Posts Tagged ‘hope

29
May
13

Holding on through the hurricane

In football, there is (or at least used to be) a penalty for “piling on” which is when players keep falling on the player with the ball after he is already down. Unfortunately in this game of life, the enemy will seek to “pile on” whenever and wherever he can. In fact, this is one of his favorite tactics to frustrate, bring down, cripple and defeat a believer.

Most of us can tolerate a hit once in awhile. Many of us can handle repeated hits occasionally. Few of us can handle one hit after another for days on end and none of us can handle all of the above for a lifetime. Sometimes it seems that life just doesn’t want to let up, that the pressures and afflictions are like drenching rains that fall every day causing the rivers to rise and the roof to leak.

Few forces of nature are more awesome in power and scope than a major hurricane. Not only is there torrential rain and winds strong enough to rip off roofs and collapse walls, there is usually a storm surge which is every bit as dangerous as its first cousin-a tidal wave. Put together, a hurricane provides the perfect example of how things pile up and pile on in life.

As pressures mount, fears increase and the mind and nerves become frayed and tattered; the tendency is to “freak out”. Freaking out is equivalent to “snapping” which is the ultimate goal of the enemy. As long as we can bend in the wind we have a chance of surviving. It is only when we snap that the game is over and the enemy has succeeded in his goal of stealing, killing and destroying us.

The ability to endure a storm and not snap is called PATIENCE in the Bible. In many respects, patience simply means to “hang on or hang in there”. Unfortunately, there are many times in life when all we can do is hang on for dear life as the brunt of the storm moves in. During these times of extreme pressure, chaos and crisis, the only thing God asks of us is to hang on and never let go of His hand. If we hang on, we will endure the storm and be saved. If we freak out, snap or give up—we lose.

I wish I could say the promise of God is that we never have to endure storms in this life, but that is a lie. For as long as we live, there will be times of tranquility and times of storminess. There will be times of quietness and times of intense turmoil. Our job is to first seek to eliminate the storm but if we can’t, then it is to hang onto the hand of God and never let go. When we hang onto Him, not only will we endure the storm but we will enjoy the glorious light at the end of the storm–which is our hope.

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17
Apr
13

We shall behold Him, face to face

For 30 years there has been a song which has brought me through the darkest night, given me strength to keep going and reinforced the hope in my heart that Christ is coming back. Written by Dottie Rambo and performed by many artists, the song “We Shall Behold Him” is a classic for those of us who were around when Christian music first got started.

After being beaten down by countless disabling and disheartening experiences, there began to stir within my heart the beginnings of a desire to rise up again for God in 1993. At the time, I had a large collection of cassette recordings by various Christian performers. Slowly, I started weaving songs together into musical story of Jesus Christ for those too stubborn to listen to sermons or those simply needing music to heal and touch their lives.

Soon after I started making those tapes in 1993 I stumbled upon a recording of “We Shall Behold Him” by Sandy Patti that truly moved me to not only tears but open weeping. This song became one of the signature songs on these tapes which I gave away to people who requested them or needed them. Certainly such a thing would be frowned upon today but 20 years ago the whole copy write frenzy was just beginning in Christian music.

One day in early 1994 as I was making a tape of songs relating to the hope, I allowed myself to be caught up in this song as never before. I vividly remember experiencing the whole event in my mind, and in so doing gaining a genuine appreciation and yearning for the return of Christ. It was at that point in my life, nearly 20 years ago, that much of the pain and agony I had gone through in previous years dropped away from me once and forever.

The more the reality of Christ’s imminent return burns in your heart, the less anything this world has done to you or offered you impacts you. When the hope becomes an absolute certainty in your heart, what happens to you (both good and bad) in this life is relegated to a position of being strangely dim and largely unimportant.

Nothing enables us to live and give unabashedly to our Lord more than the hope of His return burning in our hearts. The hope keeps everything in this life in perspective and allows us to move past failure, rise up when knocked down and live the way Jesus told us to live. Without the hope burning in our hearts, we of all people are most to be pitied.

If you have 5 minutes to spare, perhaps you could sit back, close your eyes and let this song reignite the fire of passion for the Lord Jesus Christ by way of the realization that He is returning SOON and that whenever He does, it will be the most incredible event eternity has ever witnessed. Enjoy.

15
Apr
13

What does it mean to be “held” by the Lord?

