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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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Servanthood

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humble,

and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”            Luke 18:14b

Jesus was a King. He was God living on earth yet He walked everywhere He went. He had no fancy carriage and no palace in which to sleep. Jesus and His disciples slept under the stars and ate whatever they could find. Yet they never went without. Jesus came to earth to demonstrate God’s love for all people by meeting them where they were.

Jesus welcomed children, fed the hungry, healed the sick and lame and loved everyone, no matter their occupation or the sins they had committed. He expected them (and us) to follow His example.

Perhaps one of the greatest acts of servanthood Jesus showed was at their Passover supper the night He was betrayed.

In John 13 we read that as the meal was being served Jesus got up from the meal and removed His outer clothing. He picked up a towel, tied it around His waist and poured water into a basin. Jesus then began to wash the feet of His disciples, drying them with the towel tied around his waist.

Jesus wash feet

There is great significance in this.

First – We just discussed that Jesus and His disciples walked everywhere they went. If they wore shoes at all they were likely only a form of sandals designed to protect the bottom of their feet from rocks and other debris. They were held on by cloth or leather strips, barely covering the tops of their feet as they walked along the dusty roads. Their feet were constantly filthy. Only an individual or their servant would wash their feet.

Second – A king was dressed in robes and splendor. Jesus never did wear the kingly robes he deserved, and He removed the only robe He was wearing and replaced it with a towel tied around His waist just as a servant would have worn.

Third – Jesus did the unthinkable. He bent down to His disciples, kneeling before them to wash their feet. This posture of kneeling before someone was again what a servant would do to a master. Not a posture fit for a King.

Some of Jesus’s disciples argued with Him. Imagine if you had spent the day walking through a muddy field or down a dusty dirt road wearing open sandals. You arrive home to find someone famous whom you really admire waiting for you with a bowl of water and a towel ready to wash your feet.

Would you be excited, or embarrassed? Most of us would want to run around to the back entrance, hop in the shower and clean up before this person could see us. It was the same way with the disciples.

The lesson Jesus was trying to teach His closest friends is that it doesn’t matter what position you hold or how much money is in your bank account. It’s irrelevant how many Facebook friends you have or if you rub shoulders with influential people. The only thing that matters to God is how far you are willing to go to show love to others.

Jesus knelt before them and washed their feet.

Jesus allowed His enemies to mock Him, beat Him and whip Him until He could barely stand.

Then Jesus gave His life for His friends.

That includes you and me.

If the creator of the world did all of this for us, is it too much for Him to ask us to humble ourselves before others?

I’m going to ponder this today…and hopefully put it into action. How ’bout you?

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Week #2 ~ Words Worth Remembering

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 NIV

Micah was a prophet of God. Prophets were usually unpopular both with their own people and those who didn’t believe in the Lord. They delivered messages from God of reproach and correction as well as news of things to come.

In the case of Micah chapter 6 the people were sinning against the Lord and paying the consequences. When their sins are pointed out to them, instead of arguing their case they are compelled to seek how to please the Lord. In verses 6-7 the people are scrambling to come up with what they can do to please the Lord. They want to know what they can sacrifice to make Him happy with them. From burnt offerings to their firstborn sons the people long to know what will please God.

Then Micah speaks. He tells the people that they already know what to do. God has shown them through the ages what His heart’s desire is from His people. Verse 8 is what He wants from us. Yes, we need to confess our sins and follow His commandments. But honestly when we “walk humbly” with Him don’t we automatically do that in the process?

snow footprints

This week I’m going to give you a glimpse into my journal and the application for my life in this verse:

“It’s so simple really. Yet I make it so complicated and difficult. Walking humbly with You — not jumping ahead or dragging my feet but side by side knowing Your will as You reveal it. I’m sorry I jump ahead. I’m sorry I lag behind and/or drag my feet. How will you reach others through me if I’m not opening myself up to You?”

What does this verse say to you? As you work on hiding it in your heart this week I hope you’ll share with us how God speaks to you and how it impacts your days.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula