Tag Archives: expectation

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 5)

I recently re-read one of my older blog posts and thought it very appropriate for the subject of this blog series “2018: A Year For Hope”.  So today … we’re going back a few years to what was originally posted as “Teathered To Hope“.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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HOPE:  a) to wish for something with expectation,  b) a desire accompanied by confident expectation.

I started blogging about 3 years ago and was greatly enjoying posting hope-filled blogs in which I shared my testimony, a few funny stories, and talked through challenges faced.  But then I got too busy with other things for regular posting.  I let my hope-filled blogging slip, and that wasn’t the only thing I let slip.  My attitude took a fall, and instead of ‘hoping well’, I was doing other things well.    Complaining.  Groaning.  And worse.

About the only thing I know for sure about boating is that unless you want to get wet, the general idea of being in a boat is to stay out of the water.  And the general idea of casting anchor is to keep you tethered to a select and stable place.

After a little time passed, the voice of condemnation spoke up (rather loudly in fact) telling me how hypocritical it would be to blog about hope when it seemed as if I was scraping from the bottom of the barrel most days.   So I put off blogging for a month, then three, and ultimately I allowed that voice of shame and condemnation to silence me altogether.

Hebrews 6:19
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

Of course, the voice of hope was also calling out my name all those months of silence – but I wasn’t really listening.  I was way too busy hanging out with my old and familiar friends jealousy, envy and pity.

Truth be told, about the only thing I know for sure about boating is that unless you want to get wet, the general idea of being in a boat is to stay out of the water.  And the general idea of casting anchor is to keep you tethered to a select and stable place.   How grateful I am that my hope in God and in the promises of God (His Word) is the anchor to my soul!   Or perhaps more accurately, God’s hope, living within me by the power of the Spirit of God, keeps me anchored to hope.  Eventually, I looked away from my circumstances, caught a glimpse of the eyes of my Father, and let Him fill me again with hope for better days.

“With your very own hands you formed me.  Now breathe your wisdom over me so that I can understand you.  When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.  I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right.”  (Psalms 119:73-75)

Well, obviously I’m blogging again.  Not because my life is now without challenges, but because through the challenges of the last few years I have learned a few things about hope.

1)  that hope is not a feeling, it’s something I choose
2)  that I have to seek out and maintain (as in guard & protect) hope on a daily basis
3)  that real hope (strong, unshakable hope) comes from God

I think Romans 15:13 says it best.   Only the God of hope can fill me with what is required to have hope.  The kind of hope that is an anchor to the soul.

May the God of hope fill  you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been some tough days these past few years.  But bless God, I am getting better about staying tethered to that anchor of hope as though my very life depends upon it … because it does!

Today, again, I choose hope!

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author
and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Crossing Jordan: walking into your inheritance

It was several years ago when I first noticed it while reading Psalm 37.  Over and over again, the same phrase … “inherit the earth / inherit the land”  And I thought to myself, what in the world does that mean? Obviously, something significant or it wouldn’t be repeated so often – but what?   So like I often did (and still do), I just sort of tucked it away in my heart with a note attached that said ‘this means something to me, but I don’t yet know what’.

[Have you ever had that happen to you?  Read something in the Bible that resonates deeply within your spirit, but not understood the meaning or significance of it at the time?  Do you also just set it aside for a while until God brings you back to it at a later time?]

Well, here we are in 2014, and recently God has brought that phrase back to me.  It felt rather like a “re-awakening” of something unsettled in my spirit, and as sometimes happens when God begins to stir something up within you, I began noticing references to ‘inheriting the land’ appearing almost everywhere!   Preachers I listen to started using it in podcasts.  Devotional readings included it.  Worship songs sing of it.

By now I am really starting to get hungry for knowledge … I want to know what this means to me Lord!  What are You saying to me?

So I dug a little further, and this is what my NKJV Study Bible has to say about Psalm 37:3 … ‘Eight times the thought of dwell in the land, or inherit the land, is mentioned, showing to the righteous Jews that their future is secure.’   And I think it may have been from a podcast teaching (or perhaps someplace else in my Study Bible?), that I also learned that:

To “inherit the land” is to receive from the Lord secure entitlement (for them and their children) the promised land (redeemed sphere and bountiful source of provision).

Now I don’t know about you, but that lights my fire!  And the more I studied, the more excited I got!   The Bible is filled with scriptures speaking of ‘inheriting the land’, which I now understand is the promise of ‘a secure entitlement’ that is generational, and of the inheritance of a ‘redeemed sphere’ that is well able to supply far above my need (be it for finances, for relationship, for healing, for protection, or whatever the need).  That is some Good News, folks – and it inspired a the following painting.

