Archives for posts with tag: hope

Am I ever glad this is a new month, a new week, and a new day. The past few weeks have been frustrating to say the least. You know how that is at times, right?

My Internet router went kaput a month or so ago…after I had gotten a totally new one in January. A visit with an online tech got it going again. Then three weeks later off it went, and this time the tech couldn’t get it running, so they ordered a personal visit from a repair person…in another week. Argh!

While messing with the router’s settings, something happened to the computer which totally messed up everything so that my writing documents were not showing up, and even worse, the word processing software was not showing up either! Yikes.

On top of that, the printer wouldn’t work, and still is not. Joys!

Then last Thursday evening our water heater had a pipe that broke (not found until Friday morning) and a few inches of water had sprayed into the basement. Luckily our 115-year-old basement floor tilts toward the drain, so most of the water was already running out; and it is not a finished basement, so no damage there. Just no hot water. We got a plumber to come out late afternoon on Friday and fix the broken pipe and fitting; however, he said we needed a new water heater since the bottom of this one had gotten wet and would not light and heat safely (this one was only 3 years old).

working water heater

Then Saturday morning (remember the record-setting cold air that swooped down last weekend?) we found out the furnace had apparently had some water spray onto it and it would not work. (House temp was 55.) We toughed it out–with the help of our gas fireplace and its blower and lots of blankets and a few floor heaters in the basement keeping the pipes from freezing–until we called a furnace repair company to come out. They got here on Tuesday, assessed the actual damage and said a new furnace was needed (this one was 15 years old).

On Wednesday, a new furnace was installed.

Thursday, got us a new water heater. And a new router.

So…..despite my husband’s right arm being in a sling from shoulder surgery three weeks ago, we are doing okay. But am I ever glad we have had electricity and gas throughout all this. Counting blessings despite the adversity of modern life conveniences.

But let me tell you, in the midst of all that turmoil, my attitude took a nose dive. Especially my inner desire to continue writing. I was at the point where I threw my hands up and said, “Okay. I’m just not going to write anymore. And computers are too much of a hassle. I’ll do email and Facebook on my phone and that’s it.”

And frankly, if it weren’t for my husband that may have happened. But I knew he really wanted a Wi-Fi network for his computer. So I trudged along waiting for the repair tech to get here on Thursday.

Sometimes life just gets overwhelming, doesn’t it?

Sometimes no matter what you do, things fall apart.

Sometimes you want to crawl back into that couch-cushion pillow fort with your coloring books.

But day-by-day, hour-by-hour, my “world” got straightened out. And I praised God that we had the financial ability to do what we did. We lifted prayers for all those who did not and for those who have problems so much greater than ours. We had “first-world” problems. Hot water, heat, and computer problems.

As the season of Lent is upon us, you may want to consider what you can do without in this First World. Some of my friends are giving up Facebook until after Easter. Some are going without sweets of any kind.

I wasn’t raised in a church that urged a “denial” of anything leading up to Easter, so it is really a foreign concept to me. But what I have focused on is what I need to ADD to my spiritual life.

I need to add a truly thankful heart for every single thing I have. And a big, extra-thankful heart for me is that my computer documents are all back again! Whew!  But I’m not thankful for just family and friends and “things;” but forgiveness, grace and mercy.

Without God being perfectly Merciful, full of Grace and showering His creation with Forgiveness, I would have no hope.

No hope.

None.

Zip.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!”

by Cindy Best

It’s been a long winter.  Okay, I know I say that every year, but this winter has been a record breaker.  True, it hasn’t been the snowiest, but our number of sub-zero days has been impressive.  The Midwest isn’t alone, either:  winter has hit hard in nearly every corner of our country, and in most of the places in between.  Everyone is weary of winter.  Where is spring?

Despite the continuing Arctic cold, there is hope.  Robins are returning, and the days are noticeably longer.  Such small signs whisper a promise that winter will eventually move along to the southern hemisphere, and warmer weather will rush in to take its turn.  The ice and snow will melt, green shoots will emerge from the thawing ground, flowers will bloom, and gardeners who have been fighting the urge to get out and dig in the dirt will finally be able to plant their seeds and seedlings.  I can already see tulips and daffodils in my mind’s eye!

robins

When we look around, we find that the state of our world can seem like an unrelenting winter.  Evil is rampant, and people are suffering.  War, rebellion, disease, and violence are so pervasive that we run the risk of becoming numb to them.  But movies, games, and television shows are also full of such things, and although many people look to entertainment to escape the unpleasant realities of the world, they might find themselves becoming saturated in them instead.  Where is God?

