Tag Archives: hopeless

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.
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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.

Battle weary? ADP!

This has been on my heart for a while now.  Perhaps like me, there are things you have been praying for – but as yet have not received your breakthrough.  Promises you’re standing on, but manifestation hasn’t shown up yet.   Declarations of faith that are beginning to sound a little hollow – even to your own ears.

For those who know me, I am pretty passionate about the Word of God.    Through teachings of trusted Pastors and my own personal studies, I have come to understand the power and authority placed into our hands as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, Ambassadors of the King of Kings.  Most days, my feet are firmly planted on the Word of God and I am a force to be reckoned with.   My philosophy is simply.  If the devil wants to mess with me on this or that area of life – He’s going to hear what Jesus has to say about it!

But in spite of my knowing that the Word of God is the power of God, there are days when I’m weary.  Or as I’ve shared before, a bit “wobbly“.   The last several weeks have been like that for me.  I’ve been pressing.  I’ve been declaring.  I’ve been believing.  And I’m still waiting.

I’m not discouraged, per se.  Or at least not discouraged in the way that one feels when they decide to ‘give up hoping’ and resign themselves to the situation.  No, I’m a bit too far gone for that.  I’ve walked long enough with God to know that He will always move on my behalf and deliver on His Word – even if it’s not within my desired timeframe.   Abraham waited 25 years for the promised heir.  Noah waited (while building the arc) 120 years before the flood came.  God does always not operate on our time tables.   But He IS faithful to His covenant promise – and I have His Word on what I’m praying/believing for – so I know if I stay in faith I will eventually get my breakthrough.   But the waiting is harder some days than others.  Right?

That’s why I’m so grateful that I’ve the Holy Spirit living inside me to speak to me on wobbly days.  And what I’m hearing loud and clear in my spirit is to “Apply Direct Pressure!”  Now that may not mean much to you – but to me it resonates very deeply and speaks clearly of two critical actions that are required on my part, and yours if you want to get your victory.

“Apply Direct Pressure!”

ACTION #1:  Keep putting pressure on the Word of God:  study the Word of God, read and memorize God’s promises as related to my circumstance or trial, speak them over myself and my situation, make a demand upon the promises of God by calling those things that be not as though they were … until they are!   In other words, don’t get discouraged and worn down by my situation – but instead keep my faith stirred up and keep putting pressure on the Word of God for my deliverance and breakthrough.  God’s Word is sure and my enemy will fall!

Yes, the fight of faith can be wearing at times – but it is a battle that has already been won by Jesus Christ!  You and I have got to remember that, or the devil will dupe us into thinking that the victory belt is still up for grabs.   It is not!

Pressure Gauge

More dangerous still is the temptation to think that the winning or loosing is somehow dependent on us … our fortitude, our strength, our skill.  Again, it is not!  The fight has already been won, and it is our job to put on the full armor of God and enforce the victory won by Jesus Christ!

ACTION #2:  Keep putting pressure on the enemy:  open my mouth and speak the promises of God to my adversary, refuse to sit down and shut up, man the battle stations and be ready morning/noon/night to enforce his defeat.  In other words, don’t be a passive opponent but rise up in the power of the Holy Spirit living within me, and remind the enemy at every turn that He is a defeated foe and is subject to the Name of Jesus – and Jesus left me (and you) His Name!    He is a defeated foe, but his defeat has to be enforced – not in my strength or authority, but by the authority of Jesus Christ!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks.  Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.  That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.   (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Thank you Lord, that’s just what I needed.  I’ve got my “grrr” back, how about you?

Let us not grow weary, but get back at the business of fighting the good fight of faith so that we can lay hold of all that God has provided for us through His Word!

In Him,
Jenny

 

The Break Up

photo provided by Dez Pain.

