Friday, March 31, 2017

God's Faithful Righteousness (Romans 1:17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 1:17

Faith can be tough sometimes. Believing in something that I cannot fully understand is difficult. Trusting in Someone that I cannot touch with my hands or see with my eyes isn’t “logical.”

That’s why so many can’t seem to have faith in the God of the Bible.

But those of us who do and who have committed our lives to Him live by faith. We spend our days trusting that the God we serve is with us and is concerned about everything about us. Our work. Our relationships. Our health. Our needs.

And as we walk with Him—by faith—we become more and more like Him. We become more godly, more servant-hearted … more righteous.

Others begin to see something in us that attracts them to our God. They want the same peace and joy and gentleness that are ours through faith.

Are you walking by faith? Do you see the Lord’s hand in your daily life? If not, pray that He will reveal Himself and His will in your life so that you can walk by faith … every day.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

God Is Faithful! (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Today’s scripture: Deuteronomy 7:9

God is faithful. He is faithful.

He cannot and will not change, and we can trust Him at all times and in every situation.

This can be hard for our human minds to grasp. Our world is ever-changing. What was trendy yesterday is passé today. Cutting-edge technology is here today and gone tomorrow.

So, the thought of anything never-changing is mind-boggling.

And yet, the God we serve is just that. When His word says He will never leave us, we can trust Him. When we’re told He loves us with an everlasting love, we can trust Him. When we know He will provide for our needs, we can trust Him.

Because He is our never-changing God.

Does the thought of knowing our ever-faithful, never-changing God bring you joy? Take a moment to thank Him for His wonderful faithfulness.      

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Building Your Faith (Jude 20-21)

Today’s scripture: Jude 20-21

Building up your faith, keeping it fresh is oh-so-important. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “stuff” of the world and not take the time to grow in faith.

And that which doesn’t grow does what? It either stagnates—or dies.

So, let’s take a moment to look at what these two verses say about how we can build our faith.

First, we’re to pray in the Holy Spirit. Do you spend time each and every day in prayer? Do you spend time in praise and confession, intercession and gratitude? If you want to build your faith, you need to.

Second, we’re to keep ourselves in the love of God. Do you realize how much God loves you? Have you read John 3:16 lately? He loves you more than you can even imagine. He loves you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). Live your life to bring honor to that love.

Finally, we’re to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. But guess what, we don’t have to look very far. Christ gave us what we don’t deserve: eternal life with Him.

Build up your faith. Every day. Don’t let it stagnate, or even worse, die.

What do you do to build up your faith? To keep it strong? If you’re letting your faith stagnate, do something today—and every day—to keep it strong, starting with prayer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Substance of Faith (Hebrew 11:1)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 11:1

So far this year, we’ve looked at verses about peace and verses about hope. For the next few weeks, we’re going to look at another of my favorite words: Faith.

Of all the many verses about faith in the Bible, this is one of my favorites. Faith is something we hope for, yes, but it’s not blind. God has given us many pieces of evidence to support our faith, and since in civil law, truth is proclaimed by the preponderance of evidence, the God of the Bible has definitely made His case.

Take creation, for instance. Now, I know there are firm believers in evolution, but frankly, I think it takes much more faith to believe that everything we see on this earth—flowers, trees, insects, birds, animals, oceans, mountains … us—evolved from a single cell.

The evidence of morality or conscience also points to a divine Creator. Certain acts are wrong pretty much wherever you go—murder, rape, theft. If we consider those things to be wrong, why? Whose moral law are we judging those things by? Certainly not our own.

I strongly believe the evidence rightly points to a supernatural being. And I believe, because I’ve seen what He’s done in my life and in the lives of others, that Being is the Lord God Almighty, the God of the Bible.

My faith isn’t blind. It isn’t just a hope. It’s based on strong evidence.

Case closed.

Have you weighed the evidence? Is your faith based on something more than wishful thinking? If not, investigate why you believe what you believe. The evidence will stand for itself. You can trust it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hope in Being God's Heir (Titus 3:7)

Today’s scripture: Titus 3:7

The verses that precede this are about God’s love for us that was demonstrated through salvation through Jesus Christ. They remind us that God is indeed merciful.

But we have hope in more than our earthly salvation although that’s certainly a marvelous, amazing thing. Our hope is in an eternal future with Jesus, worshipping Him, praising Him, living with Him.

