Hope

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps 46:1)


You can face today with a living hope! With hope you can walk boldly towards your future because God holds your future securely in his hands. God will faithfully fulfill all his promises. With hope you can soar on wings like eagles; you can run and not grow weary; you can walk and not faint.

Your hope is the active source of your strength to overcome temptation. Your hope gives you the courage to face the hostile forces of guilt, shame and death. Your hope rests in the reality of God’s victory over evil through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.

Because you have hope, you can show and love and compassion to other people without expecting anything in return, for you know that you have everything that you need in Christ.

Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8)

There are people around you who live without hope; people who are filled with feelings of guilt, loneliness, shame and unworthiness. Before they will grasp the wonder of the hope of Christmas, they need a safe place where they can share and process their story. Everybody has a story to share. One of the best gifts you can give your co-workers or customers this Christmas season is the gift of your presence quietly listening to their story.

Imagine the conversation you would have had if you had come alongside a single, visibly pregnant young lady as she traveled from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea. Imagine her telling you her name was Mary and the amazing story of her pregnancy.

I wonder if anybody took the time to listen to the story of a homeless young couple with a newborn baby when they arrived in Egypt? If they had, they would have heard an amazing story of the birth of their child; a story about wise men, angels and shepherds. They would have heard a story of a terrible tragedy as the family escaped from Bethlehem.

Let your face sparkle with love as you listen to someone’s story with compassion. Listen with your eyes, giving your undivided attention (in a culturally appropriate manner). Listen with your ears, hearing carefully the words that aren’t spoken. Listen with your heart showing that you care.

Having a confident hope that God continues to act on behalf of his people, offer to pray. Pray with expectation, believing that just as God answered your prayers, God will intervene in their lives.

Your hope will sink deeper into the streams of living water flowing from God’s presence as you listen to someone else’s story.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (1 Cor 1:3-4).

Look to the Bible

When you are looking for an explanation as to the purpose of your life, look no further than the Bible. There you will learn about your Creator, and discover his great love for you. There you will find a solid rock upon which to build your life; a foundation that does not shift or change with time, government, employment, or other people’s whims.

When you look at the world and wonder how the universe came into existence turn to the Bible. There you will meet the Creator, and discover his character. There you will find an open invitation to go and discover all that you can about the world. As you study the character of the Creator, you will find hope for your future and assurance that mysteries which are not yet ours to know will all be answered one day in the future.

When you wonder about the purpose of your work, turn to the Bible. As you read the Bible you will discover that work is a fundamental part of how the world was created. You will also learn how the pain, sweat and toil of your labors came into this world.

When you are looking for wisdom, look to the Bible first. The words you will find in the Bible come from the originator of all wisdom. In the Bible you will find an external perspective with timeless precepts, statutes, commands and decrees upon which the entire universe is founded. These insights are freely offered for you to build your life upon.

When you find yourself drained physically, emotionally or spiritually turn to God’s word to find refreshment for your soul. When the cares, thorns, aches and troubles of this world threaten to overwhelm you, turn to God’s word to find joy for your heart. In the Bible you will find a fresh perspective on thwarted career plans, loneliness, broken relationships and illness.

When you find yourself surrounded by temptations, take a moment to read your Bible. There you will find warnings to keep your feet from every evil path, and free gifts of forgiveness and grace.

Spending time in God’s word will allow you to arrive at work with your soul refreshed. After a long day at work, God’s word will refresh your soul before you go to bed, allowing you to sleep in peace.

When you read the Bible you will find that it is sweeter than honey. Take and mediate on it day and night, letting it nourish your body and soul. Internalize what you read and make it part of your life.

The Bible is more precious than anything else you will ever obtain.

Read Psalm 19- on BibleGateway

Silence

Silence … the hushed anticipation, the breath that is held as the hockey puck slides towards the net.

Silence … When the music suddenly stops, when the podcaster is silent mid-sentence … what is your first thought?

When God is silent, when the heavens are like brass and your prayers seem unanswered, what goes through your mind? Does your blood pressure rise and heart race? Does stress ooze through all the pores of your body?

When God is silent, do you perceive the silence as a vacuum that you need to rush to fill with idols of gold, silver bronze, stone and wood that cannot see or hear or walk (Rev 9:20)? Do you frantically search Google for a solution or turn to Facebook, people or chemicals to fill the vacuum?

God’s silence does not create a vacuum that you need to rush to fill. God is fully present in every empty and hollow space.

When God is silent, do you fill the silence with self-justification proclaiming “I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin’ (Job 33:9)? Your sins do not affect God, and in your righteousness you have nothing to offer God from your hand (Job 35:7).

Even when God is silent, ‘it is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice’ (Job 34:12).

When God is silent are you filled with fear? Do you like the disciples cry out to Jesus when the storm was raging over their boat? Fear is a human emotion that entered God’s perfect creation in the Garden of Eden. Fear is something we all experience. But know this God’s perfect love drives away all fear (1 John 4:18).
Allow God’s loving presence to silently drive away all your fears.

When God is silent, do you long for the days when you saw God’s lamp shine on your head, and by his light you walked through darkness (Job 29:3)? God’s light still shines in the darkest of places.

You can boldly take the next faithful step through the silence of the desert when you allow God’s word to be a lamp unto your feet.

