Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Hope, How I’ve Missed You!

To hope is to be truly alive!

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three…” -(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Hope is essential. So essential, it made it to a very short list, which includes love of all things!

When I started Hope’s Diaries, I never imagined how great a thing hope was. I thought I knew its worth, but I’ve learnt over the past almost 4 years that I didn’t.

In some of my posts, I have written about my optimistic outlook on life. I’ve always been an optimist. I had no idea I could ever struggle with that part of myself. I thought it was this unshakable, unchangeable thing.

For these years past, I have learned patience and endurance, contentment and trust. Trust in God means that I don’t have to bug Him every 5 seconds about something I’ve thought or planned or wanted. It was first God’s offer and then it became my choice to learn patience, trust and contentment. It was very difficult- has been difficult.

However, somewhere along the line, having faced disappointments in walking down my path of good intentions, I lost a lot of hope. I say a lot of hope as if hope can be quantified, because my eternal hope in God was secure, and my hope in some of His promises was intact. I lost a lot of hope, and dreamed less. Why? I was afraid.

“I was afraid”, the very first words of Adam after he sinned against God.

“I was afraid, and so I hid”. I hid from life, from hope, from dreaming.

The Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. Fear also works against hope. And hope against fear. To hope is to overcome fear. Hope.

Hope is essential for faith which is essential to please God, which is essential for life. I haven’t been taught much about hope; in some circles, hope is for the weak; for those who aren’t making their own destinies.

There’s such a thing as sure hope. Like the Hope the Bible talks about for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That’s a sure hope. And it’s within your reach. We can have hope assured because of God’s love and God’s promises which are so many. We can hope because we are loved by Someone so large, so…Love. We can hope so we can believe, and then we would truly live.

To hope is to truly be alive!

Can I hope again? Or dream again? Can I look forward even as I look up? Yes. I can. I will hope. I will have lot’s and lot’s of hope!

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

God Knows Me.

God knows me.

He knows my likes and dislikes and He knows what makes me tick.

He’s led me through beautiful scenes just to bring me pleasure – to make me smile at the sunrise early in the morning. He knows me like that.

Some days I don’t feel worthy at all. On those days I see myself through what I think are other people’s perspectives; I see myself through the eyes of condemnation. On those days I feel that I look like the version of myself God saved me from. The more I look into people’s eyes to reveal what I look like, the less satisfied I am. And then I find myself becoming more like that terribly inaccurate reflection of me.

I am not my old self; I am my new self. God knows me.

He knows when I struggle under the weight of my own expectations. He also knows when I’m triumphant, and when I act like He does.

Early today, I prayed to my Father and asked for His help. I was struggling with my negative thoughts about myself and others. In that moment I really asked for His help and believed He would help me. He helped me. He really did. And He helped me while He showed me beautiful sights. I saw plains and felt the cool breeze on me, while the sun was rising. I like things like that, and He knows. God knows me like that.

I am under my Father’s wings. Kept and groomed. And much loved.

Sometimes I fear that I am far from Him. He is always near to me. Never departing. I actually, not figuratively, have the Holy Spirit living in me. Don’t ask me how. He’s living in me, He’s all around me and near me. With me.

I know God – at least I’m getting to know Him. And He knows me. What’s better than that? What’s better than His love? Like David said, God’s love is better than life! Cool huh?😊

I’m at peace now. And I can rest in this truth: I’m known and loved by God. God knows me.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

Go on…

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Wow. If I’m sheep lying down in the only food I want to eat, and surrounded by it, then that’s where I want to be.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

Again, really feeling this whole sheep with Shepherd thing.

He refreshes my soul.

Sounds like heaven: A soul refreshed. It’s like being in bliss. Like someone diving into cold streams after walking days in the desert. That’s what this reminds me of. And instead of dryness, dust and sand, there’s peace and quiet music, nature welcoming, coolness and a refreshing of the soul. ‘So good it gets all the way to your soul’ kind of experience.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

He does the guiding. I never have to worry that I missed a turn – if I’m the sheep in this story. There are so many possible wrong turns and paths leading to nowhere or much worse than nowhere. But that’s not my problem. I get to go on the right paths. For his name’s sake? Does this mean if He can’t get me on the right path, then “he” has failed? But does the Shepherd ever fail? This is all theory; if I was guiding and I couldn’t guide you right, then it’s on me. But He’s God, and He never fails. I can fail if I’m doing the leading. I don’t want that responsibility – not when God’s offering to guide me!

