There’ s Always Hope Because There’s Always God

There' s Always Hope Because There's Always God by Jean Wilund via InspireAFire.com (Romans 15:13)Hope

We all want it.

No, we all need it.

Without it, we die.

Suicide victims have one thing in common. They lost all hope.

The unspeakable tragedy is there was always hope because there’s always God. The God of hope.

CONTINUE READING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There's always hope because there's always God. #TheGodofHope #hope Click To Tweet




When You Can’t Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place

When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)


When You Can’t Even . . .

It’s a universal truth. Trials don’t like to be alone. They swarm in together like fire ants.

It seems they can’t patiently wait their turn. They invade our lives in unison.

Wham! A moose T-bones you on a dark road in the middle of the night 30 miles from civilization while on your way to comfort your best friend who lost her dog and her job right before her house fell into a sinkhole, and now you have to walk to get help because there’s no cell phone coverage, and an alligator is blocking your path and eyeing your juicy legs with plans to bite them off. They’ll do that.


Oh my! Oh my! I Can’t Even!

Okay. This exact scenario has probably never happened. But we’ve all experienced our own real-life version of Oh my! Oh my! I can’t even!

If you haven’t had a moment like that, hold on. It’s coming.

I don’t mean to be gloomy, but the darkness of trials will descend upon you.

Jesus promised.

“. . . In this world you will have trouble. . .” John 16:33

A few translations replace the word trouble with the word suffering.

When trouble and suffering come, what will you do?

What should you do?

Pray and put your but in the right place.


Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Moses and the Israelites knew plenty of trouble. For Moses, it started in the crib.

Egypt’s Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew baby boys drowned in the Nile River so they couldn’t grow up and revolt against him.

In faith and desperation, Moses’ mother hid him in a basket and floated him down the river to safety (she hoped).

God saved Moses and, in an ironic twist, caused his attempted murderer to raise him with all the wealth and benefits of Egyptian royalty (Exodus 1-2).

But 40 years later, Moses killed an Egyptian slavemaster for whipping a Hebrew slave. He had to run for his life because Pharaoh now had a renewed desire to kill him.


But God, I Can’t Even!

Fast forward 40 more years. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush and grabbed his attention.

God said, “Pharaoh’s party is over. I’m sending you back to Egypt to tell him to let My people go.” (Actually, He said a lot more than that and with much more eloquence. See Exodus 3:7-8))

If the pharaoh who raised Moses had tried to kill him (his own “grandson”) over his slaying a single slavemaster, what would Moses’ demanding the millions of Hebrews slaves be set free get him? Dead most likely. Or so Moses feared. He wanted no part of God’s plan.


God’s Plans – God’s Power

God knew Moses’ fears. He guaranteed him He would free Israel by His own mighty hand.

“ . . . I will be with you . . .” (Ex. 4:12).re

“I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt . . .” (Ex. 4:17).

“I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it: after that he will let you go” (Ex. 4:20).

“And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians . . . so you will plunder the Egyptians” (Ex. 4:21).

Moses heard God’s promises with his ears but responded with his but in the wrong place.

“But behold, they will not believe and . . .[ blah blah blah]…” (Ex. 4:1).

In essence, Moses said, But God, I can’t even! The problems are too big and too many!”

What he should’ve said was, “The problems are too big and too many! I can’t even! But God!”

Putting our but in the right place reminds us God’s plans always come with God’s power.

God's Plans Always Come with God's Power (from: When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Putting our BUT in the right place reminds us God's plans always come with God's power. I can't, BUT God can and He will. #Jesus #God #christianity Click To Tweet


But God Training Camp

As soon as Moses reached Egypt, the Israelites, Egyptians, and Moses entered God’s training camp – the Ten Terrible Plagues (Ex. 7-12).

After the tenth plague, the Egyptians begged the Israelites to go. They even loaded them down with silver, gold, and other treasures as parting gifts. Freedom gained!

But then Pharaoh changed his mind.

He sent an army of soldiers on iron chariots to chase them down and drag them back.

God had indeed brought Israel out of slavery, but it seemed He’d now led them into a trap.

On one side loomed the Red Sea, deep and wide. From the other, Pharaoh’s thundering army.

“Thanks a lot, God,” the people cried. “We’re doomed.”

But Moses had learned.

He had seen God reveal His power throughout Egypt in more than 10 epic displays.

Israel forgot and trembled. Moses remembered and believed.

Moses didn’t doubt in the dark what God had shown him in the light.

And he kept his but in the right place.

Israel cried out, “BUT GOD, we’re trapped!”

Moses declared, “We’re trapped! BUT GOD!”

Moses declared to Israel: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Ex. 14:13-14).

God parted the Red Sea, led the Israelites safely to the other side, and then brought the sea back down upon the Egyptian army.

Slavery swept away. Freedom maintained.


Big Problems Exist – So Does God

God doesn’t expect us to pretend our problems don’t exist.

But neither does He expect us to act like He doesn’t exist.

God is real and bigger than any problem you’ll ever face. Will you remember and believe?

Before you doubt God, doubt your doubts.


Never Doubt in the Dark What God Has Shown You in the Light (via When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place @ www.JeanWilund.com)

Never Doubt in the Dark What God Has Shown You in the Light


I Can’t Even, But God!

When trouble comes, put your but in the right place.

Don’t cry out, “BUT GOD! This and that and so much more!”

Cry out, “This and that and so much more! BUT GOD!”

BUT GOD is everything I need for every moment. He’s the Great I Am (Ex. 3:14).

BUT GOD shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

BUT GOD is a God who saves (Psalm 68:20).

BUT GOD is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6).

My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

When you cry out, be honest about your feelings. He already knows your every thought. Don’t pretend to feel stronger than you do.

But then remember. Remember who God is and what He’s done. And refuse to doubt.

Let the truth of God’s Word overwhelm your emotions, or your emotions will overwhelm you.

Let the truth of God’s Word overwhelm your emotions, or your emotions will overwhelm you. #God #Jesus #Christianity Click To Tweet

It’s probably not a universal truth that trials don’t like to be alone. But it’s quite true that if trouble swarms into your life, it’s okay.

Excruciating, but okay, because — and only because — we have this never-changing and storm-overwhelming truth contained in two powerful words:

BUT GOD . . .

Jesus promised we’d have trouble. He also promised we can take heart because He has overcome the world. 

“I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33

When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Worry is momentary atheism crying out for correction by trust in a good, sovereign God. Suffering breaks self-reliance. ~ Randy Alcorn

Lord Jesus, I can’t—You never said I could—but You can, and always said You would. This is all I need to know. ~ Major Ian Thomas based on Galatians 2:20

When you can't even . . . put your but in the right place! BUT GOD! #God #Jesus #Christianity Click To Tweet

 




Dine, Don’t Snack, on Scripture ~ Welcome to the Bible: Chapters and Verses Bring Convenience and Challenges ~ Part 3


Does this ever happen to you?

Life gets busy. Too busy to do much more than the most urgent, like drink coffee so you can do everything else.

Reading the Bible falls off your plan for the day.

And the next day.

And the next.

Ugh.

You move through the week and lament that you haven’t had time to read your Bible. But you don’t do anything about it.


It used to happen to me a lot.

Then a well-meaning friend encouraged me to simply read a verse or two each day saying, “It’s better than nothing.”

Brilliant.

Instead of sitting down for an extended time of reading a few days a week, I faithfully read a verse or two every day.

It was better than nothing.

Or so I thought.

Over time I noticed my relationship with God growing more and more shallow.

I didn’t know why. I missed the connection.

The Enemy of Best

It seems logical that a verse or two is better than nothing. But sometimes better is the enemy of best.

Imagine a pediatrician saying to the mother of a toddler, “You’re busy. It’s ok if you just feed your child a couple of bites of food a day. It’s better than nothing.”

Technically, the doctor would have a point. Two bites are better than no bites. But it’s not best.

Making time to feed children just enough food so they don’t starve to death is better than not making time to feed them at all. But this better situation is no friend of the child’s best.

Taking time out of a busy schedule to feed children well every day so they can grow strong and healthy is always best.

Surely every pediatrician would agree.

Chapters and Verses Entice Snacking

Because the Bible has been divided into chapters and verses, it’s easy for us to stop reading at the end of a verse.

The man-made divisions hint at a break in thought or action and make it easier to stop reading, but this isn’t the best way to read.

We don’t need to go back and remove the chapters and verses from our Bibles. We just need to resist the temptation to snack on Scripture rather than dine.

Should We Abandon All Snacking?

Snacking has its place – both in food and in verses.

Every day I read, pin, like, and heart memes of Bible verses on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.

And some days there really is no time for me to read more than a Bible verse meme. Let’s don’t abandon all spiritual snacking.

And certainly not edible snacks. I count the minutes until my 4:00 pm coffee and snack time. Sometimes I have it at 3:00 pm.

Hot chocolate chip cookies or fresh blueberries with a mug of coffee = Happiness.

But if the only food I ate every day was my 4:00 pm snack, my health would fail no matter how healthy my snacks are.

When scriptural snacks were my only source of spiritual nutrition, my relationship with God grew small. My faith, wimpy.

But once I began reading the Bible in all-you-can-eat buffet portions (and in context), my understanding of God and His character expanded. My walk with Him took off.

Imagine that.

My love for and faith in God hasn’t starved since. And they’re still growing as I keep dining on large servings of Scripture rather than snacking.

BTW, there’s no magic formula. No one can tell you how many verses are enough — except God. Let Him lead your time in His Word.

Is It Ever Good To Study Just a Verse or Two?

Absolutely.

It’s a great habit to dig deep into individual verses. To get to the marrow of its meaning.

I’m currently working my way through Romans. One verse at a time.

It’s taking a long while, but I want (need) to understand it better. So I focus each day on a few passages while remembering that reading verses in isolation rather than in context can lead to misunderstanding God’s message.

As I study Romans verse by verse, I also read a chapter or two to let the bigger picture of Romans soak into my mind. And I read other books of the Bible as well.

We shouldn’t become legalistic about our daily reading. It’s not a measure of our spiritual worth. We don’t win points with God when we read. Nor does He hand down demerits when we miss.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1 ESV.

No condemnation. None.

But God’s Word blesses us – changes us – when we read it.

You may have to force yourself to read it at first. But eventually, if you read the Bible in order to know the God of the Word, you’ll begin to long for the Word of the God.

Time in God’s Word will become as enticing as that morning cup of liquid heaven. (That’s coffee for me. I don’t know what you strange non-coffee drinkers enjoy.)

No Time? Pray and Make Time

Life is busy. It’s not likely to slow down.

Deal with it. (Was that too harsh? Sorry.)

Pray and ask God. He’ll make a way for you. He may wake you early to read. Or He may open up time for you to read during the day or evening.

We should all ask God to make us aware of the time we already have that we may be misspending watching TV, piddling on Social media, or catching a little extra shut-eye.

Trust God to enable you to accomplish all you need to do each day. Then walk by faith and make time for reading your Bible – even if you don’t think you have time.

God will provide all you need. But you have to trust Him by sitting down with your Bible.

Don’t wait for Him to sit you down. You’ll probably enjoy it more if you voluntarily sit down rather than having God sit you down.

My mom once told me I was too busy. “You need to drop some of your activities,” she said. I told her it was impossible. A couple of months later I had to have surgery. Somehow everything got done without me. She smirked, and I dropped some of my activities. I got sat down, and I listened.

Just as you’d make time to serve a child three full meals a day, make time every day to serve yourself one full meal of spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.

REMEMBER: Chapters and verses can encourage snacking on Scripture rather than dining. Make time to serve yourself a full meal from God’s Word by reading large portions of Scripture every day.

The Word of God Endures Forever

Chapter and verse divisions may not last, but the Word of our God will stand forever.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
~ Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Dine - don't snack - on Scripture. Why you should read more than a verse or two a day. #Biblestudy #GodsWord Click To Tweet





Why Can’t God’s Highest Purpose Be My Comfort Instead of His Glory?

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)

Aha!

Ever had an “Aha moment?” Like when you discovered coffee is amazing. Or that you needed reading glasses.

We’ll probably experience lots of aha moments in heaven. For now, we have lots of head-scratching and wondering moments.

Jesus’ disciples had one. . . Read More


Read the rest of this post at InspireAFire.com. I’m blogging over there today!

