Devotional

Psalm 71- Part Three of Five

You Are My Hope, O LORD God

For You are my hope, O Lord God: You are my trust from my youth. But I will hope continually, and I will praise you yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  Psalm 71:5, 14, 15 NKJV

I recently traveled from San Diego to Tennessee. I didn’t know the way, but I was confident that the pilot of the plane did. I could have worried that the pilot would get lost, or that the plane would not have enough fuel. Instead, I sat in peace, able to read and write. I had the certain hope that I would arrive at the right location because the pilot knew where he was taking me.

Our Lord knows where we are going. He has our whole lives planned out before even one day has come about. He knows what each day has in it. He knows the direction and end point of the journey for each of us.

I know the Lord has everything in His capable hands, so why do I fret over the what-ifs of possible illness, or if my husband and I will be able to work until we want to retire?  Why do I get so upset by small things, like the item I can’t find at a given moment? Do you find yourself anxious about things beyond your control?

Why do we worry? Can it be that we forget who the LORD really is?

The Lord God is Sovereign. He is in control. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Satan couldn’t attack Job without God’s permission. (Job, chapter 1) When God gave His permission, He set limits to the attacks on Job. I don’t pretend to understand that. However, it is assuring to know that our righteous God filters everything through His hands.

In Psalm 71, the Psalmist shares his hope in God’s deliverance. He looks at the Lord’s presence in his past and knows that God will be with him in the future. This hope leads him to praise God.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, since my youth. …I will ever praise you. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.  Psalm 71:5, 6, 9, 14, 20, 21 NKJV





Jesus Christ also had a certain hope. He knew He would endure pain, ridicule, betrayal, suffering, and ultimately, death. Yet He willingly chose to die on the cross for our sins knowing that he would live again, and that through Him, those who believe in Him would receive eternal life.

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We can have a certain hope if we are following Jesus. We can rely on our Pilot, the LORD God. He knows our journey. He will be with us, guiding us and providing everything we need.

Let’s take hope. Let’s remember who the Lord is. Writing out what God has done for us in the past also helps us have hope in the future. As we look at God’s faithfulness, may we praise the Lord!

Dear Lord God, You are my hope. I will praise you. When I waver, please strengthen me and help me to remember You are trustworthy. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

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Devotional

God’s Hope Does Not Disappoint

HOPE series part 3 of 3

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 NKJV

Do we hope in God?

Consider how great God’s love is for us. His love is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. His love is so deep that God wanted us to be reconciled to Him.

Perhaps you have a loved one cut off from you or your family that you desperately want to reconnect with. Maybe that person is you. That separation cuts like a sharp knife. I know my heart breaks by division between some of my loved ones, and also by those who have chosen to walk away from God. The cost is high when any relationship falls apart.

Division breaks God’s heart, too. As sinners, all have been separated from God. That hurt God so much that His only Son, Jesus Christ, paid our death sentence for sin. God’s righteousness is accredited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. By faith, we are justified, or made righteous in the sight of God. (Romans, chapters three and four) I hope that you have come to God, through faith in Jesus Christ. If not, I pray that you will start there in your journey of hope.

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We have hope because of the reconciliation God made available for us. Jesus’ loving gift of his death and resurrection for us bridged the chasm between us and God that was made by sin.

In addition to hope, we have so much more! Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV, emphasis mine)

This hope is not just for our eternity. We have hope now! God gave us the Holy Spirit as a promise of our reconnection to Him. The Holy Spirit lives within us to guide us in the truth, assist us in obedience to God, and help us to become more like Jesus. Paul wrote, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that all suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3,4 RSV) While I struggle with rejoicing in suffering, it is helpful to know that the Holy Spirit is with me through it, and that it will help me build endurance, or patience.  It in turn develops a tried character and hope.

Let’s hold on to the hope we have in Jesus for the now as well as for the future. God’s hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5) Like Simeon, we can have hope that is based on God’s word and that is certain of fulfillment. (Luke 2, Hope –part 1) Like Abraham, we can grow strong in our faith, fully convinced that God is able to do what He promised. (Romans 4: 20-22, Hope-part 2,) May we always remember the love God has for us and the Holy Spirit we have within us as believers in Christ. We have access by faith into God’s grace in which we stand.

Thank you, God, for the certain hope I have in You. Thank you for making my reconciliation with You possible through faith in Christ Jesus, who died and rose again for me to have life. Thank you for the hope I have because of Your love poured out in me by Your Holy Spirit within me.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

HOPE – Part 2 of 3

Hope for the New Year

 [Abraham], contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” …He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:18, 20-22 NKJV

It’s a new year. How can we get through the year ahead? We don’t know the future. Perhaps this time will be smooth sailing for us; but maybe a health issue looms, a loved one may die, or a job is either unstable or lost. Will worry consume us? Will we give room for the doubts and fear? It’s easy for me to say God will come through on something, but to later doubt it while waiting for it to happen. But I don’t want the despair of unbelief. You probably don’t either. Will we face this year with hope?

Look at Abraham. He certainly had reason to question the future, and to wonder how God was going to fulfill His promises. Before God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, God had told him, “…all the land which you see I give to you and to your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:14-17) Years later, Abraham still was childless. To make it more hopeless, he was about 100 years old, his body as good as dead regarding fathering a child. His wife, Sarah, was 90 years old and now past her barren child bearing years. Without even one child together, how were they to become the father and mother of nations?

