fit and trim, or even the poor, the down and outer or the under dog.

It all adds up to passing a judgment.  James refers to this as discriminating “among yourselves and becoming judges with evil thoughts.”

Oh, for eyes to see as God does!  The same call toward salvation and internal wealth is on all men.  The Kingdom is promised toward those who love Him!  Only God sees the heart.  My call as a believer in Christ is to treat others as impartially as God does.  Which means showing His grace and favor toward all men, not just those I may deem worthy; not just those who may frequent the inner circle of my comfort zone, but toward all men.

This is to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  By not showing favoritism.  By purity in helping those in distress, by not looking down on the afflicted.  By not esteeming one above another and seeing myself as anything but a broken pot mended by the Father.  By realizing the same call I have is on ____.  We are all called to relationship with God.  God loves ____ as He loves me.  I am called to love ___ as He loves me.

Dear God, forgive our petty point of view.  Forgive us for walking in the norms and standards of this world.  Forgive our preferences which we’ve held above Your own.  Forgive us as the church for discrimination in any and every arena; which reeks to high Heaven more than any slum of this world.  We, Your people have bowed to the world standards of what is esteemed.  Forgive us, Lord.  Mold in me, in us, a heart that beats as Yours does, without partiality.  Help us to walk in this world free of contamination and quick to check our hearts, our motives our walk in the light of Your Word.  Help us to examine our own hearts in your Truth and not the norms of the church, our job, our friends, or the standards of any aspect of this world which will all pass away; but in the light of Your Kingdom, promised toward those who love You.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Songs in the night

Published November 13, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

“Any man can sing in the day… it is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is the skillful singer who can sing when there is not a ray of light by which to read… Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of man.”  -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

David was a man who understood the need to praise His God.  In Psalm 68, he penned a song which I am pretty sure he sang in the night.  He was a man who also knew how to encourage himself in the Lord.  He learned how to do that by being in a position where there was noone else encouraging him. 

In Psalm 68:1, He says, “May God arise, may His enemies be scattered; may His foes flee before Him.”  He recognized that there were enemies of God.  As a friend of God, you will recognize that there is opposition to God in this world. 

The opponent of God will try to stop you too.  The enemy of God is also an enemy of your soul.  His name is Satan, the devil, the author of lies.  He will try to stop you from God’s best in your life. 

Comedians have joked about the power of Satan.  “The devil made me do it.”  Jokes have been made about people going to hell and what they find there.  Songs have been sung about the devil, and yes I’m sure his activity can be found in Georgia.  Brevity aside, the devil is real and at work and he hates you.  Jesus called him a thief who is out to “steal kill and destroy” (John 10:10) and he plays for keeps.  He is your enemy.

While exposing the work of the enemy, in the next breath Jesus speaks life.   “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”  (John 10:10).  Now that’s reason to rejoice!  David had a glimpse of what praise can do.  He knew that God was more powerful than his enemy.  He knew that as he praised, he experienced God’s power.

Do you need power to overcome an enemy?  Praise Him.  “Sing to God, sing praise to His name” (Ps. 68:4).   Have you lost loved ones?  Praise Him.  Ps 68:5,6, “He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows”.  “God sets the lonely in families.”

Have you felt trapped?  Maybe your trap is literal or figurative, concrete or spiritual?  Praise Him.  “He leads forth the prisoners with singing” Ps. 68:6. 

So many people are having physical, spiritual and financial difficulties now.  So many are working hard and unable to get ahead.  Many can’t find a job and are struggling in so many ways.  It’s a dry season.

David understood and knew the power of God even in a wasteland.  A wasteland is defined as a place that is desolate, barren or ravaged.  It is a place, an era, an aspect of life that is lacking in spiritual, aesthetic or other humanizing qualities; a vacuam. 

I’ve been in the wasteland before.  David has as well.  He reported that God went out before His people and “marched through the wasteland, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God.”  (Ps. 68:7,8)  God knows how to refresh His people.  “You gave abundant sowers, O God; You refreshed your weary inheritance”  (Ps. 68:9).