As a young girl (of about 8 or so?), a few of my brothers and sisters hid under my parents bed, and when I went into my folks room to find my mom one of them reached out and grabbed my feet.  Of course, they all thought it was hysterically funny and I’m sure broke into immediate laughter.  But by my recollection, from the moment of ‘first grab’ to the revealing that it was them hiding under the bed (as opposed to some horrid monster who was going to tear me to pieces and then eat me alive), it was several very long and terrifying minutes!  OK, so maybe I watched a few movies I shouldn’t have been watching at my age – but back then, families rallied around the TV to watch horror movies like The Birds and The Pit and The Pendulum as family bonding experiences.    Anyways, by the time they revealed themselves, I was so completely traumatized that for many years afterwards, I adopted a new routine for going to bed.  I flipped off the light switch, took three running steps, and then leapt onto my bed to avoid anything/anyone that could be hiding under it.

It’s now 2014 and I’m well past the age of hiding under a desk with my head between my knees.  But even now, whenever I hear the sound of a low-flying plane overhead, I am immediately transported back to elementary school where we were taught the principles of “Duck and Cover” and have to fight hard to resist the urge to look outside for signs of a crashing plane or bomb falling from the sky.

I guess I’m old enough to have had some “stuff” happen in my life … and if you’re reading this blog so have you, and there is more “stuff” on the horizon.  I’m not trying to speak pessimistically or out of a doom-and-gloom mentality.  I’m just being honest.  This world does not operate (at present) in accordance with God’s original design for it, nor are we enjoying (at present) all the victory and fellowship with the Father that God originally intended when He created us.  Sure we have mountain top experiences in life – can I get a whoot-whoot for the mountain top!!  Yea Baby!!

But alas, we don’t stay on the mountain tops, do we?   As described so beautifully by Hannah Hurnard in  “Hinds Feet On High Places” , residents of the High Places are called to routinely go back down into the Valley to encourage and invite others who would also make the journey upward.   And sometimes, I do visit the valleys from a position of strength so that I can encourage a valley dweller, and invite them to dare to journey outside the boundary lines of that kingdom and change their citizenship to that of a higher and better Kingdom.

But not always, and truth be told – not as often as I would like.  I would say that for most of my 53 years, when I visit the Valley, it is because I wasn’t wearing my armor  (read earlier post) nor watching where I was going, and next thing I knew … Ker plop!

Sooner or later, I always seem to make my way back down into any number of valleys;  the Valley of Humiliation, the Valley of Loss, the Valley of Loneliness, the Valley of insert name here, hanging out with my much detested former buddies – FEAR, SHAME and all the other family members of the FEARING family! Visiting a valley for God’s purposes is one thing.  Living in the valley’s is something altogether different.  I hate the valleys!

It was about a year or so ago that the Lord began showing me how much of my life has been influenced by FEAR.   I’ve let Fear steal so much from me!  Fear of failure.  Fear of loss.  Fear of what people with think.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of screwing up my kids.  Fear of being uncovered.  Fear of rejection.  You name it, I’ve probably been afraid of it.

Faith declares a positive confident hope and expectation in the Word and promises of God, while Fear declares a negative confidence and expectation in the inability of God to do what He has declared!

 

But no more!  I am finished being romanced and courted by Fear!

It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but praise God (and thanks to countless hours of listening to faith-filled teachers like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyers, Charles Capps, and many others), I have finally gotten it through my head that God hates Fear!  And why, you ask?  Because FEAR is the complete opposite of FAITH!   Faith declares a positive confident hope and expectation in the Word and promises of God, while Fear declares a negative confidence and expectation in the inability of God to do what He has declared!  Once I finally saw it like that (like God see’s it), I made a decision!   

Me and Fear are “breaking up”!  And we are NOT going to get back together again!!   EVER!!!  

Sure, I know it’s going to require a lot of effort on my part to quit taking Fear’s calls, answering Fear’s emails, etc.   But I’m done with that liar Fear!  Who is with me??

Out of respect for your time, I’m going to close here and continue under separate posts which will be filed under a new Category entitled “FEAR NOT!”   I hope you will check back periodically, and also share your thoughts on this post in the comment section below.

Be blessed,
Jenny

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