His wife’s earlier scheme of having his child through her maid servant had resulted in the birth of Ishmael when Abraham was 86 years old. Fourteen years later, God told Abraham that while Ishmael would begin a nation, he was not the child of promise. The LORD’s everlasting covenant would be through Isaac, whom Sarah would deliver a year later. (Genesis 16 & 17)

Abraham in hope believed God, even when all seemed against his hopes of the promises coming true.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. How was he able to praise God? How was Abraham able to believe the impossible would happen?

Abraham was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Abraham had learned over time to believe God. He had seen Him be faithful and trustworthy.  Abraham’s belief in God’s promise was accounted to him for righteousness.

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Are we truly convinced that the Lord is able to do what He says He will do?

Let’s think back to all of the times God has been faithful and kept His word. Let’s write down what God has done for us and in us. If you journal, a look into past journals will help jog the memory of God’s care for you.

In reviewing what God has done, may we be strengthened in our faith. Let’s not waver in believing the many promises God has made to us, but claim His promises for us with the expectant hope that God will fulfill them. Then, like Abraham, let’s give glory to God.  

Dear Lord, thank you for Your care for me. Thank you for the times You have delivered me from situations beyond my endurance, and carried me through times of difficulty. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned from Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. Help me to remember Your faithfulness when I am overwhelmed so that I may believe without wavering. Strengthen my faith, God. I give You the glory. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are available on my website for your convenience. I pray 2022 will be a year of growth in Jesus for you and for me.

Devotional

HOPE – Part 1 of 3

Hope Came on Christmas

[Simeon] took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  Luke 2:28-32 NLT

HOPE. It seems that the Christmas season is full of hope. Perhaps it is to get the gift we want, or that we may get a Christmas bonus this year. Sometimes, we use the word ‘hope’ like it’s a wish because of the uncertainty of it. Our hope may be a deeper anticipation. Will we get a new job? Will we get together with family and friends? If we do spend time with them, will everyone get along? We can’t live without hope. A person who is hopeless soon gives up or falls to depression.  

Yet there is a certain hope, which is based on facts. It is an expectant hope, because the One filling it is trustworthy to come through and fulfill the desire. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines hope: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

In Luke, chapter two, Simeon realized a certain hope. Living in Jerusalem before Jesus was born, Simeon was righteous and devout, eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel, also known as the Consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah, or Christ. Simeon believed God, knowing that whatever God said was true, and so he could hope with the certainty of having it come to pass.

The day that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple as the Law required, the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. Why was it so important to Simeon to see the Messiah? His hope was based on faith in God’s Word. God would be revealed to the nations! The promised and long awaited Messiah would come to Israel. How excited he must have been when the Holy Spirit revealed that this couple carried the Messiah with them into the Temple! The Savior had come at last!

Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Joseph and Mary marveled at the things Simeon told them about Jesus.

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Do we marvel at the hope we have in Jesus? He revealed God the Father to us in human flesh, while being God Himself. He bridged the gap so we could have the relationship with God that sin had broken. Do we trust Jesus with our future?

Let’s read verses every day that will remind us of who Jesus is. Here are a few to start with, if you like: Matthew 1:18-25, especially verses 20, 21, 23; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:36-40.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for the hope we have in You. We don’t have to go through life alone, for You, Immanuel, are God with us. May we never take You for granted. Amen.  

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you throughout the New Year!

Devotional

Jesus Prepares a Place for His Followers

Do not let your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:1,2 NASB

Several of my friends have died in the past fifteen months. A sudden heart attack, cancer, Covid-19, and other illnesses have struck friends in their fifties as well as later in life. While some deaths were expected, others shocked me when I heard the news.


I grieve, of course. Jesus, the God of comfort, wept when He went to the home of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died. Death always causes such pain and grief for the family and friends. No longer will I see some of my friends at church, or pick up the phone to talk with them, or see a social media posting from time to time from those far away. Death seems so… permanent.


Yet for many of my friends who have died, there is a sure hope, too. For those who were Christ’s followers, this is a temporary separation. I know I will see them someday. They knew Jesus Christ, and they are home with Him!


Jesus doesn’t want us to despair. He assured His followers that He was returning to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. That place is with Him! Jesus said, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) The grave is not our final resting place. We don’t stay there!


In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (NIV)

When Jesus told Martha that her dead brother Lazarus would rise again, she said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:23-26 NASB)


Did Jesus mean that all who believe in Him do not die physically? No. We all knew Christians who have died. Jesus meant our souls would not suffer death. The believer’s soul goes to be with our Heavenly Father. Those believers will return again with Jesus when Jesus descends from heaven with a shout! The dead [bodies] will rise first and then those people who remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

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How can we confidently know that we will be with Jesus? He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) He didn’t say He was a way or a truth. He is the only way to God.

I’m convicted that I need to love my friends and family enough to tell them that Jesus is the way to God.
Do your loved ones know the way to our Heavenly Father? Do they know that Jesus paid the price of their eternal death from sin by going to the cross and dying in their place?


Jesus is preparing a place for each of us that believe in Jesus. Are you confident that you will be with Jesus?

Dear Lord Jesus, please comfort me and the loved ones of my friends who have died. Thank you for preparing a place with You, where I will someday see You and where I will see my friends again. Thank you for providing the way for me to live forever with You, free from the punishment of my sins. Help me to share the hope found in knowing You. Amen.