Love In Action

romans121913

Continuing on with our theme of “Godly Relationships” here at MOHL, I wanted to write a little bit on some of the practical ways we can show love to others.

Romans 12:9-13 reads as follows:

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Wow… there are a lot of things written to us as believers just in that short passage.

Something I really want to point out from those scriptures is that a lot of those commands relate directly to the attitude in our hearts. It says that we ought to:

1. Honor others before yourself. This could mean a few different things, but I think mainly, it is really seeking to put the needs or wants of others above your own. Do you know of someone who is struggling with finances and they have no way to keep warm? Give them a coat to wear. Do you know of someone who is hungry? Bring them some food! Even giving a bright and cheery smile to the cashier in the store who has had a long day can bring some sunshine into their lives. You might be the only bit of happiness and joy that enters their life that day. You never know how God can use even the smallest things to encourage others. This goes into point #2.

2. Never be lacking in zeal and spiritual fervor for the Lord. As we continue on the paths the Lord has placed in our lives, He will lead us through the valley and the desert both. Sometimes, it feels like we have never been closer to the Lord, and everything is “going our way”. We’re in the valley…joy-filled, at peace, and excitedly going down the path of the Lord’s will. Then, He may choose to bring us through a dry, desert time. It seems as if everything is a struggle, like the Lord is far away and doesn’t hear our desperate pleas of asking for peace from the conflict, whatever it might be. Having walked through a time like this recently, I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to have dear sisters constantly sending me scripture verses and praying for me. Do you know someone who is struggling in their spiritual life? The Lord may be calling you to be a witness to them as they walk through this time in the desert. Diligently seek to pray for them, look for little ways you can encourage them. Perhaps a note in the mail or some favorite scriptures written out on notecards and given to them will help them on their journey.

3. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. This part speaks for itself in many ways. Be joyful in hope… We have a great hope in the knowledge that one day, the Lord will return to take us home to be with Him for all eternity. We have a great hope because He chose, in His divine providence, to take on the weight of our sins and wash them clean. He took the punishment, that we rightly deserve, that we might be white as snow, and have this great hope! What a mighty, faithful and loving God we serve.  Patient in affliction… Our pastor was just teaching this past Sunday about how trials are brought into our lives for our good. We often do the most growing as we learn to further rely on the Lord, and less on our own efforts. When we are completely broken, we realize just how small we are, and just how mighty our Lord is. We may not understand in this life why He sent specific trials into our lives, but we can rest once again in the greater Hope- that the Lord works together all things for the good of those who are His own according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Faithful in prayer… once again, this part speaks for itself, but in many ways, how often are we guilty of telling someone that we will pray for them and then forgetting or never getting around to doing so? *raises hand* One way that we can really seek to show love to others is remembering to be faithful in praying for them, or over specific requests they may have shared with us. For myself, I’ve found that keeping a prayer request journal is a great way to specifically list out folks or requests that I am praying for during that time. It’s also neat to look back through and see exactly how God answered those prayers!

4. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Building somewhat on #1, sharing with fellow believers who are in need is one of the greatest ways that we can show love to others. One specific way my church tries to do this is by taking meals to families who have recently had a baby, lost a family member, are sick, etc. Having been on both ends of this, I can say that it is a blessing to both parties. Taking a meal to someone is a way of acknowledging to them that you know they are struggling with something at the time, and it is a very practical way of showing love to them. It truly blesses you knowing that you are lending them a helping hand in their time of need. When my family has been on the receiving end, it is so nice to not have to worry about cooking on top of everything else going on at the time, no matter what the circumstance is. There are obviously several other ways to help folks in need…I just used food as an example because here in the South, food is a big deal. :) As far as showing hospitality, the definition of hospitality means: “The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” What better way to show hospitality to believers and non-believers alike than to host them in your home? Whether just for a meal or for an extended stay, oftentimes, one of the best ways we can be a witness to others is to have them in our homes, so that they can see the way we live, and Lord willing, to see the love of Christ in us and through us.

What are some different ways you can show “love in action” to others around you?

 

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Hallelujah, He is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed.

A blessed Resurrection day to you & yours!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. When Jesus gave up His last breath on Calvary, the veil of separation was torn in two & we are now gifted with the priceless gift of unadulterated communion with the Lord. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to give His disciples & followers power to carry out the great commission. I’m here to share with you, sisters, that that same Pentecostal power they were given in tongues of fire is ours.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2nd Peter 1:1-15

What does this look like in the day to day? Certainly appears to be a tall order. *smile* It’s so much more than an inspirational encouragement but the calling on all of our lives, in every season. In every moment. Through every trial, triumph, joy & even times of despair. We are new creations. We weren’t once new creations, nor are we trying to attain a brand new identity. We have been cleansed from our sins forever & the Lord casts them as far as the east is from the west. It’s a perpetual, & ongoing renewing, adding all these things to the next in the Scripture above.

These verses are God-inspired, & are a call to rise as He is risen this day. We are vessels made to declare His rule & reign over history, the present & our individual stories. On this blessed Easter morning, I encourage you to breathe deep & let it out. Bask in the Lord’s resurrection power & then, after you pray for these fruits to be cultivated in your day to day, you prepare. Prepare your heart to be tested with gifts disguised as trying people, situations or trials. When I pray for patience, the Lord sends me another short-tempered person or difficult personality or another waiting game to test that prayer.

The Lord does not call the already-equipped; He doesn’t bestow upon us the gifts of His grace & the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts like pixie dust. The Lord equips the called; day by day even in the mundane, we-His daughters & part of His beloved Bride-are refined as gold.

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Little Ways

This month, our topical theme here at Meditations of His Love is Experience Produces Character. Melinda asked that we share some of the different experiences that we have had through the years as we have walked with Christ.

This past year, my grandmother was diagnosed with and died from cancer. I wrote the following blog post shortly after she passed away, sharing about one of the unique and special ways the Lord encouraged my family and I through His word, as we walked through what was *undoubtedly* one of the hardest times in our lives. Perhaps you, dear friend, are walking through a struggle of your own. I pray that this testimony of the Lord providing encouragement to me during that time will be a blessing and encouragement to you. May we always trust in the Lord and seek to stay faithful to Him, even when it is hard. <3

~Miss C

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From June 10th, 2013:

 

It has been interesting to look back at many of the ways the LORD has sent encouragement to us over the past several weeks.

When I look back over the past few months, I can see where the LORD really spoke to my heart through very specific Bible verses. During the weeks following after we learned about my grandmother’s cancer, and then continuing on as we cared for her until her homecoming, the LORD revealed scriptural truths  to me as I sought comfort in His word. As they were laid on my heart, I felt led to write down those verses and hang them beside the sink, so that I could work on memorizing them while doing dishes or cooking during the day.

“The day we found out she had cancer, February 14th, the verse that came to mind after much prayer was James 1:2-4 :

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

While it was hard to see at the time of my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis, and admittedly, is still very hard to see at times now, we are to completely and totally rely on God and trust in Him. Even when situations seem to be at their absolute worst, we are to TRUST Him. Really, really trust Him- with our whole heart. God never sends us trials or situations greater than what His grace will allow us to bear. Never will He leave us or desert us in our time of need. We are to REJOICE when He sends trials to us. We should always seek to rejoice in the sanctification that comes from bearing burdens here on earth and know that working through those difficult situations in a godly manner is ultimately a manner or refining for us. A way of making us more like our beloved Saviour. It is so hard to rejoice in the midst of troubles….of worries…. of burdens that feel too large to bear, but through God’s grace, I pray that we all weary not of doing right and seeking to consider even the largest of burdens a JOY.

