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No Hope At All

Have you ever discovered that a bible verse you’ve quoted to yourself or others over and over has been somewhat incomplete and possibly misquoted?

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Many times I have quoted 1 Peter 5:7 to myself or someone else to ease the strain of anxiety or turmoil, either within or from without. I realize now that quoting it on its own takes it out of context and turns it into some kind of magic potion that is probably different from God’s intention for the verse.

You see when we take it out of context we omit a key piece to the peace that comes from casting anxiety on the Lord. Look at the previous verse:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,
that He may lift you up in due time.

Humble ourselves?

Is submission easy for you? For most of us it’s not. Whether it’s submitting to the wishes and plans of a family member or friend or taking direction from your boss when you disagree with them, we humans don’t really like to submit to others especially if it means we may give up something we want (or think we want) in the process.

Let’s face it. Our nature is to want things our way and live a life of comfort. When I am anxious about something I often try to find a solution or make it better and more comfortable for myself and others. I wrack my brain and strive to find an answer for the dilemma or figure out how to change someone’s feelings or attitude.

That’s not always God’s plan.

God asks us to hope. To have faith in Him and hope, for the present and the future.

And hope requires submission.

Romans 8_24-25Romans 8:24-25

Hope requires us to admit that we can’t solve the problems around us and submit to the One who can…in His timing.

We look at the world around us and see so much that’s wrong. Innocent people losing their lives because someone doesn’t know how to control his or her anger, leaders who do not fear God or look to the best interests of those whom they lead but instead to their own desires and those we look to for truth disappoint us. It can be so hard to hope for the good.

But hope must be exercised in order to grow stronger. Hope linked with faith is an unbeatable combination.

Think of when you start working out to strengthen your muscles, lifting weights or doing work on your abdominal/core. Do you feel strong the day after the workout?

weight_lifting

No, those muscles feel weak. The thing is if you allow that feeling of weakness to override the knowledge that good will come from consistently working those muscles and believing you will gain strength over time, nothing will ever change. But if you consistently work on those muscles, believing in what you cannot immediately see, over time you will realize things have changed.

I believe the same is true for hope.

Hope is something that must be exercised, and goes hand-in-hand with faith. (more on that in a future post)

Hebrews 10:23 tells us:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

As we submit to God and His will, admitting we don’t understand but hopeful that God’s promises are true today just as in the days of old we will be able to cast away our anxiety and allow Him to take over.

If you’re having trouble with this and need proof of present hope, look a little deeper. Perhaps we need to look a little farther out of our own circle. There are stories every day of God providing for people in need, healing the sick, even bringing miracles. Just because we haven’t seen what we hope for come to be just yet doesn’t mean it won’t. It means we need to continue to hope, and put our trust in the One who promises He will never leave us or allow us to walk through the joys or struggles alone.

This isn’t only true for everyone else it’s true for me, and for you. It’s easy to forget and be tempted to give up hope.

Don’t do it. In this puzzle of life the missing peace can only be found by humbling ourselves under God’s hand, trusting, and hoping for what we cannot see…

and casting our anxiety on Him.

 

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

 

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Faith is Believing

It’s interesting how stepping out in faith in God can be so difficult for us and yet faith in earthly things so easy.

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We have faith that when we sit in a chair it will not break.

We have faith that when we turn the key in our car it will start.

We have faith that when we flip a switch light will flood the room.

So why is faith in God often so hard for so many of us?

Is it because we cannot see Him? All the things mentioned above are tangible things that we have proven time and again. But we cannot see God. Even those of us who have proven Him to be true and faithful over and over in our lives reach circumstances even sometimes simple ones – where it is hard to put our trust in what we cannot see or know.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1

As children many of us believed in Santa and because of our faith that he would fill  our stockings on Christmas Eve we wrote him letters and left out cookies and mild for him, and carrots for his reindeer.

And that faith was rewarded.

How much more should our faith be in our Creator? The God who knows us better than we know ourselves asks us to put our faith in Him — believing that what He promises will come to pass.

I believe that faith will be rewarded as well.

We are humans who are independent and often want immediate results, and immediate reward. I am believing more and more that when we put our trust in God to bring good things into our lives, to resolve situations and to bring us peace BELIEVING it will come to pass, it will indeed.

No cookies are needed!

Is there something you’re struggling with believing right now? I hope you’ll put your faith in God and believe that He will bring blessings your way. That is His desire for His children as well.

blessings and peace on your day…
Paula

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Betrayed, Arrested, Disowned

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
John 21:15

 

In amongst the blessings of life we all have times when things don’t go our way. We face sickness, pain, loss of jobs, days when dreams don’t come true or someone didn’t come through the way you thought they would.

All of this is part of living in a sinful world filled with imperfect people. And we learn to cope with it. But have you ever been betrayed by someone you love? Have you ever had a time when someone you thought would stick by you pretended they didn’t know you? This goes beyond disappointment. It’s enough to plunge someone into despair.

