Tag Archives: hope

The Great I Am

I’ve grown up hearing the different names of God in church. I’ve even been to churches where they’ve had banners up proclaiming those names in bright colors with beautiful artwork. Jehovah Jireh my provider. Jehovah Rapha my healer. Jehovah Nissi my banner of victory. The Old Testament people would write a descriptive name for God after He did something miraculous for them. It was a way to remember and share with others that God could do anything they needed. When the writers of the Old Testament recorded these names, these names endured for generations giving hope and encouragement along the way. These names are ways for you and I to use as we pray and believe.

There was one name though that God gave Himself that was always tough for me to understand growing up. In Exodus, as God was speaking to Moses through the burning bush, Moses began to disqualify himself from God’s calling. He started giving God excuses as well as to why he couldn’t lead Israel out of Egypt. He didn’t think they would believe him if he told them God sent him. He wanted to know what name he was supposed to tell them if they asked what His name was. God responded, “I Am that I Am”. I always wondered if Moses was as confused as I was until I began to learn what that meant. God was saying He is who we need Him to be and will be who we need Him to be as the other names suggest. In this case, He would be their deliverer.

Jesus used that same phrase many times. “I Am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) telling us why He came. He also said, “I Am the Bread of Life” (John 6:41) revealing He is our sustainer. In John 8:12 He said, “I Am the Light of the World” letting us know that we have light in our darkest times. He told the disciples, “I Am the Gate for the sheep” (John 10:7) to encourage us that nothing can get to us without passing through Him. He also said in John 10:14, “I Am the Good Shepherd” meaning He would lead us and guide us. When Lazarus died, He said, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25) to prove He has power over death. Finally, He said, “I Am the True Vine” (John 15:1) to tell us that if we remain attached to Him, He will be our source. God is who you need Him to be in this very moment. Call out to Him and ask Him to be who you need Him to be. He has not forsaken you, forgotten you or abandoned you. Call out to Him today. He is the Great I Am.

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Reviving Your Future

I shared with a friend recently about a time in my life when I had lost all hope. My dreams were over, my future was shot and anything that was important to me seemed to be leaving my life. It was a dangerous place to be. With no hope and dead dreams, my mind began to devise plans that were no good and would put me in prison the rest of my life. I remember thinking, “What does it matter if I go to prison? I have nothing to live for outside of it.” Fortunately God broke through in that time. He sent word to me from someone I didn’t know. He said, “What looks like an end is really a beginning. You are not alone. I’m with you. Where I am taking you, you will experience more joy than you’ve ever known.” In that moment, hope returned and my future was revived.

In Ezekiel 37, Israel had been captives in Babylon for a long time. They had given up hope of returning to their homeland. Their future seemed dead as they looked at their current situation. That’s when God took Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. God asked him if the bones could live again. I’m sure in his mind, he was thinking there was no way, but he responded that only God knows. God had him prophesy and speak life into these dry bones that represented Israel’s future. Suddenly the bones started rattling and coming together. Sinew and muscles wrapped around the bones and then flesh. An entire army of people stood before him that came to life when he spoke to the four winds to breathe into them. Then in verse 11 God said, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future” (GNT). He then revived their future by promising to take them out of captivity and back home.

Lamentations 3:21-26 says, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us.” If you’re feeling hopeless today, hope can and will return when you remember that God sees you and will move on your behalf. Your future is in His hands, not yours or anyone else’s. He take ends and makes beginnings. He make rivers in the desert. Begin speaking to your dry bones and ask God to bring your future back to life. Dreams you thought were dead can live again. A hopeless future can be full of life again. You may not think it now, but God knows it. Wait with patience and trust in Him, then the future He has for you will revive.

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God Of The Impossible

Have you been in an impossible situation where the only way through it was if God intervened? I have too. As I think about those times, I can recall those times when God miraculously showed up and made a way where there appeared to be no way. I can also think of the times where He didn’t show up and rescue the way I wanted Him too. In those times, my faith had to override my feelings. My trust in Him had to be greater than my pain or sorrow. Just because He didn’t intervene, it didn’t mean He was unable. I still choose to trust Him when I need the impossible to happen.

