Hope in the Lord

Hope_RosesSo now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Notice the difference of the words in these two versions of the Bible (ESV and NIV). The two I want to point out are ‘abide’ and ‘remain.’ ‘Continue’ could be substituted either word.

Faith continues. Hope continues. Love continues. How comforting is that?

How would you describe hope? After looking up several definitions, I compiled this description: Hope is having the desire for something and to expect it to happen (verb) or to have a confident expectation (noun).

Where does hope come from? What gives us hope? Romans 15:4 says:  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Did you catch that? …Through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope…Do reading and studying the Scriptures encourage you and give you hope?

Jeremiah 17:7 shares another source of hope for us. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope the Lord is. (NKJV) Our hope is in the Lord. Let’s read this verse in the NIV: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Hope. Confidence. Confident Expectation.

What else does God give us hope of? In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. (Titus 1:2) God gives us hope for today and for eternal life.

I Peter 1:3 continues: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Slide1Take a few minutes to think about some hopes that you have for yourself at home, at work, and in your spiritual life…Something you want to happen or expect to happen…Something that you have a confident expectation that it will happen.Take time to thank God for the hope He has given us for now and for our futures. Remember the words of Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

For those of you that would like a second challenge, I have written a study guide, “Hope in the Lord.” There was so much information that I found during my research that I thought I would share it.  Click the link if  you would like to download a pdf copy, Hope in the Lord Study Guide

Praying that each of us will always rejoice in hope, be patient and will always turn to God in prayer.


Come to My House and Stay

With the events going on globally and encouragement to ‘stay-at-home’ for our safety and well-being, I began to think about:

  • Being at home – is it a blessing or a hardship
  • The meaning of house vs home
  • Who makes up a home
  • Where home really was

I found three Scriptures that shares insight on home when I started looking through my Bible. The first passage that came to mind was Joshua 24: 14-15:

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (ESV)

The choice is ours: Who will we serve? How will we serve God? In sincerity and in faithfulness. Where do we serve God? Our homes? Our church homes? Our communities? Everywhere and all the time, right? How can we do that? Look at Psalm 101:2 (ESV)

 I will ponder the way that is blameless.
    Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
    within my house;

How can we ponder the way that is blameless? What ‘way’ is this passage speaking of? Have you ever asked God when He would come to you or where He was when you really needed Him in your life? What does it mean to you to ‘walk with integrity of heart’? Is that an easy walk?

One more verse and even more questions. Paul, Silas, and Timothy were traveling to the churches in the region to strengthened them in their faith. The result was that the churches increased their numbers on a daily basis. One woman there was a worshiper of God and the Lord opened her heart so she would pay attention to the words that Paul was speaking. Lydia was that woman. Look what happened after she was baptized:

And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. Acts 16:15 (ESV)

What did Lydia ask Paul? “Come to my house and stay.” That made me think about that verse on a larger scale. Think about talking to God and asking Him to come to our house if He has judged us faithful to Him…and to stay!

Slide1Shouldn’t we want God in our homes…today, tomorrow, forever? Whether you are staying at home right now or able to leave, let’s challenge ourselves to keep God in our hearts always by loving Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Remember to “…Love the Lord your God, and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 11:13 (ESV)

Stay safe and healthy and pray for those around you.
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Joy and Strength

“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10 (ESV)

At this point in time, the Israelites were preparing to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles. Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites have been reading the Law to the people and interpreting it for them. What was the reaction of the people when they heard God’s Word? They wept.

Why do you think they wept after hearing that the day was holy to their Lord and God? Perhaps they had feelings of grief because of the sin in their lives and their inadequacies. Ezra and the Levites didn’t want the people to focus on their mourning of their own shortcomings. He tells them to eat and drink and to share with those who have nothing. He tells them to turn their weeping into joy.

Why should they be joyful? Because the joy of the Lord was their strength and that strength is still ours today,

What does the Scriptures tell us is our strength? The joy of the Lord. Let’s read some more about strength in Psalm 28:7.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (ESV)

 Let’s summarize what we’ve read in these two passages. Notice the emphasis on certain words.

  • The joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • The Lord is our strength.
  • The Lord is my shield.
  • My heart trusts, my heart exults and I give thanks to him.

Slide1Take time to open God’s Word and search for the phrase “my strength.” Meditate on each of the passages you find and how they affect your relationship with God.

Let’s pray for each other as we learn to surrender to God and rely on Him for spiritual joy and strength.

See you next time,

Giving Thanks

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”    Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Remember our chat on Colossians 3:17 from the last post? We focused on making all of our words and deeds true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Now, let’s look at the second part of that verse:

“…giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

When should we give thanks? How should we give thanks? What do we thank God the Father for? 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 tells us to:

“…Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV)

Think of all of the things that you do daily. Maybe you consider some of these things mundane. When was the last time you thanked God when you were doing laundry? Or cleaning? Or doing homework? Or turning off the alarm that woke you up early Monday morning to get ready for work?

  • Thank God for doing laundry – it means you have clothes to wash and perhaps a washing machine and dryer to help you.
  • Thank God for cleaning your home – it means you have shelter, a place to call home.
  • Thank God if you have homework – it means you are blessed with the opportunity of an education.
  • Thank God if you have an alarm to wake up to – it means you have a job to support yourself and possibly others.

What are some others things you can think of that perhaps you have neglected in directly thanking God for lately?

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”  Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Slide1Focus on giving thanks to God the Father through Christ for all of the blessings in your life – both big and small.


Our next chat will be on joy. I look forward to seeing you then.


Everything We Do

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV)

Colossians 3:17 is a very challenging verse for me. What does the Scripture mean when it says to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”?

The words we speak? Every word we speak? Every word we speak to everyone?

What about our deeds? Everything we do. Whether we are at home or work or the gym or school or the grocery store or church. Every step we take, everything we do.

What a challenge to constantly be aware of what we say and do knowing that they should all be in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings to mind Philippians 4:8.

“…Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)

This tells me that my words and deeds should be true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. But how can I accomplish this challenge? Philippians 4:13 gives me that answer:

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (ESV)

Slide1Challenge for you and me?  Focus on our every word and action and try to make them true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.


Come back when we chat about the second part of Colossians 3:17!