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Valleys are usually dark. So dark, I can’t see. Fear feeds on my fears. What wolf-like creature could be lurking in the dark? No. I don’t fear because my Shepherd is with me. He must be Super Shepherd. Is there an “SS” embroidered on his cape?

Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

Every now and then when I’m walking through the valley, I feel your touch. Your staff gently redirecting me. No, not there. Left. Go left.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Now the Psalmist is talking about himself as a human. No longer his sheep form.😊 David, a man after God’s heart, anointed to be king! People after his life and his rightful throne. How audacious that he would be dining and drinking to his fill in the presence of those who seek his end! Because God Himself decides.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

Surely! All the days of my life?! I’m going to try to let that sink in.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Forever and ever. And ever. The hope after now. After this broken world. We get to be with Him. Lord, friend, lover of our souls. Everything.

This psalm is cool. I could be the sheep. Sign me up. What are the qualifications for the role? Dumb? Helpless? Dependent? Trusting? Seems pretty simple to me. Except those are not words I’d use to describe myself. Maybe God wants me to be that with Him.

If I acknowledge that I really don’t know what’s best and He does; that I can’t do anything without Him; that I completely trust His judgement, then maybe I’ll fit the role of sheep.

When Christ judges at the end of the world, He says He’ll separate mankind into two groups: The sheep and the goats.

Sheep may not sound so desirable but how about goat?! Sheep sounds pretty good to me. How about you? Sheep or goat?😃 Which do you want to be?

Peace!

P.S. The Psalm is Psalm 23:1-6 (the whole chapter), NIV version.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Tag! I’m It.

 Not my ministry, not my work, not my relationship or marriage, not the movie I want to make, not the help I want to give, not the things I know, not the ideas I come up with, not all my good intentions.

It’s like we’re in a game of Tag, and God says to us “Tag! I’m it.” That’s not how the game is played we say. “It’s tag you’re it, so I’M it.” We say. Duh, God.

“An idol is whatever you look at and say in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” – Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery (Pulling Back the Shades)
I said this quote over and over to myself before writing this post. My striving was exposed for what it was. I felt like I was watching a movie of my life plus the bloopers! I have made good things idols along the way. Some I recognized , and others I didn’t until now.

Can God fully and truly satisfy us minus all the other “good” things that we just must have? All the logical things that we just must have – that we are certain we need? Could we truly be satisfied?

The truth is I don’t have all the answers right now. But I hope to have the answers I need soon. My eyes feel like they’ve been opened. I had no idea that they were closed.

I’ve thought about Joseph. God gave him an amazing dream (two actually, but they were pointing to the same thing), but it took thirteen whole years experience what God had showed him long before. The dream was good – great even. I imagine what torture it could have been for Joseph if that’s all he thought about while being a slave and subsequently, a prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit?

How about Abraham? Father Abraham. God says to papa AB, “I’m going to give you a son. Like from your actual body.” He waits twenty-five years with his wife Sarah before that would ever happen. If all he ever thought about was having that child, what torture it would have been to wait without a set date? God didn’t tell him when. Not until a year before anyway.
God didn’t always tell people exactly when. Not Noah. Not David. He still doesn’t always tell us now. Wouldn’t it be torture if that’s all we thought about? When our God-given dreams would come true?

God doesn’t want us to look to any thing to fill us up. Even good things – especially good things – can become idols. God wants us to look to Him. He wants to be IT.

If I was really honest with myself, I would say that I would love to know what that’s like: A life of God completely satisfying.

I want to be full today. Always. Never wanting for anything. Come rain or sunshine. Through storms and stillness. To be truly full. Not ok. Not just ok.

I don’t want to strive anymore. I don’t want to push and claw through life. To have and have. I want my identity to be completely in Christ. My value, my significance, my happiness and joy, my peace, my hope, my adventures.

