Tag Archives: failure

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 9)

She prayed. She believed. She spoke in agreement with the promise. And she is still waiting and praying.
He found the scriptures. He stood on them. He was genuinely surprised when everything fell apart anyways.
The little boy whispered, “God, are you still there? Are you listening?”

Many of my posts have to do with the subject of HOPE and FAITH.

HOPE; the confident trust and expectation in the promise of God. FAITH; the best buddy of HOPE that is grounded and established on the immutable Word of God. There is a natural tension between the two … a mystery to be walked out by those who would claim to have believing faith for something they don’t yet have or possess or see in the natural.

“You can’t have FAITH without HOPE;
and hope without faith is just a wish.” ~unknown

“Hope is a divine inner image. It’s a dream birthed by The WORD of God
in the soul of man. It’s the blueprint of our faith.” ~Kenneth Copeland

For the next few weeks or so, I am going to try to tackle the subject of something I wrestle with on a regular basis. Like the imaginary people above, I’ve prayed for specific needs. I’ve researched the scriptures for the promise related to those needs and laid claim to them. I’ve gotten my mouth working in agreement with the Word. I’ve locked the door to fear. I’ve stood my ground before the enemy of doubt and ….

(sigh!)

I call this period, this process, this slow-as-molasses season …… the wait of Faith.

If I’m being completely honest, for me it’s one thing when I have a practical need. Maybe I need finances for car repairs, or I need a new wardrobe because I lost 33 lbs on Weight Watchers. (a little shout out to my WW group! Whazzup my friends!!) I have His promise, I know it’s His will (because it’s in His Word), and so basically, I just need to keep my eyes looking upward and trust He will bring it to pass in His timing.

But (again, being completely honest), it is a much harder deal when you are praying as an intercessor. Like when you’re praying for healing for your child, grandchild, or spouse. Or praying for someone to be delivered from drugs, alcohol, or pornography. You see the lives impacted. You see the pain, doubt, and fear. And you can’t do anything to fix it but pray and believe, and pray some more! This is where the Wait of Faith takes on a whole new meaning, for not only are you affected by the pain and doubt and wreckage you see happening in the life of the one you are interceding for, but your own pain and doubts need to be managed.

“She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’” “Everything is all right,” she said.”
2 Kings 4:24-26

It’s not that the Shunammite woman (whose child had just died btw) wasn’t experiencing a torrent of emotions. She was! BUT … she held them in check (didn’t give them full reign), and purposefully determined in her will and spirit to trust to the spiritual authority of the Prophet as higher (of ranking priority) than her own emotions. Let me say that again but in a slightly different way.

She made a conscious determination and willful choice to put her trust in the authority of the Prophet (the OT representation of Jesus Christ) as greater than the torrent of her own emotions and thoughts and fears.

And that is ultimately what saved her sons life!!!

Let us also purposefully determine during our own Wait of Faith, to give our confidence and trust (our HOPE) to the promises, power and authority of matchless Name of Jesus which is higher than whatever is facing us today.  If He said it, He will do it!!

img_20180111_203901963_hdr854888339.jpg
untitled – a work in progress, PHTW 1.15.18
If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture. There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts. My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.
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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.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 8)

My Pastor used a term on Sunday to describe the world that we live in … “uncertainty”.    There most definitely is uncertainty in the world, and across the globe there are terrible things that happened this year, this week, this hour.

“Your joy is your own; your bitterness is your own.  No one can share them with you.”  Proverbs 14:10

Earlier in the week my daughter asked me to share with her a Scripture that really helped stabilize me when my own world was topsy-turvy.

That conversation reminded me of a compilation I put together a few years ago … a collection of Scriptures that met me where I was and spoke the cry of my heart.  

Tears2,Sunscreen

“If I’m going to cry,
let them be tears shed before my God.”

Proverbs 14:10 tells us that ‘each heart knows its own bitterness’, which to me means that sometimes you just need to cry it all out.  I think that’s why I collected the Scriptures I did.

Some gave words to the depth of my pain.
Some were cries for mercy and deliverance.
Some spoke deeply to my soul of  irrevocable promises that God would see me through it and work all things together for my benefit in the end.

“You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they all listed in your book?” Psalms 56:8

And that is why I call them Love Letters for they were -and still are- love letters from Him to me, letters of strength and comfort to my (still*) hurting soul.  I hope they bring comfort to you as well.

*Disclaimer alert!  I’m saved and I’m greatly changed from the broken girl I was in my teens and wrecked woman I was in my 20’s and 30’s.  But by no means, have I “arrived” at that place of wholeness or perfection.  Can we ever, this side of heaven? 

Nope, I’m a work in process, just like you.   Whatever God did for me, He is more than able and willing to do for you too … even more, in fact.  But it will require your faith (confident trust and expectation in His goodness) and your pursuit of His face.   Oh but friend, it is a worthy pursuit indeed to seek the presence of God, and He is SO willing to be found by a heart hungry to know Him.

What are Scriptures have that special place in your heart?  Please comment below with the passage, and if you are willing a bit about the why behind it.

