Tag Archives: hope

Investing in Blessings

 

INVESTING IN BLESSINGS

By Carolyn Dale Newell

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord,

Jeremiah 29:11-14a NKJV

Do you ever feel as if your spiritual gas tank is running on empty? Does it seem like your prayers go no further than the ceiling? Is your bank account of blessings almost overdrawn?

At times, we may reach a spiritual lull. That should send up a red flag. Warning lights should flash as sirens blast. Something is just not right.

The causes can be numerous, but let’s examine the most likely culprit. We have a deceptive enemy who strives to pull us away from God. Any of the following symptoms can be attributed to our adversary: times of prayerlessness, a decline in church attendance, slack in Bible reading, or sin.

Satan may already have a stronghold in your mind (2 Cor. 10:4). Don’t despair! God has given us spiritual weapons for the tearing down of strongholds. Prayer and the Word of God will put us back on track. And if there is sin in our lives, God is faithful and just to forgive when we repent (1 John 1:9).

As our verses from Jeremiah tell us, God has plans for us. Plans that include a future and a hope. The next verse directs us to pray and seek God. God isn’t a cosmic Easter bunny hiding eggs from us. But we must invest ourselves. We must give God our time, our lives, our money, and our all.

Consider your 401K. Your return is based on your investment. A person depositing $100 may earn $10. The individual contributing $1,000 may earn $100. The more you invest, the more you earn.

Look at a farmer who plants a full acre of crops. He tends to his crops and reaps the harvest.

But a farmer who only plants half of that acre and pays little attention to it will reap a much smaller harvest.

When we fill our days with everything but God, can we really expect him to bless us? God loves us. He desires to commune with us. He wants an intimate relationship with us, His favored sons and daughters.

I have wonderful news! You can start anew today. Get alone with God. Tell Him how you feel. He won’t rebuke you. Ask Him to help you in your desire to spend more time with Him. You will be met with interruptions and distractions as you devote more energy to the Lord.

A life invested in God will be a life of rich blessings. Maybe not worldly riches. Maybe not wealth. Maybe not a trouble-free life…definitely not a trouble-free life. But a life rich in God.

Lord, forgive us for distance. We yearn to draw near to You knowing You will draw near to us. Guard our precious moments together. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

HIKING THE TRAIL

When you begin to devote more to God, the enemy will counter attack. What can you do to be prepared for this temptation and battle? I keep in mind that He will seek to steal that time or money away, and when it occurs, I know it is the enemy, and I stand firm.

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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When Hope is Gone

WHEN HOPE IS GONE

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

Acts 27:20 NKJV

Do you feel like giving up? Can you identify with the men sailing with the Apostle Paul? Paul’s trip to Rome as a prisoner seemed hopeless at times. Hopeless situations are God’s specialty.

First, they set sail during the most dangerous time for a sea voyage. Gentle breezes whipped into Euroclydon, a storm similar to a hurricane. Sometimes life feels calm right before the strongest storms, catching us off guard; however, Fierce winds and crashing waves don’t surprise God.

the Battering winds and waves drove the massive ship into the Syrtis Sands. This area earned the name, the Graveyard of Ships because of its numerous shipwrecks. First, they chose the wrong time to set sail, and now, they had been shoved into the wrong place. A place they never wanted to be. Can you relate? The diagnosis or the catastrophe we desperately wanted to avoid.

The weary travelers tossed everything except essentials overboard in a desperate attempt to lighten the ship. In hopeless times, we become desperate.

Days without sun and nights without stars passed. Unable to see ahead, they feared crashing into the rocky shore. When hope falls short, we see nothing before us but disaster. We must trust God to steer our ships, especially when we lose sight of the horizon.

God sent an angel to encourage Paul, telling him they would all survive. In the midst of our storms, we have God’s promises. His gentle reminders to calm our fears.

Two weeks of stormy seas passed before they saw land. While trying to land the ship, it became lodged in a sandbar, where two seas met. The crashing waves tore it to shreds. Do you ever feel like those sailors, the despair of never catching a break? One storm after another without ample time to surface for air.

The men reached Rome with nothing but their lives. They had survived a hurricane and a shipwreck.

Maybe you have survived a different tragedy. Perhaps your storm still rages on. When we face the impossible, we turn to the God of possibilities. God has not changed. We can rest in His promises. We can trust His guiding hand. The flame of hope continually burns for the child of God. We may emerge from the storm with only our lives, but God will bring us safely through, just like He did for Paul.

Heavenly Father, thank You for including testimonies of Your power in Scripture. They remind us of Your might and strength. They remind us we have hope. You are our hope. No matter how hopeless it seems, no matter what we lose, we are Your beloved children. Work in our lives today. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Acts 27:9-44.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What can your reminder of hope be? A figurine, a verse or a reminder on your phone. Something that encourages you because Hope never dies.

 

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.