Despite the chaos and evil in the world, there is hope.  At the local food pantry, volunteers are serving those in need, helping them to feed themselves and their families.  Donors are financially supporting organizations that help people pay their heating bills so they aren’t stuck in a frigid house.  During the snow storm in Atlanta, fast food servers were taking food and other supplies to motorists trapped in their cars, and businesses opened their doors overnight to allow people who couldn’t get home to sleep in a warm safe place.  International aid organizations can help the desperate around the world because enough people give their money to make it happen.  Everywhere you see the evidence of God at work.

Why would I say that the good deeds of people reveal the hand of God?  Some say that the abundance of evil and suffering in the world proves that there is no God or that if there is a God, he obviously doesn’t care about us.  They dismiss altruism, saying that people do good only because it gets them something in return, even if that something is only a warm fuzzy feeling.  But let’s look at human nature for a moment.  We are essentially self-centered.  Our biological imperative is anything that ensures our survival.  As individuals, we should be competing for resources for ourselves and our families; we should be guarding our territories and making sure that our genetic line continues.  Sharing with others outside our families makes sense only as long as it preserves the security of the community we live in and allows us to survive and prosper.  Giving to strangers, especially strangers on the other side of the world, goes completely against human nature.

Let me say that again:  caring for others outside our own families goes against human nature.  So why do we do it?  Because we are so much more than just our own humanity.  Genesis tells us that when God created man, he breathed life into him.  Although our bodies are flesh, the spirit of life in us is divine.  That is what moves us to care for others.  That is what brings us to tears when we see need and suffering.  That is what spurs us to action when we see injustice.  The Spirit of God in us can elevate us above our humanity if we let him.

After a long, cold winter, or a long period of pain or bitterness, our hearts might need some thawing before we’re able to notice and respond to the need all around us.  The good news is that Jesus is a heart specialist.  He is able to thaw a frozen heart or even break and restore a heart of stone.

A winter like this can make us lose hope for spring.  A world like ours can make us abandon hope for God.  But look around:  spring is not far away, and God is already here.

F –       freeing my soul of anger in order to receive the fullness of God’s grace

O –      owning up to my personal sin

R –       releasing my right to hold onto anything separating my spirit from God’s Spirit

G –       giving God all my tests of faith

I –        inviting God to control my thoughts, my mouth and my life

V –       valuing His love for me above all other love

E –       emptying myself of all pride and becoming humble in order to walk with God

N –       never allowing Satan to work through me to hurt another believer and steal my joy

E –       enjoying God’s presence and peace as He lavishly bestows it

S –       saying “this is the day God made for me, and I will rejoice in it”

S –       satisfying my longing for acceptance, value and self-worth in the Cross of Christ

I pray that as we head toward Easter Sunday in a few weeks, we think of the awesomeness of having God, through Jesus, die for us.  In that horrible crucifixion death, He conquered Satan and evil not for His own glory, but because the Lord God Creator of all things wanted US to be with HIM forever.

And why would he do that?  For the Bible tells us we are evil, vile, and lower than worms in our own right.  But because He FIRST loved US, we have the chance to become the children of God!  To be joint heirs to the Kingdom of God and to rule with His Son!

There is NO hope without Christ.  No happiness, no healing.  Only sorrow and pain.

Because Satan, the Evil One, is the exact opposite of God and offers only the opposite of all God offers, eternal life can be summed up in two ways:  With God we have an eternal home and family, and the Light of the Son shines always.  Without God we face being eternally alone, in a pit with no one around us, and in the dark blackness of sin forever.

May we sincerely and truly honor Him and His death by dwelling on the love poured out to us on that cross.   As the song says, “I believe in a hill called Mt. Calvary, I believe whatever the cost.  When time is surrendered, and earth is no more, I’ll still cling to the old rugged cross.”

by Cindy Best

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

by Thomas O. Chisholm
Public Domain

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