Hope

A very good friend of mine recently gave me a coffee mug with Hebrews 11:1 on the side. I love coffee mugs! I have several and almost every one has a story attached to it.

Hope grows from Faith

The word HOPE stands out for me. It is a favorite word of mine. A word that encourages me to hold on.

What is the definition of the word, hope?  I found this definition in an article written in 1952 called, “The Christian Hope.” “Hope is commonly used to mean a wish : its strength is the strength of the person’s desire.” 1

What do I hope for? What do you hope for? Perhaps…Calm in this chaos, healing of a marriage, healing from a disease, a reconciled relationship, for your prodigal to come home, for things to be better, to see the light at the end of the tunnel (And have it not be a freight train!)

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”                    Hebrews 11:1

Let us look a little closer at this verse. Hope is part of the picture, but faith is a bigger piece. How can you and I be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see? Faith in God and believing and accepting salvation through Jesus is our Hope. We cannot see faith. How can we be certain of what we cannot see with our human eyes?

We can read God’s Word and believe what He says. As we study His Word, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to the truth. Truth that one day, things will be resolved. Not always on earth, but one day in Heaven.

Another thought I had on this verse was that you and I can have hope that God is with us through each tear and trial, each heartache and disappointment. Our faith in who He is gives us hope, gives us encouragement to go on. To be able to face another day, even though things aren’t all nice and tidy in our lives…we can go on. We can have the courage to not give up.

When I am nearing my limit to what I can bear, my faith reminds me that I have hope.

Let us look at another definition of hope.”In the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” 2                                              

I realized that I cannot have hope without faith. I am a person of hope, but really, I am a person of faith. The hope comes from knowing and having faith in Jesus as my Savior.

For me, and maybe you too, life continues to be messy, unpredictable and hard… however, it is also joyful, rewarding and oh so worth it! All because of our confident expectation of what God has promised and the proof is in His character of faithfulness.

He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.   He gives us faith and faith gives us hope. If your hope hinges on faith in God, you hope is not in vain.

Find me on YouTube.com Tami Bemis Cole

1 & 2 Reference: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ Christian Hope Chapter 1 October 1952

Words

Words, once spoken (or written) can not be taken back. We must be very careful what we say. Are they harming or hurting? Building up or tearing down?

Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) says,

GRACIOUS WORDS ARE A HONEYCOMB, SWEET TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE BONES”

What a beautiful verse! My words and your words should be sweet like honey to the soul of those we are talking to, pouring into them a healthy dose of inspiration, mercy and compassion. It is like a healing emotional balm right into the very bones of a person. Soothing, uplifting, building up, nourishing. That is what I want to be remembered for.

A difference of opinion with someone does NOT give us the right to attack their character. It is even more critical, I think to those who don’t see as we see. We do not know what is going on in their lives or what is in their heart. God says He is the Only One who knows the heart. Who are we to judge?.

“… For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

We all live in this world together. Let’s us choose kindness. Let us not attack a person who sees things differently. Let us agree to disagree.

The real enemy, the prince of darkness, Satan delights in strife and division. Petty arguments steal our time from more pressing matters, like showing the light of Jesus to a dark and hurting world.

This is my prayer for myself, from Psalm 19:14 NASB,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

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Your Love Letter

Have you ever gotten a love letter? When someone took the time to tell you how much you mean to them. Do you remember how excited you were you to read the words from someone who loves you!

I was out walking with a friend today and along the path, I saw this heart shaped rock. I call this a God wink, when He draws my attention to things in nature that make me aware of how much He loves me! He loves you too!

Maybe you know this, or it may come as a surprise…But you and I…we have a love letter that was written to each of us. It is called the Bible, or God’s Word.

Right from the very beginning as recorded in Genesis 1, God talks about all He created, including us. In Genesis 1, after each day of creation, God looks at His work and He says it is good. Look closer on day 6, (Genesis 1:31). After God has created you and I in His own image—He says,“it is very good.” When He created us, He tells us that in His job of creating us—we are very good. Not “kind of okay” or “maybe I should have done this or that”, not “oops.”  NO, He says His creation is very good!