The second verse that God placed on my heart was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

I believe God was continuing to reveal to me that this season of my grandmother struggling with cancer wouldn’t last forever. Like many other things in life, this was a season and it too would pass. There were days when it was all I could do not to weep as the enormity of situation began to sink in. There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep thinking over all of the what-ifs and possible scenarios…

And that is when God laid Psalm 27:13-14 on my heart:

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”

At this time, as we were approaching the second chemo treatment, we were watching my grandmother begin to slip away as the cancer began to take its toll. I can’t even begin to explain what it is like to watch someone suffer the way she was beginning to suffer. The pain that began to show itself on her face… watching the difficulty she was beginning to have just walking around our home. I found myself constantly praying the second part of that verse: “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.. Lord, please help me to wait for you- please help me to be strong and take heart and wait for you.

The next verse that was laid on my heart was 1st Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The day I felt led to write out this verse and add it to the others beside the sink was the day before my grandmother passed away.

God’s timing in things is always perfect. Oftentimes, we can’t see why He directs things a certain way or puts specific situations in our paths, but we can rest in the fact that HE does know and that His ways are always perfect! What an amazing peace it is to know God directs all and that He has already numbered our every step here on this earth! I believe His timing in revealing that verse to me was perfect. I certainly didn’t know that God would take my grandmother home the next day, but God was telling me to rejoice in my circumstances whatever they might be. While my family and I are still suffering the loss of my precious grandmother, we can rejoice in the fact that she is no longer suffering- no longer in pain. She is in the joyous presence of our heavenly Father, and what a blessed thought that is!

Which leads me to the last verse I wrote out and hung beside the sink- Jeremiah 17:14:

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

God revealed this verse to me through a Bible study I was doing a few weeks ago. I felt very strongly God was showing me that verse specifically as a balm for our wounds. An encouragement that healing would indeed come. We serve such a faithful and merciful God- it is so true that His mercies are anew each morning! As we continue through both of these seasons of mourning and healing, I know that through His mercies, our hearts will be restored. I am so thankful He continues to whisper His truths to us each day, in the most amazing of ways. What a mighty God we serve!”

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~He will wipe away every tear~

He Will Wipe Away Every Tear

Life oftentimes throws us “curve balls”. Unexpected circumstances seem to abound at times, swirling and whirling and tossing us about the waves of life until we feel like we are absolutely broken, crushed, and unable to even breathe.

We can all relate to struggling with difficulties in this life. Living in a fallen world, the effects of sin are all around us. Each day, we struggle with different things brought into our lives. For you, maybe it is the death of a close family member or friend, or receiving news of a life-threatening medical diagnosis. Perhaps it is being shunned by a close friend, or having a relationship shatter into an oblivion of tiny little pieces. It might be struggling with having enough money to put food on the table, or feeling absolutely alone, drowning in your doubts and fears, whatever they may be.

The Lord has told us that one day, when we go to be with Him, He will free us from the earthly burdens of pain and mourning:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:4

What a blessed promise the Lord gives us in this scripture passage! What a joyous thing it is to know that we will be dwelling with our Heavenly Father in perfect peace, and not experiencing the pain and suffering that is found while we are still on earth. What a blessing it is to know that the Lord, in His infinite goodness and mercy, chose us to be His people, and that we will be with Him forever!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” - Revelation 21:3

The Lord will dwell with us…among us. Can you imagine what a wondrous thing that will be! No more pain. No suffering. No sin! As the Bride of Christ, we will be *with* Him in His kingdom, with the tumultuous effects of sin no longer plaguing us. I feel so very blessed that He chose to count me among His own! <3

My dear sister, when you feel as if life can’t possibly get any worse, remember the promise the Lord has given to us; for He remains, now and forevermore, true to His promises. One day, He will take us to be with Him, and He will wipe every tear from our eyes. No longer will we be afflicted by the effects of sin. Praise be to His holy name! <3

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Future Hope & Present Promises

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 

I love these verses. So full of promise. Countless tiers of God’s promise for the ultimate eternity. What’s so fascinating to me are the multiple facets to promises like this. When Jesus came to earth-fully God & fully Man-died on the Cross the death of a criminal & rose to life again to ascend to Heaven, He tore the veil of separation for all time. He alone bridged the great divide between us & our sin & the Lord & His holy goodness.

