Hopelessness. Hopelessness is an ugly word. If you carry despair today, whether it is imagined or brought on by the attack of outside circumstances, God’s reality speaks contrary. God’s truth for you is HOPEFULNESS. You are never without hope in Christ. Hope grows out of the possibilities of God grace. Hope does not come from man but from God. What you think you don’t have (hope), you have in abundance because hopefulness is a gift of God to you, no matter your present circumstances.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Take a look at the new Cognitive Behavioral Therapy video concerning the ABC Model of thinking.
“And such were some of you.”
Paul wrote those words in the context of a list of sins inconsistent with inheriting the kingdom of God. It isn’t an exhaustive list but a list nonetheless that helps us capture the picture. He names the sexually immoral, the idolaters, the adulterers, the practicing of homosexuality, the thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, the revilers, and swindlers. In this broken world, Paul illuminates our collective brokenness but doesn’t leave us hopeless in our brokenness. Instead, Paul composes a way forward to ultimate healing.
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.”
This side of wholeness is a difficult place to advance. Our sins often work to claim us and shape us. It is a never-ending battle. A battle against the voice that speaks to you, “It is who you are, give in, give over.” However, there is another voice that speaks, a groaning in us. A groaning of the Spirit of God inside of us. A groaning that calls us onward to a day in the future where there is no more sin. A place where our sins that live on this side of wholeness will be buried forever, never to tempt us or disfigure us again.
Take time today to read that list of sins found in 1 Corinthians but don’t focus on the sins with which you have no struggle. Instead, concentrate on the one’s you know you have lurking in your closet. Only then can you identify with the struggles of others who fight a different sin from yours.
Long before you and I were born, Peter stood on the edge of a fishing boat in the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a storm. He had a decision to make, one of the greatest decision of his life. Would he step out of the boat at the command of Jesus or stay in the boat and wait?
In 1444, Conrad Witz painted this scene found in Matthew 14. The question arises, what is so unique about Witz’s Fifteenth-century painting? It is reported, “he is credited with creating one of the only true “great paintings” of this scene.
It’s a very simple and remarkable answer! Peter was called the “rock” of the church. No painter would ever show the failure of such a great leader of the early church. Peter sank like a rock; therefore, the brush strokes of great painters remained undirected to capture this scene until Conrad dared to show warts and all.
Like all people who find themselves on an edge – a decision has to be made. Do you step out of the boat or wait? You see, no one wants to be painted a failure. It could go without saying- we certainly don’t want our failures showing up on a great painting for the entire world to see. But when you are answering the call of God and fail, is it failure? I would contend that the answer is no. Fear caused Peter to sink and yes, in a classic definition, we call it a failure.
But never forget!
When Jesus calls us to do something, He will not ultimately let us fail. Jack Canfield once said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jesus was on the other side of Peter’s fear and Jesus is on the other side of your fear also.
A beach is a relaxing place of meditation. Close your eyes and your ears open to hear God. Breath through your nose and you taste the goodness of God. The music of waves crashing upon the shore applauds His control. The wind sings a creative song. Your heart longs to be in tune with God more so than nature. It is possible; He has made it so.
There are voices in this world. I speak not of audible voices, but rather, I speak of internal voices. Voices that often compete against the conversation God looks forward to daily having with you. I’ve come to know, I can still the voices, tame the voices and even banish the voices, when I start my day with God.
The “chaos,” called my life (your life), has no true direction without Him. I was not created to follow another voice and neither were you. I was created; you were created, to follow God’s voice. Other voices are dangerous without places to test them. The places of testing are God’s Word, prayer, worship and much study- to show your life walk approved.
Jesus gifted us promises. First, He has declared that He would never leave us alone. Next, those who call themselves by His name will know His voice and follow Him. To follow is the safe way home, the only way home. In fact, while following Him, home finds us. Heaven and earth will come together, and Jesus will make it all right in the end.
Yes, there are voices but I choose not to let them drowned out the only voice that is eternal. God’s eternal voice still seeks you. Yes, the creator still speaks new creation into your life. Are you listening? It’s easy to hear. You will find your spiritual ear in the Word, prayer, worship and study.
When you return to those disciplines, you return to His voice.
Luke 15:24a “For this my son was dead, and is alive again…”
This much I know. God’s love draws you out of death to become fully alive!
Allow me to share the story, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
This much I know.
~God’s love is not quenched by human failures or deliberately walking away.
~God’s love for you is not based on your goodness or anything you can do.
~God’s love is ever watching for the moment your heart turns and responds to his calling to you.
Walk today in the power of knowing that God’s love draws you out of death to become fully alive!