When Jesus finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane He was confronted by a group of His enemies…and one of His closest friends. The kiss Judas greeted Jesus with was not a kiss of affection. It was a kiss of betrayal intended to identify Jesus to those who wanted to take His life.

Jesus was arrested in the Garden and led off to be judged. His friends followed at a distance or I imagine some of them slipped away as not to be taken captive themselves. Either way they didn’t stand at Jesus’ side to plead His case to the man who would judge Him.

30_pieces_of_silver

 We don’t know why Judas agreed to betray Jesus, but we do know that he did it for a few pieces of silver. And we know Judas was so ashamed of what he did, sure he could never be forgiven that he took his own life.

As Jesus was taken into the temple to be judged Peter followed. I believe Peter wanted to protect Jesus and wanted to defend Him but I think he was scared. Whatever his reason, when asked if he knew Jesus he denied that he did. He was pressed by someone who saw him with Jesus and still he denied that he did. Three times Peter denied that he had anything to do with Jesus and he never had a chance to make it right before Jesus died.

Have you ever said something and then wished you could take it back? Perhaps you have treated a friend badly or had a fight with your family, then parted before being able to make it right. It is a terrible feeling.

The good news for Peter was that after Jesus rose from the dead he gave Peter an opportunity to redeem himself. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Jesus. Three times Peter said that he did. And all three times Jesus told Peter to go and take care of others, helping them to know Jesus as Peter himself did. Peter didn’t let Jesus down again.

This same opportunity is available to you and me. No matter what we do, when we genuinely confess and repent to Jesus we will be forgiven. It may take time to repair the damage done to earthly relationships but there is hope for those as well.

The same gift of forgiveness and restoration offered and granted to Peter is there for us too. We only need to ask.

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Failure? – Words Worth Remembering Week #10

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
                                                                                          Isaiah 43:18-19

What does it take to be labeled a failure?

I have given this considerable thought due to circumstances in my life lately.

The conclusions I have drawn are these:

1. No one can declare us a failure except ourselves.

2. We are not failures until we refuse to keep trying.

no failure

Thomas Edison is remembered for his many inventions that enhanced the lives of many, including us today. But no matter what the invention was he saw numerous failures before he saw success.  With each failure he kept going.

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.
Thomas A. Edison, Encyclopaedia Britannica

There are any number of inspirations for not giving up if we look for them.

Colonel Harland Sanders – started the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise at age 65.

Grandma Moses – began painting at 76, after arthritis forced her to give up embroidery. She continued painting until 101.

Julia Child – became a chef after many years as a secret intelligence officer. She was 49 when her first book was published, 51 when her TV program “The French Chef” first aired.

Ray Kroc – went from being a salesman to opening the first McDonald’s at age 52.

Sister Marion Irvine – started running at age 47, when she was overweight and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Went on to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials at age 54.

Laura Ingalls Wilder – published the first book in the “Little House on the Prairie” series at 65.


The list could go on & on but the point is that none of these people allowed the lack of worldly success to keep them down. They put their failures behind them, but didn’t forget what they had learned from them. Then they looked ahead to see what might be ahead.

One of the biggest challenges I have had in my adult life is with a healthy lifestyle. As a child I was very active and was skinny as a stick. But as I became less active and made poor food choices I put on pounds and found it a much bigger challenge to take them off. Lately as I consistently miss work-outs and eat sugar-filled treats I begin to doubt that I will ever win the war with weight.

This week’s verse is a reminder of what God’s desire is for us in regards to our past. He tells us to put it behind us, not dwell on it and look ahead to the new work He is doing in us. Even when it seems we are walking in the wilderness of being alone, of disobedience or discouragement when we look closely we will see good things springing up.

This gives me hope!!

God’s desires for us are always for good, never desiring for us consider that we are failures. But we have free wills and minds that can think whatever we choose. If we choose to dwell on the past or the negative that is where we will stay.

When we choose to look ahead and SEE with faith what God has planned for us we will NEVER fail.

Praise God for the new things He is doing in each of our lives!!

Blessings & Peace,

Paula

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“WHERE’S HEIDI” Book Review

This is a highly anticipated book for me. I am blessed to be part of a writers’ group with the author, Lisa Buske and was treated to glimpses of the manuscript as this incredible book took shape. That being said, my relationship with the author does not automatically grant her a positive review! But the truth is, I do love this book as much as the author!

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“Where’s Heidi, One Sister’s Journey” gives us a unique view into a tragedy we only get a glimpse of through news reports. One Easter morning Lisa was awakened to the sound of a ringing telephone. Soon the voice of her aunt on the answering machine plunged her into a tragedy that would impact the rest of her life. Lisa’s only sister, Heidi Allen had been kidnapped.