That veil I mentioned? It was the veil in the Temple that enclosed the Holy of Holies-where God dwelt. When Jesus took His last breath, the veil torn in two as the earth shook & split apart. This happened in the ancient city of Jerusalem that still stands amidst centuries of turmoil & wars. The place still where God’s chosen people still flock … but this city has seen it’s share of sin. In the books of the prophets, God pleads with His bride, the nation of Israel, to turn & repent. He pursues them with love, teaches & grows them through captivity, famine, wandering … & yet they still stand. And the city still stands even though in the Bible alone it was laid siege to multiple times & a part of a foreign empire for decades at a time.

When the veil was torn, & later when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, there was no more separation from God. All the Jewish people & the Gentiles could have full, unadulterated communion with God if they but repented & turned from their sin into His welcome arms. While we do not have God with us in a physical sense-we have Him & His promise of coming again & soon, in our hearts. What a matchless gift, that one day we will be a part of the Bride of the Lord-when we can walk with God as Adam & Eve did before the fall.

He shall make all things new one day-as He continues to renew us day by day, moment by moment, because of His marvelous gift of grace, undeserved mercy.

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Beloved Bride

Beloved Bride

Beloved bride.

What an absolutely beautiful name those of us carry who are in Christ. We are His beloved bride; His redeemed, sanctified and forgiven ones, set apart and chosen by Him before the beginning of time to be his very own.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” - Isaiah 61:10

He has provided us with beautiful bridal clothes of salvation, given by the ultimate sacrifice of His one and only son. What an amazing sacrifice the LORD has given that we might live!

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” - Ephesian 5:25-27

He gave up what He loved most of all, so that we, a fallen and undeserving people, could find salvation and life eternal through Him. Can you even imagine what pain He must have endured, sending His only son to the cross, in order that we might live? Can you imagine what Jesus must have experienced as He took on the weight of all of our sin upon himself? And yet, the sacrifice was made. The sacrifice was made so that we might be spotlessly clean, no longer clothed in the filthy rags of sin, but in the beautiful bridal clothes of radiant, sinless purity, and in the shining truth of righteousness.

While we are still on this earth, He knows that we will continue to fall short. We cannot, as humans, achieve a life without sin while we are still dwelling in our temporal bodies. When we do fail, the Lord is faithful to draw us back to Him and wash us clean once more, ever patiently sanctifying us as He continues to mold and shape us into whom He would have us be. He has promised to be our faithful bridegroom, drawing us ever nearer and closer as He washes us time and time again from the iniquities of our sins, and sets us back upon the path we ought to go. He is preparing us each and every moment for the glorious day when He will take us home, for He will be our bridegroom, and we will be His beloved bride.

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,  in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” - Hosea 2:19-20

I invite you to celebrate with me today, dear sisters, of being counted among the Lord’s beloved bride- set apart, redeemed, forgiven, and chosen to be His own. <3

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Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Philippians 3:1 tells us that we are to rejoice in the Lord!

“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.”

If you are like me, there are days when it is difficult to rejoice. Perhaps your entire day has been difficult from beginning to end. Each and every thing you have tried to do has backfired. You were late on a project due, you burned your lunch, the car wouldn’t start, your favorite mug was dropped and shattered into teeny tiny little fragments of glass. You start to realize you feel a bit like that mug- shattered, broken, scarred, and burned by life.

The Lord is so much bigger than our circumstances. He tells us that we are to rejoice in Him, no matter what.