His love letter is full of instruction and guidance. This love letter is like no other. It is a written to a daughter or son by your Father. Your Heavenly Father. A perfect Father, with perfect love for us. No human knows the depth of us, only God knows all.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You. When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:13-18 (NKJV)

Wow, the Creator of the heavens and earth thinks about you and me. His thoughts about us are so many they cannot be counted. We are wonderfully made. We are not an accident or a mistake. We are alive at the precise moment and place that our Creator has willed. You are on earth at exactly the right time, created with the exact features, personality and skill set that He designed. We are His workmanship.

In Ephesians 2:10 of the New Living Translation (NLT), we are called “God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.”

No accidents, everything we are and even what good works we do is prepared by God beforehand.

“But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 (NKJV)

Again, I say, WOW! I am in awe of how close He is connected to us.

There are many more things that God longs to tell you if you open your love letter.

I have a favorite anchor verse that I would like to share with you, John 3:16. See how much you are valued.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)

In His love letter to you, God tells you what it cost, what He gave to show how important you are, how loved you are, how valued you are.

He gave His Son Jesus to die for us. Sounds like the end of the story…Nope!

On Easter morning…Jesus rises from the dead! Overcoming death, darkness and the grave to set us free!!

During times in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed, overlooked, under appreciated or unloved, or if someone is saying you have no value…open God’s love letter. If you want to have a relationship with the Creator of all, your Father, open your love letter. If you are unfamiliar with the Bible, may I suggest you read in the book of John.

Until next time, May God bless you as you seek Him.

Find me on YouTube at Tami Bemis Cole

Light in the Darkness

“For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.  As for my God, His way is perfect. The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:28-30

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Just like the dawning of a glorious new day, God will light our way in this troubling & challenging time. Whatever giants we are up against and whatever walls we need to climb over to get out of this valley.

We have a God who gives us the strength to overcome. His Word is sure & true. He is our shield!  We certainly need a shield around us, protecting us now more than ever…against this virus going around and in all of our situations in life. We need someone we can trust.

We all need security, a solid reason to hold on, to know we will get through this.

We do not have to fear. David says in this Psalm, “For by You, I can…By my God, I can…”  For by YOU GOD, not by what we can do ourselves…but by believing & praying to the ONE Who is ALL POWERFUL!

I can, you can get through this, in His strength & direction…We will get through this.

Hold on, Trust Him and come under His protection, His shield. way is perfect. It may seem like chaos right now, but God is well aware of what is going on and He is working out His plan…His Perfect Plan.

My heart’s Desire

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1 ESV

I want it to be my heart’s desire to want to know God more. I sincerely want to want that.

Do you remember the song, As the Deer? Such beautiful words and condition of total surrender of heart.

“You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

You’re my friend
And You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye”

I ask myself these questions. Why is it so difficult? Why do I not put Him first. Why is my walk so lukewarm most of the time? Why can I not stay focused on Him?

He is so worthy.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (ESV)

I have a poor excuse. Life gets in the way and I don’t take time with Him. I don’t take time to sit at His feet and listen. I forget how awesome He is. I forget His Majesty.

My heart needs to put Him first. Time in His Presence is what I need. I want to hang on His every Word. I want Him to be my heart’s desire.

Sitting by the ocean watching the waves calms my soul and helps me to focus on the Majesty of God. I’m working on making Him the desire of my heart. How about you?

A beautiful day by the Ocean in Aruba

As the Deer written by Martin J. Nystrom. As the Deer lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

He is my GOD

“This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety: He is my God and I trust Him.” Psalm 91:2

This I declare, some definitions are “to say in a solemn and emphatic manner, to state without hesitation, to swear. My favorite definition is “to broadcast.”

This I broadcast

“about the LORD”: The LORD —Master or Ruler

He alone is my refuge.” Refuge—a condition of being safe & sheltered from danger. The place that I run to when the storm or trial is hitting. The place I can go for shelter from pursuit, danger or trouble. A place of security.

“my place of safety.” safety—the condition of being protected from risk, injury or harm. A place where I am protected from harm. A place I can be at ease because I trust where I am.

“He is my GOD.” GOD—The Creator & Ruler of the universe. The Supreme Being. He is worthy to be worshiped. There is no one above Him. my GOD—I am claiming Him as my GOD, belonging to me. I have a personal relationship with Him.