Crossing Jordan

God is so funny!  I just love the way that He works with me, talks to me, and sometimes even paints with me!   This painting started out as a mess (as had the other 5 attempts to paint based on my own limited skill and ability).  But I’ve discovered that when the Lord is painting with me – somehow the ‘oops-ies’ turn out to be something useful in time, and much to my surprise over the course of about 3 weeks this picture emerged, complete with dry and barren mountains in the background contrasted by lush and fertile fields in the foreground.  (And to think I almost tossed it after the 1st night!)   The river was added at the end, by inspiration of the Lord, and immediately made me think of the Israelites crossing over the River Jordan to the Promised Land.

“So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full, then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  … (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you)…”                             (Deuteronomy 6:10-12, 15 abbreviated)

Where are you in your journey, my friend?   As you read through Psalm 37 on your own, be encouraged.  We all go through desert seasons.  We all face enemies.  We all have rivers to cross.  But praise God, we also all have the promise of the abundant life calling us forward into greater and greater life with Him.

Keep pressing on – and go take possession of all that God has promised is yours, through Christ Jesus!

(this post was originally published in 2014)

 

 

It’s your inheritance.

It’s been almost two and one-half years since I took that first step of obedience.  If you’ve read Water Walking, you may remember it was April 2014 when I respond to an inner voice that spoke to me in a time of earnest prayer …

“You will never leave the shore if you don’t put weight
on your foot (and take that first step of faith).”  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back in my mind to that day, to the invitation to walk out into deep water with Him.

Just as precious to me is the instruction He gave me later that year, the same instruction He gave to Moses and the Israelites.

So And the Lord said to me,  “See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you.  Begin to possess it that you may inherit his land.”  ~Deuteronomy 2:31

God had promised His people a land overflowing with milk and honey, but they still had to ACTIVATE the promise by ‘begin(ning) to possess it’, so that they could (later) inherit it.     In other words,  obedience was required to take hold of their inheritance.

I would like to say that I’ve not only walked on water, but that I’ve reached the other side of the waters and am now living in an ocean front property.   In truth, I’m still in the process of ‘walking it out’ so that I may inherit what was promised.

Are you holding onto a promise of God, but have yet to fully take hold of it?

 

Water Walking
Water Walking [“Once you are walking on the water, the depth of the water beneath your feet is irrelevant.”]

 

The wisdom of a 2-year old: “Put you glasses on.”

Pure Love!Recently, while visiting my oldest daughter and her two little girls, I had taken my glasses off so that I could better rough house with them a little.

One of my favorite things to do with these little munchkins is to swoop them up in my arms, swing them around a bit, and then bury my face in the crook of their neck and kiss them until they squeal with delight.  And as you can imagine, that kind of playing has bent my glasses out of shape on more than one occasion – and so I’m getting a little better at taking them off first.

But this particular Saturday, as I was drawing near to the two-year old (a miniature of her momma at that age) to gobble her up, she gave me a funny look, stuck her arm out pointing her little finger squarely at my face, and slowly issued to me a very specific instruction:   “Put you glasses on.”

 

Now maybe it’s one of those things that you just had to be there to appreciate, but it really was quite hysterical and had me chuckling for many days afterwards.  What a precious little darling she is!

But then as the days went by, her words began to ring in my ear for another reason.  Let me explain.

I have been leading a ‘small group’ through my church for almost 2 years now, the general theme of which is ‘the inherent power of the Word of God (as contained in the Bible) to address/satisfy every need and overcome every circumstance we face here on earth’.   And as one might suspect, we are continually referring to the Word of God (the Bible) for insight as to what God has to say about any particular matter of life.

We have studied ‘prosperity’ and provision.  We have studied ‘health’ and healing.  We have studied ‘wisdom’.  But whatever the subject of study, one thing is required in order to hear and comprehend so that you can experience change … that you ‘change your focus/perspective’ from that of the reader (i.e. the one stuck in the quagmire of a particular circumstance) to that of the Ruler (.e. the one who reigns over all).

 A change of perspective.   A change of vision.

 

And isn’t that what eye-glasses do?  They heighten and improve your focus so that what was once blurry is now easily recognizable and identifiable.  And with that empowerment (to recognize and identify) comes the ability to execute with wisdom and authority (where once was doubt and confusion).

