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?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 · Spiritual

What if I Did it Anyway?

What if I did it anyway? What if I picked up my device and typed away? Would it be so bad if it wasn’t perfect? What if I say the wrong things?

I could go on and on about my multiple list of excuses for not blogging often. Well…you know what? I’ll give one more excuse and stop: What if people don’t read my posts? There that’s the last excuse I’ll make. So I’m done making it.

I really want my life to be relevant. I’m not much of a talker; in fact, I believe if I talk too much, I’ll probably say irrelevant or unhelpful things – maybe even hurtful. I think of blogging as talking. So you can see why I do it as scarcely as I do.
I’m thinking, maybe just maybe I need to “talk” a little more. There are probably people who are thinking some of the things I’m thinking or working out in my head. People who need to hear someone else say it or someone who’s perhaps worked it out in their lives. And maybe that someone could be me. You see how I’ve used the word “maybe” many times in this post? My insecurities are screaming.

I guess the real reason I don’t blog often is my insecurities. The fear that I don’t have much to say, and the fear that nobody would be listening. That’s going to change.

Honestly, nothing feels particularly special to me about the middle of the month of March. I guess that’s the perfect opportunity to change. Because I’m forced to change even when I don’t feel like it. Even when there’s nothing propelling me like a brand new beginning of a brand new month or year.

So I’m writing today about insecurity and I’m writing about writing. They go hand in hand – many writers can relate (I believe 😊).

Here’s my decision: I’m going to write more often on faith. About faith, yes, but on faith. In faith? I’m going to write even when I doubt myself. I’m going to encourage you and encourage me. It’s the ‘write’ thing to do. πŸ˜‰

Hey! Any souls out there? Come on over and join me here as I make this journey into God’s heart. It’s a beautiful, simple and hard road. It will test us, and it will make us. It will make us beautiful.

See you soon 😊. Soon because I’ll be writing.
Cheer up!

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

An Invitation to Fear

I wrote that heading to get your attention; I would much prefer to title this post, “An Invitation to Trust.”


Anyway…

We are constantly being spoken at, being pushed and pulled from all sides. Life with it’s devilish gifts makes us offers of multiple dimensions, hard to ignore. Loudest above all the noise of the throng is the invitation to fear, often written in the elaborate ink of fact, and possible fact.

Fears of many sizes: big fears, small fears, medium sized fears. 

Are they valid? Absolutely. Are they fact. Yes indeed. People die for no good reason. Lives are wasted everyday. I’m forced to believe in the futility of life. But…

But what is my hope? What did God say about me, and what does He still say?

“All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:20

“And I will be with you always to the close of age.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:20)

I’m constantly tempted to fear. And who am I in the face of the tsunami of life, hitting again and again everything that I am and have, and everything I care about?

I am the Beloved of God, surrounded by the surest promises. Kept by the Lord. Shielded by His Spirit. Given every resource of heaven to make me victorious. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” -Psalm 27:1

β€œ[I] will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at [my] side, ten thousand at [my] right hand, but it will not come near [me].”‭‭ -Psalm‬ ‭91:5-7‬ ‭

And then I hear the voice of God sending out to me an invitation to trust. To believe in Him who made all things and in whom all things consist. The One that says “I am the Lord, is there anything too hard for me?” The God that calls me His own. The One who sent to die in my place, His only begotten Son. The One who loves me and gave Himself for me. 


He has made promises. We are not alone. Fear not. Fear NOT; words He says to us in His word so many times. And He still says now.

Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”- (Mark 11:22) Put your confidence in Him. Steadfastly trust in Him. Hold on to Him. Let go to Him. Ask Him and don’t give up asking. Seek Him. Hold on to His promises. Hold on to His word. Don’t let go.

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

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

A Little Hope

I wrote the following sometime in 2014. I found it when I was looking through some of my notes and thought to share. 😊


25 SeptemberI am grateful for the start of a new day. The day is so full of promises and I feel the richness of the events that would unfold from now on. God is with me. He cares for me. He will never leave me.

I smell the quiet air and feel the coolness of the weather. I feel as the clouds feel when they are full. Rain is coming. 

Pick up your pen, wear those running shoes, knock on that door. Its only a matter of time before your actions bear fruit. We have a clean slate, a clear ground, an open hour. We can do this. 

I’ve come a long way to this very day. I’ve stumbled, and fallen on my face; God has picked me up and dusted me again and again. I hope my trickling words stirs something up in you. I hope you’ll choose to hear the quiet even in the noise. I hope you’ll look at the end of the path, lift up your head and smile, knowing that that’s where you’ll be…someday. 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” -Jeremiah 29:11

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!

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Beloved, and Loving the Wind of Change!

I’ve been navigating some difficult things this period of my life; the silence, the confusion…did I say the silence?

It seemed like on the things that mattered to me, God was silent. It seemed like God was unfair for allowing me to experience the pain I did. I struggled some and triumphed some, but I still wondered if God was with me. I knew it but I could not feel it.

Today, God opened my eyes to the thorn in my side. I said to my Father, now, in my mind, I am free, but I do not feel free. I asked Him to MAKE me free. He showed me something WAY bigger than I could ever have anticipated. He freed me from the bondage of ignorance. He blew on me a wind of change.

God made me realize that He is love, and as large as He is, He wants to pour every drop of Himself into me! So I saw through His eyes, how precious I was (am) to Him, and I began to thirst for every drop. I have become convinced – FULLY convinced – that God wants to give it ALL to me!! To Him, I am worth every drop of His amazing love. I am precious in His sight. All His love is for me to desire and receive and experience. I am the Beloved of God!

Today, I cried out to my Father, “You are just! And Your judgements are fair O God!” God is indeed just and merciful for allowing me to go through the darkness and pain. I could not see it when I was in it, but when I came out of it, I saw that it was by the mercies and love of God that He took me through the valley of darkness. I praise You God, for You are merciful; all Your ways are true!

Now, I can begin again, in full assurance of God’s love because He patiently took me through this place from which I have come. I am eternally grateful. I would have given much to know what I know today. Dear fellow sojourners, if you see me, you will see a thirsty soul, thirsty for the love of God. You will see an insatiable soul, because I will never say enough! Oh God! Your love is better than life and I want EVERY drop!