When a child disappears or is kidnapped the news reports primarily reflect the loss of the parents, grandparents and other adults in that child’s life. The siblings are wisely protected from the media and news reports. While this makes sense it also leaves out an important piece of the full picture. It often causes us to forget that siblings have lost a companion, a confidant…a best friend. With this book Lisa closes that gap for us as she takes us on a journey…her journey of the hours, days and years that followed Heidi’s disappearance. She bares her heart to us to see and feel the tragedy first-hand. Her story is compelling and draws each reader in to what became her reality.

Thankfully Lisa’ story is not without hope. Heidi’s disappearance is unfortunately still a mystery. But through her journey Lisa has found the ultimate Hope in the saving grace and overwhelming love of Jesus. And ironically enough, this gift was offered to her by a child.

You’ve got to read it for yourself!

Purchasing Information:

Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey will be released, April 3, 2013. Lisa’s book will be available at Amazon.com for your convenience. Additional bookstores and locations will be posted on her website once confirmed.
Lisa will be hosting a “scavenger hunt” as part of her TOP’S Tuesday blog series in the month of March to reveal a mystery location and book signing on April 3, 2013. There will be a limited number of books available at this location but more will be available at the book release party at The River’s End Bookstore in Oswego, New York later this same day.
More information will be posted as it’s determined.
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About the Author:
Lisa M. Buske’s sister, Heidi M. Allen was kidnapped on April 3, 1994 never to be seen or heard from again. God has taken a tragic instance of her life and transformed it into a life-saving occurrence. She writes with passion and out of obedience for the God who saved her knowing others need to hear her story. Lisa’s relationship with Jesus opened the door to a hope and healing she didn’t think was possible.
Lisa’s husband, Ed, daughter, Mary, and her parents serve as Lisa’s team as she writes and speaks. Lisa’s faith in God and dedication to family motivate and inspire her to do and be the best woman, wife, mother, and sister she can be. Her life proves it is possible to survive when God is part of the equation.
In addition to writing and speaking, Lisa works as a teacher’s assistant for her local school district and serves at different capacities within her church.
Contact Information:

To learn more about Lisa M. Buske or to follow her writing and speaking:
Facebook: “Where’s Heidi?” book page and “Lisa M Buske” author page
Twitter: @LisaBuske
AIM: Lbuskewriter
Writing for Him…to keep Heidi’s memory alive with prayers to heal those affected by abduction.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 -2 (NIV)

 

 

Please take some time to stop at Lisa’s blog and pre-order this book. You won’t be sorry you did!!
blessings and peace…
Paula
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Week #6 ~ Words Worth Remembering

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
                                                                                                      Romans 12:12

Hope is easy when  you are certain of the outcome. 

But what about hope when all seems hopeless? That can be very difficult. And then God tells us to be JOYFUL as we hope. Joy comes naturally when good things we are hoping for get closer to becoming reality. It can be very difficult to remain joyful as we hope for something that is uncertain. Especially when it takes a long time for that hope to become reality.

Patience is simple when we can see the end.

A man I admire once told me that we can get through anything when we know there is an end. Even something hard or painful can be endured when we know that one day it will stop. When we are afflicted with physical pain, emotional distress or mental anguish and we don’t know when or if it will end most of us can easily slip into despair. Patience does not come easily.

Prayer comes naturally when we know what to pray for.

There are people and circumstances all around us that obviously need prayer. Sickness, struggles and sadness abound. Sending a prayer heavenward when we see someone suffering is natural. But there are times our prayers aren’t answered right away. We pray and have faith but don’t hear God’s voice or sense His direction. Being faithful as we wait for the outcome is God’s desire.

While each portion of this verse can be a challenge they each come with a reward.

Being joyful as we hope for something makes the waiting much easier, and the journey less stressful.

Being patient in the midst of affliction allows us to see the progress even if it is slow, and provides a witness to others of how God cares for us and walks with us through our trials.

Being faithful in prayer draws us closer to God so that even when the answers don’t come we are secure in His love and faithfulness.

And I am certain that through obedience to this verse we will find God’s peace in the puzzle of our lives.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

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When Less Is More

Do you ever have days when you feel -less?  

                                      morris-lessmore

HOPELESS?

FAITHLESS?

RESTLESS?

MINDLESS?

FRUITLESS?

Life can be tough to take some days and the future uncertain. You feel less than perfect, less than enough even.

On days like that it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Romans 8:24-28

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

= HOPEFUL

  • Luke 17:5-6

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

=FAITHFUL

  • Matthew 11:28-29

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

=RESTFUL

  • Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

=MINDFUL

  • John 15:1-4

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you.No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

=FRUITFUL

When we are feeling less the key is where we turn. Turning to our own wisdom and trusting our feelings will not pull us out of our doldrums. It is when we turn to God’s word and remind ourselves of His truth that we will remember who we really are. Before long we will find ourselves with hearts and minds full of more blessings than we can count!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

I am so thankful for God’s great gift of grace to help us when we are feeling less!

When we are less He is more!

blessings and peace to you…
Paula