New Hope

1 Peter 1:3-4:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope (LIVING HOPE!) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- (NEVER FADE! A hope that is living and always new!!)

I remember a time as a child when I made a not-so-bright choice. I really don’t know how it all started, but I looked down at my feet having noticed I had stepped on something on my way up from the backyard (it was the neighbor's aluminum rain gutter) and it crunched ever so perfectly under my foot. Something caught my curiosity and I stepped on it again and the same amazing flattening crunch happened! So, like Eve in the garden I called my little brother over to join me in this amazing “science experiment!” We laughed and giggled with each hop-crunch, hop-crunch until the entire rain gutter spout was COMPLETELY flattened… like a pancake. Just in time for our dad to come round the corner of the house. Our glee turned immediately to shame as the reality of what we had just done hit us full force.

Now there is no one on earth more graciously patient than our dad. After our consequence was doled out, the day went on. Actually, the rest of that day we spent working on a replacement piece for the neighbor’s home. However, AFTER that day, we moved on.

This incident reminded me of the juxtaposition of the events ending Numbers 14 and beginning Numbers 15. The Israelites were just handed the punishment of wandering in desert for 40 years in chapter 14 due to their doubt in God. He promised to lead them successfully into the Promised Land but they were too afraid to go, doubting the ability of God. However, chapter 15 begins with God giving instructions for when they DO enter the land He would still give them 40 years from then! God in His grace doled out their just punishment and had moved on, just like that.

How often do we get stuck in our past sin (much to the devil's delight) and forget that God has forgiven us and longs for us to move forward with Him? In Jesus there is NEW HOPE every day. He is in the business of making all things new and creating beauty from ashes. If He is making our hearts beat He still has a purpose for you and I, despite our many failings. A purpose in which we can still bring Him glory with our life!

Believe Jesus for this new hope today, and then again tomorrow and then again the next day… YOU CAN NOT, HAVE NOT FAILED TO WHERE HIS BLOOD SHED FOR YOU ON THE CROSS WILL NOT ATONE FOR YOU when you sincerely repent and move on. As my dad would say, “The sun is still gonna rise tomorrow.” Let’s rise with the Son!

Independent Read: Isaiah 43:19, Isaiah 61:3, Psalm 147:11, Romans 5:1-6, 2 Peter 3:8-9, Lamentations 3:21-23

Jeanette Kieffer
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Wish, Hope, Dream

A meaning of “Wish”:
to want; desire; long for
For example:  I wish chocolate peanut butter gelato didn’t have so many carbs in it.

A meaning of “Hope”:
the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best 
For example:  I hope my mom’s ovarian cancer stays in remission.

A meaning of “Dream”:
to think or conceive of something in a very remote way 
For example:  I dream about living in Tuscany, Italy.

Do we spend our lives wishing, hoping and dreaming and miss what is right in front of us?  Yes, some wishes, hopes and dreams are important to identify so we can have goals to strive for.  Sometimes, though, we need to stop the daydreaming and do something.

David was a small guy who was overlooked because of his age and stature.  He wasn’t exactly the kind of boy who could slay a very large man.  Yet, he picked up simple ammunition and took down a huge threat.  No one believed he was even remotely skilled or big enough to take on a full-grown man who had a vast amount of fighting experience.  Even David’s older brothers mocked him and told him to get lost.    (Read I Samuel 17)

You see, David came with more than rocks and a sling.  He came with the desire to show up and be an example of God’s power.  His routine was to be the younger brother of 4, take care of sheep and deliver food to the soldiers at the battlefront.  He was young and certainly his body wasn’t exactly big enough to be a fighter.  

However, his experience with taking care of a herd gave him practice in protecting the sheep from large animals with his own hands, sling, rocks and his staff.  

You have experiences you draw from to make yourself prepared every day.  You may also have dreams of becoming someone important and possibly wishes and hopes to make something better.  Use those experiences but don’t just look for big and loud ways to do things.  The smallest thing can start a giant ripple effect.

Wish for opportunities to show God’s love to someone you see every day.

Hope that God is seen in your actions and heard in your words.

Dream about how someday you will hear the words “Good and faithful servant” when you take your last breath.

“Go and the Lord be with you.”

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG ministries

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Keep Your Hopes Up

Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;"

You've probably seen the cartoon of the miner who cuts his path for miles then gives up and turns around just one foot shy of the where he would have struck gold.

Of course, we'll never know if we gave up a day before our answer was set to arrive.  

We recently spent over four years keeping our hopes up for one particular thing: a new baby.

We have two sons and when our youngest son was about three-and-a-half years old, we started talking about "trying" again. In the beginning, we were quite committed and I went through a lot of cheap pregnancy tests. If you've never "tried" to get pregnant, I can tell you that it's incredibly stressful, trying to get the timing right...then waiting to find out if you got the timing right, month after month after month. And of course, you want to know ASAP if it "took."

Over the course of those four years, our efforts occasionally waned, whether we were experiencing financial pressures or just feeling discouraged. I stopped taking pregnancy tests because it was such a let-down. Into the third year, my hubby would check in after the start of a new cycle to make sure I was OK. "Eh," I would reply. "I'm used to it." 

From the very beginning (probably after the first few unsuccessful cycles, because once you decide you want to get pregnant, it should happen immediately, right?), I promised God that I would always keep my hopes up, even to the bitter end when I was SURE I wasn't pregnant. So even if I were crampy and spotting one night, I would wake up the next morning with my hopes still up. "I will never stop trusting," I promised Him. 

Toward the end of 2016, I was growing weary. My husband and I agreed that at the first of the year, we'd either decide to stop trying or we'd go in for testing. I had visions of diagnostic tests, urine samples, ultrasounds and genetic work-ups. A part of me thought, "If it's that hard, maybe it's not meant to be."

Then one beautiful Sunday morning in early January, my cycle was five days longer than usual and I was set to head out for a day trip with my parents. I blamed holiday stress for a delayed ovulation but thought, "But I'm keeping my hopes up!" as I took a cheap dip test and let it run while I took a shower.

In the shower, I reminded myself for the umpteenth time..."One of these times, it's going to be positive." It was a thought that had kept me going for all that time.

Imagine my shock when I picked up the strip and saw a clear second pink line. "No way. No way! No. Way." 

I don't know when you'll be reading this but as of today, I'm sixteen weeks pregnant and due in mid-September of 2017. We've had one ultrasound (when our baby earned the name Baby Bean) and have heard the baby's heartbeat several times but I still can't believe it actually happened. I thank God every day.

I am so glad I kept my hopes up. I clung to the belief that someday it would happen and I don't have to live the rest of my life wondering if I gave up too soon. I am convinced that part of the reason why we waited so long was to be able to tell other people, "Don't give up!" 

Get your hopes up! Keep trusting! Keep believing! One day, you'll get your answer, even if it's not how you envisioned it. Just don't turn around before you reach the prize.  

One last side note: just before we found out we were pregnant, my hubby and I made the leap of faith to bring a vision for a ministry into reality and are in the process of setting up a non-profit. We pray every night for what we believe God has called us to fulfill. Yup...we've already committed to keeping our hopes up. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabitha Dumas
Author

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