So, are you lonely, trapped, feeling opposed, wasted and weary?  Praise Him.  There is power in praise.  God will refresh your soul and fill your spirit.  He will arise in the midst of your desert place and provide for you.  Sing to Him.  He will even give you a song.  Psalm 40:3, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Father, today we pray for a new song.  You are worthy to be praised.  Father, we ask You to come in the midst of our circumstances, however dry, lonely, weak or dark this season in our life is we declare and know that YOU are bigger and greater.  However much of a dustbowl the dry and weary land is around us, physically or spiritually, You are a God who gives showers of rain to refresh Your people.  Rain on us today, Oh God.  Be glorified in all seasons of our lives as we give You praise because You alone are worthy and bless Your people with abundant life.  We thank and praise You in Jesus name.  Amen.

Certainty in Uncertain Times

Published August 4, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

There are always uncertainties ahead, but there is always one certainty–God’s will is good.

Vernon Paterson

I am blessed beyond measure.  I have grown up in a country that has both generated and consumed the bulk of the world’s resources.  I can’t remember ever going to bed hungry.  The only time I have skipped a meal has been by choice.  I have been blessed with education and occupational opportunities and the capacity to generate a respectable income.  I have never been seriously ill.  I can walk and talk and care for my daily needs.  I have sound transportation and a roof over my head with room to spare and share.

I have jobs which I love in a profession that I sought after.  Most weeks I work too many hours, but it’s manageable.   This week my schedule, and therefore my revenue has been more uncertain.  Retirement funds have also taken a serious hit.  Also, some of my best friends, or their family members are in precarious financial and health situations.

The times are uncertain.  As a believer, walking with Jesus, this world can still be a scary place.  What is my response to be?  How can I remain at peace in times of upheaval, uncertainty and even a sense of impending doom in our country?  Where can I find hope?  What does God say about this?

Well, there are certainties in Christ in the midst of an uncertain time.   In Christ, we can have peace.  John 14:27,  Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

He has warned us that times will not always be bright.  In fact, the closer to His return, we have been told that times will be very difficult.  Is He coming soon?  Only the Father knows.  I do know that He’s one day closer to coming than He was yesterday.  However difficult or uncertain the times are, we can have His peace.

Why?  Because He knows what this world is made of and He has overcome on our behalf so that we may have a peace that the world can never give us.  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.”

Father, I ask You to help me and all of my brothers and sisters in these uncertain times.  Help me not to worry or have fear.  I thank You for a peace that goes beyond what I can see and feel.  I thank You for a peace which is not dependent on my abilities or resources but is wholly found in You and what You have already accomplished on my behalf.  In You I can rest, trust and place all of my confidence.  You are my certainty!   I commit myself fresh to Your unchanging love and I thank You for Your favor upon my life.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen

A simple seed

Published June 5, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

Any fool can count the seeds in an apple.  Only God can count all the apples in one seed.                          ~Robert H. Schuller

You just never know how fruitful the harvest may be, but all harvest begins with a simple seed.  I’m no farmer, but I do know if nothing gets planted, nothing is going to grow.  This is true for a garden.  This is true for goals and dreams, families, academics, ministries and careers.  We have to start something, or we surely won’t finish it.  Hmm.  Deep.

Just one seed can produce life.  A flower.  A son.  A soul’s birth.  Hope can spring forth.  Dreams can take flight.  Plans can be laid.  Hearts can open.  The tiny, powerful seed can produce a harvest.

What will I sow today?  I know that not all of it will last.  My prayer is that some of it will.  My prayer is that God will give me seed and that I will sow it generously,  (2Cor 9:6).  God causes the temporal to have lasting value, if given back to Him.  Every time.

Seeds are  spiritual.  We have to trust God with the outcome.  He watches over the crop.  He brings the increase.  God grows the seed. We plant and water (1 Cor 3:6). 

Seeds will produce their own kind.  A sunflower seed is not going to produce a tulip.  A kernel of corn will not make a bean sprout.  Hate will not produce love.  Mercy will not produce judgment.  So, I must plant the seed that God gives me, if I want a harvest unto righteousness.

God, I come to You today asking for good seed.  I desire to plant courage and strength and hope in the hearts of those around me.  I desire to cultivate mercy instead of judgment and peace instead of strife.  I desire to plant words of life which will yield a harvest of righteousness for your glory. Even when I cannot see growth, I pray that I will rest in You.  I trust You to accomplish what only You can do in bringing forth an eternal crop that will delight Your heart.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Above all, Christ

Published May 29, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

“The true calling of a Christian is not to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.”  A.P. Stanley

David was a man who wore many hats.  From humble to noble, he was shepherd, warrior, worship leader, husband, father and king.  He survived many death threats.  He had great responsibilities and had multitudes of people depending on him.  He was the guy to go to when you needed something done.  He was the man to seek when you needed encouragement or comfort.  He was the guy to see when you weren’t sure what to do next.

To me, it seems that David lived potentially a very stressful existence.  He didn’t always get it right, as the Bible recorded his ups and downs, rights and wrongs.  His life’s accomplishments, for better or worse, were recorded as an example for us.  He was known as a man after God’s own heart.

David is credited as the author of Psalm 27, which was written at a tumultuous time in David’s life.  Many scholars agree that the setting and context may have been while David was hiding in a cave, under the murderous threats of King Saul and pursuit of his army.  

In Psalm 27:4, David makes a plea, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” This morning, I’m dwelling on this “one thing”.

If I were in David’s shoes, what would be the one thing most on my heart?  I think it could have easily been to ask God for protection; of my life, the lives of the men with me, and the families we’d left behind.  I would have asked God for direction, a strategy, a way out.   I may have asked Him to confound the enemy.  David may have had these things on his heart at the time, but above all else, he wanted to know that God was with him.  He knew that he needed the presence of the Lord in His life.

It’s interesting to me that while David asks to dwell in the house of the Lord, the temple had not yet been built.  If he was referring to a place to dwell, it was simply the tabernacle.  But, at the tabernacle God was inside and people were outside.  David’s heart longed for more.  He had a prophetic cry in his heart to actually be in God’s presence.  Above all else.

But, how do we do this day-to-day?  I think the answer is that we desire God above all else, but not to the exclusion of all else.  David accomplished great things in his life.  God desires us to be His hands and feet as we walk through this life.  On the job, Christ.  At school, Christ.  With friends, Christ.  At the grocery store, Christ.  On vacation, Christ.  At the hospital, Christ.  

Christ is above all, and we have been raised with Him.  Colossians 3:1-3, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

As we walk with God, it is now ALL about Jesus.  The only life we have is found in Him.  This is that “one thing”.  He is THE ONE.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me today to walk more mindful of You.  You are my life.  Your presence is in me and in all.  Help me to see you in the details of the day-to-day and bring You glory in all. In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Glory Revealed

Published April 25, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

Let every man and woman count himself immortal.  Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection.  Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.”  ~Phillips Brooks

Easter is my very favorite Holiday.  Of all the joys in life, what greater event could we possibly celebrate?  Jesus has risen!  The perfect God became a sinless man, to lay down His life to pay the penalty for my sin.  Brutally tortured and crucified.  Declaring, “It is FINISHED.”  Temple veil torn.  Access now granted for you and for me.  No longer restricted access after much sacrifice.  “He appeared once, for all, to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  (Heb. 9:26)  “He is  the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 Jn 2:2)

Dead.  For sure.  For three days.  John 10:11, “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”  The “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).    Christ, “our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor. 5:7)  No fault found in Him.  Spotless.  Free of all blemish.  A perfect sacrifice.  No life taken from Him, the Author of life.  He gave His life.  For you.  For me.