In 2 Kings 6-7, the city of Samaria was besieged by the Syrian army. The people in the city were running out of food, and some had turned to cannibalism. The King became angry at God and blamed Him for their situation. He went to kill Elisha, but Elisha said that on the next day there would be so much food that it would be cheap. The king’s servant said that was impossible and couldn’t happen even if God sent food from heaven. That night, the Syrian army heard the Egyptian army was coming and fled leaving all their food and supplies behind. There was more than enough food for the entire city as Elisha had predicted.

I don’t know what impossible situation you’re facing, but I do know that God is more than able to meet it. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Everything is possible! Even what you can’t imagine or see. God can make streams in the desert, He can part the Red Sea and He can meet your need. Instead of being angry at Him or declaring that not even He could make a way, put your situation and trust in Him. He is more than able to do the impossible if only we will believe. If for some reason, He doesn’t intervene the way you want, it doesn’t change who He is. Continue to put your faith in Him. He is the God of the impossible.

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Peace In The Chaos

Do you ever get stressed out? When I do, it’s usually when I’m in a time crunch to get things done or when things are happening beyond my control. I used to get stressed out over many things and would let my mind run wild with all the possibilities of a situation. Then one day a friend noticed I was worked up and asked me, “Do you think this caught God by surprise or do you think He knew it would happen? If He knew it was going to happen then you don’t need to be worked up about it. Accept His peace, listen for His voice and let Him do in you what He wants to do.” Ever since then, when things start happening beyond my control, I remember those words and let His peace come in.

I’m reminded of when the disciples were in the boat and the storm blew in. There was chaos all around them, the boat was taking on water and they were considering abandoning ship. Jesus was asleep in the back while they were stressing out. When they finally went to Him, He spoke peace into the storm and it calmed down. Later, as Jesus was about to die on the cross, He was preparing them for the chaos and storm they were about to endure. In John 14:27 He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (AMP).

Jesus knew we were going to have chaos in our lives and have challenging situations that would cause us to stress out. He commanded us to not let our minds run wild or to be afraid of the outcome. Instead, we are to remember that the one who spoke peace into the storm is not unaware of what you’re going through. Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms us. Knowing He’s in control and is aware of what’s going on should give you peace. He’s continually working in our lives and that means there will be uncomfortable moments and challenges. Let His peace calm you in those times and give you strength for the challenge.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Don’t Fall Alone

One night I got a call from a friend’s wife. When I answered, I heard, “See if you can talk some sense into him!” I could hear him crying before he grabbed the phone. He was spiraling downhill and couldn’t stop. For days he had not been able to pull out of this depression and it was reaching the point of no return. I grabbed my keys as I kept him talking while I drove to his house. After about an hour of talking, he pulled up out of it. After a few days, he called back to thanks me, but was upset that I was called. I explained that friends aren’t just there in the good times. They’re there to help us when we’re low and can’t break free too.

The Bible is full of friendships, and when we think of them, Jonathan and David too the list. However, one of the friendships that has always stood out tome is Job’s three friends. I know they didn’t give him good advice, but I love that when they heard what he was going through, they showed up. I also love what Job 2:13 says. “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (NLT). Sometimes you just need someone to be present with you instead of words. People like that, who show up in the most desperate times, save lives without having to say a word. Their presence let’s you know you’re not alone. No words needed.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Don’t let pride stand in your way when you need the presence of a friend. Don’t let your pain or embarrassment keep you from reaching out. Every one of us have low moments in life when we need the help of someone to pull us up. Make sure you take time to identify those people in your life who can help you in the low times. Let them know now that they are the person you will call. They don’t have to have a degree in counseling. They don’t have to have all the answers or the right words. They just need to be present so you don’t fall alone.

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Restoring Your Courage

One of the words God uses over and over in the Bible is courage. He wants us to be courageous when doing what He asks. One of my favorite passages is in Joshua 1. Verse 7 says, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do” (NLT). Success starts with being strong and courageous, but what does it mean to have courage?

The simple definition is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s the ability to keep going when things aren’t going the way you thought they should. It’s the most difficult thing to have when you need it the most. If you’ve lived life at all, you’ve been discouraged. You’ve lost battles you thought you should have won. You’ve suffered defeat after defeat and wondered where the strength comes from to keep going. How do you find courage in those times?

