Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Door of Hope-

The Door of Hope
Hosea chapter 2
This article was written by Sue Towne, April 10, 2006
Recently I’ve been meditating in the second chapter of Hosea. The last half of that chapter has formed the paradigm for my personal life as a believer in Yeshua for over 20 years now. Many times the words in this chapter have anchored my soul.

When I meditate or study scripture, I like to dig around the original Hebrew or Greek a bit. And when I do so, I often find hidden treasure. So it is with Hosea 2: 14-15. I want to share with you an application focused on the primary interpretation of this passage, the spiritual restoration of the nation of Israel.

Starting in verse 14, the LORD God of Israel speaks beginning with the word, “therefore.”. He has just spent the prior 15 verses describing the heartbreaking spiritual harlotry of Israel and the punishment that she will receive for it. It’s a passage filled with the emotional pain of angry judgment coming from a heart of love betrayed.

And then “therefore”, but what are we expecting here? More of the same? More pain-filled words? The LORD changes His tone utterly. He speaks of alluring this unfaithful one into a wilderness place,a place of solitude, where there are no distractions. In this place will He finally destroy her?  No. He says He will “speak kindly to her.”

In the remarkable sequence of verse 15 He gives her “her vineyards” and “the Valley of Achor as a door of hope.” The result is that she sings there as in the days of her youth when she first came up from Egypt in the Exodus. In this verse, we see the tenderness of God’s heart revealed, the God who takes what was meant for evil and turns it for good.

A valley is quite literally a “low place.” When we speak of being “in the valley,” we refer to a place of difficulty and trial. But this valley is more difficult than most to traverse. The word “Achor” means in Hebrew “roiling waters, troubling, afflicted.” It’s meant to convey a picture of the worst kind of turbulence, like riding the most extreme rapids on a flood-stage river. It’s a place of terror and high danger.

And the God of Israel says to His covenant people, “I will make that place of violence and terror, that lowest place in your life, a door of hope.” This phrase “door of hope” in Hebrew is a colorful phrase. The Hebrew word translated “hope” is tikvah, which in its root meaning pictures a cord attached to the thing longed for.

What a marvelous scene! Israel is struggling in the turbulent flood waters of the valley, but instead of watching her destruction passively, God throws her a lifeline. He gives her hope that she will escape this terrible valley. And in the midst of all this, He gives her “her vineyards,” her places of fruitful ministry and spiritual prosperity. The poetic form of this prophecy links the prosperity of those vineyards to the rescue from destruction.

Of course, we can apply this same picture to our own lives as individual believers. But in context, God was speaking this to Israel, yes? It strikes me as a verse very much for today. Israel is being forced more and more into a narrow place of no escape where the threat of violence is ever-present. In this Valley of Achor the people of Israel are buffeted increasingly by a flood of turbulence and fear from all sides—internally from the Intifada and externally by the nations of the world.

But in the midst of this fear, the God of Israel is throwing the people of the Land a lifeline—a door of hope. This door, I believe, is a move of the Spirit of God that begins in Israel and spreads over the whole earth. “Here is your escape hatch, Israel! Here is your ark of safety in the midst of the raging flood—Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. Yeshua, your Redeemer and King.

Open your eyes and see Him. Recognize Him who called Himself ‘the door.’

Take hold of this Rope and let Him pull you to safety!” Amen!


Sue Towne, Messianic Vision International Prayer Coordinator
(And this is the ministry of Messianic Vision: to offer that Rope to Israel wherever we encounter her. Pray, saints! Pray that the eyes of Jewish people all over the world, but especially in Israel, would be open to see the Door of Hope.)