…” And He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”  Heb 9:28  The stone was rolled away.    “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days.” (Jn 2:19)  It was IMPOSSIBLE for death to keep its hold on Him. (Acts 2:24)  

How does this affect my life centuries later?  If I “confess with my mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  (Romans 10:9)    He has given me “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  (1 Pet. 3:18)

How will this resurrection impact my future?  2 Cor 4:14  “The One who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence.”  For it is the will of the Father, “that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall  have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (Jn. 6:40)  

So it is that the same hope I found in Christ years ago, was found yesterday by many.  An Easter Sonrise celebration where the life, death and resurrection of Christ was proclaimed.  Joggers paused to listen.  Cyclers stopped their spinning wheels.  Walkers strolled in.  A community gathered.  His church outside the walls.  Christ proclaimed.  A living hope.  Received fresh into hearts prepared by the Father.   Filled with promise.  Oh glorious day!

Thank You, Father for resurrection and life!  Thank You for Your goodness and grace!  Thank You for eternal life and hope.  Grow strong in the hearts of new followers.  Help us to follow Your example always and live fully to bring You glory.

Proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes

Published April 22, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

Broken like the bread of life, we often flee from pain.  We resign to live our lives, not knowing death’s true gain.
This is not the will of God, for in dying we will live.  The cross, a sign of victory and of the healing it will give.  

~Tom Booth

Easter is my very favorite Holiday!  Even before I understood its true meaning, I enjoyed the yearly childhood  ritual of getting a pretty new dress, a bonnet,  gloves and shoes.  And I still enjoy  a good Easter egg hunt!  I love all of the symbolism of the Spring season related to new life and new beginnings.  Yet, it is so much more…

Spring is a time for planting.  Seeds have to be sown before there can be a harvest.  So, as I reflect this Good Friday, I find the need to consider the cost.  While I know the end of the story and I celebrate Christ’s resurrection everyday, there was a great price paid.  An eternal seed was planted… of which you and I can reap of the harvest daily.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone.  But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives.”  John 12:24

Not wanting to assume that every reader has this understanding, Jesus was speaking of His own death here which would purchase life for you and I.  Jesus also used the symbolism of broken bread and poured out wine which believers continue to share as communion and a time of remembrance.  “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”              (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Before I really knew Jesus, (but was raised to know about Him) I felt anger for those I thought were responsible for killing Jesus.  Soldiers, religious rulers of the day, friends who betrayed Him.  What I didn’t realize was that Jesus GAVE his life for you and I.  He said, “No one takes my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do.”     John 10:18  

The price for all sin ever committed was paid by Jesus that day, for once and for all.  The righteous requirements of a holy God were met through the sacrificial death of Jesus the God-man who had never sinned.  Through His sacrifice, the price for my sin was paid.  The price for all sin was paid, for you and for me and for all who will accept and receive Him and His salvation.

Why would He do this?!  Why would anyone ever do this?!  It was for me and for you.  It was the Father’s will.  He gave His life so that we could be united with Christ, have fellowship with Him and be made one with Him and with one another.  Philippians 2:1,2   

What shall my response be, but to praise Him, wonder in His goodness, revel in His love and never- ending faithfulness.  Today I shall check my attitude.  I shall ponder Christ’s sacrifice and the power of love.  I shall challenge myself to receive Him fully and set my heart on things above.  I will agree to take up my cross and follow Him.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11

Heavenly Father, please help me to honor you today and everyday by the power of the cross.  Jesus, I thank You for the price You paid for me to know You.  Thank You for revealing truth to me by Your Holy Spirit.  Help me to live at all times in a way which brings You glory and honor.  Thank You for giving Your life for me that I can live in You.  Lord, I remember what You have done and I thank You.

From Lack to Leftovers

Published March 26, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

“God will never allow you to keep a spiritual blessing completely for yourself.  It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing for others.” ~Oswald Chambers

God uses fantastic math!  He has a way of multiplying the little that we have to offer (which was already given by Him) and making it so much better than if we had kept it.  He is wonderful!

