Tag Archives: hope

Psalms 117; Psalms 125

“Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.  Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.  The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.  O Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you.  But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord.  Take them away with those who do evil.  May Israel have peace!” Psalms 125 NLT

Where is my trust? Trust has been hard for me this year. It seems like God is building into it, in situations I can’t control. It has made me question if I am operating out of fear or faith.  There have been times when I have been battle weary and tempted to lose hope. But, in simple obedience I have seen the Holy Spirit move in miraculous ways.  He has given me strength that I didn’t know I had. And has used me in spite of my weakness.  When I look for how He  is working, it takes the focus off of me and puts it back on Him.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations.  Praise him, all you people of the earth.  For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.  Praise the Lord!” Psalms 117 NLT

When I reflect on His goodness, I see beyond the struggle to the things that matter…Bravery. Vulnerability. Old patterns being torn down. Child like faith. Purpose. Persistence. Hope restored.

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are.  I want my heart to be in tune with you.  I want to live expectant in the new year.  Amen.

Amy(amyctannner)

 

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Job 38-39; Psalm 149

In his challenge to Job, the Lord’s abilities stir a cheer from my heart. As he lists what only he can do, I feel peace. I feel joy. I trust him.

31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
    binding the cluster of the Pleiades
    or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons
    or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
    Can you use them to regulate the earth? (Job 38:31-33, NLT)

I sit for this time and remember how he has orchestrated uncanny details in my life–a phone battery strong and unaffected after more than three hours of GPS (when its energy is generally sapped by a few podcasts and a Map My Run excursion); a captain’s bell buried deep underneath clematis vines; an encounter with a woman recovering from stroke, whose ability to speak was unhampered long enough for her to encourage me in a battle she was witnessing unfold that I was unaware of; a dear dog named Ruth who really and truly was an answer to my heart’s desire. I can go on and on.

I seek him and I find him. I trust him. I praise him.

Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song.
    Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.

O Israel, rejoice in your Maker.
    O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.
Praise his name with dancing,
    accompanied by tambourine and harp.
For the Lord delights in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them.
    Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. (Psalm 149:2-5, NLT)

I am humbled by his accomplishments–the universal, the mundane.

Lord, every year as I pass through your Word, I learn more about you, and more about myself. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT)” Thank you, God, that you love me so much to provide guidance and instruction for my good and your glory. Your Word is light and truth and hope. “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. (Romans 15:4, NIV)” Thank you, God, for words that give hope and encouragement in times that require endurance. You are life-giving, strength and stamina. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NIV)” You spell it all out and present it for the taking, generously, freely, and it is a feast for my heart and soul.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 31-34

“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding; far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.  For according to the work of man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him.  Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.  Who gave him charge over the earth, and who laid on him the whole world?” Job 34:1-13 ESV

I find myself feeling hopeful for Job, that Elihu will speak truth into him. Some of what he says is true. God’s ways and plans ARE higher than ours.  But, he is still misleading when he is implying that there is a hidden sin.  I find myself getting mad at Job’s friends for accusing him of this.  And for Elihu for sounding so spiritual in his speech. But than I have to examine my own heart.  How many times have I silently judged someone the same way?  Without knowing the whole story? I am reminded of John 9:1-3 “This happened not because his parents sinned.  But to bring God glory.”

Hear my speech, O Job, and listen to my words.  Behold, I open my mouth; the tongue in my mouth speaks.  My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely.  The Spirit of God has made me, and the Almighty gives me life.  “Behold, in this you are not right.  I will answer you, for God is greater than man.  Why do you contend against him, saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.”Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.  Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.” Job 33:1-7;28-30 ESV

Elihu did encourage Job to look at his suffering in a different way.  That God is working out a greater purpose than he can see now.  I am thankful that I have friends who do the same.  They tell me that the battle is developing His character in me.  That the onslaughts of the enemy are because of my closeness to God, not how far away I am from him.  That God wants to make me stronger through it.  Job needed friends like these.  Wise, Godly friends to cheer him on.  I pray that I can be that kind of friend.

Dear Father,  Give me wisdom and discernment to know if a well meaning opinion is from you. I pray that I would listen to your voice the loudest to guide me.  Thank you for people that you have put in my life who have lead me according to your word.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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John 20; Psalms 148

“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.  She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”  Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb.  They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He stopped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside.  He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.  Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed-for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.  Then they went home.” John 20:1-10 NLT

I wonder if  John outran Peter to the tomb because he couldn’t wait to see his beloved friend and savior.  And he couldn’t get to him fast enough. Did he have a deep knowing in his heart that Jesus was alive? Three days must have felt like forever to him. Sometimes the dead things in my life seem like they are never going to be restored. The process is longer than I was expecting. But, in the light of eternity it isn’t. God’s timing is always better than mine. Maybe John had faith that Jesus was alive as soon as he saw the linen wrappings.  So much so that he didn’t need to see to him to believe.