Oftentimes, the Lord will bring us to the end of our strength, so that we can more fully rely on Him, and on the blessed peace and calming strength found only in submission to His will. He wants us to open our eyes past our circumstances here on earth, and to focus our thoughts on our relationship with Christ Jesus and the glorious reunion yet to come when we are taken up to heaven to be with Him! <3

Psalm 119:18 - “Open my eyes, that I might see, glorious truths from your law!”

We are to rejoice when it is easy. When everything is going absolutely perfectly, and nothing could be better.

We are to rejoice when it is hard. When we are at the end of our rope. When everything in our life is going crazy and spinning out of control.

Philippians 4:4 - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

We are to rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what. God is our Abba Father, and we are to find our strength, our peace, our identity, our everything in Him. When we focus our eyes on the things of the Lord, we will find joy. The perfect joy that is found only in Christ. We will find ourselves rejoicing. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Saviour. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Redeemer-King. Rejoicing that He chose to save us, rather than condemn us to a life apart from Him. Rejoicing that there is a great hope to be found through Him.

My dear sisters, will you join me in rejoicing in the Lord? <3

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To Know Him More {Sunday Specials}

You know when you meet a person for the first time, & you just click? When you shake hands with someone & are quickly pulled into a group, but left wondering about the person you just met. In both of these scenarios, you’re left wanting to get to know the other person better. I’m blessed to have friends who I’ve had for years, others for not quite a full year, & still some who I’ve only known for a few short years, but I feel as if I’ve known all of them forever. And yet, no matter the length of the friendship, you want to talk to them & spend time with them.
All of the above describes interactions with our fellow flawed, human beings. Doing life with other works-in-progress, cheering & building each other up, listening, empathizing & caring about them so much you could not picture life without them. Just like all these lovely ladies at MOHL. How often do we, I’m preaching to the choir here, ladies, think the same of the Lord? How often do we seek Him out, though He is as close as breathing? God is literally the one & only relationship we can have, in which we can never learn every little thing there is to know about Him. This truly blows my very finite mind-but what a precious gift it is! A gift I admit I take for granted far too often.
Just think-through the ultimate High Priest whose name is Love, Jesus, we can have fellowship with the living & active God!
The same God Who led the Israelites out of Egypt; Who preserved them, redeemed them time & again even after they were carried away in captivity per His words He spoke thru the prophets. The same God who laces every infinitesimal speck of history-from day one of Creation to this very moment-with redemption. 
Praise Him, talk to Him … never forget to listen for Him.
And seek Him with all of your heart.
He knows our hearts better than we know ourselves.
He knows the number of hairs on our heads.
Without Him, we are nothing.
To know Him is to want to know Him more.
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The Set Apart Christ

By Rose H.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.


Did you know that the word Holy in scripture means set apart? When I read the verse above, my first thought was, “We are to set God aside as a Holy Lord” He’s not like the lords of this earth. He is different.

When we think about Him, it should be with the same attitude as that of the Beloved From the Song of Solomon. Read with me a moment.

The friends asked the Beloved, “How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?”
My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. Song of Songs 5:9-10 (NIV)


The Beloved then goes on to describe in detail her lovers features and how amazing he is. This should be our response as well.

We are His Beloved. We are His chosen. We are His called. We are His bride. When we set Him apart as Lord, Lover, Redeemer, and Friend in our hearts.

A few years ago at the prompting of Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I wrote out a letter answering one simple question. How is your God different from other gods? She had been teaching on the Song of Songs and encouraged women to write out what, for them personally, made Jesus stand out from all the other gods. Writing that letter was an amazing and lovely experience for me. I sat outside with letter paper and pin in hand. And for an hour I wrote out why Jesus is so amazing to me. I spilled out my love for Him. By the time I was done I was filled with awe and love for my Savior.

That is setting Christ apart. That is setting Him up as our Lover and Lord. That is making Him special in our hearts.

This is how we prepare for anyone who asks us for the reasons for the hope we have. He is the reason for our hope. The more we know of Him, the better equipped we will be to answer those who ask questions of us.