In those moments, I simply prayed that God would just help me to take the first step, which was survival. We often think of courage as this great thing, but I believe it’s found in facing a new day, taking one more step or breathing one more time. It says, “I’m not going down. I’m not giving up!” Where do we get that courage from in those moments? As I’ve said, I found it in prayer and through God’s help.

Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, O Lord, are always my shield from danger; you give me victory and restore my courage” (GNT). God will restore your lost courage and give you the victory when you ask. Quit worrying about trying to win the war, and focus on getting courage from God to win today’s battle. Keep God’s Word in your heart, and be careful to obey it. Then, as Joshua 1:7 says, you will have success and victory.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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The Door Of Hope

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Time For Hope

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Reawakening Hope

About twenty years ago I did some things and went through some that changed my life. I made poor decisions and suffered consequences for them. At one point I was beating myself up over it. I began to get worked up and defeated over one thing in particular. Because of the things I had gone through, the denomination I was a part of at the time had a rule that people in my circumstance could never be in any ministry role. It was devastating. My whole life I had dreamed of one day being in ministry, and now that dream was dead. A friend came over and asked why I was upset. When I told him, he responded, “What makes you think that you, or this denomination, can rescind God’s calling? You don’t have that kind of power!” It was the slap in the face I needed, and I began to hope and believe again that one day that would happen.

In Romans 4, Paul is writing about Abraham, God’s promise to him and how it relates to our faith. Verse 14 says, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless” (NLT). He explains none of us are capable of keeping God’s Law without messing up and God’s promises are received through faith. Then verse 17-18 says, ”This (Abraham receiving the promise) happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping.” That’s powerful. Even when there was no reason to hope, he kept hoping. That’s truly was faith is.

If you feel like a dream or calling is dead, it’s time to hope and believe again. Your past actions, or your current circumstances, do not have the power to change God’s promises or His calling. We serve a God who brings dead dreams, dead hopes, dead callings, dead you name it back to life. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. We have to push past the lies and what our eyes tell us in order to believe what God promised. We must awaken faith and hope in our heart again and trust that God, who brings dead things to life and creates new things out of nothing, will respond and move on our behalf. It’s not easy, but that’s what faith is. Abraham did it and was rewarded for his faith. I believe God will reward us too when we stand with that kind of faith and begin moving in the direction He called us to.

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Purposing To Trust

In February of 1998, my mom went into the hospital with some crazy symptoms. She thought it was a reaction to the chemo, but it wasn’t. The cancer had spread. On March 1st, she slipped into a coma of sorts. After a week or two of that, they took us into a side room to let us know they were sending her home and hospice would be assisting us for her final days. Our heads were spinning. We had fasted and prayed for healing, and it looked like our prayers were going unanswered. After the doctor left the room, we stayed behind still in shock. My dad spoke up and said, “We will keep believing and praying for a miracle, but be prepared in case He doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. I want each of you to purpose in your heart right now that you won’t be bitter at God if He chooses not to heal her.” She passed away on April 17th that year. Even though it hurt, because we had purposed in our hearts beforehand, we remained faithful to God.

The Early Church believers suffered more than most throughout the centuries of the Church. Each of the 12 disciples were martyred for their faith. Rome fed Christians to the lions for public sport. Nero used the heads of Christians as torches throughout the city. Yet somehow, these believers stayed faithful to God and encouraged each other with words of faith. The New Testament is full of Paul’s letters to these believers facing these issues. Many of them were written from jail. I’m sure that fear was doing its best to silence believers and to question their faith. However, because of their determination and they purposed in their hearts to follow God no matter what, our spiritual ancestors endured, stayed faithful and passed down a heritage of rock solid faith to you and I.

Psalms 116:10-11 says, “Even when it seems I’m surrounded by many liars and my own fears, and though I’m hurting in my suffering and trauma, I still stay faithful to God and speak words of faith” (TPT). This is the determination that each of us must make in our hearts. Our faith can not be dependent on our circumstances. Our trust in God’s goodness cannot be eroded by prayers that aren’t answered the way we think they should. Our suffering and trauma is not a reflection of His love. It’s a result of sin in the world. We must determine in our hearts and minds that no matter what happens in this life, we will stay faithful to Him. We will still speak in faith. We will still trust in Him. Even when things are happening here that we don’t like or understand, God has a plan and is able to work it out for our good. Don’t stop trusting in Him during the hard times. This earth and these sufferings are only temporary.

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