How to Have Hope

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Like a dense fog, sometimes the clouds of discouragement can descend on us blocking out any glimmer of hope. Perhaps there have been times in your own life where you felt a sense of despair. How do you have hope when everything seems to be going wrong? Let’s look at a few ways to part the dark clouds.

Look Up instead of At. When we are going through a challenging time, circumstances loom large and are sometimes the only thing we can see. Certainly we must recognize our grief or pain, but one of the first steps toward seeing glimmers of hope is to change the direction of our focus. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above.” When we look only at our circumstances, it is easy to become overwhelmed, but when we look above our circumstances, we remind ourselves that there is a God who loves us. He is bigger than our challenges. He is the God who sees, and He is not surprised by this situation. When we turn our eyes upward, it helps us gain a broader perspective.

Praise. While we are looking up, let’s take a moment to praise God for who He is and what He is able to do. Actively praising God changes us within and opens our hearts to the possibilities of what He can do. Open the Psalms or open a hymnal, or play some worship music or simply pray something like:

“Father, I adore you as the God who is able to do immeasurably more that I ask or imagine.”

“Father, I praise you that you are Sovereign and Powerful. You know all things and can do all things.”

“I exalt you my God, because You see the bigger picture and You know what is best.”

“Praise you that you walk through the darkest valley’s with me. I am not alone.”

Or as Jeremiah prayed from the pit of despair,

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
  Lamentations 3:19 – 24

Encouragement. One of the apostle Paul’s prayers for the early believers was, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God is the God of hope, so let’s not hesitate to ask Him for hope, wisdom and guidance as we navigate rough waters. We can also pray that God sends a person into our life that can encourage us or walk along side of us through our dark moments.

James (the brother of Jesus) gave the persecuted church powerful and positive advice,  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  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. “

My friend, there is always hope. It may come in unexpected ways and look slightly different than how you thought it would look. Keep looking up and keep your heart open to what God wants to do in your life. I believe there is always hope, because I believe in a God of hope. I believe what the Bible tells us – that He is a redeeming God, and He will never leave or forsake those who trust in Him.

Photo by Łukasz Łada on Unsplash

 

25 Days of Praise

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During this most wonderful time of the year, let us turn our hearts upward as we focus on the glorious majesty of our God. This month I want to provide you with a daily attribute of the Lord on which to meditate throughout your day. May this give your heart a reason to rejoice and your mind an opportunity to praise His glorious name throughout the holiday season.

  1. He is our Creator. In the beginning God create the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
  2. He is God Most High. I cry out to God Most High to God, who vindicates me.       Psalm 57:2
  3. He is our Shield. Do not be afraid…. I am your shield, your very great reward. Genesis 15:1
  4. He sees You are the God who sees me…I have now seen the One who sees me. Genesis 16:13
  5. He is the Great I Am. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14
  6. He is our Redeemer. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. Exodus 6:6
  7. He is our Strong Defender. The LORD is my strength and my defense. Exodus 15:2
  8. He makes bitter waters sweet. Moses threw the piece of wood into the water and the water turned sweet. Exodus 15:25
  9. He sanctifies I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:13
  10. He is Holy. Be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2
  11. He is Faithful and True. He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
  12. He is a Defender of the downtrodden. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow. Deuteronomy 10:18
  13. He has a Mighty Hand and a Powerful Arm. The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Deuteronomy 26:8
  14. He is our Rock. He is the Rock, His works are perfect. Deuteronomy 32:4
  15. He is a Generous. Take possession of the land the LORD our God is giving you for your own. Joshua 1:11
  16. He does Amazing Acts. Tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you. Joshua 3:5
  17. He is our  Peace. Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The Lord is Peace. Judges 6:24
  18. He Restores.  I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. Joel 2:25
  19. He is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I Samuel 17:45
  1. He is Omnipotent. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6
  2. He is our Shepherd.  The LORD is my shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1
  3. He is our Guide. He guides me down the right path bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:3
  4. He is our Salvation. The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
  5. He loves us with an Unfailing Love. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. Psalm 89:2
  6. He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

I hope you have a wonderful Holy-Day season. May these verses lift your spirits and turn your heart toward Almighty God. Starting on Dec 26, I will begin posting specific attributes we see in Jesus, as we worship Emanuel, God with us.

 

 

Follow me on Instagram as I provide a colorful reminder of these daily attributes – @karolladd

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash