Saturday, February 23, 2013

the gift of hope

I'm generally not a very skeptical person. I quickly and easily trust people. It only takes a tiny thought to get me completely enthusiastic. And I typically jump to good conclusions and hope for the best with all of my heart.

Is this immature? Maybe.

I just love the feeling of hope.

Now, like everyone else on this earth, I have days where I'm not feeling the hope. I have LOTS of days when I might feel down and negative... but I just love it when I listen to the Spirit and receive hope.

I love it when God brings about opportunities to have hope. Not just in my eternal life, but for my life on earth. (Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I want to place my hope in my life on earth, no no no... that's not good. But I mean in having hope that God will bless on earth.)

Anyways... even though the things we feel hope for don't always happen... there is so much joy that comes along with hope... I feel like just the gift of a little hope is such a blessing.

I think of the movie "Life is Beautiful"... the one with the little Jewish boy and his father who go off to the death camp. The father does everything he can to give his son hope. Up to his very death march... he gives his son hope. Hope that the whole awful experience is just a game they are playing to win a war tank. Hope that everything is OK. Hope, so that he didn't have to live in fear. Hear is a clip from the movie...

 Clip from Life Is Beautiful

I'd much rather have innocent hope than live in fear and anxiety for my future.

Hope is a blessing from the Lord! It is a means of making life more bearable. A way of finding joy! A way of embracing His presence.

The next time you feel anxious, listen for the whispers of hope from the Spirit. Let Him turn your day around!

Here is a sweet song I'm reminded of as I reflect on hope! If you've got some time... enjoy it for a moment! "Hold Me" ~ Jamie Grace

Monday, February 11, 2013

to the end of the age

I've been asked on several occasions in life to share my testimony, be it for a job or for a class, and I always find this a difficult thing to do. For starters, it's always changing! As I move on in life I look back and realize the impact that certain events had on my faith. Also... I want my testimony to have a clean cut happy ending, but my life isn't over yet! God is still adding to my testimony!

One of my favorite scriptures came to mind tonight- The Great Commission. And I absolutely love the wording from The Voice:

"Go out and make disciples in all the nations. Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age." 

      ~ Matthew 28:19-20

This passage, essentially speaks my testimony. I was discipled by my parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and other leaders at my home congregation. I confessed Christ was Lord and that he died for me, and I wanted an eternal life with him. I knew that without Christ, I'd be bound to sin... so I repented with assurance that His grace had been and would continue to be shown to me. I was baptized on a hot Oklahoma evening in a swimming pool by one of my most respected elders, surrounded by singing peers. I've had a lot to learn about how to follow the Lord. I'm still learning. But the wonderful truth (and ending to my story) is this: God will be with me always... day after day.

I was baptized young, just going into the 6th grade. I hadn't messed up much, hadn't turned into an awful teenager just yet. But I still had a desire to serve the Lord and live for Him. Looking back, I feel like God has helped me through so much. I've been learning the whole time. Growing the whole time. Learning how to accept Christ and truly allowing Him to dwell in your heart isn't an easy task. It takes a lot of growing pains!

I've learned (and not just head knowledge learned... but truly been convicted) that hardship doesn't mean God is far. He is near through the good and the bad. I don't ever want to go back to the past. I want to only go forward, growing closer to the Lord with each passing year.

I love Matt Redmond's song, "You Never Let Go". God is with us- and he isn't letting go of us! He loves us! Someday, our life will have no problems and we will praise our Father in Heaven. But until then, we still will praise Him because He has bestowed His grace on us and offered us salvation- and that salvation means He will NEVER let go of us! It all starts on the day you allow Him to embrace you and it continues day after day.

If you've got some more internet browsing to do, listen to this song! You all know it, but take a moment to bask in the wonderful news that God will never let go of us! It'll make your day a little more hopeful!

Click here to listen to Never Let Go!