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If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture. There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts. My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.

 

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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.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 7)

In a prior post (week 3), I shared a few definitions of hope, as well as a definition for what I call Bible-HOPE. The latter is a far better kind of hope, for Bible-HOPE (HOPE) is rooted in the Promises contained in the Word of God, and most often to a covenant Promise made between Himself and we, His people.

To hear His voice and receive His deep love for us, this is the very birthplace of HOPE.

But sometimes, life sucks the hope right out of you! And then what, my friend?

How is one to respond when you’ve been smacked upside the head by the frying pan of life, and had your hope knocked clear across the floor?

I’ve experienced both, and no doubt you have too.

Jennifer Arimborgo authors the blog Feeding on Jesus. I think her post “Can You See Him?” beautifully and artfully speaks to this very type of situation, and she has graciously given me permission to share it with you. as follows:

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“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13, NKJV).

Do you believe you will see the goodness of the Lord in this life? According to these words from Psalms, being convinced that you will is the antidote to discouragement.

What comes to mind when you read the phrase, “seeing the goodness of the Lord”?

Probably most of us start to imagine desirable outcomes to our current circumstances. These are some concrete ways His goodness could manifest in our lives:

• The healing of a family member struggling with chronic illness
• Sudden, unexpected financial provision for paying off debts
• The restoration of a rocky marriage
• A child being born after a long journey battling infertility
• A loved one delivered from drug addiction

Yes. All of these are most definitely overt expressions of how good He is. Each of them showcases His kindness in a dramatic way. However, I’d like to share with you a deeper nuance of this Scripture than what may be apparent upon first glance.

To do so, I’m going to bring in another passage to help illuminate this one. It’s from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see…” (Matt. 13:15a, ESV). He spoke these words to the disciples, contrasting them with multitudes of people who could see with their physical eyes but had no real perception happening at a heart level (vv. 13-15). He was pointing out to them what riches were theirs because they could perceive truth.

Do we have eyes that see? To see with our spirit means to discern, to recognize, to ascertain, to be aware, to understand. If we do have heart’s eyes that function this way, blessed are we! This is why Paul interceded for the Ephesians’ spiritual power of sight. This was so crucial that he never stopped praying this prayer: “I keep asking… that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” (Eph. 1:17a, 18a, NIV).

Like them, we, too, desperately need eyes that can supernaturally ascertain and absorb real hope. Now, let’s look at Psalm 27:13 through the lens of this vital truth. David says, “…Unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord…” Do you hear what Holy Spirit is expressing? “Unless I had believed that I would perceive His goodness… that I would profoundly recognize how good He is… that I would discern the true character of His heart, how pure, how kind, how faithful is His very nature… that I would become aware of how tender His intentions are toward me… that I would comprehend with every fiber of my being how much He loves me… I would have lost heart!”

This, my friends, is where hope is born: when we can see Him. When our heart can understand who He really is. When we can truly see His goodness, then we don’t ever, ever, ever lose heart. Blessed are our eyes when they can pierce the fog of adverse circumstance and perceive Daddy’s kindness and love in the midst of it.

How we need such eyes! I would encourage you to pray Ephesians 1:18 and Psalms 17:13 over yourself right now, and then every day for the rest of your life!

Daddy God, I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, that I may know the hope to which You have called me! Out of Your great, merciful love, allow me to see Your goodness in the land of the living!

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What a lovely word picture this is to me. To have ears that hear and eyes that see with the heart (spirit).

But I think this type of engagement requires a willingness to look outside ourselves and above our circumstances so that we can attend to (focus on and interact with) the loving countenance of our Daddy God. And to hear His voice and receive His deep love for us, this is the very birthplace of the HOPE we so deeply long for and desperately need.

In my current watercolor (below, and still a work in process, but I’m going to be revealing more within the next week or three), I like to imagine “Miss Hope” as lifting her arms in complete surrender, as an offering to her Lord. Some days arms are raised in prayer, other days in worship, and still other days in sorrow. But whatever her emotion, there is intimacy and intention to her interaction with God. She knows to Whom she has sought out, and has called upon, and to Whom she is now kneeling before. His voice is comforting and familiar to her ears, and she is able to be restful and surrendered in the sacredness of this moment with Him.

Dear friend, if you have been ‘smacked upside the head by the frying pan of life’, my prayer is that you would take some time to seek out your Daddy God, and allow His voice become familiar to you. If you will seek Him, He has sworn by His own Name to be found by you.

And HOPE can revive again!

“His voice is so sweet and heavenly
Although I can’t really hear Him

I can feel Him speaking to me
Assuring me, calling me near Him

He is watching over me
Always loving me
Always there for me

I will listen with the ears of my heart
For the voice of the One who loves me.”

(poem written by my beautiful daughter L.V. in 1994)

img_20180111_203901963_hdr854888339.jpg
untitled – a work in progress, PHTW 1.15.18

If you enjoyed Jennifer’s post, I bet you’ll enjoy her other writings too (I know I do!). You can find her at: https://jenniferarimborgo.feedingonjesus.com

If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture. There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts. My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.
_____________
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.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 6)

Is it just me, or did 2016 and most of 2017 seem to be particularly nasty and mean spirited? I actually “un-friended” people on Social Media because I just couldn’t stomach the negativity of what they were posting. And I’m talking about my Christian friends.

