Tag Archive | hope

Sometimes Life Sucks, Romans 13:12

Navigating.Obstacles.WP

Recently we had a snowstorm, then an ice storm and then a windstorm. The branches on the trees couldn’t handle the extra weight and many limbs broke and crashed to the ground in our neighborhood park. Along the pond Buddy had to carefully navigate between the wall supporting the upper parkland and the limbs of a broken tree. It wasn’t easy for a little dog.

The trees broke because their limbs were already carrying a heavy load and couldn’t bend to survive the extra force of the strong winds. Sometimes life feels like that: We already feel burdened, trying our best to navigate the normal, everyday obstacles of life and then the strong winds of adversity blow against us and we feel like we’re about to break.

And we cannot see where the path ahead of us is leading and if more obstacles await, ready to burden us further.

We feel like a once-strong tree that is about to break under the weight.

And we wonder where God is.

Jesus never promised us an easy path. In fact, He pretty much promised the opposite:

“In the world you have tribulation…” John 16:33

And Apostle Paul, after being stoned in Lystra, advised the disciples in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”–Acts 14:22

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”–Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 3:11

Not very encouraging when you’re hurting.

God loved Job yet, when Satan stood before God and accused Job of loving God only because he lived a protected and prosperous life, God permitted Satan to put Job through a series of tests, killing his children, his servants, his livestock, his finances, and destroying even his health. His marriage went to pot too. He sat on a pile of ashes, scraping his painful boils with a potshard in great misery and his wife asked him to curse God and die. Then his supposed friends said he must be suffering because he is an evil man and needed to repent. Couldn’t get much worse than that.

Understandably, Job complained to God. God responded, in summary: I’m God the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. What right do you, a puny mortal, have to complain to me?

One of my favorite verses in Scripture, believe it or not, especially when I am suffering, is in Job:

“Though He (God) slay me, I will hope in Him.”–Job 13:15

Job never gave up on God’s goodness, and He rewarded his faithfulness with much more than he had previously lost.

I believe the answer is in the book of Hebrews:

“Let us run with ENDURANCE the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1-2, emphasis mine

Jesus looked past the agony of the Cross to the joy ahead: the many millions who would have their sins paid by His suffering and death so that they could enter into a relationship with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We cannot see what lies beyond the bend in our life’s path, perhaps more obstacles and pain await. But God promises that, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and keep walking the path of life with Him, there are far better days ahead.

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near.”–Romans 13:12, Apostle Paul

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”–Proverbs 4:18, King Solomon

“”Therefore we do not lose heart,…For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen…”2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Apostle Paul

The greatest gift God gives us is hope. Because a wonderful future awaits us all who trust in Christ.

“And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”–Revelation 7:17, Apostle John

If we can just keep from breaking.

“God is our refuse and strength, A very present help in trouble…the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”–Psalm 46:1,7

If you’re suffering, please pray and reach out to godly friends who can encourage you.

And if you’re not suffering at this time, please encourage or help a friend who is.

God bless from Dawn and Buddy

***

Life is hard. But it’s doubly hard without Jesus. He gives hope and strength in times of need. This world is temporary and will pass away and so will all of your problems and tribulations one day.

Jesus offers you a wonderful future because He loves you.

Everyone is born separated from God because we sin. Not always intentionally, but God hates sin. The only entrance ticket He accepts into Heaven is perfection. But He also loves us and wants to be in relationship with us, so He punished Jesus for our sins. Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered and died on the Cross for all of us. After that, He was raised from the dead, proving He was God and that His sin offering was accepted by the Father.  If you want to enter into relationship with Him, please pray the below prayer:

Dear Father, I admit that I’ve said, thought and done things that displease you. I believe that Jesus is God who died for my sins on the Cross and was raised from the dead to give me eternal life. I ask you to forgive me. I invite the Holy Spirit into my life to lead me and guide me into the paths of righteousness. I thank you for wanting to be my friend, my great Shepherd and my Lord for now and forevermore. In Jesus’ name, Amen

“Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”–Jude verse 24

Please find a Bible-based church and obtain a good Bible. You cannot stand alone, particularly when the winds of adversity blow. There is usually a Christian radio station and/or bookstore in your area where they can give you some guidance in the right direction if you don’t have a church nearby or know a Christian who can assist.

And being a Christian isn’t about being perfect: nobody is, only God. Jesus already lived the perfect life for you. It’s about having a relationship with God through Christ. And having spiritual life, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It’s not about working to meet a high standard to please God: It’s about loving God because He loves you.

And when you love someone, it’s natural to want to please them.

 

 

Happy New Year! Unexpected Blessing, Luke 2:8-11

Cute.Buddy.2017.WP

Buddy is a rescue dog from Silky Terrier Rescue. I’ll always be thankful to his foster mom for rescuing him from an abusive situation and bringing him into my life. Barb acted unselfishly as she is a Silky Terrier breeder yet she is willing to care for and place dogs that will not bring her an income.

Buddy was formerly in a bad situation where he was being kicked and mistreated. Suddenly, one day he was lifted out of that situation to dwell in a loving home where he is spoiled and much loved.

At Christmastime we celebrate the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, but it is a wondrous story that can bring joy to our new year, also.

Some shepherds “were staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night.” (Luke 2:8) To them, it was another typical night doing the same boring job they’d likely done for years. They were just another of the Nameless Unimportant doing the job that had to be done to keep their society functioning properly. The shepherds had no clue that life would suddenly change, something miraculous would occur that evening.

“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” –Luke 2:9-11

You might be looking ahead to this year and thinking, “Another year. Probably be just like last year and the year before. Same old boring job, same old boring me. Probably be another typical year.”

I’ve been trying to encourage myself today. Seems I’ve been ill a long time, my artistic dreams have not taken wing, and life plods along like I’m a draft horse with its neck stuck in a collar treading the same old ruts on the same old path. But I have to remind myself that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

But some day this year Jesus may suddenly appear and your ernest prayers will finally be answered, your failing dreams may finally come true, your long held desires will be fulfilled. Just like Buddy, who had no clue that his miserable situation wouldn’t be permanent, we may suddenly find ourselves lifted out of the situation that is plaguing us.

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning…”–Lamentations 3:22

This night or tomorrow morning or some other day this year could finally be the day that your prayers are answered, your dreams come true.

Buddy’s life changed suddenly for the better. Yours, and mine, can too. Don’t lose hope. We serve an omnipotent and compassionate God.

Have a very happy and blessed 2018.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

PS. I did go to Taiwan last year which was an unexpected blessing and opportunity to serve God.

***

The best blessing a person could have is a relationship with the eternal and living God through His Son Jesus Christ. When you admit that you are a sinner and can never meet God’s righteous standards in your own power and strength, and that Jesus died for your sins, taking the punishment you deserve, to make you right with our Holy God, you become born-again. The Holy Spirit comes to inhabit you and transform your inner being. I invite you to take the first step to a lifetime of adventure and eternal life.

Please pray: Lord Father, I acknowledge that I can never meet your perfect and holy standards. I declare that Jesus died as punishment for my sins because He loves me and so do You. That God took on human flesh, dwelt amongst us and then died on the Cross and was resurrected bodily on the 3rd day. I ask you to forgive my sin and grant me the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. Thank you for your kindness. In Jesus’ name, Amen

I was born-again March 7th, 1989 and I’ve never regretted the decision. Which is why I invite you to join our worldwide and eternal fellowship as a fellow Christian.

 

The Third Guy, Matthew 25:14-29

Talents.WP.Bud

Buddy had been abused before I had adopted him. He was three years old at that time and very frightened of my family. He didn’t make a single sound for three days, not even a sniff or a cough. We feared his voice box had been damaged and were about to take him to the veterinarian to be examined when, fortunately, he gave a small woof at the neighbor’s dog. When he wasn’t punished for making a noise, he slowly became more vocal. It took about 1.5 years before he stopped ducking every time we reached toward him. It made us very sad. Now, after 7 years, he is the most talkative dog we’ve ever had and I enjoy his attempts to communicate with us. After living with him for so many years, we usually understand what he’s saying.

Jesus told a parable about a master and his three slaves. Their master gave his servants a great opportunity to show their value to him. He went away on a trip and left them with some money with the expectation they would increase it somehow. Upon his return, two of his servants had invested the money wisely and doubled the amount. They were greatly praised and rewarded. The third slave, fearing his master and thinking he was a harsh and punishing man, didn’t invest the money but, instead, hid it in the ground. This parable is referred to as the Parable of the Three Talents (the talent being the issue of currency in the tale).

Because the third slave didn’t invest the money wisely and bring an increase of the master’s money that was entrusted to him, the master became very angry and had him cast into the outer darkness.

Usually this tale is interpreted as Jesus telling us that He wants us to utilize our lives for His glory and not to waste the gifts and talents given to us. The third slave goes to Hell as he does not invest his life wisely.

Why did the third guy fail so miserably?

It’s because he didn’t love and trust his master. He even had the gall, in attempting to excuse himself for being such a poor steward of the talent given to him, to tell the master to his face:

“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.”–Matthew 25:24-25 NASB

Often people reject knowing Jesus and submitting to Him as their God and master because they fear him. Like the third guy, they don’t live their lives for God’s glory because they believe God is a harsh master who cannot be trusted. They don’t know Jesus so therefore they don’t trust that He loves them and wants to bless them. But what does Jesus say about Himself?

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”–John 10:10b-11

Jesus loves us so much that He laid down His life to die for our sins so that we can be declared pleasing/righteous in God’s eyes. He had to do this because God cannot tolerate sin, so Jesus had to purify us from our sins so that we can enter into God’s presence and fellowship with Him.  There’s no way we can be good enough, no matter how hard we try, so the perfect God/man had to die for our sins. His righteousness is a gift, given to us, just for the asking through an act of faith.

But it takes an act of trust to ask God to enter your life and be your Father and Lord.

As the Good Shepherd, He can be trusted to guide your life to “green pastures”. (Please read Psalm 23). Ask Him to forgive your sin and invite Him to enter into your heart and be your Lord. I’m not promising you’ll have an easier life. But you will never regret it.

And you’ll have eternal life with a reward so wonderful that you cannot imagine it.

Waiting: Psalm 27:13-14

herding

Buddy loves to herd me when he thinks I’m walking too slowly on our “walkies”. He’ll swing around behind me and begin bopping me in the back of my left leg with his nose, trying to get me to speed up. He’s impatient to move forward more quickly.

I’m the same way with God. I hate waiting, particularly a long time. I would like to move out of rain-soaked Seattle but events are just not coming together to make it happen, although I am eager to make a fresh start somewhere else where it’s not a major event when the sun comes out.

King David in Psalm 27 also voices his despair. He’s feeling depressed because he wants to be delivered from his enemies. He reminds himself that although the days seem dark, God will come through for him if he’s willing to wait and trust in God’s timing.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

David reminds himself to be patient, that God will eventually come through and bless him in this life. He strengthens himself emotionally by focusing on God’s faithfulness.

Sometimes we’re not supposed to wait, but pray and then step out in faith. At other times, it seems like our hopes keep being dashed and roadblocks tossed into our paths.

May you find your strength in the Lord’s promises in the Scriptures as you wait on Him.

Scripture verses are NASB