And did you notice a key word? We are heirs to God’s kingdom. We aren’t just an add-on or an after-thought. We are children—adopted by grace—of God.

It’s really enough that God provides salvation from our sins. It’s really enough that He blesses us and provides for us. It’s really enough that He protects us and hears us when we cry out to Him.

But it wasn’t enough for Him.

It wasn’t enough that He saved us on this earth.

No, He wants more.

He wants us to be a part of His family. He wants us to enjoy eternity in the home He’s prepared for us.

He wants to be our Father. Our forever Father.

Think about this for a moment. When you came to know Jesus, you became an actual member of God’s family, His son or daughter. Thank Him that He’s your Father and that you’ll be with Him forever.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hope in the Unseen (Romans 8:24-25)

Today’s scripture: Romans 8:24-25

I don’t know about you, but I’m a hands-on kind of gal. I learn best by touching and feeling. Don’t try to explain it to me. Don’t give me a manual. Let me sit down and try it myself.

And it’s easy for me to talk about hoping in things I can see.

I hope you feel better.
I hope you can come to the party.
I hope that my team wins.

I speak this way, and I don’t think I’m alone.

But then I read verses like this, and I stop and think.

“Hope that is seen is not hope.”

What does this mean?

One of the definitions of hope is “to believe, desire, or trust.” It’s easy for me to believe or desire or trust something I can see, so is there any real hope in that?

Real hope does come in hoping for what we do not see. We don’t see Jesus with our eyes, but we can hope for the future when we remember that Jesus is real, and He’s alive today.

Thank Jesus that He’s your living Savior. Thank Him for the hope you can have, even when you can’t see Him with your eyes. Ask Him to let you see Him with your heart.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rest in Hope (Acts 2:25-26)

Today’s scripture: Acts 2:25-26

Read through these verses again.

Read them slowly.

Do you see what they say? In these two short verses, there are three amazing promises, promises that help us to have hope—not only to have hope, but to rest in hope.

The first promise: The Lord is always before my face.

You know what that means? He’s always with us. We can see His face when we read His word.

The second promise: He is at my right hand.

When we walk through difficult times, He’s right there, holding our hands, walking alongside us.

The third promise: I may not be shaken.

We can have confidence that He’s right here with us, and because of that confidence, we can be strong and steady. The storms and struggles will not cause us to waver.

If you’re in the center of a storm right now, go to the one who promises that He’s with you, every moment. Remember that you can trust Him and rest in the hope of His presence.

Spend a few more minutes meditating on these promises. If you’re needing rest, ask God for it now.    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hope in God's Word (Psalm 119:114)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:114

Have you ever read a verse in the Bible, one that you may have read many times, and it touches you in a new and unique way?

I love that. It’s one of my most favorite things about God’s word.

I was reading through the psalms not too long ago and came across this verse that I’ve read many times. It’s been a favorite of mine for a while, and I love to remember that I can hope in God’s word.

But this time, this wonderful psalm showed me two things:

God is my hiding place, a place of refuge, a place where I can hide when I’m scared or lonely or tired. I picture myself crawling up on my Abba’s lap and resting in His arms. What an amazing thought!

God is also my shield, my protector, my strength. He will stand before me when the enemy strikes. When the arrows are flying about me, I can hide behind Him and His word.

Knowing God and understanding His love for me gives me hope.

Knowing that He is there to offer a place of refuge and protection gives me hope.

Spend some time rereading a couple of your favorite verses, and ask God to reveal new truths to your heart. Find hope in His words to you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hope in Affliction (Psalm 119:49-50)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:49-50

I’m one of many who wake up in pain every day. I suffer often severe pain from a handful of chronic health conditions as well as almost-constant chronic back pain.

It would be easy for me to whine and complain (and I have to say, sometimes I do), but over the close to 40 years that I’ve suffered from chronic pain, I’ve learned something:

When I’m walking with the Lord, when I’m trusting in His will, I have hope.

Yes, you read right. I have hope, even in the midst of my daily pain. And in that hope, I find comfort.

There was a time when my faith was almost non-existent, and when I would suffer, I had no comfort through the pain. I’d take medication and try every treatment and remedy, but I was miserable, utterly miserable.

When I recommitted my life to the Lord, I was able to give the pain over to the Lord.

He didn’t take the pain away.

I still have that chronic, daily pain, but there’s a difference now.

I can ask the Lord every for strength and comfort in the midst of the pain.

And He does. He gives me strength. And He gives me comfort.

Are you in pain or are you struggling with something today? Ask God for comfort. Ask Him to hold your hand and give you strength.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hope for the Next Generation (Psalm 78:6-7)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 78:6-7

Has God blessed you with children? Or are you privileged to impact the lives of young people that you encounter?

We who have years of wisdom are called to teach and equip the next generation. It is our responsibility to instill the truth of God’s word to children so that they, in turn, can instill that same truth to theirs.

It’s not an option.

It’s a commandment.

Think for a moment about the children around you.

They may be your own, or they may be those children in your neighborhood. They may be the children in your church.

You have the honor of helping the next generation to know the love of God.

You have the honor of helping the next generation to know that they can have hope in God.

You can have the honor of helping the next generation to see that keeping His commandments brings joy and peace beyond anything this world can offer.

Are you ready to influence the next generation?

Seize the opportunity and touch the life of a child.

Ask God to help you touch a child’s life, whether she’s your own or not. See how you can impact that next generation. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hope Through Adversity (Psalm 71:14)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 71:14

Many of the psalms are written as cries from the heart.

In the verses that precede today’s, the psalmist was crying out for help from God. His enemies were at his back, looking to hurt him.

But even in the midst of his fear, he could still hope in God.

And not only could he hope in God, but he could also praise Him.

It’s one thing to have hope in difficult times. Even when things seem at their worst, we can always have hope that God will get us through, that He will provide protection, that He will be the ultimate victor.

It’s an entirely different thing to praise God in the most difficult times.

Have you ever thought about praising God even when the enemies are chasing after you?

Have you ever raised your voice in praise when you’re hurting and tired and confused?

It’s not always easy, but it can make even the hardest times more bearable because when we’re praising God, when we’re worshipping Him for the awesome God that He is, sometimes the burdens are lighter, the pain is less severe, the struggles are easier to handle.

Have hope in God at all times, but more importantly, praise Him . . . at all times.

Are you hurting right now? Are you struggling? Praise Him. Lift your voice in praise right now. And live in hope.     

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hope in the One Who Helps (Psalm 42:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 42:5

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I feel down, times when I feel blue. I don’t know anyone, even the most optimistic, who doesn’t have a low day every once and a while.

Feeling down, sad or even depressed every once in a while isn’t uncommon. However, there was a time in my life when I felt more than just down. In fact, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. For me, fortunately, this was just a temporary season, and I was able to get through it with medication.

But again, while my situation may be a more extreme than others—and some more extreme than mine—feeling down is common.

So, what do we do when the dark clouds hover?

We seek the face of God.

We go to Him in prayer.

We read words of comfort from His word.

And above all, we praise Him, knowing that only in Him can we find true hope. We can be confident that even when our spirits are “disquieted,” our Father God, our Abba (Greek for “daddy”) is with us.

Are you feeling down today? A bit sad? Go to your Abba and thank Him for His presence. Thank Him for the hope that can only come through Him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hope in the One Who Hears (Psalm 38:15)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 38:15

"Do you know what’s a huge blessing? God actually listens to us! He’s not like some people—you know the kind I’m talking about—who just appear to be listening.

"He really, truly listens to us when we talk to Him. How do I know?

"Because His word promises that He does and because He’s answered my prayers. We’ve already looked at so many truths from the Bible, and we can trust that His words are true. And the Bible tells us that He really, truly listens.

"Are there days when you feel that no one is listening to you?

"Are there times when you’re longing to share your thoughts, your feelings, and it feels as though no one hears your heart?  

"Do you often wonder if there’s anyone out there?

"There is, my friend. You have the best listener in the universe . . . waiting to hear from you. And there’s nothing you can say that will shock Him or surprise Him. You can say anything, share anything, and He will listen to you . . . and will still love you."

(excerpted from The Best Laid Plans, © 2005 Sauni Rinehart)

Have you ever thought about God listening to you? Talk to Him today, and know that He’s listening to you. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hope in God's Mercy (Psalm 33:22)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 33:22


Have you ever really thought what that means?

Someone has said that grace is getting what we don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.

And what do we deserve?