Set Him apart, dear sisters. He is worthy of all praise and honor. Let us set Him apart always. 

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Hope: a nitty-gritty, battle-boots sort of thing.


By Cynthia


“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” -1 Peter 3:15

I always hated those abstract theorems and questions in school. You know, algebra and rhetoric and logic. It is my genealogically inherited flaw that I cannot deal cleverly with technical abstracts. That part of my brain is just a wee bit flabby. So when someone asks me a direct question about an idea, my mind balks.

“So why do you hope? The world’s an awful place. Sometimes God doesn’t provide. Sometimes bad things happen. People are killed, families are ruined.What happens then? You still hoping?”

A month or so ago I stuck my neck out of my cozy, home-school, turtle-shell and mentioned something in a blog post about not liking Obamacare. Someone saw that and slathered my blog on their discussion forum, and just like that I had a swarm of liberal, sarcastic people swamping my blog and leaving comments like the one above. I had to know how to answer them when they asked me such questions. And it all came down to this:

Why do we hope?

What is there about our Lord, about our “religion,” about our life that keeps us hoping? And how do we answer those who do not have that same hope in a gentle, politic way? Well for one thing, we have promises that our Lord is a good Lord, and that He will keep His own:

Proverbs 23:18 says, “For surely there is a hereafter and your hope will not be cut off.

 That’s only one of eleventy-one found in the pages of Scripture. But some people will not take any of that to heart. “I mean really,” they’d argue, “it’s just Someone’s promise-how do we know it’s not a pie-crust promise?” (easily made, easily broken.) After I answered one comment in particular, the woman persisted with that question and others, intending pull me onto her bandwagon. [It didn't work]

But I found myself at a loss for words. I know that God fulfills all His promises-I’ve seen His hand in my life and the lives of so many others. But you can’t exactly convince anyone of it if they are blinded. That’s the funny thing about being a Christian. We’re a mad, glorious, crazy mess. Nothing makes sense when you look at it in the world’s eyes. It didn’t make sense in Jesus’s time and it certainly doesn’t make sense now. I couldn’t convince that woman because she was looking at the world through the wrong lens-she couldn’t see how there was a reason to hope, because she misunderstood the very nature of hope itself. You see…a Christian’s hope is different from what the world generally categorizes it as. The world’s definition as taught by Dictionary.com is singularly depressing, actually:

“Hope: n. The feeling that what is wanted can be had.”

Oh wow…what an insipid thing hope must be, according to that portrait! In fact, if that is what I call hope, then that sad, bitter blogger would be right. There is no reason to hope. Because anyone can see that we don’t always get everything we want in this life. Any reasonable-minded adult knows that.

But you see, we Christians don’t play by the rules. We’ve got this amazing King and all, and He has a sense of humor and likes to shake things up a bit.  Y’see, here’s His definition of Hope:

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Rom. 8:24)

Oops. Tables turned there. Sorry, Dictionary.com. You’ve been one-upped. Because now we play by different rules and I’m afraid our hope is a tad deeper and more important than getting what you want. If you took a moment to read The High King Version, you’d realize that hope is actually the not getting what you want.
Hope is the waiting.
Hope is the not-knowing.
Hope is the believing even when it’s unbelievable.
Hope is, in short, not exactly a comfortable, angel-winged, swan-necked, lily-spangled emotion. It’s rather a nitty-gritty, necessary, sweaty, grimy, battle-boots sort of thing. It’s a choice really.
So the last question (which really was the first and which I ought to have answered by now) is this:

Why do we hope?

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Hope cannot disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our own hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

That’s it in a nutshell. As Christians, our goal is to glorify God here, and look to the hereafter. Hope cannot disappoint, because hope is the love of God, and that is deeper and wider and eternally out-lasting-er than anything the world can come up with. Sarcastic bloggers and bitter people might not understand it; they might criticize and snort and stomp their feet, but they cannot take the thing away. Because hope is Love, and Love is a force to be reckoned with.

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