Mark 6:30-44,  Jesus, seeking some time away, but invaded by a crowd, has compassion on the people and begins to teach them.  He taught  them “many things”.  Evidently,  He had much He wanted to share.  It became very late.    Jesus instructed His disciples to feed the people.  They would have liked to send them away.  Why?  Were they bad people?  Did they lack compassion?  Did they dislike the people?  No.  I suggest that they simply realized their own limitations.

The disciples realized the time.  It was very late.  They looked in their wallets and saw lack.  They realized in themselves , they did not have what the people needed.  So, their suggestion was, “send the people away…so they can go and buy themselves something to eat.”  But, Jesus answered, “You buy them something to eat.”

The disciples looked again at what they had; as well as what they did not have.  They calculated that it would cost them 8 months salary to feed the crowd before them.  In themselves it was impossible!  Jesus wanted to know, and He wanted them to know exactly what He had to work with.

“How many loaves do you have?”  “Go and see.”  They found out and answered, five loaves and two fish.    After they were painfully aware of their own limitations, Jesus rose to action.   He used the disciples to serve the meal.  He used them to feed the need in front of them.  What was impossible for them to do alone became a wonderful feast as Jesus looked to heaven, gave thanks, and directed His disciples in the work at hand.

All who were there ate, and were satisfied.  The meal went from lack to leftovers!  Twelve baskets full of broken pieces and bread were left over and picked up by the disciples.  Five thousand men had eaten.  An untold number of women and children most likely ate to their full as well.

The five loaves and two fish wouldn’t have fed many.  Apart from giving Jesus the little they had to work with, there would have been lack.  With Jesus there was surplus!  This is the heart of worship.  It is allowing God to be glorified by giving Him back all that we have, all that we are, all that we are not.  It is welcoming God to have His way as we extend His blessing to the hungry.

Dear Lord, I pray that You would purify my heart so that all that I have, all that I lack and all of the needs in front of me are laid open to You.  I pray that You would use all that You have already blessed me with; and multiply it in ways that only You can do.  I love honor and worship You, Lord Jesus.  Have Your way and be glorified in and through me.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

OOOOOH!!!! A Dolphin?!!

Published March 20, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”  ~unknown

I have been working on the other side of the bay quite a bit lately.   At first, I wasn’t too thrilled about the drive.  It’s not that far, but the traffic can be a challenge.  However, I have found myself enjoying the drive and somewhat looking forward to it.  It is good for my soul to be near water.  It calms me.  I am refreshed even at the sight of it.  Early morning, (in spite of traffic) it’s so beautiful to see the sun rising in the sky; or the stillness of fog hovering above the water.

It is out of my commute that the Lord began to speak to me this week.  You see, just at my first glimpse of water, on the edge of the bay something caught my eye.  Daily, my eye would behold a slight hump above the water and some ripples around it.  My heart would leap at what I thought could be a dolphin.  I have lived near their habitat for 30 years now, but I am still thrilled at a sighting!  However, as I drove closer, I would realize that it was not a friend with a fin, but a piece of drift wood.  EVERY day last week, I repeated this scenario on my commute.

One day I went in to the office earlier, closer to daybreak.  Through the trees I saw a reddish hue.  My heart warmed at what was to be a most beautiful sunrise; I was sure.  However, as I drove closer, I realized it was not the glow of the sun but the incandescence of a Walgreens sign.

I marvelled  at how I had been tricked.  I mean, really!  I can see a one time drug store duping, but a daily dolphin distortion?!!!  Believe it or not, it is from such things that God Almighty  speaks to me.

I began to ponder how easily we humans can be deceived.  We truly need to have the mind of Christ as the enemy of our soul appears as an angel of light(2 Cor 11:14).  Something can appear to us as true and good; and we want it to be so.  But, it might not be so.  In relationships, finances, business ventures, decision making we need to present it all to God and let Him sort through things for us.  God will shed His Truth and Light on our every day matters and lead us to clarity.