“And I trust Him.” Trust—firm belief in the reliability, truth, strength or ability of someone or something. To be certain, assured, and convinced. To know that He can be relied upon. That He is my protector and I am His charge. He keeps me & cares for me. He has full custody and I know I can depend on Him.

So my version of Psalm 91:2 is:

I broadcast this about the LORD: He alone is my security and my place where I am protected from harm. Where I can go to cry and laugh, to be myself. I will run to no one else. He is my GOD, The Creator of all & is above all things. He has sole custody of me. He lovingly cares for & protects me as His charge, as His child. I have firm belief that He is not only able but He is willing and is always in the process of caring for me. I rely on Him. I am certain that my hope & trust is in the right place. In my GOD.

He is your GOD too when you believe in His Son Jesus. Some helpful verses to learn more—John 3:16, Romans 3:23, 6:23-24, 5:8, Romans 10:9-13, Acts 16:30-31

You Are Loved

“In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NET) 

A little lopsided but my mind sees a heart 🙂

In my travels near & far over many years, I have often found things in nature shaped like a heart. Each time I am reminded of how much God loves me & you and is always making Himself known to us.

I am also reminded that He does not give up on us. He is faithful to help us when we call out to Him.

Even when I am off in a dozen different directions, scarcely giving Him a thought. He is thinking about me. So I take a minute to focus on His heart. Our amazing God & Creator loves His creation, you and I, made in His Image…and I pause, take a deep breath…the very breath He gives me…and I praise Him! He is worthy to be praised!

New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Are you in a dark place? Feeling overwhelmed? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to do things the way God has called you to do them…and yet no results? You see no difference?

Hold on. Just as the Monarch caterpillar waits patiently within its’ chrysalis to be transformed…so are you being transformed. Being a child of God makes you a new creation. The old ways of the flesh have passed and the ways of the Spirit are emerging.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes time to change. God has a much different time table than we do. Be patient.

The Monarch butterfly cannot see the beautiful changes taking place within the darkness…but we can!

Just like in the picture. The beautiful Monarch butterfly seemingly hidden, cannot see the beauty of it’s wings. It is dark in there. She has to be still & wait. No wriggling & fussing like I sometimes do.

We too, must wait and TRUST our CREATOR & FATHER GOD. We must have FAITH that He knows what He is doing.

Take a closer look, the black outline of the wings are showing! Just a few more days. Breaking forth from the darkness is so close! If the Monarch would quit now, it would miss the new creation it will become. You can be so close to emerging from your dark place too!

As you are transformed by CHRIST, your new creation emerges!

You & I are beautiful, new creations in CHRIST. Maybe in your darkness, you cannot see your changes. I can see the beauty of your wings. Just wait. God has so much more for you!

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Monarch caterpillar 1 day old

God and His stunning creation always amazes and inspires me. I am especially fond of the Monarch butterfly and their life cycle! This Monarch recently hatched and we can already see the signature black, white & yellow strips. It is the size of a fat grain of rice today at one day old.

Check out milkweed plants on your property…hopefully you don’t mow them down! It is the ONLY source of food for the Monarch caterpillars.

Look for little circle nibble marks and it is usually a Monarch caterpillar happily munching!

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You are Mine

“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

Many people suffer from insecurities. We struggle with who we are and where we belong. Perhaps you had an earthly father who was not there, who let you down or even hurt you. I am sorry. Our Heavenly Father is not like that.

God makes it clear in this verse. He cares deeply for His children. He has redeemed us through the death & resurrection of His only Son, Jesus. If you believe that as I do…you are redeemed. You are His.

Do not fear, our Daddy who formed us in our mother’s womb…who knew us before we were born—He holds us. (Psalm 139:13-16)

God has called you by name. There is something so comforting thinking about God calling my name. I hope you are comforted knowing God claims you as His own. He is calling your name in love, calling you and I back to a safe place with Him.

He is possessive of us. Make no mistake on what he is telling you. As a proud Father, He is claiming His child. Claiming you. You matter. You are redeemed.

When the world says you are not good enough or not something it thinks you should be…Don’t let those words define you. Don’t listen to the lies of our enemy who lives in the world. Who seeks to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) Give it all to your Father.

“Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Review often what your Father is telling you in Isaiah 43:1 “I have redeemed you. Do not fear. You are Mine.”

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