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!

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Chasing Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This world can be a difficult place some times; and during certain seasons of our lives, maybe more often than not. I’ve found myself moving down some good old paths as well as starting new things. I love new beginnings. But I realize new beginnings can be difficult too. New beginnings are even more difficult when you’re navigating them alone.

It’s not that I want to exclude people. In fact, I think, now more than ever, I’ve become more inclusive. But at the same time, I’ve learnt to be completely cool with being by myself. We won’t always have the pleasure of other people’s company especially the pleasure of the company of like minds. And some times, we wish, only wish, someone else would physically come alongside us on our journey. At least I feel that way.

Sometimes, I think, in the middle of all this, we have to chase joy. Joy can be elusive. We have to actively look for joy in the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is where our strength lies.It’s not an easy thing to do. Some days we just want to drown in the pool of our self pity. It’s much easier – less tasking.

Joy requires a little bit more energy than self pity, but its reward Β is so worth it. There are some dark days, when the only thoughts that come are thoughts of failure, loneliness, confusion, worthlessness, but joy is always so near if we would only reach out just a little bit.

It usually takes one painful step to get to joy. It takes looking away from all the ugly, closing your ears to the heartless voices and looking up. Just one act and then another. It begins with lifting up your head, your eyes shifting their gaze. Then you utter one word and then another. God… Lord… Father.

Father, help me. Help me. I trust You. I choose You. Help me, I have no strength of my own. Your joy is my strength. Thank You for joy. Thank You for making my life so beautiful. Thank You for never leaving me or abandoning me. I’m so glad You think of me. And You love me, and You’re with me. I cannot be brought down because You lift me up. I can never be ashamed because it is Your face that shines on me! Hallelujah! God is with me now!

So one first move, and then another. Look to Jehovah and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a wonderful expression of our faith in an amazing, unchangeable God (who is Love, by the way). So chase joy; don’t let it slip away. Chase joy in God; He is never far away from His family.

And finally, you can be a part of God’s family by calling on the Name of His Son, the Lord Jesus, who has already paid the price for your sins. Is sin a dirty word? Yes, but perfect to ascribe to us. No one, not one is righteous. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. Call on the Lord and discover the joy of the Lord as your strength! Choose God; choose joy.

You can comment or email me directly if you have any questions about this call to God’s family. You can comment or email anyway! Β πŸ˜€ I pray that you will know God’s joy, love and mercy in Jesus Name. And so it will be.

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?πŸ˜ƒ 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.
 

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Like Fresh Air

I’ve recently reached a milestone in my life. Its probably the reason I’ve been moved to break my blogging silence. 😊

I am truly happy and encouraged that God was with me through my struggles and brought me out of them. I’ve learned so many lessons in the process, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is that I have to trust in God no matter what, and I have to depend on His strength. 

Even when things seem uncertain, God is able to deliver us from every kind of trouble. That’s about the most important lesson I’ve learned. 

I’ve learned other lessons as well. I’ve learned that God loves human relationships-He created them. And because He designed them, He also designed the rules of engagement. For every kind of human relationship to work, there must be boundaries. We must know those boundaries and function within them for our own good and the good of others. And if we ever find ourselves breaching the boundaries and giving birth to Ishmael, we must learn to say goodye to Ishmael, pray for our Ishmael, but wash our hands off concern for the child. This is because as God said to Abraham, Ishmael cannot share in the inheritance of Isaac. It may have seemed cruel that Abraham had to send away his own son, but it was expedient to do so. 

I’m learning not be afraid to say no, and not to ask for permission to do so. I’m learning to trust in God’s principles and in His design even when they seem contrary to my feelings. Above every person, living or dead, God is our greatest lover and biggest supporter. So let’s trust in His love and darn every human device in the name of love (which God is by the way. God is love). 

I’m so blessed and encouraged to be out in the luscious green plains. Freedom smells like fresh air! Thank you God!

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Be Hopeful

Life is sometimes bland, crappy, and occasionally interesting. Be hopeful. Don’t just “be hopeful”; be JOYFUL in hope!

That’s basically all I have to say in this post. Cool isn’t it? (Or not.) It’s the truth. πŸ™‚ 

I’ve been struggling with cynicism. I, the optimist, have faced my biggest challenge yet: REALITY. You see, I’m a dreamer. It’s my design to dream – a lot. I forget sometimes that God uses the real stuff to test me. By test, I mean to cause me to grow. We don’t grow when everything is green and perfect. That’s a heaven type experience really. We grow when we are faced with affliction. 

The thing is I’ve been trying to follow Jesus’ way because the Bible says that “Christ, even though He was a son, learned patience by the things He suffered.” I’ve been working on my patience, but it turns out that I’ve been numbing myself to the pain – the suffering. 

If you are going through some suffering, I urge you as God is urging me, to be hopeful. And not just hopeful. Be JOYFUL in hope.

It’s not easy. It’s straight out difficult. But so very rewarding. Joyful people are beautiful. Faking smiles doesn’t help anybody. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Sing. Cry if you have to, but for your sake, REJOICE!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17 NIV)

  

Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The New Me

I like the new me. I like who I am without the whistles and bells. I’m falling in love with myself and it’s amazing! A-M-A-ZING! πŸ˜€ Right now it doesn’t matter who else does or would or if anyone else would. That’s the beauty of the whole thing! The me I’m becoming isn’t at all consumed by anyone else’s thoughts, beliefs or feelings. My life is PRETTY simple. I’m not claiming to be anything or anyone but ME- I don’t have any new year’s resolution either. I’m good. I AM content. IT IS AMAZING. πŸ˜„ 

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!

  

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks

Life’s Capacity for SUCK-AGE

I used to be an extreme idealist (well maybe idealism is an extreme) and optimist. But I just got the 411 on life. 

Knowing that life itself is a journey at once complex and simple; that life is filled with roses as well as thorns; that life by itself it isn’t all beautiful; that there are hills as well as valleys; mornings as well as nights…and so on and so forth, gives me the power to decide what my experience is going to be. πŸ˜€

I was truly confused about what my expectations of life should be, and I asked my Heavenly Father to help me understand. He did. He simply did. The truth is I feel like this knowledge is common knowledge and I’m the last one to know😞 But! I do now! πŸ˜€ This is for every idealist out there. You know who you are…πŸ˜€

Life can truly suck. What I mean to say is that life has a great capacity for SUCK-AGE(I have poetic license to use that word). Being armed with this plain fact just simplifies everything. It’s like you wake up in the morning knowing that life would be life, but you get to be YOU! Isn’t that amazing?!πŸ˜ƒ

You get to be YOU. Life doesn’t have any control over that. YOU do. I think that’s beautiful because it means we are constantly presented with choices, and it means we are empowered to make choices irrespective of what life dishes out to us. “When life gives you lemons…”

I know now that I can truly depend on God to use me in this life, and use the circumstances of life to accomplish His purpose. It really doesn’t matter what life gives. 

“In this world, you will have troubles. But be at peace, for I have overcome the world.” -Jesus Christ

Thank You LORD! Thank you for the life you’ve given to me. I can’t wait to simply live it, knowing that You are the constant, and that You are more than able to come into my circumstances and work in and through them in a way that only You can do! Whoop-whoop! πŸ˜„