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)




Jesus’ Last Seven Words On the Cross & What They Mean For Us Today

Jesus' Last Seven Words On the Cross and What They Mean For Us Today (via www.jeanwilund.com) #Easter #GoodFriday

________†________

If you could control the moment you died, what would your last words be?  

Jesus controlled His. 

Let’s look at what He chose to say.

Let’s look at His last seven words on the cross and what they mean to us today.


1. Forgiveness

“Father, forgive them;
for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34 NASB)

Christ’s first recorded words on the cross were a prayer. But not for Himself. 

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

Really? They didn’t know what they were doing?

It took awhile for Christ to stumble up to Calvary in His tortured state. They had plenty of time to realize where this would end.

They drove nails through His hands and feet.

How could they not know what they were doing?

And yet . . .“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

They didn’t know because sin blinded them.

The Jewish leaders, the crowd who cried out for His crucifixion, Governor Pilate who gave the order for His death, and the Roman guards who carried out their evil desires were all blinded by sin.

If they’d truly understood what they were doing, they wouldn’t have done it.

They would’ve been too horrified.

Instead, they would’ve bowed before Jesus, not mocked, denied, and crucified Him.

What this means for us:

Like those who crucified Christ, we deny, excuse, and wink at sin. 

And just like them, we’re blind to the depths and seriousness of it.

If we saw our sin as it actually is — as God sees it — it would revolt us. We’d stay far from it. 

But we’re just as easily blinded by sin. 

Unless God opens our eyes to it, we’ll stay blind.

Ask God to help you see sin for what it is so you’ll want to stay far from its destructiveness.

Sort of like most of us wouldn’t be tempted to eat roach-filled brownies. 

Then remember how sin blinds. That way when others sin against you, even those who surely know what they’re doing, your heart will be able to forgive. Like Christ’s.

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

Because none of us truly do.


2. Salvation

“And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you,
today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’”
~ Luke 23:43

Two criminals hung on the cross next to Christ. One spewed hate. The other admitted his guilt and asked Christ for mercy.  

Salvation only came to one that day.

The thief, who believed Jesus is exactly who He said He was, joined Christ in heaven that day. The other one doomed himself to hell by his unbelief. He had the same opportunity to believe but refused.

What this means for us:

As long as there is breath in our lungs, it’s not too late for us to choose to believe.

But we won’t have forever to make that choice.

Time ran out on the other criminal.

Don’t let time run out on you. Choose today while there’s still today. 


3. Compassion

“Dear woman, here is your son.”
John 19:26

The first three of Jesus’ last words were for other people. 

His concern, as He hung in agony, was for the forgiveness, salvation, and needs of others. 

Specifically the needs of His mother. Mary. 

We don’t know what happened to Joseph by this point. Most believe he must have died as he’s not mentioned in the Bible after Jesus was grown. 

As Jesus hung on the cross, and pain pierced His body, He focused on His mother and passed the responsibility of caring for her to His beloved disciple, John. 

What this means for us today:

Jesus showed us that much can be accomplished no matter our circumstances through great, selfless love for God and others.

It’s natural when we’re in pain to turn our thoughts inward. But studies have shown that when we turn our thoughts and actions toward serving others instead, our pain tolerance increases.

Jesus wasn’t trying to reduce His stress by His actions, but it’s not a bad benefit. 

Jesus also demonstrated the importance of always showing love to your mother.

Did you hear that, kids? Jesus said so.  


4. Anguish

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
~ Mark 15:34

When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsake Me?” did He not understand what God was doing? 

Was He suddenly confused in His anguish? 

Absolutely not.

In all of Christ’s humanity, He never lost His deity.

When He humbled Himself and took on the physical form of man, He laid aside His rights, not His divinity.

He submitted His rights even to death on a cross, but He never lost sight of His purpose or God’s plan.

Yes, He suffered terrible anguish in His body from the agony of the cross and the flogging He endured beforehand.

He also suffered in His soul, as He carried the crushing weight of our despised sin.

But Jesus wasn’t confused. He was quoting the first verse in Psalm 22.

Psalm 22 is filled with prophecies about Him, the Messiah, the Promised Savior. Every Jewish leader listening to Him knew that psalm.

