A Cup of Hope: Resting in the Promise of God’s Faithfulness

A Cup of Hope Emilie BarnesA Cup of Hope by Emilie Barnes is just one of those books you stumble upon, and you suddenly know, “This one is going to change everything!”

I blog about hope.

I can’t breathe in this busted broken world a single moment without it—but sometimes—the candle of hope in me burns low. And, when it does I beg the LORD for a fresh infusion; a fresh outpouring from His Spirit to mine.

Thanks Emilie, for being His conduit.

I’ll let Emilie speak for herself for the rest of this post. Her words shine still in this dark world. They come to us straight from the shores of heaven, to all of us here today, to light our way.

~  FAITH FOR THE CLIMB  ~

You just can’t see as much when you’re climbing the mountain as you can from the top.

I guess that’s obvious if you’re hiking in the Rockies or the Smokies or the Himalayas. But it’s not always so evident when you’re just trying to get through life.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which of the two tempting directions is the best to take. Is it better to take the meandering trail or the steep climb over the rocks? Should you push on harder to reach the top? Should you rest and take your time and risk bad weather later on?

A Cup of HopeAnd sometimes you get so confused and discouraged and downright weary, you’re tempted to just give up hope altogether.

But it helps to keep in mind exactly what’s going on.

You’re climbing a mountain, remember, and one day you’ll reach the top. One day you’ll be able to stand and look out over all the valleys—even look back at the winding path that brought you to the top—and it will all become clear.

I try to think of that on the days when I’m fatigued or in pain or just discouraged, when I’m confused and worried about what will happen next.

I’m still on the mountain, so I’ve got to remember that my perspective is faulty. I just don’t have the whole picture the way God does, the way I will have it someday.

Oh, I have some pretty good hints. I have instructions from the One who created the mountain. I have stories from climbers who have gone on the path before me and companions who are climbing with me. (How I depend on their help and encouragement!) And of course I have those moments along the way when wonderful vistas suddenly unfold before me, when I round a corner to see the checkered valleys spread out below and the summit shining whitely up above.

A Cup of HopeI have all that to enable me as I climb up this mountain called Life. You do, too. I really believe that the God who created us and redeemed us has equipped us with what we need to make it to the top.

Still, we have to face the fact that some of the time, maybe most of the time, we won’t be able to see exactly where we’re going.

But that’s where faith comes in. Faith always travels hand in hand with hope—it’s what enables us to keep our hopes up when the way becomes rockier and more obscure. Faith is what we need to keep moving on, moving up, trusting our Guide, trusting it will all be worth it.

Trusting that if we continue on, we’ll make it to the top and everything will all be clear.

And yes, I know that’s hard to remember when you’re stuck on the mountainside. But it might help to follow this brief checklist for keeping your hopes while you’re climbing hard or when you think you might be lost:

  • Trust the climbing map—God’s word—and pay attention to your Guide. You’re not expected to make this climb without help.
  • Pace yourself—you don’t have to make it all in one day. Without adequate rest you’ll never make it to the summit.
  • Remember where you are and where you’re going—but try to accept that your perspective is limited. (That’s why you have the map and the Guide!)
  • Refresh yourself by remembering the goal—and those moments when it was all clear to you.
  • Look back to where you’ve been and be grateful for your progress.
  • Help and enjoy your fellow climbers.
  • Take care of your equipment—your body, mind, and spirit. They’ve been issued to you by God , and they’ll help carry you to where you need to be.

A Cup of Hope Emilie BarnesA Cup of Hope is out of print but used copies are still available on Amazon at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Cup-Hope-Resting-Promise-Faithfulness/dp/0736907726

A Cup of Hope Emilie Barnes

Remembering Jade Cove by Pastor Jack Hayford

Jade CoveAlong HWY 1 in California is a place called Jade Cove, near Big Sur. It was at this place that by the grace of God, I “turned the corner.” I don’t mean a curve on that twisting, perilous highway, but the turn-around at Jade Cove rescued me from something as bad as a car accident.

