H.O.P.E.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

This is my prayer for all who read this.  That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.  Why?  So that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you.  For what?  The riches of His glorious inheritance and His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Learning about who He is and gaining knowledge of our Lord’s character, integrity, and compassion is the best way for us to open the eyes of our hearts and to be enlightened.  Our hope then comes from knowing Him and  understanding who He is.  We can trust Him because we know Him to be trustworthy and honest.  We can put our hope in Him when we are confident in His love for us and His ability to protect and provide for us.

H.O.P.E. could stand for Honoring Our Prince Every day.  When we know Him, we can then honor Him.  To honor is to regard with great respect.  So when we determine that He is the One True God, the Holy One, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and that He loved us first, we regard Him with great respect; we honor Him and in that honoring hope springs up in our spirit.  We hope for “the riches of his glorious inheritance” and “his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

As you learn more about your Heavenly Father and the Christ who came to Earth to live among us and to take our place on the cross, I pray that hope springs up in your spirit and you can walk in the life that God has envisioned for you.  H.O.P.E. is Honoring Our Prince Every day so make a point to honor Him in your speech, your character, your actions, and your relationships.  And He will honor you with riches of His glorious inheritance.

Our Confidence is in Him

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The definition of confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”  Having that feeling or belief that you can rely on our Lord, to have that firm trust, comes from knowing Him.  The only way to KNOW HIM like anyone else it so to spend time with Him.

When cultivating a relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship or a friendship, you spend time with that person.  You get to know that person by being with them, asking questions, talking about stuff.  The more time you spend with someone, the more you know that person.  Your trust or confidence in that person then comes from how he or she reacts to circumstances that arise while with that person.  You should not just take that person’s word for whether they are trustworthy or not.  You watch how he or she handle situations, whether they are trustworthy in their dealings with you and with others.

It is the same with the Lord.  The more time you spend time with Him and in His Word, the more you become acquainted with Him and His character.  As you cultivate your relationship with Him, you spend time with Him, talk to Him, and expect Him to communicate back to you.  You start off by giving Him small situations to entrust to Him and watch Him be trustworthy.  You let Him show you who He is and let Him build your confidence in Him.

How do we do that?  But spending time reading His Word.  Then by putting His Word into action.  Take a scripture that stands out to you, and meditate on it all day.  Maybe it is a scripture that gives you peace.  Let that peace come over you as you think on it.  Say it in your mind and say it our loud.

The Word is the only thing that is life-changing.  Hebrews 4:14 says in the NLT, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest twoedged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Let the Word teach you who our Lord is.  Have confidence in Him that He will be there for you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.  Trust Him that He will see you through anything that comes your way.  Spend time with Him and find Him trustworthy so that you may have the confidence in Him.

In the 8th verse in Jeremiah 17 above, it says, “They (the people who have confidence in the Lord) will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The more you spend time with Him the more your roots are soaked with the nourishment they need to see you through a drought.  There will be no fear that you will dry out or that you won’t bear fruit.  You will have water to spare because you have been preparing and soaking your roots for the day of the drought.  These are the people who seem to be able to walk through a fire because they have prepared their root system in advance.  Soak up the Word of God so that you will be prepared for whatever fire comes your way, whatever drought or life-change may try to attack you.  You will have confidence in your Lord because you have developed that relationship so that you can count on Him to see you through.

 

 

Holy and Dearly Loved

I was reading Colossians 3 in I found in verses 12-14 some astounding statements.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which bonds them all together in perfect unity.”

Wow, the first statement makes all the rest come to pass in our lives.  It says “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly love.”  If we could truly grasp what this means to us, that we are holy and dearly loved.  Every human in the world desires to be dearly loved.  We are born with the innate desire to be loved.  So no matter what our upbringing was, whether loving or not, we can look to our Heavenly Father to dearly love us.  First and foremost, before we can embark on the journey our Heavenly Father has for us, which is stated in the next scriptures, we must understand and truly absorb what being dearly loved means.

There are three kinds of love: eros love, philos love, and agape love.  We are familiar with eros love.  Eros is a Greek term which means desire and longing.  It is romantic love and has much to do with the physical attraction we have between man and woman.  In the beginning of a romantic relationship, this kind of love is apparent but if it is not checked and kept in balance, it can become selfish and possessive.