By quoting that verse, Jesus declared that Psalm 22 spoke of Him. 

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had told the Jewish leaders that Moses wrote about Him. (John 5:46) In this one prayer, He revealed the Psalmists did as well. 

What this means for us today:

In these words, Christ settles forever the question, “Does God really love me? Do I really matter?” 

The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

Which of us would hand over our own beloved son to be tortured and forsaken for our friends, much less our enemies?

Who among us would pour out their own fierce wrath upon their beloved only son for the sin of those who spit on him and mocked him? 

God did. (Romans 5:10)

And which of us would be willing to endure such torment for those who don’t deserve it?

Jesus was. (Hebrews 12:2)

Yes, God really loves you. 

And, yes, you really matter to Christ.


5. Suffering

“I am thirsty.”
~ John 19:28

In Christ’s humanity, His body was ready to give out. It suffered intense physical thirst.

In Psalm 22, God pointed to this moment.

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.”
~ Psalm 22:15

Through King David, God prophecized that Jesus would drink bitterness.

“…for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.”
~ Psalm 69:21

What this means for us today:

Man can live a long time without food, although it wouldn’t be fun. But man cannot live long without water. 

Jesus suffered agonizing physical thirst that spoke to our spiritual thirst. 

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus spoke of spiritual thirst to the Samaritan woman at the well.

He said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (John 4:7)

She was surprised by this for many reasons and was drawn into a conversation with Christ. In a way that only Jesus can do, He told her about Himself. 

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

We’re all created as spiritual beings. And without Christ–the Living Water–our spiritual thirst can never be quenched. And we can never truly live.

Without Him, we’ll merely survive until we die. Eternally.

With Him, rivers of living water spring up from us to eternal life, and we will never thirst again. 


6. Victory

“It is finished!”
~ John 19:30

What God begins, He finishes. Period. 

Christ accomplished our salvation. The terrible price had been paid on the cross. 

From that moment in the Garden of Eden when the crunch of rebellion was heard ‘round the world, all of heaven and earth longed to hear these three words spoken.

“It is finished!” 

Through these three final words uttered on the cross, Christ expressed what every person longs to hear.

“I love you!” 

What this means for us today:

Everything you need for salvation has already been accomplished.

All you need to do is accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. You need to do anything to earn it. No good deeds or special works.

You can’t earn it. You don’t have it in you because you’ve got sin in you instead.

Simply:

Admit you’re a natural born sinner with no hope of ever being free of your sin apart from Christ,

Believe in your heart that Jesus paid for all your sin on the cross, and

Confess Him as your Lord,

You will be saved. 

Jesus finished the work of salvation on the cross. Accept it. Receive it. Enjoy it.

“It is finished!”  


7. Joy

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!”
~ Luke 23:46
 

Just like Christ’s first words on the cross, His last words were a prayer to God.

In His words, we see the beauty of the perfect relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus' Last Seven Words On the Cross and What They Mean For Us Today (via www.jeanwilund.com) #Easter #GoodFridayWe also see the proof that Jesus truly gave His life. No one took it. 

His disciple Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders. 

The leaders demanded Pilate crucify Him. 

Pilate handed Jesus over to the Roman guards. 

The Roman guards nailed Jesus to the cross. 

But no one took His life. 

Jesus chose the exact moment when He would die. 

After declaring, “It is finished,” Jesus prayed, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” 

Then He bowed His head and gave up His life. 

Scripture doesn’t say He passed away, thus His head fell forward. 

It says, “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” ~ John 19:30

What a powerful display of Christ’s divinity. Even as He suffered the deepest agony possible, He remained sovereign over all, perfect in all His ways.

The agony was behind Him. The joy before Him. Jesus said His last words and then entered into His joy.

What this means for us today:

The Bible says it best.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

These were Jesus’ Last Seven Words before He gave His life on the cross.
But this is not the end of the story.

Today is Friday, but Sunday’s coming!


If you could control the moment you died, what would your last words be? #Jesus #Easter Click To Tweet


NOTE: Just to be clear, Jesus’ last seven words on the cross weren’t actually His “last words” because He’s never going to have “last words.” He rose from the dead and lives — and speaks — forevermore.