For several weeks, I had been experiencing a horrible accumulation of pressure—mentally and emotionally. Work had piled up, schedule demands were burning me out, and through a combination of circumstances, I was riding the ragged edge of a potential nervous breakdown.

Some nights I would dream of being chased and then crushed by a massive object relentlessly pursuing and slowly gaining on me as I ran to escape it. Other nights I feared closing me eyes to go to sleep, feeling if I did I would not awaken again; that my heart would stop or my breath cease. I was rational enough to know this wasn’t true, but weak enough in my emotionally drained condition not to be able to break the tormenting thoughts.

Jade Cove

Then I discovered the words of the songwriter. Listen to this, Loved One: “I will lie down to sleep and find peace-filled rest, for You, Lord, preserve me in safety” (Psalm 4:8). And another lyric: “I laid down and slept, and awoke in the morning, for the Lord Himself did sustain me.” (Psalm 3:5)

I can hardly describe the power of those words of God’s eternal truth from His heart to mine, written in the Bible to become a strength to my weary soul. These words meant even more to me, because I knew they were written by a man of accomplishment—David, a successful king and conquering hero; yet a man who needed release from pressures that threatened his sleep.

God’s words buoyed my soul for several weeks, until that day, while I slowly drove northward, hoping a break in schedule would take the pressure off my brain and the fear from my heart. I stopped at Jade Cove and walked down near the water’s edge to look at the beautiful seascape.

It was there something happened—better yet, Someone. Because as surely as I knew His Word had sustained me when fear plagued my nights, I knew God’s presence had drawn near to deliver my mind. Like fog burning off the coastline, the Son of God lifted the burden I had carried for months.

I share that with you in hopes that you will also receive His Word. “I will lie down and sleep and find peace-filled rest, for you, Lord, preserve me in safety.” Call upon His Holy Spirit to deliver you. I know He will, because He did that for me at a place called Jade Cove, and He did through the power of a man named Jesus.

And He’s there for you right now. You don’t even need to go to Jade Cove. “Those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” (Acts 2:21)


© Jack Hayford Ministries

A Closer Walk: Overcoming Dark Storms of Doubt

I was stunned at the size of the doubt-storms that were rolling across the landscape of my life. Suddenly I was being engulfed by dark clouds of questioning God, myself, what I believed about everything.

It is easy to believe in a God of Love when everything in your life is rosy, but when things fall apart? Then you begin to wonder and doubt creeps in.

Why has this happened?

Is it something I’ve done… something I didn’t do?

Or, am I just a victim of chance after all?

In the first days after I returned home from the hospital, I have to tell you, it was God’s silence that made these storms almost unendurable.

How could God be silent when I was in so much pain?

Dark, dark, thoughts paraded through my head daily.

I didn’t want the life I had just been handed. If this was what my life was now to be? I didn’t think I could bear it.

depression The darker my thoughts became, the deeper my depression grew.

It felt as if I was on a long slide into nothingness.

Nothing in my life looked good to me anymore. I felt broken, yes—but worse, I felt broken beyond repair.

This is what depression will do.

It takes you to a place where everything is doused in dark colors and shadows. All brokenness looks irredeemable. You feel completely disconnected from anyone with hope.

Because your hope, has been buried under a landslide of pain, and unanswered questions!

I found myself in a place where songs, sermons, and Christian cliches, could not even begin to reach me.

A severely depressed person sees no hope, because they see no future. Clouds of doubt and fear swallow you whole.

Only one thing was able to pierce my darkness: His Voice.

He whispered, “Life is not over…” and a small glimmer of Light pierced the darkness and found its way into my broken heart.

It was a start.

The dark and The Light began doing battle each day.

His Voice brought hope—but still the dark persisted.

The dark had all my broken evidence on his side.

He drew me outA tug-of-war was going on in my heart and mind; faith pulling one way; darkness and doubt pulling the other.

