Here is a page from that little magazine Our Daily Bread, August 24/08. Happy Sunday.
God has not promised that your life will be easy; indeed it may not be. But he has promised to sustain you in your struggle and uphold you with his mighty arm. If you trust him, he will empower you to make your way bravely through extraordinary difficulty with hope, faith and love. God will not allow you to be pressed beyond endurance.
I live my life looking forward to God’s promises. It makes living quite exciting. That’s why I love this song so much; it is full of promise and optimism. Happy Sunday.
I often quote one of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11-13, to those who are going through difficult times in their lives and things look hopeless. I also quote it to new believers who will begin to learn the promises of God, and this is one of His best.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
This morning I read in Luke 1:45: Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
I have believed this promise since I learned it in 1995 and it has proven itself, or better, God has proven Himself, many times over in my life since.
I have found it pays great dividends to believe…especially in difficult times.
As promised, here are a few quotes from the famous author of The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran.
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.”
“One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.”
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
“We are all like the bright moon, we still have our darker side.”
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
You know what? I’m no theologian, clergy person, or Bible scholar, but I am a strong believer with an abundance of faith, and tend to take God’s promises seriously. However, I am not naive enough to expect that even though my motto is “All Things Are Possible” that all things are going to be possible. There are some limitations to human expectations and experiences.
It’s wonderful to pray for and with people who, despite limitations being a possibility, still hope enough to entertain the possibility that their prayers can and will be answered. Believing is a huge part of experiencing answered prayers.
There are those of us who pray that our belief and faith will trump the doubt on the recipient’s part, and so go ahead and pray for miracles. Some will say that this gives false hope. False or not, all hope is conducive to positive feelings which help people expect the best outcome for their situation…come what may.
Alexander Pope wrote in An Essay on Man, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast”…
Mark tells the story of the healing of a boy with an evil spirit since childhood. The boy’s father begged Jesus, “…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The boy’s father responded, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Jesus then relieved the boy of the evil spirit. (Mark 9:14-29)
Help my unbelief…what a pleading, positive and powerful prayer.
A couple of weeks ago the idea of posting short scriptures each Sunday occurred to me. Lo and behold, one of the recent suggestions from Blogging 101 was just that idea with an added bit about why a particular verse is meaningful to me.
Here is today’s feature:
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Psalm 22: 9,10
This is a psalm of David, and I love it because it is exactly the way I feel about God. His presence has been with me since day one which leads me to another scripture:
“…you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you…” Isaiah 46: 3,4
Another Sunday event today is a baby shower for Laura, the mother-to-be of my seventh great-grandchild.
My best friend and her sister had never lived apart in their lives except for a brief period when one of them was first married. Their lives were intertwined through childhood, early adulthood, middle years and elder age.
Tanya died first in 2008 after a battle with lung cancer. She was seventy-one years old, and her passing had left her sister alone for the first time in her life.
In 2014 Virginia, in her seventy-fifth year, succumbed to life-threatening injuries after being struck by a bus one sunny September morning.
The “ladies”, as they were lovingly referred to by family and friends, were together once again as the urns containing their ashes sat side by side in the final home they had shared, awaiting an appropriate burial location to be mutually decided upon by the family.
It seems that whenever a rainbow was sighted after the ladies had left earth, it was a promising reminder that they were united again, because the rainbow is a sign of promise.
Their memorial was held just last week and they were interred together in their final resting place. It drizzled rain during the committal but when it was time to honor their lives with celebration, a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the heavens over the site.
What a wonderful sign of promise that my best friend and her sister will never be apart again.
Have you read that verse in Jeremiah? Have you believed the promise of it? To me it is one of the most exciting verses in the Bible.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
In my case I had called upon Him and prayed to Him before I knew anything about this verse. Although His plans were in place for me before I was born, they only became apparent to me in hindsight. But now that I know there are plans for my life it is exciting to live in the expectation of them.
It is a sure thing that my book, My Precious Life, was one of those plans. Another verse, Jeremiah 30:2 “Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you” was the message that prompted the book.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…what a promise!
Why does a once sweet love go sour? Physical beauty, passionate intimacy, whispered promises of undying love; these are the sweetness. But then, in some cases, venomous accusations, disrespect, hurtful remarks, begin to take their toll on sweet love, leaving one or the other party wondering, rightfully, what went wrong.
And then comes the time to reflect. Does physical beauty really matter? Is passionate intimacy the crux of a relationship? Were those whispered promises made in the heat of the passion?
Unkind comments made under the guise of love are like razor blades in sweet dough.
Wise old Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:6, Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind.
Sweet and sour love? Only if it’s tasty to both parties with no heartburn to either.
Psalm 30, verse 5 says rejoicing comes in the morning, but there are those of us who find that a shallow promise when our joy is sabotaged by some of life’s events.
Dreaded diseases, death, loss of love, soured relationships, and sometimes just life itself can leave us feeling joyless.
However, Jesus tells us in John 16:20 that our grief will turn to joy. I take this to mean whatever we are suffering will turn to joy.
I really like this promise, and in spite of all else, because of it, at times find myself rejoicing anyway.