There are many heart wrenching events in life that devastate people’s faith and lead them to the darkness of depression and/or bitterness. Certainly near the top of this awful list would be for a mother to lose a child to sickness or injury. There is a special Godly bond between a mother and her child that is unique and produces a bond that is one of the strongest on earth. Any time this bond is broken there is pain, but when it is permanently broken through premature death it is devastating.

Also on this list would be for either a husband to lose his wife or a wife to lose their husband abruptly or far too early in life. The bond between a Christian husband and wife is stronger than steel for the love and devotion to Christ is the bond. When that bond is broken, for whatever reason but especially death, a person sinks into a state of loss impossible to understand unless you have been there and experience it.

A few years ago a woman name Christa Wells wrote a song based on the stories of three women who either lost a child or a husband. Their stories are touching and even more so is how each of them managed to deal with their grief and become stronger because of it. In each case, the horrible circumstances they encountered brought them closer to God, for it was His comfort that brought them through the darkest night of their lives.

My mom and dad were married almost 60 years. When my dad died in 1998 my mom soon sunk into a great depression. She was 80 years old and for the first time since the Great War in 1942 she was all alone. She did not handle things very well and stayed with her two sisters for most of the next year. Without a strong relationship with the Lord, she drifted into a state of sorrow mixed with physical pain. My heart went out to my mom and from 1999 until her death in 2006 I functioned as her caregiver.

We are surrounded by untold thousands of men, women and children who awake each day to a heart filled with sorrow, grief or bitterness. These people have been unable to see the loving hand of Jesus stretched out to them because their eyes are clouded by tears and their hearts hardened by resentment. Oh how the Lord cries for each one of these precious people and longs to hold them in His arms and tenderly heal their wounded hearts. For more information on this song here is the link:

http://www.christawellsmusic.com/2008/10/15/what-it-means-to-be-held/

Natalie Grant took the words Christa Wells wrote and turned it into one of the most moving songs ever produced. Whether you are drowning in sorrow, lost in the darkness of fear or suffocating in the bitterness of resentment, this song is guaranteed to help. If there was ever a song ordained by God, both in word and presentation, it is the song “Held”. I pray hearing this song again will help all of us realize how deeply people hurt and how greatly the Lord Jesus loves them.

20
Mar
13

Our Promised Land awaits us as Christians

We have so much to be thankful for. Besides the tangible blessings of life itself, family and provisions; there are the intangible qualities associated with the finished work of God in Christ. Many times we tend to overlook these blessings because we cannot see, hear, touch or taste them. This becomes very important when looking at one of the most amazing verses in the New Testament found in Ephesians 1:3 where it says:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

Two huge questions arise when thinking about this verse: What are spiritual blessings and where are the heavenly places spoken of. Without a basic understanding of these two important points, there is no way we can even begin to grasp the fullness of what was accomplished through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, Moses taught the children of Israel in Deuteronomy about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. Throughout the long sections dealing with this subject, everything was related to situations that could be seen, heard, tasted, smelled or touched. In other words these blessings, and curses also, were tangible and in the realm of the physical.

Moses taught these incredible truths as the people neared the Promised Land. This physical location was where (after numerous physical battles to wipe out the ungodly heathen) God had promised the children of Israel they would dwell in His land as His people. This Promised Land would flow with milk and honey (quite a switch after years of manna and quail) and produce abundant crops etc.

Our Promised Land is the hope we have of living eternally in the heavenly places where our God abides. Our Promised Land is not a physical but rather a spiritual place wherein there is no more death, pain, crying or trouble. According to Ephesians, we are already spiritually seated in these heavenly places and when Christ returns, we will join Him there with our new body and perfectly renewed mind.

Just as our Promised Land is spiritual, so our blessings are spiritual also. Through everything Jesus Christ did for us we have been redeemed and given every spiritual blessing available in Christ. Granted, these blessings are in the heavenly places we look forward to, but we have been given assurances by God that they are ours nonetheless.

Please look at Ephesians 1:13 and 14:

“In Christ ye also trusted after ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in Whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 which is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”

God has sealed us with His Holy Spirit of promise which is the pledge (guarantee) of our inheritance which we receive when Christ returns. The Holy Spirit within us is our absolutely legally binding guarantee that we have access to the heavenly places and once there, we will be immersed in and enjoy every spiritual blessing God has created forever and ever.