While heaven is silent, your prayers combine with incense burning on the golden altar in front of God’s throne and rise before our holy God. God hears each of your prayers! Trust in quiet confidence in God’s unchanging character!

When heaven is silent Listen! Listen in quiet hushed anticipation!

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
he holds nothing back.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.(Job 37:2-5)

Read Revelation 8:1-5 on BibleGateway

Salvation Belongs To Our God!

Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev 7:10)

Everywhere we turn we see evil and power hungry people bent on conquest, leaving in their wake a trail of fighting, famine, disease and death. As Christians we may find ourselves persecuted or ridiculed for our testimony. From office politics, to interpersonal conflict, to the evening news, it seems like the forces of evil are winning.

How then should we live?

I would like to offer nine suggestions today as to how we, who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith, should consider.

1. Lead with love. Christ has placed each one of us in a position of influence or authority over other people. Each day choose to lead with Christ’s love, with a heart that desires to see the men and women you influence become all that God created them to be. Choose to lead with love, not expecting anything in return, for that is the way God loves us.

2. Let your light shine. God’s light shines in the darkest places. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:14). Shine your light wisely, with grace, humility, love and hope.

3. Listen without an agenda. When God brings someone into your life who has been wounded by evil stop and listen. You don’t need to have any answers. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring healing and hope as you hear the story of their pain and quietly walk beside them.

4. Live with kindness and compassion. It is very tempting when dealing with power hungry people, to want to see their destruction or demise. Power hungry people present a real challenge to us as we strive to follow Paul’s admonition in Eph 4:29-32 to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

5. Learn to forgive. Learn to forgive those who have brought evil into your life, knowing that the blood of Christ has cleansed you from all unrighteousness. You are able to stand in God’s presence because your robes have been washed white in the blood of the lamb. Confess the sins of the evil that you see around you, and ask God to forgive those who have been ensnared in evil (Dan 9).

6. Lift you’re your requests to God in Prayer. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). It is very tempting to want to be the savior of the people who are damaged by a power hungry person or evil. However if we truly believe that Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev 7:10) then we can pray fervently for them. Our prayers rise as an aromatic incense to heaven, where God sitting on his throne, hears and answers every prayer. How do you expect God to act, if you do not ask God in prayer?

7. Live a life of praise. Take your eyes off the evil that you see around you and focus on the radiance of God. Offer praise and glory to God for Christ’s free gift of salvation. Praise God for the wisdom of his plan of redemption, and ask for God’s divine wisdom. Praise God that He is faithful to his promises and worthy of your trust even when surrounded by sin and darkness. Praise God for his power which is able to act! Praise God for his strength which has redeemed you and is able to redeem any situation.

8. Live filled with the Holy Spirit. Know that you are not alone. Jesus who stood beside the Sea of Galilee, and walked the streets of Nazareth, is the same Lord who walks with as you live by faith. Jesus is the same Lord you will meet at the end of your journey. The Father has sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirt, in Jesus’ name to you. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that you learn as you study God’s word. (John 14:26).

9. Look forward with hope. Look forward with hope to the day when Jesus will return to claim you as his own. Holiness and love will prevail. At the end of your journey, when you stand before the throne of God, you will be joined by a countless multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language who also have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb!
    There before the throne of God
         together in community with all the saints
         we will serve him day and night in his temple;
    And he who sits on the throne
         will shelter us with his presence
         never again will we know hunger
         never again will we be thirsty;
    The sun will not beat down on us
       nor any scorching heat.
    For the Lamb at the center of the throne
         will be our shepherd;
    He will lead us to springs of living water.
         And God will wipe away ever tear from our eyes (see Rev 7:15-17)

Prayer 
Father we thank you for the costly grace of Jesus who defeated Satan by his sacrificial death on the cross. Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we can live grace filled lives. Father, we look forward with hope to the day when we will stand before your throne in glory. Amen

Lift Up Your Prayers

Lift up in prayer to God’s throne in heaven all that you see happening in your workplace, the good, the bad and the ugly. Allow your prayers to rise like incense before God’s throne.

Your prayers rise to a special place, a place where the Creator of the universe sits on his golden throne hearing each of your prayers. Here God reigns supreme over all of history. Here God holds your future and the future of each person in his right hand. Here you can know with certainty that all God’s promises are valid and true.

Don’t fret! God’s son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb that was slain stands before God’s throne and also hears your prayers. The Lion has triumphed over all that you are praying about. The Lion has complete power and strength to be able to answer your prayers. The Lamb who was slaughtered, who ransomed you with his blood, now stands victorious over death and sin before the throne of God! The Lamb is interceding on your behalf. The Lamb of God was slain to offer redemption for what you are seeing in your workplace.

Your prayers are lovingly placed in golden bowls that are held by the twenty-four elders seated around God’s throne. A glorious sweet smelling incense wafts out of these golden bowls so that all those in heaven can savor the aroma of your prayers.

Don’t take back into your own hands what has been placed in prayer in the golden bowls before the throne of God. Instead allow your prayers to continue to be a glorious sweet smelling fragrance in heaven.

Trust in  God’s promises! Trust in God’s sovereign rule!

Join in adoring praise, proclaiming that the one who sits on the throne, and the Lamb are worthy to receive praise, glory, honor, and power not just for hearing and answering your prayers, but forever and ever!

Read Revelation 5 on BibleGateway