DO YOU NEED HOPE?

I have the honor and privilege to be on the Book Launch Team for a new 28 day devotional that will be available on Amazon January 1, 2021.  Bright Hope was written by Erin Cushman, the founder and former Executive Director of Hope Mommies (hopemommies.org), a gospel-centric nonprofit ministry that serves the infant loss community. 

Although, it is written with those families in mind, it ministers to anyone suffering loss and grief.  I am a great-grandmother and by God’s grace, I have not experienced the loss of a child, but I have had more grieving times in my life than I like to think about.  During those times I would have loved a book like this. 

You can’t ask someone who is grieving to focus and absorb big chunks of words, no matter how encouraging they might be.  With that in mind Erin has written this book for mourners who can grasp a little at a time.  During my times of grief my attention span shortens and my focus blurs. During those times, if you handed me five pages of encouragement to read, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. Even Scripture that I love, I have to mustard all the concentration I can to read and absorb it. This is the beauty of Bright Hope. It gives me small doses of hope and comfort for 28 days.  That is a goal I can accomplish. 

But that is not all I love about this book.  It is filled with Scripture and theology and put together with grace and love. 

Let me give you an example.

“Grief makes us desperate.  Desperate for answers, for time to reverse itself; desperate for one last moment with our beloved.

Impatient to escape from the constant pain; frantic for understanding; desperate for good.  Grief is all consuming, taking over the heart, mind, and body.  It feels inescapable, and depression deepens.

David, the psalmist that penned Psalm 143, understood that all-consuming desperation… David didn’t spend his time problem solving for himself, taking endless counsel with others, or ignoring the pain until it passed.  David was not waiting on the passing of time to mitigate the pain.

David’s first response was a heartfelt appeal to the God of steadfast love to act.”

Erin then shows us how to come before the Lord, to behold the Lord, to find Bright Hope and to walk in Bright Hope.

On December 1, Giving Tuesday, if you make a donation to Hope Mommies you will receive a copy of the Book.  Not only will you be contributing to a vital ministry, but you will be blest with a gift of the book. Then on January 1, Bright Hope will be available on Amazon.

If you know anyone who has lost a child or is grieving for any reason, Bright Hope would be the perfect gift for them. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

As Erin says, Jesus’ offer to come has no expiration date. Be blessed!

GOOD MENTAL HEALTH

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:4-9).

I have written on this passage before, and I do so now again, because I need reminding what good mental health looks like.

Rejoicing
Reasonableness
Not anxious about anything
Thankful
Prayerful
Peaceful
Controlled and sober thought life
Mentored
Practice godly living

The Word of God is so practical!

NO MISTAKES

God doesn’t make mistakes.

You and I do.

He doesn’t.

For instance, I once read an article by B. H. Shaddock that said water gets heavier as it gets colder. Scientists would assure us that this is a fixed law, eternally unalterable, if they had not seen ice. Heavy ice would settle to the bottom. Lakes and rivers would freeze solid. Icebergs below the surface would endanger shipping. Animals could not cross streams in winter.

God doesn’t overlook anything.

Rest easy.

We are loved!

THE ROCK CRUSHER

Some years ago the landscapers we hired to do our yard work took small white rocks from our front yard and dumped them into the flower beds in our back yard. Which is what we wanted them to do, but they dumped them on my plants.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

As I was digging the rocks out of my plants and away from their stems, I thought of the rocky places in our lives (like the year 2020). Those plants couldn’t rid themselves of the rocks without my help, so we need help to get through the rocky places in our lives.

Where do you look for help? I hope you look to the Rock Conqueror: The Lord Jesus Christ.
David certainly did. He spent many years in the wilderness hiding from Saul who was trying to kill him. He knew rocks. But, he also knew the Rock who was his God. The Psalms of David are full of descriptions of God as David’s rock.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).

For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God (Psalm 18:31)?

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation (Psalm 18:46).

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5).

To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit (Psalm 28:1).

For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).

Paul also referred to Jesus as a rock.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

The small white rocks in my yard could be moved or crushed, but the Rock that David relied upon and the Rock that the Israelites drank from can’t be moved or crushed. He is the rock crusher. He is the conqueror of the rocky patches in our lives.

Take the rocky places in your life to the Rock Crusher.

There are lessons in rocks.

You are loved!

GOD, ARE YOU MOVING?

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1:8).

I heard stories and testimonies on the internet of people coming to Christ in the outdoor gathering, especially in the cities. Not only Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship”, but others also, and I hope and pray it’s real.

You see, I confess, I struggle with cynicism. I want to believe it is all a work of God, but there is a section of my brain that doesn’t believe anything anyone (anyone I don’t know) says. Everyone lies. We live in a lying culture. I have even heard Christians lie (sighs of grief).

So, I have struggled with this and this is where I have arrived.

First: God is supernatural. God is sovereign. God is good. God is mercy and grace. God brings good out of evil. God hears the prayers of his people.

I believe all of the above (I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24).

Second: When the Gospel is spoken and Jesus is exalted and proclaimed the only way to heaven I believe God honors that.

Third: Paul said in Philippians 1 that although some men were preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry thinking to inflict him, he didn’t care, as long as Christ was being proclaimed. He rejoiced in that.

So, even if I don’t go along with all of someone’s theology, as long as they are not spreading hearsay, but are proclaiming the Gospel and Christ crucified, buried and risen, I believe the miraculous can happen. Does happen. The biggest miracle of all is a stoney heart turned to flesh so that it loves Jesus and delights in God.

I don’t have to see the miracles to believe. I walk by faith, not sight, but because I have faith, I want to see the miracles.

Fourth: I do believe God is moving in our day. He is always busy doing things, but here and now, through COVID and all the rest, we are seeing God deal with his Church.

I love seeing Christians, mostly young ones, standing together, singing and jumping to the glory of God. They hear the word, sing, and pray and are a light in the darkness.

GOD BLESS THEM! DOUBLE GOD BLESS THEM!

I believe, now more than ever, God would have the church leave the building!

We are loved!