There is so much more to celebrate the next ten days besides Jesus dying for our sins and being raised from the dead. Our celebration is not only in what happened 2,000 years ago or what is happening today but in the hope of what will happen when we cross our River Jordan and set foot in the Heavenly Places where we will be welcomed by God Himself and immediately blessed by Him with every spiritual blessing He has.

05
Mar
13

The battle was won but the war was just beginning

Without question, November 22, 1984 marked the absolute low point of my life. It was on that date as I sat in my car upon a mountain top in western Colorado that I realized once and for all how utterly helpless I was in and of myself. It was on that day that I reached the point of complete brokenness. There is no doubt in my mind that due to my state, the Lord was able to do what I had tried unsuccessfully to do for years and that was to fight my battles.

After innumerable attempts to get me to see the light on this matter, I believe the Lord led me to that mountaintop to help me once and for all understand that HE must fight the enemy and not me, that HE is the protector and defender of my life and not me and that HE called and promised me that HE would never leave or forsake me NO MATTER WHAT.

After slaying all the prophets of Baal, Elijah went to a cave and asked God to take his life. He was tired, utterly worn out and as we would call it today—wasted. I can sort of relate to how that great man of God felt but then again I have no clue how a man feels after physically killing hundreds of the enemy’s top men.

God did not honor Elijah’s request at that time but instead demanded that he first find Elisha and teach him everything he knew so that he could carry on and do even greater things than he had done in his lifetime. After Elijah did what God called him to do, he literally got the ride of his life as God took him away in a chariot of fire.

I am no Elijah, not by a long shot, but I do understand what happened with him and believe that the same sort of thing happened in my life. For entirely different reasons, I reached the point on November 22nd of that year where I was asking God to take me home to Him. I had nothing left to give inside of me. I was drained, worn out, beaten down and harassed day and night by my personal failures and sins.

What happened that morning, I believe, was God letting me know that there were still things left in this life He needed me to do and that it was not time for me to go home yet. It took me years to understand the whys and wherefores of what happened that day, but in due time I did see why the Lord required I stick around for what has now been close to 30 years.

I used to believe that in order to be important to God, I must minister to the multitudes, preach to the thousands and be someone everyone recognized as a great man of God. What God showed me in no uncertain terms that morning in 1984 was the utter fallacy of such thinking. He proved to me that loving, fighting for and standing with one person is the greatest thing any of us can do in this life, for that is what He did for me.

God made me a promise on August 24th of 1969 that as long as the candle burns in the darkness, He would always be with me to help, guide and protect me as long as my heart stayed committed to Him. Even though I thought in 1984 that God hated me because of all I had done, in reality God knew my heart and knew that I still loved Him and was broken because I did not believe I could still serve Him.

All I know about that day is that Jesus Christ personally fought satan for my life. Satan claimed I was his to kill due to my expressed intention to end my life and Jesus claimed I was His due to my lifelong commitment to Him. In due time, Jesus played His trump card and the battle was over. As soon as Jesus confirmed that He had given His life for me 2000 years ago to redeem me and that because I was a child of God satan had no rights over my life; the battle immediately ended for satan knew the legality of my redemption.

Just as He had done when he saved the woman caught in adultery from being stoned, so Jesus saved me from the wrath of satan whose claims of condemnation worthy of death were rebuked by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Just as in the case of the woman, Jesus told me “go and sin no more”. Jesus did not demand I hang on a cross for my sins because He already did that for me 2000 years ago. Jesus did not demand I get a big “S” on my forehead to signify I was a sinner. All Jesus demanded was that I go and sin no more.

After the battle, I know in my heart that Jesus lifted my broken and wasted body and soul and carried me to a place where He personally ministered to me. I believe He reached deep within me and tenderly put the pieces of my broken heart back together again. Jesus did not transform me into a glowing Moses or some kind of superman. No, He simply breathed back into me the breath of life and let me know that in His due time He would lead me to where He wanted me to be to do what HE wanted me to do.

Holding onto that promise, I had the strength to make it through what turned out to the three most difficult years of my life. Sure enough, in His due time He fulfilled His Word and through incredible miracles, He moved heaven and earth to enable me to spend my life ministering to one person at a time.