I know in my heart that the answer lies in saying, “Ok, God, Father…I give up. You be IT. Have it your way. I don’t like surprises but fine. Why don’t You decide where we’re going today? Why don’t You decide our activities today? You want me to go where?! Ok..? OK! I can do that. Do what?! Uhm..no problem. Wait? Err..sure. Anything You say is fine with me. I trust You with my life. You already gave me Yours. I’ve got absolutely everything to gain and nothing to lose if I realize that I’m not even mine.”

OK GOD. YESSS. I’M DOWN WITH WHATEVER. Yes, Lord, whatSOever.

Your turn.
 

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

They Believed the Lie.

book_heart-wallpaper-1366x768.jpg“They believed the lie”. This phrase lifted out of the 2Thessalonians 2:11 verse is a foreshadowing of danger, and as well a present reminder of the fact that we could fall prey to lies. I am not merely speaking of lies that people tell, but a deception by the real enemy of mankind, which is the devil.
For many, the idea of the devil in a personified figure is laughable but for others, it is true.
In 2Corinthians 2:10 and 11, Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians to forgive a certain fellow believer and also to do so in order that “Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
Paul says this knowing full well that if the church didn’t forgive this brother, it would create an opening for hurt and all kinds of dissension and distractions. The latter part of the statement gives us insight to the mind of God for His children. He doesn’t want us ignorant of the enemy’s schemes. He wants us to be aware that we could fall into mind traps by the things we choose or choose not to believe.
Sometimes we find ourselves going down certain paths, knowing there’s something wrong but not being able to get off the path. I know this all too well. I’ve found myself believing all kinds of lies. Lies like “this is all there is to life”; lies like “you have or had no other choice”, “God doesn’t care about that part of your life”, “being pure is impossible” and so many more. There are a billion and one lies for the picking.
The thing is, we may not always immediately recognize these lies and that’s why we need a standard. For some people this may sound cliche, but the word of God ought to be our standard – our weapon against the lies of the enemy. This is what Paul calls “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” in Ephesians 6:17.
All I’m saying is, whenever you find yourself being overwhelmed by a thought or even your feelings, remember Jesus our Lord, being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. He came to Jesus with all kinds of lies wrapped up with just a tiny bit of seeming truth and attempted to overwhelm the Christ, but we know what happened in the end. Jesus said to him, “it is written…”. It is written, “the word of the Lord is a lamp to my feet”(Psalm 119:105).
What I know for sure is that God intended us to live a full life…a life of love…a life of honor. Whatever is acting as a barrier to that, we can put under the microscope of the word and see clearly. And live free!
Sometimes, all you need to do is see the truth clearly.
I dare myself to believe the word of God above my thoughts and my feelings. I dare myself to actual know the word of God about any and every one of my circumstances. And I dare you. I dare you to believe the truth.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

The God of All Comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” -(2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
These verses of scripture are the reason I blog at Hope’s Diaries. I was reading the book of Second Corinthians in the New Testament and saw this verse in a new light. I realized that it captured my intentions – my hope for this blog.
The thing is, I often read other blogs from many amazing people. I must confess that I feel insecure sometimes about my blog because I find that they are so direct about their experiences in ways I wonder if I have failed to be.
I don’t have the “say it as it is” flair that I have seen in a few others, but my heart is all for the seeking reader out there. My heart is for you.
I’m constantly learning, and I hope, also improving. And I want to be able to give my very best to those who need it, so that somehow, my love would intersect with your need and create a kind of magic.
I myself have received and do receive comfort from God. I’ve seen darkness and known love. I’ve known hopelessness and heard the Voice of hope calling out to me with an indescribable love and devotion.
I can say that I love God, but I can say more certainly that He loves me. That He loves you.
Whatever doubts or questions or troubles, God is the answer. But my hope and prayer is that you’ll know Him. The real God and not the stuff of men’s imaginations. That you’ll know love and peace. May the God of ALL comfort give you comfort.
So please let’s go this journey together. We don’t have to be alone. If you need more honesty or more anything or less anything, let me know. Shoot me an email! Leave a comment! I’ll value it. I’ll appreciate it. And I hope I’ll also act on it for your benefit and mine.😊
And finally, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for following Hope’s Diaries. You are loved!cropped-image12.jpgIMG_3545

