Hope

“For you are my hope, O Lord God.” Psalm 71:5 MEV

Hope entails waiting and waiting, patience and patience takes faith, and faith is an established conviction concerning things unseen. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Heb.11:1) Paul concludes his chapter on love with these words, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love…” (I Cor. 13:13)

Hope has a past, a present, and a future. You hoped for… You hope for… And you are hoping for… [You fill in the blanks] When we have our feet planted firmly on the ground we are immovable and unstoppable no matter how hard the winds blow or how high the waves become. This doesn’t happen just because you are stubborn or stuck in your ways. This happens only when you are grounded in the Lord. The Psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) MEV

When you are well grounded in the Lord and the truth of His word, your hope is built on Him. Matthew recorded in his Gospel the words that Jesus spoke to the crowds that had gathered on the Mt. of Beatitudes. His voice floated out over the people who had followed him and wanted to learn from him. He told them how to build on a solid foundation. You see if we build a life without a solid foundation it cannot stand against the storms that are bound to come. But if our foundation is solid—if it is built on the word of God—it will not only stand, but will thrive in spite of the storms of life. He told this to the people in terms they could relate to—a house built on sand cannot stand, but a house built on solid rock will be secure. (Matthew 7:24-27) Through all the trials of life, faith built on the “solid rock” gives the believer hope.

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Edward Mote wrote these words in 1834. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Job 11:18

Dear Lord, “Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” (Psalm 119:132, 133) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Prayer Warfare

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18 N L T

My husband was preparing himself for surgery. I was nervous about whether or not he would have problems dealing with the effects of the anesthesia. The words of some were beginning to sink into my psyche. They were telling me horror stories of those who were elderly and didn’t survive. I was definitely in a weakened state and needed someone to hold me up in prayer and my husband, as well. On the outside I appeared strong, but on the inside I was weak.

There were many subtle attacks made by the evil one who was having a field day while our spirits were down. Small things began to happen, nothing earth-shaking, but nevertheless, upsetting. (1) The garage door stopped working and we couldn’t get our car out—so we had to cancel our eye appointment in Tarpon Spring. (2) The ice cube dispenser was stopped up—not a big deal, but in the middle of everything else, it felt like it. (3) The computer lost its WIFI and my husband had to figure out what to do. [What would I do without him?] (4) We lost the garage door remote and had to order another. Later we found it in the pocket of a vest my husband had been wearing—we had a good laugh.

Throughout this whole ordeal we immersed ourselves in prayer, giving glory to God for every moment. Satan thought he had us but we refused to let fear control us. After all, God is our protector—He has our back. Prayer was, is, and always will be the greatest Weapon against anything ole-sloo-foot wants to throw at us.

Paul’s concern for the church is emphasized in his letters. (By “the church” I’m referring to believers). In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, he emphasizes unity of man to God and man to man [mankind=man & woman] in which there are disciplines to follow (4:1-16). He also writes about purity (4:17-31); forgiveness (4:32); and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (5:1-21). With this, relationships must be in order (5:22-6:9). Then we must put on every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in times of evil. (6:13).

Whether we like to hear it or not, doesn’t change the fact that we are involved in spiritual warfare. Satan has every believer in his cross hairs. We must not step away from our communication with God. In the morning at noon time, in the evening remember to have a little talk with the Lord—and then stop talking and listen to His words. Before you read your daily Word ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and discern what it is you need to know to accomplish His will for your life.

Del and I were able to overcome the darts that were thrown at us because we remembered that God was in control and believed in Jesus and trusted that even though things look dark for a while, the light would soon appear again. How did we know this? By reading God’s Word and diligent prayer.

Pray for yourselves, but also pray for all believers for we are in the midst of a spiritual war. Our prayer keeps our connection—our relationship with God secure.

DO NOT BE AFRAID. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS

“Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18 M E V

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Dear Lord, hear my prayer. I want to stay close by your side where there is safety and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Self-Preservation

“…If I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 (NIV)

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Self-preservation can be the biggest stumbling block to a fruitful and fulfilled life. This is a learned behavior that develops over time through our life experiences. Perhaps, you were orphaned as a child; was bounced around from foster home to foster home; or simply was the oldest child who felt they had taken second place because of a sibling who required more attention than you. Or maybe you were the youngest sibling who was made to look up to your older brothers and sisters. There are many scenarios that could cause your spirit to fight for a place of recognition.

Esther, a Jew living under the rule of the Persians, was one who had learned the rule of self-preservation. She was an orphan who was living in the house of her uncle. As such, she had to maintain a lifestyle that didn’t bring attention to herself. But, the King of Persia had deposed the Queen for not doing what he asked, and was looking for a new Queen—he noticed Esther’s beauty—so much for being inconspicuous. But, she was well adept to her own self-preservation, so when the King summoned her to be his wife, she met his every wish. She was under his rule.  You might ask “What was a Jewish woman doing as the Queen of Persia“? Well, God had a plan.