Strangely enough, it was an ancient song that turned the tide; a psalm of David.

His words from centuries past spoke to me with understanding and commiseration.

My present doubts and darkness were not unfamiliar to him…

“I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path…” Psalm 40: 1-2David was describing exactly where I was.

And, how I felt.

journal

RUNNING IN CIRCLES

Don’t let the enemy sidetrack you honey.

See how he taunts you; how he works to provoke you?

You’ve really got him worried Sweetheart.

The Light of God's VoiceJust settle down in Me.

(Abide, remember?)

Don’t let him stir up your inner man.

Don’t let him create chaos in your outer circumstances.

You have this power over him, not the other way around! If he can provoke you; get you running in circles emotionally; he can hinder My work in you and through you.

But you are too smart for him. You know what to do and how to do it! You have come, too far, to let him sidetrack you now.

Don’t you hear it? The music? Don’t you hear what is flowing from your heart and soul? A new song—a new symphony from you to My world!

My feet are on The RockYou thought it was just for My people?

Oh, no. I have much bigger things in mind for you.

Why do you think the enemy torments you so, day and night?

I see. I hear.

But, child… oh, My sweet adorable one… the music!

The music!

Where once there were squeaky notes of discord, ah now… the rhythm and harmony… how I love it! (How I love you!) You are beginning to understand how much I love you. And together—together we are writing new songs for the whole world to sing!

Keep your peace honey. Don’t let him steal it, ever!

It is the prelude to music!

a closer walk“He has given me a new song to sing… many will hear of the glorious thing he did… and put their trust in him.”

Psalm 40:3

 

Never Losing the Light: Restless In the Raging Storm

You calm my raging seasYou think this storm has been raging way too long, yes?

There have been days when you believed, ” …this will be the end of me.” You looked at your depleted strength, your absent support, your meager resources, and you thought, “I can’t go on like this.”

And still the storms kept coming; kept beating down on you. And, oh how you wanted to just quit and walk away. But, you couldn’t. The storm wouldn’t let you. And, in your soul, where only we two can go, you would turn to the storm, and shake your fist, and curse…

(Yes, I know.)

Weariness does strange things.

Can I tell you something?

Calm my stormI do not condemn you.

(You thought surely I would, yes?)

No.

No, child. I love you, much too much, to pay attention to the tantrums weariness brings.

You yourself know, that a tired child, who is acting up, needs rest.

Are you a better parent than I?

You need rest child.

REST.

Lay down some of that frenetic activity of yours. Choose the things that bring restoration. These storms will not go on forever.

Meanwhile, you listen to your Abba—rest!

You cannot find release from your fears in all this restless activity.

I have your release.

Come…

Bring all to Me.


When the storm is raging“Soon, soon you slaves shall be released; dungeon, starvation and death are not your fate.”

Isaiah 51:14

Russia Rising: Headlines and History Collide With Prophecy

Mark Hitchcock’s new book, RUSSIA RISING: Tracking The Bear In Bible Prophecy is a book you should read. In it’s pages you will get an up close and eerie look at what the headlines are pointing us to—the new Russian Czar.

RUSSIA RISING, Mark HitchcockHitchcock goes on to say, “Forbes has named Vladimir Putin the world’s most powerful person four years in a row… In 2014 Vladimir Putin was chosen as Russia’s “Man of the Year…” and “Putin is the leading candidate for Time magazines ‘Person of the Year’ in 2017.”

Headline in the Atlantic: It’s Putin’s World.

Garry Kasparov in his book, Winter Is Coming says, “Putin’s Russia is clearly the biggest and most dangerous threat facing the world today.”

MAN WITH A PLAN.

Vladimir Putin is many things—KGB officer, master politician, multibillionaire, ruthless autocrat—but above all, Vladimir Putin is a man with a plan. His plan is to unmake the world order that has stood since the end of the Cold War, especially in Europe, and replace it with one where Russia has the power, influence, and military strength to get its way on any issue. So says, Douglas Schoen author of Putin’s Master Plan.