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The Waiting And Following Faith

IMG_3811Our lives are constantly revolving around things-the elements. Sometimes we find ourselves clawing and scratching, desperate to get whatever it is we think we want the most. We never really get it as one day leads into the next. We get things however, and we aren’t satisfied.
For us it is an outrageous proposition that we choose peace. We want peace but we do not choose it. We want everything.
Is my dream life a possibility? Could I really dare to choose less? Less when everyone says more? For me it is no longer an option as I have only one master, Jesus the Christ.
Wanting many things and everything is natural, but there’s a deep desire at the very core of my being, and that desire is the Person of God. I want to know Him and I want to be with Him and then truly be like Him.
He calls us every day to the extraordinary in the ordinary. He dares us to see with the eyes of our spirit and to really want what’s beneath the surface. This requires trust and faith; a daily surrender of ourselves to our known God in the face of the unknown.
I want many things but I have a Great Father and Shepherd of my soul who knows what I need. I must pause when He says pause and move when He says move. I must because He knows – He really knows. He is the author and finisher of our faith.
It takes a whole lot of faith to slow down in our fast paced world. It takes a lot  of energy to swim against the current. But without faith it is impossible to please God. So faith it is!
God opens doors we do not always anticipate and we have this urge in our spirits to walk through. Then we should even when we don’t know what’s on the other side. Some other times God keeps doors shut and we feel like we are waiting forever. We aren’t.
In these times, there is a way to wait. There are ways we can be faithful to God when we feel like not much is happening. Whatever it is we find to do, we should do with all our hearts no matter how small. This is the time to notice our neighbor and to know our neighbor so that we can love our neighbor.  This is when we can pray. This is when we can show kindness and ultimately have the opportunity to share the good news of our salvation. This is when we should cling to God’s word and know it. When we know it, we’ll know God and we’ll know ourselves in Him.
So don’t waste the wait. Don’t rush the time. Don’t panic or fret. Don’t look around but look up! Let us choose each day to follow. Let us choose because that’s what it means to be followers – our choice and the daily giving of ourselves to God.
Surrender. Wait. Trust. Wait. Trust. Surrender. And amen!

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Only One Love

There is only ONE kind of love.

Thinking otherwise is the cause of broken marriages, for example. There is only ONE kind of love. You can do no wrong in this kind of love. There is no danger, no fear in this kind of love. (Romans 13:10)The only risk is becoming more and more like our God. 

This only kind of love is the live we were made for – the love that makes us more like Him. We cannot sin in it; we cannot do wrong to our neighbor. Anything else – anything outside it – is fear and self preservation. Anything outside it is prison. When we realize that there is nothing to lose but everything to gain (even when we lose!), we are no longer afraid. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1John4:18)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”(1Corinthians 13 NIV)

Bible Studies · Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Lessons On Purpose

  
It turns out that this following God thing is the only way.

There’s no special calling or purpose apart from Him. How we do the things that please God is to walk with Him. He created us for relationship and now we can communicate freely. He can speak to us and we can listen. We can speak to Him and He will listen.

There’s no doing good apart from Him. There’s no accomplishing anything without Him. The Lord Jesus said: “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” It couldn’t be clearer than that. ONLY ONE THING IS NEEDFUL, Jesus said. I choose that good part. Amazing. 😊

Thank you LORD!

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Certain Truths

I believe that at this time God is calling me into a new way of life. Whereas, previously, I was building the Tower of Babel, now, He wants me on the ground. He wants me to till, to plant, to water and to wait patiently for the harvest!

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is steady foundation that I can lean on. God is truth – there is no falseness in Him. He is light – in Him there is no darkness at all.

My Heavenly Father wants me to know that some things are certain: God, His love and His Word which is unshakeable truth.

I’ve been called to worship Him in spirit and in truth, in simple child-like faith, without ambition and without worry.

So many things look different to me now, and I’m rediscovering who God made me to be. By this I mean that He is opening my eyes to every needless weight my soul has borne so I can be as free as a bird to serve Him.

It’s all new to me. I fear stumbling, but God reminds me that some things are certain. God is unshakeable truth. God IS and that’s all that matters!

Amen.

Thank you LORD!