We deserve death and eternal separation from God. We really do. We are sinful people. We are willful people. And we are deserving of death. But God loves us so much that He chose to have mercy on us. To not give us what we deserve. 

Jesus came to earth to die to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to be God’s act of mercy for us.

And because we know that God’s mercy is upon us, we can have hope. We can hope in Him. We don’t have to fear eternal death, and God’s mercy promises us that we’ll spend eternity with Him in heaven.

And quite honestly, is there anything more to hope in?

God’s mercy is everlasting, and His love for us is more than we can imagine. Spend some time thanking Him for His mercy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hope in the Scriptures (Romans 15:4)

Today’s scripture: Romans 15:4

Communication is key in any relationship. Think of any successful relationship you’ve ever been in or observed. Don’t the people in this kind of relationship talk to one another, share their hearts with one another?

Our relationship with the Lord is similar. We need to communicate with Him.

We speak to Him when we pray; He speaks to us through His word.

God has given us the incredible privilege of being able to read the words that He inspired His servants to write. And we can learn about Him and His love for us as we read the Scriptures.

Even more, we can be comforted by His words and that comfort can give us hope.

God desires to speak with us. He wants to tell us how He loves us, and He wants to commune with us. We can read verses and chapters and books in the Bible and know, with all confidence, that God, our Heavenly Father, is speaking with us. And we can, just like with our relationships on earth, hear the words He wants to say.

Spend some time in God’s word today, and listen to what He has to say to you.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Our Hope Is in God (Psalm 39:7)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 39:7

Lila was waiting for her friend, Carrie . . . again.

It seemed that, no matter what time she told Carrie to arrive, Carrie was always fifteen or twenty minutes late.

And it was beginning to make Lila angry.

Another few minutes crept by, and Lila became even angrier.

How dare Carrie make her wait so long?

Have you ever waited for someone? It’s pretty frustrating, isn’t it? But waiting isn’t always a bad thing.

The Bible tells us that if we wait upon the Lord, He will renew our strength so that we can fly like eagles. We can walk and run, and still not be weary (Isaiah 40:31).

God’s timing isn’t always ours, but we can be assured that if we wait on His plan, He will work His perfect will in our lives. We can live in hope that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Waiting, when it’s waiting on God and His plan, isn’t a bad thing.

In fact, sometimes, waiting on Him can strengthen our faith and deepen our trust.

Have you been waiting on God for something, and it seems to be taking a long time? Go to Him and ask Him to give you the patience to wait upon Him.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Hope ... and Anchor of the Soul (Hebrews 6:18-19)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 6:18-19

What is an anchor? What does it do?

An anchor keeps a boat steady in the water. It keeps it from drifting out to sea. It keeps the passengers safe, knowing that they will stay where they’re supposed to.

We, too, have an anchor, an anchor for our souls: God cannot lie.

God is truth. He cannot lie.

And if that’s true, and I believe it is, then we can have great hope in Him.

We can have hope that we won’t drift away from His perfect plan for us.

We can have hope that we will be kept safe.

We can have hope that we will remain “sure and steadfast” as we continue our journey in Him.

When the sea around us is stormy and the world spreads its lies, we can have hope that God is truth and that He cannot—He will not lie.

Have you been living in the storm of lies? Remember that God will never lie to you. Remember that He is your anchor.   

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Hope in the One True God (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:4-6

We live in one of the most “spiritual” times in history. Throughout the world, studies and statistics show that people consider themselves spiritual and people of faith.

But what does this really mean?

For many, it merely means that they admit to a higher power or a spiritual force beyond themselves—or sometimes within themselves.

People are seeking something, and the thing is, that Something is really easy to find. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Some would say that this is narrow-minded thinking, and in many ways, it is. But truth is truth.

I find great hope in knowing that we can know, with confidence, that we serve one Lord, that He is above all. And when I remember that He loves me so much that He gave His very life for me, I have even greater hope.

We are children of the one and only God. He is the God and Father of all. 

Do you believe in the one God and Father of all? Have you found hope in Him? Thank Him now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

God Is Our Hope (Psalm 71:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 71:5

I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was six years old. I had an unwavering faith . . . until I was seven. My father’s leaving our family set into motion circumstances that I allowed to take me away from that faith, and I spent the next two decades walking along a rebellious path.

However, even though I had walked away from God, I learned later that He had never walked away from me. That faith that I had as a six-year-old girl eventually proved to be true and worthy of trust.