My other prevailing thought in this scenario is that we as humans are wired to be hopeful.  We want to see the dolphin and the pretty sunrise.  We want to see and believe the best.  We were made for that.  God’s original intent for us was that we would only know His Truth.  We would always communicate with Him as a friend.  We would never see destruction.  We would never know death or separation or loss.  We would be living in pure, unpolluted beauty and He would be our Light.  We were made to live and never lack for hope.

Lumps of wood and artifical light are poor substitutes.  But, when we want to see the best, sometimes we can be duped by cheap imitations.  Eventually they will be found out for what they truly are.  In my commute there were no consequences to this deception.  In life, the consequences can be grave.

We need to stay close to Jesus.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  2 Peter 3:15

Father, help us to cling to You and Your hope.  Help us to walk in Your Truth and Light and not be deceived.  Thank You that You have wired us to look for and believe for the best.  Help us to be wise in our understanding.  Help us to have Your mind.  Help us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Help us to discern, but not become suspicious or critical or judgmental.  Help us to remain as innocent children before their Daddy.  Help us to stay on the straight and narrow path which leads to life.  Help us to always enter through the narrow gate of Your will and lead us in Your ways.  We place our trust in You alone as the Shepherd of our souls.  I pray these things for Your glory and for our protection.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Beyond Survival, to Hope

Published February 26, 2011 by imdaddysgirl
Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man’s papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive.” 

~Jonas Salk

I am blown away by the capacity human beings have to survive.  Just today, some of the life stories people shared with me included a man being in the same bed with his wife who shot herself, a Grandfather opening his curtains in the morning to see the lifeless body of his Grandson hung from the second story, serious drug use since age 10, physical abuse and molestation, attempted suicides, IV drug use since age 13, a child witnessing his own father kill 5 people so that he could score heroin, a mother selling her daughter’s body so she could purchase Vodka…

It is not surprising that the people who shared these stories have bodies ravaged by drugs and alcohol; and souls ravaged by sin.  Who could bear it?  Yet, the bravery of the people I’m hearing these accounts from is what stands out to me.  Poor choices have been made, yes.  Their judgment is poor, yes.  But, they are at a point where they are seeking help. They of their own will are submitting themselves to a withdrawal that at the time seems like the most painful thing in their life.  Some also are experiencing “feelings” for the first time in years; rather than self medicating into numbness.

I believe that what it boils down to is that no matter what sin-sick lives these dear souls have lived, there is still room for hope in their hearts.  That is what it takes to go from mere survival to a thriving life.  Without hope people die.  Some of these people believe that they’d be better off dead, and yet they live. Though some of these people have seen very little good happen in their own lives, they hold out for a better life… which is the essence of hope after all, isn’t it?  “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?”

The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote that “I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:  I saw the tears of the oppressed- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of the oppressor- and they have no comforter.  And I declared that the dead who had already died are happier than the living who are still alive.” (Ecc. 4:1,2)

The thing is, the Comforter has come.  He dwells in you and I, believer.  He wants to be released to touch the world.  That will happen through us, if we’ll let Him.  It is so very humbling how simple kindness and compassion elicit tears and hugs and genuine gratitude from the same people I’ve mentioned above.  I see that as the work of the Comforter.

And, I see hope rise up.

“Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.”  Psalm 31:24

Father, I pray that Your hope will rise up in souls ravaged by sin today.  Where people know You, I pray that they would come to know You better and lean on You more.  In souls who have yet to experience Your saving grace, I pray that You reveal Yourself to them and that Your life invade their mere existence,  illuminating their world.  I pray for the Comforter to fill breaking hearts with peace, love, strength and fresh hope for a new day.  Help us to be Your hands and feet in this broken world.  It is for Your glory that I pray these things in Jesus name.  Amen.