If it hadn’t been for Esther’s vision and acceptance of God’s plan, not only she, but the whole Jewish nation may have perished. But, Esther grit her teeth, and stood up straight, and marched in to see the King unannounced [a person was subject to death if they went in to the presence of the King without his knowing you were coming] and successfully saved her people. However, she did this only after 3 days of prayer and fasting asking for God’s wisdom and direction. She also called upon her uncle and the Jews in the region to join her in prayer and fasting. Only in relationship with God and man can great things happen. Because she knew she was going against the King’s edict, Esther’s last statement before going before him was, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

The fact is we cannot save ourselves—no matter how many good works we do or how many church services we attend. In the end there is no such thing as self-preservation. God made you and He said it was good. Sometimes there is much suffering that occurs before we realize the goodness, but you must not give up!

God has a purpose for you—only through prayer and fasting can it be realized. And whatever you hear God calling you to do, He will not send you to do it alone—He will be with you.

When you read the story of Esther in your Bible, you will see that because of her vison, her people were saved from destruction and she from a life of hiding her identity.

Dear Lord, help me to be who you have created me to be. Lead me in your righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  Psalm 1:1-2 (NLT)

Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.  Psalm 119:2-3 (NLT)

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

God’s Army Approaches

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“Come from the four winds O breathe, and breathe on these slain, that they may live…they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” Ezekiel 37:9, 10)

Last week we witnessed a phenomenon! Who ever heard of waking up in the middle of a cold night to go outside (in my bathrobe) to look up at the sky? But, that’s exactly what my husband and I did! And we saw it happening right before our eyes—the moon was almost completely covered and it was red like blood. There were millions of stars twinkling as though with joy! You can read about this in God’s word. What does God want us to understand?

Perhaps, this–in an evil world following the will of God is not easy, but in the end it will be the only thing that will save you.

The activity in the heavens which we witnessed, must serve as a warning to all who do not know the Lord, and to those who do, but may be growing weary in well-doing. You may be shaken by human tragedy, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunami, extreme cold, wars, uprising, and separations. You may be sick and tired of a government that seems more bent on having its own way than serving the people they were called to serve. But, in all of this the eventuality is, God will be victorious and those who remain true to Him will be called up to be a part of His Great Army. When God breathes life into you, you will live and be victorious—to God be the glory. The moon may be covered with blood but you will not, because the light of Jesus Christ will be living in you.

Finally in the last days God will destroy every religious, political, and educational institution that humanity has built apart from God. So hang on to your faith for the ride is about to become even bumpier. The wind and waves will become stronger and higher. In order that you will not go down with the ship—hang on to the One who can save you. No matter how bad it gets, how dismal the future from your vantage point looks, your God will come and save you.

There will be another blood moon. And maybe this time we will look up and see, in the darkness of the heavens, a light shining brighter and brighter may be the Lord Jesus Christ coming to save all those who have not abandoned their faith for some brief comfort in the world.

God’s army approaches…will you be ready to be a part of it?

Dear Lord, through it all I believe you will never leave me. Forgive me, I repent of my unfaithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Rev. 6:12    Joel 2:10    Matt. 24:29    Rev. 16:18

Time to Love

“And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

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When is the time to love? And what is love? The Preacher writes in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is “a time to love and a time to hate…” He goes on to write, “He has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Vs. 11) but, we cannot see into it, so what do we do with the time we have now? Again, the Preacher writes, “people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of our labor, for these are the gifts of God.” (Vs 13)

All these things are true. But, it is the believer’s responsibility to live the time that has been allotted them in a responsible and obedient way. Time and love are eternal truths. They are aspects of a life that takes many turns, it has many ups and downs, but always these two—one pertaining to quantity, the other to quality. One without the other leads to a life of meaninglessness.

Time is endless and it is also illusive. You cannot stop time. You cannot reverse time. We wonder where the time went or wish we could have that time back, neither is possible. The truth is, yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never be, all we have is this moment—it is called the present.

God’s Word is all about time. It tells about the time the universe was created…”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Every day for six days He created it all and called it good. Then on the seventh day He rested. Those seven days have repeated themselves for over 4000 years and will continue as long as God has planned. God’s timing is not our timing, therefore, even though we may have calculated the end of time, it is something we cannot know. Meanwhile, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. (Lev. 19:18 & Deut. 6:5)

Love. This word is so misused in today’s world…we love our cars, houses, jobs, pets…yes they are all important to us and fill our lives with comfort, but love is more than “things.”  To love as God commands is all-encompassing, it emanates His love for us, which never ends no matter what horrific deed we have performed—even in the name of love.

Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…” (I Corinthians 13:1) He indicates in his writing that without love we are nothing!