“I am King. I will lead.” ~King of Siam

Oh, don’t get me wrong … I was a negative contributor too. Front page stuff! No doubt I got unfriended by a few of my better friends, good folks who didn’t sink as low as I did in the cesspool of Facebook and Twitter. I was “letting my voice be heard” only to figure out that nobody was listening!

Anyways, I just can’t take another year like that! Can you? So, the blog series is really a cry from my own heart.  I want 2018 to be different!

I want 2018 to be a year filled with better things!

Like encouragement instead of sarcasm.
Like love instead of hatred.
Like patience instead of intolerance.
Like Jesus instead of … well, instead of me.

“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?”    Romans 7:24 (Message)

My church has a practice of Fasting at the beginning of the year, and I joined with several friends for a 21-day Daniel Fast. It’s amazing what happens when you quiet the noises of your life (TV, phone, etc) and dethrone “King Stomach” for a while.   Intimacy with God.  Clarity of vision.   Answers to prayer.

For those 21 days, I felt increasing strength and victory. When I had my devotions in the morning, I didn’t feel the need to look away from the woman staring back at me in the mirror of the Word of God. I was the beloved daughter, dressed in the beautiful robes of His Righteousness, dancing with Jesus in the courts of the King.

And then “she” showed up. With clumsy feet and hands full of things “she” shouldn’t be carrying.  “She” tripped, and fell, and spilled and ruined my gown.  Again! For the 9-billionth time!

And there is the problem. Wherever I go, “she” is always bringing up the rear!!

“I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a very sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with a dear yearning in my voice: “Dress me.”

He dressed me, my Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him.” ~Walter Wangerin, Ragman and Other Cries of Faith

FaithFood.Net does a beautiful job describing a beautiful scene from “Anna and the King” and so I’ll just quote them below (and encourage you to read the whole article):

There is an old film called Anna and the King where the heroin, Anna, serves the King of Siam by teaching his children. In one scene there was a banquet that was given by the King. It was a very proper setting with many of the guests being cultured English people. The King suggested that they finish the meal by dancing a waltz. He arose from the table and put his hand out to Anna. She is taken by surprise and does not know quite what to do. The English guests looked shocked and the Siamese were horrified.
Reluctantly, she stood to her feet. How could she refuse the King? As they walked down the steps to the dance area she looked at him apprehensively and said, “It’s been a long time since I have done this, I hope we don’t end up in a heap.
He replies, “I am King, I will lead.”
http://faithfood.net/index.php/browse-articles/1169-dancing-with-the-king-

 

img_20180111_203901963_hdr854888339.jpg
untitled –  a work in progress, PHTW 1.15.18

This is what I want, Lord.

I want to take off my dirty rags, and be dressed in your beauty.

I want to receive your invitation, and twirl on the dance floor with you. I want to be secured in your strong arms, and I want to let you lead. Not just for a song, or for a 21-day fast.

I want you to lead every hour of every day, knowing that in your embrace  … even when I trip and stumble (or am tempted to try to lead the dance) … you will stabilize me and keep me from “ending up in a heap”.

 

“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.” Romans 15:13

 

 

If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture.   There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.  
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts.  My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.
_____________
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.

 

The Valley of Dry Bones and Failures

Do you have a ‘valley of dry bones’ in your life?    Passions and aspirations that once inspired you but are now dead and decomposed, their sun-bleached bones discarded into the dump heap?

I do!  Over the years, I’ve had many hopes and dreams that seem to come for a season (nearly overtaking me in their power and all-consuming passion), only to fade away into nothingness over time. Sometimes they were displaced by a new and more captivating dream. Sometimes I abandoned them out of discouragement, weary of chasing something that seemed to be forever out of reach. And some just plain old DIED on me, no matter what kind of emergency life-support treatment was applied!  And my bone pile grew.

Ezekiel 37

Periodically I like to walk among those old bones (it’s important to do that from time to time) and recently, I came upon one particular bone … a bone so old that there was virtually no evidence of life left on it anymore.  It made me a little sad to reflect upon the dreams I had back then, and what this bone represented.  I was so sure that I heard the Lord calling me to do that thing, but ….  I guess I misheard, I’ve been known to do that a time or two-hundred.

“… and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ ”      (Ezekiel 37:3-6)

But as I looked at that old bone, a most wonderful thing happened.

“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.”  (Ezekiel 37:7)

His gentle voice whispered into my spirit …. ‘Daughter, I am the one who breathes life to your dreams.   Trust me.  Don’t try to make it happen in your own strength or rush Me.  It will happen at the appointed time.’

Thank you Lord, I receive that.   I think I’ll be hanging onto that bone now, lovingly tending to it until You breathe the fullness of Life into it for Your glory.

Be Blessed,
Jenny