Philos love is in relationships that we have with brothers and sisters just as with our Christians brothers and sisters.  It is a fondness and familiarity with people with like minds.  We pal around with people who like to do the same things and think the same way.  This is a rewarding kind of love that we have with friends and family but it is not always reliable and it can be hurtful at times when relationships go sour.

Agape love is the love Jesus has for His Father, that God has towards us, and the love that we are commanded to have toward everyone, believer or not.  Unlike eros and philos love, we do not have to have a feeling to act on this kind of love.  It is more a decision and, with that decision, we act loving towards others.  This decision to love comes from the fact, not feeling, that God loves us conditionally, therefore we should want to reciprocate that by loving others in the same way.  If we can truly understand this agape love that God has for us, it comes naturally that we show love toward others.  If we are not loving toward others, we may not really understand how we are loved dearly by our Heavenly Father.  This love is unconditional and everlasting.  You can do nothing to make it go away.

The next scripture then says that we should “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Since we are dearly loved, we should work on developing these attributes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  This is not to say we can do these immediately after receiving Christ, but that we should work to develop these in our lives through studying the Word of God which teaches us how to live our lives worthy of Him.  And that post is for another day.

Today, know that God dearly loves you and wants the best for you.  He desires that you be blessed as you are His child just all fathers want their children to be blessed.  He loves you with agape love that is unconditional and everlasting.

 

Noah’s Rainbow

As I was teaching the 4 and 5 year olds this morning in church, I was reminded of God’s promises.  We have been teaching on the Fruits of the Spirit and how God helps us to be like Jesus by helping us to grow in the Fruits of the Spirit.  We were talking about faithfulness today and how God is faithful in His promises to us.  I read the story of Noah’s Ark to the children, and they are always fascinated with this story of the animals getting on the very big boat.  It was not the story in the curriculum but I thought of the rainbow that God gave Noah to remind him that He would never flood the whole earth again.  God has so many promises that He has made and He has not failed in any of them.

Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”  

Verse 25 is interesting, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  God’s promises are as 2 Corinthians 1:20 says in the New Living Translation, “for all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.”  

But why this discourse on “Yes” and “Amen”?  I’ve heard this scripture many times but let’s look at the previous scriptures and this “Yes” and “Amen” stuff will make more sense.

It begins in verse 17, “You may be asking why I changed my plan.  Do you think I make my plans carelessly?  Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”?  As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waiver between “Yes” and “No.”  He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.” 

His promises are always fulfilled.  Our faithfulness should be a direct response to God’s faithfulness.  This is one of His promises to us, that He is faithful.  Faithful to what?  Well, many things, but one in particular would be that He is faithful to forgive us our sin if we ask Him to.  If we cannot think of any other promise (which I am sure we can), this one is big enough to keep us faithful to our God who is faithful to us not matter what. There is so much more on this subject that I will expound on this another day.

Remember, anytime you see a rainbow, let it be a reminder of HIs promises to us and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises.

 

Grace and Peace

In 2 Peter 1:2-4 (which by the way is where 124 comes from) the Word says,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

There is so much rich stuff in these verses, but let’s start at verse 2, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”  The word tells us here that we can have grace and peace multiplied in our lives but we have to pursue knowledge of God and of Jesus.

Knowing the character of God will multiply grace and peace in our lives.  John 14:27 says that Jesus gives us His peace.  That means that the peace that He walked in on this earth is the same peace that He gives us.  It is a free gift; the key is knowing the trustworthiness of our God and that He does what He says He will do.

The next verse says, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”

This grace and peace is by His divine power.  It is not up to us to gain this but to pursue knowledge and He gives by His divine power.  So many times we think that it is something that we have to do or to earn but as you can see, it is by His divine power.  It is all about Him and not about us.

Remember: Grace and peace are yours when you pursue the knowledge of God.  When we are passionate about knowing who He is, and not just that he is God, but His character, His integrity, His love, then grace and peace are multiplied in our lives.

As the famous quote says, “To know him is to love him,” this is true of our Heavenly Father.

I will continue on this subject in the next few posts because there is so much to pull out of these scriptures.