When I was twenty-nine, I recommitted my life to the Lord, and as I looked back over those 23+ years, I realized that God had protected me and provided for me and blessed me in spite of my turning from Him.

That “trust from my youth” had sustained me even when I was far from deserving it.

God was indeed my hope then—as a six-year-old and as a rebellious teen and young adult.

And God is my hope today.

Have you known Jesus since you were a child? Have you thanked Him lately for that childlike trust? Or did you meet Him as an adult? Ask Him to give you that childlike faith again.

Monday, March 06, 2017

The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)

Today’s scripture: Titus 2:13

Picture this:

You’re walking along a sun-kissed shore, the water lapping at your feet. The setting is painting the clouds deep oranges and pinks. Then, suddenly, rays of the sun burst through the clouds and rain down on the horizon. It’s almost as though the hand of God itself is coming through the clouds.

Well, guess what?

One day, it won’t be the rays of the sun coming through the clouds, it will be Jesus Himself.

Don’t you love that?

The Bible tells us that Jesus will “descend from heaven with a shout . . . Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together . . . to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Jesus will return someday. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even in our lifetime. But He will someday return to make this world what God had originally created it to be.

Then, “we shall always be with the Lord.

Thank God today that you can have the hope in Jesus Christ’s return, that one day, He will return and we will spend eternity with Him.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Grieving with Hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Today’s scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

It was a sunny June day.

In the cemetery, two graveside services were being held, both for young mothers.

At the first, the young widower sat, looking lost and alone. His three-year-old daughter sat next to him, and she cried as she tried to get her daddy’s attention and wondered where mommy was. The faces of those surrounding the casket were blank with grief. The older couple, clearly the young mother’s parents, clung to each other, hopelessness in their eyes.

At the second, the young widower sat, tears in his eyes, yet mixed with an unmistakable brightness. His three-year-old son sat next to him, and he looked up at his daddy and asked, “Where’s mommy?” “She’s in heaven with Jesus.” The little boy smiled as he remembered Mommy telling him how much Jesus loved him. The older couple, clearly the young mother’s parents, smiled through their tears. Yes, that little boy’s mommy was in heaven with Jesus.

Two funerals. One without hope; the other with the hope that comes from knowing that someone dearly loved was with Jesus.

We are to grieve our losses, but the Bible makes it clear that we who know Jesus can have hope that our loved ones who have departed this earth before us are with Him.

And we can have hope that, one day, we will be with Him too. 

Have you lost someone you loved? Have hope that they’re with Jesus. And If you have someone you love who doesn’t know Jesus, tell her about Him, so that, one day, you’ll be able to grieve with hope.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Courage Through Hope (Psalm 31:24)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 31:24

Do you feel discouraged?

Do you feel fearful?

Do you feel weak?

Do you sometimes wonder if you’re alone in this big, cruel world?

Most importantly, do you know Jesus?

If you answered yes to all of the above, I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The bad news? You will probably occasionally feel discouraged or fearful or weak. That’s that human side of you. Sometimes, in our frailty, we do feel all of these things.

But here’s the good news: If you know Jesus, you can be assured of that He will give you strength and courage if you ask Him. If you ask Him to walk alongside you, He will.

I often wake up in the morning in pain, and I often feel very weak. And when I feel that pain and that weakness, I often feel discouraged. But I know that when I ask, Jesus will give me the strength to make it through the day.

I can have hope that He will do what He promises to do, so I really can be of good courage—in His strength.

If you’re feeling discouraged or fearful, ask Jesus right this moment to strengthen your heart. Ask Him now for the hope that comes in knowing Him.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-4

God is merciful to us. He chooses us to bless us and to give us hope in so many ways.

These verses speak to two very hopeful things. First and foremost: Jesus is alive! He is our resurrected Savior, and through Him, we can have a “living hope” that we too will live. We have an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled” through Jesus.

The second hopeful thing: This inheritance “does not fade away.” We can live in this world, and we can live through difficult times. But we can live in the knowledge that our inheritance of eternity with Jesus will never, ever fade away. We can live with confidence in that hope.

But the bottom line?

We serve a living Savior, and that’s the greatest hope of all.

Thank God today that you have a living hope, that you have an inheritance that will never fade away. Thank Him for His mercy.