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!



When I graduated from high school years ago, the preacher presented a message for us as we were going out into the world as adults. I wrote those verses in my Bible then and have written them in the Bible I have carried for almost 40 years. These are verses that you probably know and perhaps have written on your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)


Then another word came to mind: EVERYTHING.

All of my heart and ways includes everything in my daily walk with God, right?

So, what does Colossians 3:17 tell us?Slide3

This verse really challenges me! No matter what we are doing we should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Whether we are working, playing, cooking, shopping, watching our kids…anything and everything. That means when we go to work or mow the yard that we are doing it in the name of Jesus – to praise God. Don’t forget the ‘in word’ part either! Every word we say should glorify God. Every word…

Now what about the last part of that verse? Give Thanks. In everything we do? YES! What is there to be thankful about washing the fourth load of laundry? Well, are you blessed with a closet full of clothes to wear? Electricity to run that washing machine? A comfortable place to dwell in that has closets for those clothes? Loved ones to wash clothes for?

Speaking of housework and yard work and work-work… Look at what these two verses say:

  • I Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love.”
  • Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”

So all of our words should be said with love and our actions should be done out of love, right? Isn’t it difficult to grumble or argue if love is the motive for our actions?

Do you remember the Golden Rule? “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

What does that verse mean to you? How to you want others to treat you? Are you willing to treat them the same way or even better? Let’s go one step further by reading Titus 2:7: In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Do we teach by example? Do we learn by example? What kind of example have you been today?

My challenge for us this week comes from 2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Ask yourself: What needs has God given to you this week? This month? This year? In return, what are you doing to strengthen your knowledge of God and His Scriptures?

Let’s close this session with Hebrews 3:4. “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” EVERYTHING!


Ears to Hear

What is the job of the ears? Listening and hearing, right? I found two verses in Job that I thought were interesting because of comparison that was made.

Job 12:11 – Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?
Job 34:3 – For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.

When we place a piece of food in our mouth, our tongue determines if it is sweet, salty, or something else. But how do our ears test words? Could this refer our ears hearing words and testing them to determine if they are sweet, salty, or otherwise? What does it take to test the words that we hear? Do our ears ever need to test the words we hear that we speak?

Let’s move to the book of Psalms.

Psalm 115:6 – They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
Psalm 135:17 – 
They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.

Do these verses mean that they physically cannot hear from their ears? Of course not. Just as Zechariah 7:11 says: But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They chose to close their ears – to not hear and listen.

In Matthew 13:15, Jesus says:  For this people’s heart has become calloused;    they hardly hear with their ears,    and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,    understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. How does a heart become calloused or hardened?

Sometimes children accuse their parents of not listening to them. Is that always true? Do parents sometimes close their ears to a child’s repetitive requests or whining? Think about God and that we are His children. How terrifying that God would ever close his ears to our requests. In Lamentations 3:56, we read: You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”

In Proverbs 20:12, we read: Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both. So if God made ears that hear, how to they become closed? When people let their hearts become hard, their eyes also close to those around them and to God.

We need to remember that ears are a gift from God. God gave us ears to hear and eyes to see. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. (Matthew 13:16)

My challenge for all of us this week is to remember that our ears and eyes are a blessing from God and to use them for the gifts that they are. Pay attention to what you hear and how you choose to determine how to use those words – and share those words with others.

You probably have figured out what the next post will be about: Face, eyes, ears, and next…mouths!


Favor in the Eyes of God

Seek God_See God_Small

We’ve been talking about seeking and seeing God, but what does God see when he looks at you? What did God think when he looked at Noah? Genesis 6:18 says the he found favor in the eyes of God.

What are you doing to be honorable in the sight of God and man? 2 Corinthians 8:21 says “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” What are you doing to be honorable in God’s house? What about your house and the world around you? What does Proverbs 3:4 say? “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Isn’t that a great goal? To win favor AND a good name in the sight of God and man. Why is it important to have a good name with God and man? Do you think that takes a lot of work? What kind of work does it require?

When God appeared to Abraham as the three men, Abraham said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.” (Genesis 18:3) Please, God, do not pass me by was Abraham’s urgent plea. Psalm 77:7 shows an entirely different scenario: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?” What a terrifying thought! For God to never show his favor again on us!

Let’s look at a few more verses about eyes. Use your Bible to look up the verses and answer the questions.

  • Nehemiah 5:19: What does Nehemiah ask of God?
  • I Peter 3:12: Who are the eyes of the Lord on?
  • Proverbs 15:3: Where are the eyes of the Lord? Who is He watching?

Eyes of the Lord.jpgWhat have you done to win favor with God and man in your lifetime? What are you doing daily? What do you do daily to help you stay focused on what God’s will for you is?

Feel free to share in the comment box below any words that can encourage each of us. (Comments will be reviewed before published.)

Eyes That Seek God

We ended our last conversation with the phrase, Seek God, See God. Our focus was on seeking God and God’s face. Let’s shift now to our faces and begin by looking at our eyes. I read a description of the eye that said it is the origin of sight. What kind of eye sight do you have? Jesus tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22,23)

Are your eyes healthy? What do they see? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:18) I John 2:16 warns us that: For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. What are we looking at and what are we taking the time to truly see?

What should our eyes be seeing? What should we be looking at? We need to open our eyes and see the beauty in the world around us. We should look for the needs of those around us and how we can improve and enrich their lives. We should be looking for those we can share God’s love with.

Eyes that seek God, we will see God.

Challenge: Read Luke 6:42 and then check your eyesight this week. What are you focusing on? God? Studying God’s Word? Your family? Your neighbors and co-workers? Yourself?

Seeking His Face

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us.  Psalm 67:1 (NIV)

I love the way the sunshine feels on my face when I close my eyes and can  feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. How much more glorious will it be to feel God’s face shine on us? In I Chronicle 16:11, David says to “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” ALWAYS!

Read Jeremiah 29:13 with me:  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. How do we seek God? With all of our heart. 100%.

Notice the words the are underlined: seek, find, heart, and all. How important those words are. Let’s focus on seek today and jump forward to the New Testament.

What does Matthew 6:33 say? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

What does the theme around these verses seem to be? Seeking God and His kingdom. How do we seek God? With 100% of your heart.

Let’s add another verse to this discussion:  Psalm 11:7 tells us the “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. What that says to me is that to see God, I must seek God.

Remember Matthew 5:8? Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.


My challenge for you is to take time to find and read references to God’s face. My next post will be talking about eyes, if you want to find those verses in God’s Scriptures. 🙂