An exhaustive study of Ezekiel 38-39.

Hitchcock presents us with an elaborate picture that blends Russian history, with Bible prophecies and today’s headlines. He takes us step-by-step, verse-by-verse, making his case. If you are a student of Bible prophecy and looking for “the next big thing” to manifest, then you absolutely need to read RUSSIA RISING, because this book takes us right up to the threshold of what may be the looming Gog-Magog war in Ezekiel.

RUSSIA RISING is available now on Amazon.

And at all other fine book retailers. Be sure to check out Mark Hitchcock’s author page on Goodreads.

My continued thanks to Tyndale House Publishers who sent me this book in exchange for my review.

A Closer Walk: Getting To Know Someone

I knew “the basics” about Someone called The Holy Spirit: Comforter, Teacher, Guide. The Third Person of the Trinity. I knew, too, that He would “whisper” to me on occasion. The Still Small Voice mentioned in the Bible, 1 Kings 19.

faint whispers of The Holy Spirit

I would hear these faint whispers from time to time, usually while I was reading my Bible, but, a full-on conversation? No. My life was normally crammed with lots of activity and noise. To sit completely still in total silence? This was something new and foreign to me.

And I confess, I didn’t like it much.

I was addicted to activity. Nevertheless, here I was, feet nailed to the floor. My illness, and the resulting accident had left me injured and so weak, I couldn’t walk across a room without steadying myself against a wall. My legs were again beginning to feel like they belonged to my body, and my hands were becoming steadier, but my headaches were constant and excruciating. I spoke as little as possible, because the vibration of my own vocal cords, made my head feel as if it would explode!

For these reasons my daily routine changed to one of complete stillness and quiet, and it was from this enforced quietness, a couple of realities soon became apparent.

He is A PersonFirst, I realized in a startling and fresh way, that The Holy Spirit is indeed, A Person. He is not some weird abstraction. He is a someone we can speak our hearts to. Someone who listens to our innermost thoughts. He will respond to us, if we will allow Him, and enter into the still quiet that is necessary for us to hear Him speak.

Secondly, because of the headaches, I had difficulty focusing my eyes on a page. Even journaling was difficult. Consequently, these “conversations” at times will sound a bit one sided, but that’s because I would “think” my responses, more than write them. (I apologize for this resulting economy of words.) Since The Holy Spirit is our “inside God” He would speak to my slightest disbelief, disagreement, or doubts, and I would journal what He said, not what I thought. (Though I hope my thoughts seem obvious.) This way of “conversing” felt very strange at first, but as these encounters became daily, I would simply listen, and then journal what I heard.

By My Spirit

One more thing—and this is BIG.

Let me say for the record, if you “hear” a voice, but you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior? If you have not professed your own desperate need of a Savior, confessed your helplessness and hopelessness without Him, and asked Him to come into your heart, and change your life? Whatever “voice” you may be hearing, it is NOT, The Holy Spirit.

Today, The Holy Spirit is the promised gift, given only to those who have come to FAITH in Jesus Christ, and have given over ownership and control of their lives to Him. If you have not done this? You need to. Now. Today. The Bible tells us, tomorrow is promised to no one.

Today is the day of salvation

This is so simple.

Jesus Christ will forgive and cleanse all sin to any who sincerely ask Him. The Holy Spirit will come with new power and strength, as He makes your heart His home. Your faith is now in Him for everything, and as I was learning anew, faith is the key to all powerful believing.

journal

THE FUEL

“What is faith?” Hebrews 11:1

It’s a good question isn’t it?

My children have examined and re-examined this question, but what do you say My dear friend?

(It is Power child.)

Corrie Ten Boom

That is why the enemy of men’s souls works night and day to destroy their faith ~ your faith.

(He knows.)

Now you know, too.