Thankfully, when I take my glasses off to play with my grandchildren, I can still see well enough without do most things with competence.  I can still see and recognize people.  I can still drive.  I can still read … well, sort of.  But all those things require a lot more effort and eye-strain to do them as opposed to when I’m wearing my glasses.

It’s the same when facing the circumstances of life.  Natural reasoning can work, sometimes.  We’ve all experienced a certain level of success grunting through life on our own wisdom and strength.  But how exhausting!

What I really need when facing the circumstances of life – be it sickness, challenges at work,  relationship issues, or whatever – is a higher perspective.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.
So you’ll go out in joy,
    you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.   (Isaiah 55:8-13, The Message)

And in order to obtain that higher perspective described in Isaiah 55, I need to exchange my thinking for His thinking.  For He sees future events as though they already were, and He is always leading and guiding me into His best … if I will just trust Him enough to follow His leading.   And it is far easier to trust and follow the leader (Leader) when you have confidence in their (His) vision, right?  (Especially when where He appears to be leading exactly where you don’t want to go!  Lots of stories to tell there!)

So here’s to putting on my “God glasses” (and keeping them on!) so that I can see things more closely to the way that He sees them.  And from that higher perspective, may I daily be empowered by faith to trust and follow Him into the “whole and complete life” that He has planned for me!!

Blessings,
Jenny

 

 

 

 

Press on!

For the last several years, it has been my practice that in December I enter into a time of reflection on the closing year, and goal setting for the next.

They say that something like only 8% of New Years Resolutions are kept, and I’ve certainly made regular contributions to the 92% failure rate.  Yet in spite of all those ‘failed’ resolutions, I have made great progress towards the fulfilling of some of my recurring resolutions.  For example, while I still haven’t reached the level of physical and mental fitness that is required for me to run a 5K non-stop, I have discovered that I like to walk/jog – and I’ve completed at least five 5K’s since my first in 2012.     I’m now looking forward to restarting my C25K training this spring, but with a body prepared over the winter with strength and flexibility exercises.  Progress! 

Nor do I weigh what I want (and ought) to weigh.  Yet I have completely changed my eating habits over the last 6-7 years with even more changes being implemented in 2015, and as a result I am better positioned than ever to live strong well into my 90’s.   Progress!

As I vision cast for 2015, an image comes to mind … that of a seedling imprisoned by stone, yet pressing onward into life.  These wonders of nature are even more inspiring when they are seen growing out of the side of a vertical rock cliff.  The SeedlingOne can only imagine their journey from seed to seed-producing and bird-sheltering trees that survive season after season, decade after decade.

In my mind’s eye, I envision a lone seed being dropped by bird or squirrel, later washed by flowing currents of rain deep into the crags between opposing rocks.

In darkness, the seed finds a little pocket of dirt, just enough to enrobe itself with the necessary soil, moisture, and organisms required to initiate the transformation from seed to seedling.

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”  (Luke 13:18-19, NIV)

Time passes and from the safety of its craggy entombment, tender tendrils of life emerge.  Against all odds, the seedling presses through dirt and rock to receive nourishment of the morning sun. Eventually, the seedling outgrows the confines of its home.  It is root bound and has used up every millimeter of space for its ever increasing trunk.  As a result, access to the root system has been blocked for rainwater and airflow.  What once was shelter has now become a prison, and the young tree is entrapped and compromised.  The situation appears hopeless.

Have you ever felt like that?  I have!

Now about this time I expect you are asking yourself, “What in the world does this have to do with new years resolutions?”

PerseveranceAnd the answer is PERSERVERANCE!

For with perseverance, even a 1-day old seedling can eventually force the rock to move out of its way so that it can grow into full maturity as an adult tree!

This truth gives me great comfort as I make New Years Resolutions for 2015 that are echo’s of 2014 resolutions, and 2013 resolutions and so on.  After so many failed attempts to _______________, the temptation is to either lessen one’s goals to something believed as more readily achievable, or to discard those dreams altogether.  I mean, who needs yet another reminder on 1/1/2016 of ones failure to _________?

But not this year!  I shall not quit pressing on for the dream of what is in my heart to do, for I know that with perseverance of faith and continued obedience to His leading, I will eventually see manifestation of what which I am presently believing God for.   The mountain WILL move!

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  (Ephesians 3:20, The Message)

So here’s to 2015!  Let us dream big, and press on to take hold of all that God has put in our hearts to become, and to do for the glory of His Name!

In Him,
Jenny