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Monday, 13 November 2017

When You Grieve the Loss of a Dream- Devotional by Ashleigh Slater

When You Grieve the Loss of a Dream- Devotional by Ashleigh Slater

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)
If you’d asked me at the age of six what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have answered, “A teacher!”  Once I hit my teens, my answer changed, though. The allure of instructing others wore off, replaced by a desire to work in the entertainment industry. I felt “called” to be a television producer and pursued this goal all the way through grad school. But something happened as I worked toward a master’s degree that I didn’t anticipate. I met and married my husband, Ted. Not long after, in the midst of writing my graduate prospectus, two faint pink lines appeared on a pregnancy test. Suddenly, my dream wasn’t so easy. If my studies and student film set experience had taught me anything, it was this: my career aspirations – if achieved – would require long days and maybe even regular travel. I found myself questioning how I would personally balance that along with caring for my growing family. It was then that I sensed God calling me to lay down my dream. The one I’d worked hard toward for years. I went on to grieve that loss for years.
3 Ways to Grieve the Loss of Your Dream
Maybe you’re currently grieving the loss of your own dream. Yet perhaps it isn’t career related, as it was for me. Instead, maybe marriage or becoming a mother hasn’t happened for you as you’d hoped it would. It’s possible that you’re in a season of prolonged singleness when you long to be married or you’ve recently walked through a divorce. Maybe you face the heartbreaking pain of infertility. As a result, you are well acquainted with the words in Proverbs 13:12 about how “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” What are some ways you and I can grieve the loss of our individual dreams, especially when the pain and disappointment hurt so deeply? Here are three suggestions.
1. Freely Acknowledge Your Loss
When it came to the loss of my dream, I was afraid to openly grieve it. My life was full and I feared that I’d be judged for the sorrow I felt. I worried that others would correct me for mourning it. It’s possible you feel the same. Mark Twain once wrote, “Nothing that grieves us can be called little.” While undesired singleness, divorce, infertility, and career disappointment are anything but small, there may be people who dismiss your pain. Perhaps they offer you uncomforting platitudes such as “Look at how full your life is without that,” “God works everything out for good,” or “Count your blessings.” Your heart can’t bear to hear that one more time, so you keep your loss quiet. You mourn it silently.
I’m here to say, your loss is not little and it is worth mourning. Go ahead and grieve it fully and freely. This may mean journaling, confiding in a trusted friend, joining a support group, or seeking the wisdom of a counselor.
2. Grieve Your Loss with Hope
I believe that God is the Author of my life’s story. Yet it’s much easier to believe that the story He’s writing for me is good when He says “yes” to my dreams. It’s harder when He either asks me to surrender them or decides not to fulfill them in my timing and my way.  It’s in these hard chapters of life that hope can seem non-existent. I can quickly feel like my entire story is one of despair and pointlessness. It could be you’ve felt or even currently feel the same way. However, if you and I determine to believe that God is attentive and active in our lives, we can be reminded that our stories are always penned with hope. What is this hope? It’s that even in the darkest of moments, God promises to walk through the pain and grief with us. No matter how hard life gets, we are never alone. We can feed ourselves hope by reading God’s Word, listening to music that speaks of His goodness and faithfulness, and surrounding ourselves with others who point us to Him.
3. See the Beauty in Your Individual Story
Just because God asked me to give up a certain dream, doesn’t mean He’ll ask the same of my girls, or someone else I know. In fact, I deeply respect other women who are able to beautifully balance family and pursuing their dreams. Sometimes, though, I can find myself comparing and feeling jealous that my story isn’t like theirs. Maybe you can relate? How can you and I see the beauty in our individual stories even when they’re not what we wanted? When the pain is sometimes too much to bear? One way is to reach out to others around us who says: “How can I walk through this with you?”

Prayer:
Lord, I confess I am grieving the loss of the dream I held so dear. Yet Lord, I know You are good. Your ways are perfect. Your plan for me is perfect. Please help me remember that Your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are Your ways my ways. (Isaiah 55:8) I trust that You will comfort me as I mourn the loss of this dream. Lord, I declare that through loss, my faith will grow and that You will use this loss to help me grow closer to You.  In Jesus’s name I pray.

This devotional was taken in part from When You Grieve the Loss of a Dream by Ashleigh Slater. Thank you Lord for this encouraging article written by a lady who did not just talk about this subject, she has lived through it.  I pray it will bless every reader as it blessed me.

Denise


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Ignore distractions



Ignore Distractions
When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Matthew 17:8

Our own flaws can distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus. If we think too much about what is wrong with us, we will forget what God can do through us.  If we look too much at what we lack, we will forget to be thankful for what we have.

Hebrews 12:2 Amplified Bible says: looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

Distraction from God is extremely dangerous. As believers we believe that God is the captain of our ship. When you start losing sight of your captain, you start trying to steer your own ship. Not only does this lead to going the wrong way, but it can lead you in the direction of trials, sin, missed opportunities, and missed blessings. (comment by Fritz Chery)

If your faith begins to waver, quickly get your eyes on Jesus, who is the Source of your faith and the Incentive for your belief.

Remember how He endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame of it. for the joy of winning you to Himself.


Psalm 119:4-5 (TLB) says: You have given us your laws to obey, oh, how I want to follow them consistently.

Have a day filled with blessings.  Denise

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Walk in Love (Cindy Trimm)


WALK IN LOVE
Adapted from
 Commanding my Morning Devotional by Cindy Trimm

 Read: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8:“ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Take a moment to look at those verses one more time, but this time, replace some of those words with your name.
Example: “ Denise is patient, Denise is kind. Denise does not envy, Denise does not boast, Denise is not proud. Denise does not dishonor others, Denise is not self-seeking, Denise is not easily angered, Denise keeps no record of wrongs. Denise does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Denise always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now, repeat these words and you will understand that this means that today, you will walk in LOVE.  LOVE is proactive to forgiveness. This means that you cherish your relationships over your things, over your accomplishments, goals and tasks and over yourself. That means you are living the richest life possible.

Today’s prayer: (as per Cindy Trimm)
Father, I declare today that YOUR love gives me the patience to suffer long and yet be kind.  YOUR love causes me not to envy, parade myself, or be puffed up.  Because of YOUR love, I will not behave rudely or seek to fulfill my own selfish desires. YOUR love keeps me from thinking angry and malicious thoughts about others. I do not rejoice in sinfulness but rejoice in the truth. With YOUR love I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things. I am secure that YOUR love never fails. In Jesus’s Name Amen! LOVE, LOVE AND LOVE SOME MORE!

(Cindy Trimm also has a book by the same name. This lady has helped me change some of my thinking about how to start my day. Commanding my morning has helped me to unleash God’s power in my day so I can see people with the LOVE of Jesus instead of with my own eyes of flesh.)
LOVE, LOVE AND LOVE SOME MORE!

Have a great day!  Denise

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ready to step out in faith?


Study in the Book of Esther:

 There will be times in your life when you’ve gathered all the information you can, you’ve prayed as well as you know how, you’ve sought Godly counsel; whatever you are doing is not sinful… but there is something inside of you that’s still not sure.

You can sleep on it. That’s something I always do.

Esther waited 3 days.

But, at some point you just have to muster the courage to move forward.

Without all the answers, are you ready to step out and walk by faith?

Don’t be afraid to allow God 
to determine the outcome. 

(Article written byPastor Ron Edmondson,Topical Bible Study)

Have a great day everyone,
Denise

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