“You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.  The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.  But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” John 20:20, 30&31 NLT

“Am I  trusting that God’s working things out? Even when I can’t see how?” (Lysa Terkeurst)

“Praise the Lord! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he has issued his command, and they came into being.  He set then in place forever and ever.  His decree will never be revoked.  Let them all praise the name of the Lord.  For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones- the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!” Psalms 148 NLT

Dear Father, forgive me when I doubt.  Thank you that you always keep your promises.  Help me to slow down this season and remember my joy is found in you alone. I give you all the praise. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Esther 1-3; John 11; Psalms 150

A man named Lazarus was sick.  He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha.  This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.  Her brother, Lazarus, was sick.  So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”  But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.  No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed were he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”  John 11:1-7 NLT

I sat across from my once joyful daughter who looked like something had died inside her.  I was overtaken with the grief of the moment.  How come you haven’t healed her yet Lord?

“When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.  “Where have you put him?” he asked them.  Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entranceRoll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.  But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days.  The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:33-40 NLT

God has been speaking to me through Lazarus.  It’s such a familiar story to me, that I’ve overlooked important things about it.  I never realized the reason that God waited to raise Lazarus was so that he would get the glory.  I also never realized that He got angry over their lack of faith.

This is one of those readings that has been showing up everywhere else.   In a sermon, a blog, a counselor, this post.  I find myself processing and praying about how God wants to use this in my life. I know he wants to spur my faith. A friend reminds me that maybe what God wants to do is much more incredible than my mind can comprehend. That he wants me to see things from a different perspective. When I can’t see what he is doing now, to have the faith to trust him.  It will be no mistake who did it and He will get the glory.

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!” Psalms 150 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you resurrect old dreams, broken people.  You give me new life again.  You breath hope into the circumstances that seem dead to me. I am grateful for the cross.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Zech. 5-7; John 7; Ps. 126

Psalm 126 (NIV)

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,

our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

3 The Lord has done great things for us,

and we are filled with joy.

 

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,

like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow with tears

will reap with songs of joy.

6 Those who go out weeping,

carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy,

carrying sheaves with them.

 

What a beautiful passage! This song was a long time coming. The exiles were finally returning from captivity and they were overjoyed at God’s deliverance.

But they weren’t always this joyful. In fact, while the psalm begins with rejoicing, the last half reminds us of what it took to get there: sorrow. There were tears and weeping. There was strife. There was pain.

But that suffering was not the end of their story! And it’s not the end of ours, either.

Though we walk through valleys, they are simply the way we must take to reach the mountain top. One day we will reach that victory. One day we will experience that deliverance. One day we will experience that joy.

In the midst of sorrow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and fearful. But in this passage I’m reminded that God never ends a story in pain. He only uses the pain to bring greater healing, greater joy, and an exceedingly great reward.

Those who sow in tears WILL reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping, WILL return with songs of joy.

It’s not an “if.”

It is a promise.

It is coming.

It’s on its way.

And all will see how Great God is when He delivers us from our sorrow and pain!

I once heard it said that the only thing harder than waiting on God is wishing you had.

Instead of focusing on the pain and suffering, I will choose to focus on the promise of deliverance and joy. I choose to live in hope. I choose to live in faith. Deliverance is coming. It may not look like I expect, or come when I expect, but it IS coming and it WILL be good.

Eventually, we will each receive the promise and be able to join in with the others who’ve gone before us in saying, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!”

 

Father, thank You for the incredible encouragement You offer through Your word. Thank You for Your promise that You will not leave things undone. Thank You for working good out of bad, and for trading tears for songs of joy. Help me to wait for Your deliverance so that some day soon I can stand and proclaim Your power in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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Lamentations 1-2; Obadiah; James 5

“All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem has been stripped away.  Her princes are like starving deer searching for pasture.  They are too weak to run from pursuing the enemy.  In the midst of her sadness and wondering, Jerusalem remembers her ancient splendor.  But now she has fallen to her enemy, and there is no one to help her.  Her enemy struck her down and laughed as she fell.  Jerusalem has sinned greatly, so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag.  All  who once honored her now despise her, for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated.  All she can do is groan and hide her face. ”  Lamentations 1:6-8  NLT

I feel the hopelessness in these verses.  Having the wind knocked out of me and blindsided by attacks of the enemy. Times when I want to run and hide, instead of remembering the goodness of God.  I am thankful for a God who rescues and pursues me.  Who heals the innermost parts of my soul. Who tells me what to pray when I don’t know what to pray anymore. Who hears and answers my prayers in his timing not mine.  James urges me to keep praying when I don’t see the miracle yet.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield crops.  My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about forgiveness of many sins.” James 5:16-19 NLT

What if Elijah thought his prayers didn’t matter, like I sometimes do?

“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place.  And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.  The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble.  The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything.  There will be no survivors in Edom.  I, the Lord, have spoken!  The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath.  The captives from Jerusalem  exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.  Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom.  And the Lord himself will be king!” Obadiah 1:17-21 NLT  

My prayers are effecting future generations.

Strongholds and generational bondage breaking.

Hearts turning back to him.

Dear Father, help me to trust you when I can’t see.  Give me eyes to see your goodness. Help me not to hide in fear.  But to live with a knowledge and hope in you. Thank you for your patience with me.  Give me rest when I am weary.  Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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