This is what love is not:-

Love is not rude, self-seeking, easily angered, keeps no account of wrongs, takes no pleasure in evil…

 Now he tells us what love is:-

“Love is patient, love is kind….rejoices in the truth…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

(I Corinthians 13:4-8)

If you look at this passage carefully and compare it to what God told Moses to say to the Israelites in Leviticus 19:18, you will see it is the same. It is also the same as John’s statement of “God is love.” (I John 7:16) And, if as believers we understand this truth, we are to love others and ourselves likewise, forever and always.

Time and love are eternal truths that begin and end with God. One day God “will make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) He is the beginning and the end—He holds time in one hand and love in the other. To the believer they cannot be separated and are always a part of us. Take the time God has allotted you and live it in love.

 

Dear Lord, make this day a blessing to you, others, and myself. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17   Ecclesiastes 8:6   Leviticus 19:18

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell, 2019

A Better Way

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” I Timothy 6:10

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A young woman seemed to achieve the impossible.

She married very young and birthed a beautiful, baby boy. But, things did not go well and she divorced, becoming a single Mom. Shortly after, her son was diagnosed with cancer. The next 6 years were almost more than she could handle, but she, and her son, survived—even more, they began to thrive.

This young woman pulled herself up and made a decision to go to nursing school, during which time she remarried. She was newly married, caring for her sick son, and going to school—a marvelous feat, indeed.

After getting her degree, she began to apply what she had learned firsthand through caring for her son, and her schooling. She became an excellent nurse—one who really wanted to help her patients. It wasn’t just a job, but she served with compassion. Life was great! She was doing something that really mattered and she was being paid well for it—very well.

She bought things she could never have afforded before; she and her husband even built their own house, but there was something very important missing. Her life became all about her and what she had achieved on her own strength. She had forgotten to give God the credit. The world said, “You earned it, enjoy it!” And as a result, all she had obtained began to fall away and crumble before her eyes—even her health failed.

The seeds that were planted within her, by the Christians around her, had fallen upon thorns. The world choked out every good word she heard and every good deed she had seen. As it did she became resentful and angry. She abused her body with alcohol. She laughed much too much covering up the sadness, hurt, and sorrow she felt in her soul. She did, however, have glimpses of God’s love, but it didn’t last because she allowed the world to once again choke it out.

But, you know, God doesn’t give up trying. He is still calling her (and you) to follow Him. He is calling you to flee from the things of the world and follow after righteousness. He is calling you to bear fruit that emphasizes His love. He is calling you to have faith for the best is yet to come. He is calling you to have patience for where there is no way He will make a way. He is calling you to love as He has loved you.

All the hurts, sorrows, and struggles the world has put you through can be turned into peace, love, and joy when you turn your life over to God. Jesus died on the cross willingly—He gave up His life for you and freed you from all your sin—therefore, it is possible to start over, no matter your age or what you have done.

Now is the day of salvation and a better way. God wants to bless You, but first you must turn your face upon Him.

Dear Lord, help me make that all important move and fall into step with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

I Timothy 6:10, 11   Matthew 13:22

“…those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell, 2019

Mind Over Bowel

“…refresh my bowels in the Lord.” Philemon 20 (KJV)

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I was lying awake pleading with the Lord, “Please, Lord, inform my brain that it needs to tell my bowels to move!” I was feeling much discomfort due to constipation. This happens fairly often and I am overjoyed when relief comes. After all, I reasoned, the movement of my bowels is the way my body excretes all the “stuff” my body cannot use—it is waste material and if not excreted could eventually poison all the good nutrients my body needs to be healthy.

I lay there, in the dark, thinking about this for a while.

Then suddenly, another thought came to mind—I do not think I am any different from many of you in thinking the leaders of our country are a terrible example to the citizens, especially the young. I think their brains need to tell their bowels to move, as well. They need to get rid of all that is poisoning the good that I know is there, but is over-shadowed by a sinful nature that has been allowed to seep in—they need a change of heart—they need Christ!

Eventually, the constipation of the body will subside. The body will work as God has created it to work and all of its parts will work together for the good of all. Likewise, when our leaders decide to pull together, our body of government will be whole and healthy once again. For, divided we fall, united we stand.

However, the body sometimes has to take its medicine to maintain health. So, too, with companies, institutions and governments. That medicine doesn’t always taste so good, but the outcome will be positive and health will reign once again.

I truly believe that where there seems to be no way God will make a way. Let us trust in Him.

Those of us who know the Lord, who believe in our hearts in His love and mercy, must pray for the hand of God to move upon our land, that it will not shut up the bowels of compassion on those in need. (I John 3:17) “Yea. Brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord; refresh my bowels (have inward affection + tender mercy) in the Lord.” (Philemon 20 KJV)

Dear Father, may Your hand of mercy hold this nation close to Your heart. Shelter all under Your wings. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN

Romans 8:6   Galatians 6:9   Philemon 7, 12, 20   I John 3:17

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell. 2019