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I have decided that the greatest thing I can do for you is to open my heart and share with you the incredible story of how God took me from the state of hopelessness, brokenness and utter despair to His promised land of inner peace, fulfillment and contentment. I pray that as I share things in the coming days and weeks that God works in your heart to see what He has done and will do for you and your situation.

As always; Blessings 2 You

21
Feb
13

With every ounce of my beling I long to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

With everything within me I yearn for the moment our Lord Jesus returns. Absolutely nothing in this life could compare with the glory that we will enjoy when we, in an instant of time, find ourselves standing face to face with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

As wonderful as this life is at times, I long for an end to the pain and aggravation each day brings having to put up with this body and this world. With all of my heart I hold on to the promise that there will be an immediate end to all pain, suffering and tears when Christ returns or we die and go to Him.

I do not know when Christ is coming back and have no desire to debate the issue. All I know and believe with every fiber of my being is that He IS returning soon and that when He does, I will cease to be a citizen of this world.

For nearly 45 years I have held firm to the belief that Christ is returning soon. Many have told me that I am delusional and have “ruined my life” by holding fast to this hope. I have been scolded, castigated, rejected, and mocked for my ironclad faith in the hope God has set before us.

If given the choice of taking a pill and being given 100 more years of this life or departing for glory tomorrow I would be first in line, ready to depart. Nothing in this life compares to that which awaits us once we depart this life, through death or the return of Christ, and join all the believers from all the ages heaven’s golden shore.

I have no desire whatsoever for worldly fortune or fame. I have no desire whatsoever to receive the accolades of man for being a good humanitarian. I have no desire whatsoever to stand upon a stage and receive degrees of accomplishment in worldly matters so as to spend the rest of my life laboring to stockpile earthly treasures.

With all my heart and soul, I desire nothing more than to please my Savior in this life and be with Him forever and ever. Nothing means more to me than knowing in my heart that I have done the best I could do for God and that one day I will receive my just reward from Jesus Christ Himself for what I have done for Him in this life.

It is my firm belief that the closer a believer is to the Lord, the stronger the desire for His return. Conversely, those who appear to be pillars of the faith but are not, have no great desire for the return of Christ because their reward is limited to this life.

I feel sorry for those who scoff at the notion Christ may soon return. I pray for those who so enjoy this life they do not want Christ to return. My heart rejoices with those, who like myself, long for Christ to come quickly. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

01
Feb
13

Worn out by the struggles of this life

I recently heard a song that truly reached into my heart and pulled it closer to God. No, this song was not extolling the virtues of God like you would think. Instead, this song honestly communicated the state of confusion, despair, pain and hopeless millions of Christians have sunk into due to relentless attacks and/or pressure in their lives.

The song “Worn” by 10th Avenue North is one like no other I have ever heard. It is the first song I am aware of that truly portrays how many believers feel, whether for a day, a week or perpetually. I think all of us need to realize there are countless of our brothers and sisters in Christ facing struggles that knock them down, pin them to the mat and seek to knock them out of the game.

My heart has always gone out to those who are struggling like a drowning person in the ocean. Compassion dictates reaching out and giving them a helping hand instead of preaching at them or condemning them for being weak or human. It has always been a source of pain in me to see a fellow Christian being beaten to a pulp by life, and believe me, there are plenty of people out there who are in this state.

Perhaps this is why I have no place for the sanctimonious “holier than thou” or “better than you” attitude manifested by so many within the Body of Christ. It rips my heart to shreds when I see believers harden their hearts and refuse to allow their bowels of compassion to move toward those facing the worst battles of their lives. It just should not be like this.

Haven’t we all been through times when the pressures of life or the demands that arise from a particular situation relentlessly smack us over the head with a log? Haven’t we all been reduced to a state of hanging on for dear life as the enemy continually throws one punch after another at us? Haven’t we all faced the strain that comes with an ongoing physical, financial or emotional crisis?

Many times all someone needs is the assurance that things will work out and there will indeed be an end to the storm battering them. Many times all someone needs is the reassurance they are not alone but there is someone standing with them in prayer who will not judge, condemn or ignore them.

I remember vividly the times in my life when I was hanging on by a thread, crying out for help and no one would respond. I survived only because I believed God would save me or I would be no more. As I listened to this song, it brought tears to my dry eyes because I have been at the place this songs talks about and God has always pulled me out of it somehow. Please take a moment and allow this powerful song to work in your heart as God sees fit.

http://youtu.be/UUEy8nZvpdM