When Hope is Ignited…

     Today, January 21st, is a national holiday dedicated to honoring the birthday of the great 20th Century Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This post is in part a reprint from MLK Day 2018. The topic of hope was inspired by a Dr. King quote:

Everything that is done in the world is done by HOPE.

The Hope Wilderness Chapel in Dogwood Canyon was one of my favorite stops during our vacation to the Missouri Ozarks in 2017.

     In 2018 on Martin Luther King Day, we were in the middle of a remodeling project. Every kitchen and bathroom drawer and cabinet in our house had been emptied. Contents were scattered everywhere! Remodeling is a good time to monitor your patience!

     While remodeling, I realized hope helped me keep perspective despite the inconvenience. By the way, I loved the outcome of our home project.

     Hope can keep us going even during the most difficult situations. Hope has a way of igniting vision, assuring us in some deep, interior place that the difficulty or pain of today will be different in our future tomorrow.

     Pastor Ray Johnston says,[1]

  • “Hope liberates.
  • Hope unleashes compassion.
  • Hope encourages people.
  • Hope motivates.
  • Hope helps people attempt new things.
  • Hope motivates people to find new strength.
  • Hope propels people forward, even when it seems impossible.”

     This Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, my prayer for each person reading this post is hope will be ignited despite any challenge you are facing …

Sue Reeve

  1. The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston, W. Publishing, 2014

Affirming Soul-Seeping Truths…

Sue’s Note: The photos in today’s blog post were taken by my husband, Ron, during his recent wintery excursion to the Palouse in north-central Idaho. The melancholy simplicity of black and white photography speaks to my soul. I hope you’ll enjoy.

     In a recent post, I told you I’m developing a list of A.M. Affirmations to use during my morning devotional time. I’m taking this action to

affirm truths I desire will seep deeply into my soul.

A reader asked me to share these affirmations, and today I will pass some on to you.

     The power to choose is one of the greatest gifts given to humanity. For many years, in both my personal and professional journeys, I’ve observed there is something quite remarkable about choosing to focus on what is right rather than wrong, what is good rather than bad, what is lovely rather than ugly.

     I will never minimize pain and suffering.

          Life can be brutal.

               People can be ruthless.

                    Seasons are often filled with stress and sadness.

                         Not one of us is exempt from loneliness and loss.

     The affirmations I give you today are all based on scripture. Other affirmations in my arsenal come from thoughts I’ve heard that have captured my imagination or words from written prayers or songs.

     Sometimes when I write or speak, I wonder if I’m overusing scripture. I abhor the thought of being perceived as sanctimonious or spiritually simplistic. Yet, when I examine this matter honestly, I return to one realization. It has been through searching the pages of my Bible in life’s dark, depressing moments that has helped me emerge

     battered, but not broken,

          hurt, but not helpless or hopeless,

               defeated, but not destroyed.

     Please review these thoughts—all taken from the referenced scriptures. If you find any helpful or strengthening, I will be grateful to our never-changing God whom I’ve discovered is always available to help us maneuver through our always-changing worlds.

Sue’s A.M. Affirmations

TODAY:

  • I am strong and courageous because the Lord my God is with me and will never abandon me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • I am filled with the joy of the Lord, which gives me strength. (Nehemiah 8:16)
  • With eyes of faith, I will see how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is for me and for those I love. (Ephesians 3:18)
  • I have Christ’s strength to accomplish all God calls me to do. (Philippians 4:13)
  • I will seek God, and I will find Him because I’m seeking Him with all my heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
  • I will remember my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I will use my body to glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20)
  • I will monitor the words I speak remembering, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
  • I will remember how Jesus healed those who needed healing and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Luke 9:11& Hebrews 13:5)
  • When my faith is weak and I feel life is too difficult, I will remember Peter’s answer to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
  • I will choose joy even when my circumstances don’t feel joyful. (Philippians 4:4)
  • I will try to corral my negative thoughts and ‘stinking thinking,’ and instead focus on whatever is TRUE, HONORABLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT and PRAISEWORTHY. (Philippians 4:8-9)
  • I WILL NOT give in to a spirit of fear because fear never comes from God. Instead, I will tell fear to leave me alone and declare the truth that the spirit God gives me is one of power, love and clear thinking. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • When I’m confused and don’t know which decision is best, I will pray and then trust the words of James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
  • I will trust that as I focus on the truth of Scripture, I’m being transformed by the renewing of my mind, which will enable me to realize God’s will. (Romans 12:2)
  • With God’s help, I will throw off everything that hinders my trust and get rid of harmful behaviors that trip me up. I will persevere—placing one foot of faith in front of the other—fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author of my life story and the one who will edit out that which is not worthwhile in order that my faith will be perfected. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
  • I will keep on believing that God, in the way only God can do, will work together everything in my life—good, bad, happy, sad, success and failure—for good. God is weaving a tapestry of my life. The dark threads add depth and meaning and will enable me to help others and to be conformed more and more into Christ’s character. (Romans 8:28 & 29)
  • As I delight in God’s words, allowing my will to be conformed to God’s ways, I am growing deep roots of faith that will produce good, life-giving fruit. (Psalms 1:1-3)

Blessings to you…

 

Sue Reeve

 

 

Give Me a Great Vision, Lord…

     As discussed in the last few posts, at the beginning of each new year, I choose a single word or short phrase as my theme for that year. The phrase I’ve chosen for 2019 is “Learn to Love Better.” Learning to love in a more Christ-like way, I believe, is a grand vision.

A very great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.

Crazy Horse

     I thought a lot about love during the recent Christmas season. An angel told a band of lowly shepherds they would find their Savior as a babe, lying in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. Shepherds could grasp this image, but here’s the truth. Emmanuel—God with Us—came to earth from Heaven wrapped as the gift of God’s love. The willingness of Jesus to become humanity showed men and women, boys and girls, rich and poor, healthy and infirm exactly what Godly love looks like.

     Our God-ordained mission begins with embracing the Triune God—Father, Son and Spirit—as well as the triune love Jesus taught.

     “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself.’”[1]

     Love God, love others and love self. It’s easy to lose the essence of triune love when bombarded with cultural chaos, political pettiness, doctrinal dogma, personal insecurities and the bustle and busyness everyday life demands.

     I’m all too familiar with barriers that hinder my ability to love God—as The Message describes—with all my passion, prayer and intelligence.[2] Oftentimes, I don’t feel like loving those I find annoying or those outside my comfortable paradigm. And, if I’m truthful, many times I find it hard to love my exasperating, inadequate self.

     Again, today, I thought some of Ron’s recent eagle photos would provide a bit of inspiration as we ask God to increase our vision in order to accomplish whatever theme we’ve chosen to guide and challenge us through this upcoming year.

You have seen what I did…and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself..

Exodus 19:4 (NRSV)

When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter. The eagle alone avoids the storm by flying above it. So, in the storms of life may your heart be like an eagle’s and soar above.

Anonymous

May you soar on eagle wings, high above the madness of the world.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

     Despite whatever obstacle we may encounter in 2019, I’m praying each of us will be able to:

  • Remember how God has been faithful in the past.
  • Fly above life’s storms.
  • Soar on eagle wings, high about maddening situations in a broken world.

Blessings to you, my friends…

Sue Reeve

All eagle quotes, except those from Bible, found at http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/eagle-quotes

  1. Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV

  2. Matthew 22:37 MSG