- SHEILA RHODES
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Despite God’s promises, despite Christ’s love, and despite our countless blessings, we frail human beings can still lose hope from time to time. When we do, we need the encouragement of Christian friends, the life-changing power of prayer, and the healing truth of God’s Holy Word.
If you find yourself falling into the spiritual traps of worry and discouragement, seek the healing touch of Jesus and the encouraging words of fellow Christians. And remember the words of our Savior: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV). This world can be a place of trials and tribulations, but as believers, we are secure. God has promised us peace joy, and eternal life. And, of course, God keeps His promises today, tomorrow, and forever.
Always remember that no other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope. In those desperate times when we feel like we don’t have an ounce of strength, He will gently pick up our heads so that our eyes can behold something ~ something that will keep His hope alive in us. Lisa Beamer’s husband, Todd, was killed on flight 93 back on September 11, 2001. Lisa said, “The choice for me and for you is to either look at all things I have lost or the things I have. To live in fear or to live in hope…Hope comes from knowing I have a sovereign, loving God who is in every event in my life.” Always remember that LOVE is the seed of hope.
Let me leave you with some encouraging scriptures from God’s Word. These scriptures will give you hope this Christmas season and allow you to experience His healing truth.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12)
Sustain me as you promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm 119: 116)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29: 11-12)
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)
My Prayer For You and for me ~ Dear Lord, make me a woman/man of Hope. If I become discouraged let me turn to You. If I grow weary, let me seek strength in You. When I face disappointments, let me seek Your will and trust Your Word. In every aspect of my life, I will trust you, Father, so that my heart will be filled with faith, hope, and praise, this day and forever. Amen!
THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON AND IN THE NEW YEAR, MAY YOU REST IN THE DEEP ASSURANCE THAT IN KNOWING HIM YOU HAVE EVERYTHING!
*MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY HOME TO YOURS!!!!!!!!
“I CAME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY.” ~ JOHN 10:10
THERE WERE MORE Christmas gifts to open, but my wife, Kate, announced, “Okay, everyone, time to get ready.” Kate is the rector at our small Episcopal church, and she had to lead a morning service.
I gritted my teeth. Why, I wondered, can’t we be like normal families? Everything is different in a clergy household. Sunday is a workday, holidays are workdays. Saturdays are sermon-perfecting days, and every week seems to bring some fresh reason why the rector needs to be out several evenings in a row. I’m not always good-natured about this situation. We got dressed, and our son, Benji, climbed into his stroller. Walking along the quiet streets, I had to admit it was nice to be outside ~ cool air, bright sun, hillsides tawny with winter-brown grass.
A couple dozen people gathered in the sanctuary. Those wonderful Bible verses were read: “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” We gathered around the altar for Communion. I looked around at everyone’s warm, happy faces. Taking the bread and wine, I felt foolish and glad at the same time: foolish for begrudging this wonderful life at the heart of God’s work in the world; glad that my church community, and Kate, loved me anyway.
Teach me to be thankful at all times, Lord.
“Christmas is the season of joy; of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.”