Faith is the steam that drives your engine. It is the stuff; the fuel that fires your life! You can’t go anywhere, do anything without it.

And, without it?

I said, “…without it, it is impossible to please Me!”

Now, next question.

Where does it come from?

(Ah, another good question—where indeed?)

So Will IIf you said, “From Me…” you are half right, but only half. Actually it is born. It is created in the TIME we spend together. The more time together ~ the more faith. The less?

Well, you see My point. If you want to move mountains you must generate Holy Steam.

Power!

(And, for Power you must spend time with Me.)

The days you do these little “hit-and-runs”?

Well, you see the results. No Steam. No Power. Your mountains tend to fall on you, rather than getting out of your way.

(Just an observation.)

Maybe the next time you’re tempted to tell Me, “Later.” I should ask you…

“What is faith?”

(Just a thought.)

power from on high

What do you think?

(Me, too.)

a closer walk

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in POWER; not one faileth.   Isaiah 40:25, 26

Never Losing the Light: Overcoming Fear Storms

Listen child, we must deal with this fear.

I know you do a good job of hiding it from others—even yourself—sometimes.

But, not from Me.

His power for my weaknessI see your heart, remember?

I do not see as others see.

You know this.

I look not on outward appearances. I see the inner man with all the turmoil and tumult these silent storms bring. I see the damage they do.

Fear-storms—silent storms raging in your soul.

The storms you think no one sees. (Ah, Sweetheart, I know.) You are so angry with Me, yes? The bullies of your life have always produced these terrible inner holocausts.

Yes, I know.

You think, “… if I loved you… really loved you, I would have prevented the bullies in your life.” Yes?

stormsYes!

But, haven’t I told you? (You know I have.) Storms make muscle.

Haven’t I told you? Your calling is to overcome, not outrun.

I want to help you defeat these fear storms once-and-forever.

You are on overcomer.

These storms are for your deliverance not your destruction!

Every time you overcome, “…through the power of HIS might…” (Isaiah 40:26), you weaken the hold the oppressor has held over you all of your life.

Is this not a good thing?


Overcoming Fear“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”

Isaiah 40:29

 

Giants Fall

Francesca Battistelli

Everyone’s telling you
To let go of what you’re holding to
It’s too late, too far
You’re too small, it’s too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you’re not seeing
But oh, maybe they don’t
Know what you know
That you’re not alone
Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall
We could really live like this
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face
Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall
Ask and believe
You’re gonna see
The hand of God in every little thing
Miracles can happen
Anything is possible
Watch the giants fall

 

The Square Peg Alliance


square peg allianceThe Square Peg Alliance is a group of singer/songwriters who really like each other. We have all been doing music on our own but have decided to join forces like the wonder twins – except there are 13 of us instead of 2. There is no guy in a suit putting all of us together. We really just believe in each other’s art and want to support it.

We don’t write music so we can be the next big thing (or if we do, it hasn’t worked for us). We believe that there are folks out there who like music even if it isn’t played every three minutes on the radio, even if it isn’t on a big label, even if it isn’t accompanied by a music video, even if the shows aren’t flashy or even if the records don’t go platinum (or gold, or silver, or aluminum foil, etc.).

That is why we are the Square Peg Alliance. Thirteen artists who might not fit perfectly into the traditional mold of the music business, but have found a home with each other.”[FROM THE SQUARE PEG ALLIANCE’S MYSPACE PAGE.

The Square Peg Alliance is, at the moment:

Katy Bowser

Jeremy Casella

Billy Cerveny

Randall Goodgame

Andy Gullahorn

Matthew Perryman Jones

Chris Mason

Sandra McCracken

Andrew Osenga

Eric Peters

Andrew Peterson

Jill Phillips

Derek Webb

More here from Matthew Smith on a recent Square Peg Alliance show in Nashville.

© Shaun Groves

tolkien quote


 

© 2017 Martha (Molly) Gibbons blog text. All rights reserved.