Tag Archives: hopeless

That was a low blow!

M-W1-cellblock of Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut
Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut

When I wrote my “Jail Break” post in April 2019, I was recalling a conversation I had recently had with a dear friend. As we shared our hearts and more than a few cups of coffee at her kitchen table, I prayed the Lord would give me the right words to inspire her with revived hope and faith for a jail break… but this time with help of the Escape Guide, Jesus Christ.

Little did I realize at the time that she was not the only one who needed a jail break.  I also needed a jail break, except that I hadn’t yet realized I was being held captive!!

Did you take some hard hits in 2019?   I did, and while the enemy of my soul was unsuccessful in his ultimate goal (to get me to deny my faith in God and turn away from the One who sustains me), he did land enough sucker-punches to have me “tagging out” and sitting on the side lines for a while.  A long while!

I was weary of soul. I was saddened in my spirit. I was low in my faith for certain areas and concerns of life. And so I sat; catching my breath, licking my wounds.  And the longer I sat, the more comfortable I was sitting in my small-but-known little resting place. My wounds healed, but there I remained in my now familiar and somewhat comfortable (or at least tolerably comfortable) surroundings.

I knew I wouldn’t (couldn’t) sit forever, but I was in no hurry to get back up.  And while I sat, perhaps mildly depressed in my self-reflection, the enemy built up bars around me!

Turns out I was actually writing to and about myself back in April!  I’m the one who needed a jail break!!!!

We all get sucker-punched from time to time, and when the hits are especially hard, we may need to take a little time to recover.   That’s what I have been doing, and maybe you are too.  But let us not stay there, seated on the sidelines!  And let us not get so familiar with being pressed upon that we forget that we have a Champion Friend who will not only help us bear up under pressure, but helps us through to the other side!!

“Do not be afraid-I will save you.  I have called you by name-you are mine.  When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.

When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.  For I am the LORD your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.”    (Isaiah 43:1-2  GNT)

Thank God for the turning of a calendar page, for as 2019 drew to a close, a restlessness awakened in my spirit and a still small voice whispered to me “speak to the bones”.

The Valley of Dry Bones
“The Valley of Dry Bones” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

Friend, God has called us (you and me) to a life that is full of purpose, joy and victory!  So let us speak to the dry and dead bones in our lives, and let us get back into the game!! There is just too much at risk if we don’t – victories that won’t be tasted, destinies that won’t be fulfilled, lives that won’t be changed by the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the LORD … I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life.” (Ezekiel 37:4 GNT)

Truth be told, I’m still a little weary of spirit – a little “wobbly” (wobbly-ness circles back to all of us from time to time).  And as much as I long for and pursue spiritual confidence, I am learning to appreciate wobbly-ness as well.  Wobbly-ness reminds me of my need for a Shepherd, a Shelter from the storm, and a Savior.

As I prayed about “getting back into the game” in 2020, among other things I felt prompted to commit to write 2 blog posts a month throughout 2020.  More as inspired, but at least 2/month.  So here’s the first.  I hope it speaks to you.  And I hope you come back to read one or two more (I will publish the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month), especially if you’re also a “wobbly” soul with “dead bones” buried in the backyard.

Not literally, of course!  That would be creepy!!

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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 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.

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