News!

My friend!

Something has happened.

I’m writing this with my thoughts tumbling, one over another. So far, I only know bits and pieces, but the news has flooded my heart and mind with great expectation and hope.

Yesterday the grapevine sizzled with rumors that the teacher from Nazareth is alive. Again!

I know, I know. It sounds like something only a fool would believe. I could not believe it either, until I talked with one man who actually walked and talked with him. And I tell you, that man is changed in a way I’ve never seen before.

You see what this means? If the teacher has really beaten death, if the power of God can defeat our most relentless enemy, and if that power is in this world and working for those who follow this man…

That changes everything!

I wanted you to know.

 

Questions

Dear Friend,

Yesterday was a long, dark Sabbath. I confess I felt as though there was no point at all in observing the Sabbath. God seems to have abandoned us.

If this teacher truly was sent from God, why would God allow such an awful ending to his life? Why cut him off before he had accomplished his mission? What about all those promises God made us?

Or perhaps this wasn’t the one we have been waiting for. Or perhaps… perhaps God has changed his mind.

I was just beginning to hope this man could change the world. Could change our lives. MY life. We couldn’t help but hope, as we listened to his words. He was introducing us to God in a completely new way. At least, I thought I was beginning to see God in all this.

But where was God on Friday?

My friend, I think you’ll understand the dark places my mind is going to. Any hope that had begun to flicker in me was snuffed out on Friday.

 

Friday

Dear Friend,

I hardly know what to write. Yesterday was such a terrible, black day.

You remember the man I’ve been telling you about? The teacher who claimed to be from God? He’s been executed. He’s dead.

Everything happened so fast. He was arrested sometime during the night, and apparently there was a mob and a sham of a trial, and the next thing we knew, he was hanging on a cross out there on Golgotha.

Strange things happened yesterday–and just at the time he died. Unusual darkness. An earthquake. Some trouble at the Temple (the details I’ve heard are unbelievable, impossible, so I still need to find out what the truth is about that incident). And some people are telling wild tales about ghosts walking the streets of the city.

Whoever or whatever he really was, his death seemed to shake heaven and earth.

But all that’s left now is this heavy, hopeless sadness. Evil wins. Again.

 

 

What do you talk to God about?

We make choices—although not always the best choices—when we decide what to talk about and with whom to discuss what’s on our mind. With whom do you discuss your financial concerns? What about emotional trauma? Who are the people you trust to hear you? Family or relationship issues, conflicts at work, dreams for the future, problems with your kids, health issues, political views—all subjects are chosen and filtered, depending on who it is we’re in conversation with.

What do you talk to God about?

I’ve been thinking about this lately because last week I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I can’t forget.

And then this morning, I read Luke 12:6-7, words of Jesus telling us that God doesn’t forget about one little sparrow and His children are so much more loved and cared for than sparrows that He even keeps track of each hair on my head. He must care about the smallest detail of my life—things even I don’t pay attention to.

Yes, I pray about “little” things. I’ve asked Him to remind me where I put something I’ve temporarily “lost,” or I’ve asked for the energy to get through a meeting, or I’ve thanked Him for a beautiful morning sky. Small things in my day. I believe Psalm 37:23 that says He delights in the details of our lives.

The Charles Spurgeon quote, though, prompted me to ponder my belief in God’s power to do the big things.

Of course I believe God is omnipotent. He can do the impossible. Of course I believe that.

I say that… But do my conversations with God show that I believe it?

Spurgeon wrote about God’s greatness. Look at the wonders of the earth, the heavens, the universe. “You may expect great things from Him who made the heavens and the earth… He who made all these things is great in power; therefore, ask something great of Him, when you come before Him in prayer.”

Ask something great of Him.

When I do ask Him for something great, do I have secret reservations? (Ah, but nothing’s secret from God.) Do I doubt He’ll do something spectacular? Do I think He’s limited by earthly boundaries, limits, and realities?

I’ve had to ask myself these questions.

At her brother’s graveside, Martha heard Jesus say to her, “If you believe, you’ll see the glory of God.”

If we believe, what great things will we ask of Him? And what glorious things might we then see?

 

Writing. New strength. Hello again.

A writer’s work is never done. I think forms of that proverb have been used to describe many jobs. And true to the proverb, just when my first Hope Knows book is about to be released, I’m shown a much better way of writing one chapter.

Yes, it happens all the time. Writers go back to what they’ve written and revise, revise, revise. We’re never “done.” We always see a word, a thought, a paragraph that must be deleted, added to, or tweaked. Mark Twain wrote that once your article is finished to your satisfaction, that’s the time to begin writing. By that time, you’ve finally sorted out exactly what you want to say and how to say it.

Today, I’m thinking about a chapter on finding new strength. I have occasion right now to need and seek new strength, a power beyond myself that I haven’t known before.

I did include one chapter on that subject in my soon-to-be-released book, Getting Through Today. This morning, though, I feel as if I should rewrite that entire chapter. I know more about new strength today than I did two weeks ago, because I’ve experienced it.

However, the book’s already printed, waiting for its big debut.

So I’d like to pass this on to you here: If you’re also needing new, beyond-yourself strength to get through today or this week, I’d like to offer three Scriptures that have taken on even deeper meaning for me:

Hebrews 12:1-2:  “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion…”

2 Timothy 4:16-17:  “No one came with me… Everyone abandoned me… But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.”

Psalm 89:17:  “It pleases you [God] to make us strong.”

God is delighted to make us strong! Today, put yourself in the 2 Timothy picture: with Jesus, our champion, standing with you!

In the last two weeks, I’ve been changed by these promises.

That’s the Spirit of God using His living Word to mold my life. His work, too, is not yet done!

***

Hello again to my cyber friends. I am back, after a hiatus of two years during which I was working on putting the Hope Devotionals (which appeared here throughout 2015) into book form.

One book turned into four. Yes, amazing. That’s typical of what God does. He keeps going beyond our expectations. And because all of our hope is grounded in the living Word of God, it keeps growing and growing—and we never come to the end of it. We’re always discovering more reason to live with great expectation.

The first book, Getting Through Today, will be available by the end of this week! It can be ordered directly from the publisher at www.jpvpress.com. (If you pre-order now from the publisher, I’ll sign it if you make the request.)

Once all the details are in place, it will also be available through Amazon.

 

See a more detailed preview of all the books by clicking on the Hope Knows Books tab above.

And… Live with great expectation!

Elaine