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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.
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.
Everyone needs affirmation. Whom will you affirm today? I’m not talking about just giving someone a passing acknowledgement. I’m speaking of giving a compliment, an affirmation that is life giving.
As Christ followers, we have been placed in the harvest field of life surrounded by humanity and their felt needs. We are called to build others up, where the world and possibly their own idea of themselves have torn them down.
Take time today to notice someone whom you know has not been noticed in awhile. Make a comment that places value in their life. For example, if you work with them share how effective they are to the workplace. Deposit confidence into their life. When you do that, you uplift their worth.
You just never know who might be close to giving up. Your words of hope could be the precise thing that keeps them going. As Christ followers, we should be looking for ways to take away the feelings of insignificance that others might be secretly carrying deep inside.
As you face the world around you daily, walk in the power and passion of Acts 20:35, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” We are called to do more for the world than it does for us. We can accomplish that by thinking of others before ourselves.
There was a time in my life when I was just aware of God. I was religious. I attended the church. I knew the praise songs by heart. I liked the preacher. I liked the people I went to church with. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I was good at checking the God box in order to feel like my life had balance.
What I really needed was a relationship that was fully awake to God speaking into my life. I had just enough religion to smell Christian. I was aware of God but not awakened to God.
Allow me to Illustrate it for you.
There are times I’ll be watching T.V. and my wife begins to talk with me. I can hear her talking…I’m aware of her presence, but I’m not awakened to her. The T.V. has my full attention, and I can just kind of hear her in the background. It’s not until I mute the T.V, turn and look her in the eyes that she has my full attention. When I mute the T.V., I move from awareness to an awakening.
The bible tells us; we are able to hear God’s voice and we will not follow another. We can only hear Him and follow Him, when we mute the other voices that are competing for our attention.
When you mute the other voices, you move from awareness to an awakening. If you find yourself just being aware of God in your life…then hit the mute button. You would be amazed at how fast you wake up.
You can give God a gift of obedience, but it’s not always easy.
Facing the responsibility of not obeying God is always more difficult than obeying God in the first place. What God is calling you to obey may very well be hard, but not obeying Him is much harder.
When you obey God, the outcome is totally in His hands. When you disobey God, the pressure is then put on you; the struggle inside of you never goes away until you obey completely. It eats away until you either surrender or grow farther and farther apart from Him.
God will always point you back to where you last disobeyed Him. The commands of God and the directives of God are designed to bring the very best into your life and to bring God the glory that is His alone.
When we disobey God, we do so in the shadow of the cross. God always directs us to die to self and to die to the attachments of this world. When we surrender to His directions and obey quickly, we show to the world that He is alive, and can be trusted.
Following God is easy when He is leading you in the direction you want to go, but what about when He decides to turn in a new direction with your life? It’s not so easy to obey when that happens, but a Christ follower must surrender.
At times, He will change your direction in big ways, and they are hard enough to obey in themselves. However, I’ve found something much harder. There are times He will seek to change something mundane in your life just to test your heart. I’ve heard it said before, “If Christ does not reign over the mundane events in our lives, He does not reign at all.”
So I close with a question today. How is your obedience?
EACH YEAR MY BROTHER AND I WRITE A BIRTHDAY LETTER SLAMMING EACH OTHER. ENJOY!
I wrote this birthday letter days ago. It wasn’t something I could do on your actual birthday. The weight of depression, caused by you being born on November 14 keeps me in bed numb until about midday. I’ve even stopped calling it your birthday. Yes, for you it’s your birthday…but for me, it’s a day of regurgitating everything I eat. Therefore, I refer to your Birthday as my BARFDAY.
I’m guessing you will check your Facebook page for validation on this day, and I do truly hope it helps you. However, you and I both know the truth! Your friends will lie and say nice things; doing the very best they can to bring a little hope into your hopeless life. I don’t roll like that brother. I hit it straight on! I tell you the truth!
Let’s face it, you know deep down as you looked into the mirror this morning the cake your wife and kids will be making for you is just so they can have something sweet to eat. It’s not about you at all. It’s all about the sugar rush that will cause them to forget about you for a few wonderful hours. All your kids would love to get away from you but they are all to young at this point. However, Caleb is a different story.
Allow me to share a dark secret with you. Caleb didn’t go on his mission trip to Brazil to become a man like you told everyone on your Facebook updates. In fact, he has no need to become a man. He has been the man in the family since the day he was born. Caleb went on that trip to Brazil to clear his heart and mind from the shame of having to call you DAD in public all this years. It was freeing for him.
You know that blog where he updated his daily actives while away on JUTTCATION? That’s right, it wasn’t a vacation…it was a JUTTCATION. Well, my dear brother, he had another blog that was set for private, where he vented his frustration toward you for being such a let down in his life. He posted daily at www.mydadisnotthemanhethinksheisbutinsteadisalittlewoundedgirl.com
Blog topics included:
100 reasons I wish my dad was Uncle Steve
50 reasons why I want to be an emancipated minor from my dad
10 reasons I feel shame when I see my dad trying to be manly
500 reasons Uncle Steve would be my dream dad
75 reasons nobody likes my dad
30 ways to avoid hanging out with my dad
12 reasons I know my dad shaves his legs
50 women I know who would make a better dad than my dad
I could list them all but they just get more and more dark. I don’t want to take it to that level. I still have some compassion for you.
Mom called again and was crying. I asked her what was troubling her and she said, “Steve, I’m running out of ways of faking that I’m happy on Justin’s BARFDAY.” I know, I know, I know! I was blown away also that she used the same term to label your Birthday as I do. Crazy stuff! I got her through it once again and she will be calling you soon. Just know I told her all the kind things to say. You can thank me later.
Finally, I must add something about all the houses you are renovating. You do a great job! You take a piece of junk and turn it into a beautiful home people not only want to see, but also they want to buy. My prayer is that you would find someway to do that with your life. Sadly, it will never happen. You know and I know it. Happy BARFDAY.
All joking aside I love you with all my heart. You are a godly father and a true man of God. You set life goals and you pursue them with grace and style. If there was a more intimate term than brother, I would surly use it. I’m proud of all that you are and are becoming. The best years are ahead of you. I celebrate this day with you…YOUR BIRTHDAY. You are a gift from God. I still remember the day you were brought home from the hospital and placed in your crib. I would watch you for hours. I was so overjoyed to have a little brother. I’m still overjoyed and will always have your back. I love you and wish you the best birthday ever. Justin Wright, you are a gift to the world.
If you have ever had a friend, or a family member doubt the faith, you know how disheartening that can be. It cuts your very soul. In some cases, your friend or family member simply doubts something in the bible, but in other cases, they may even depart from the faith altogether. It hurts to see this happen, and it give rise to many emotions inside of you. In fact, many of those emotions, if not submitted to the Lord, can damage the one doubting, if unleashed on them improperly by you.
Here, are some things to do when doubt has captured your friend or family member.
1. Keep your emotions on the altar
Take all your angry feelings, and leave them on the altar of God. He can handle your pain better than you can. Worship Him until the feelings of hurt, anger, and betrayal slip away.
2. Trust that God is still asking questions through them
Even John the Baptist doubted at one point in his life, and sent word asking if Jesus was really the one. Once He heard the right answer, he was unchained from doubt, and moved on in His faith. All great men and women of God have doubted at some point in their walk with Christ.
3. When they become unfaithful, God doesn’t
2 Timothy 2:13 tells us, “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God is faithful and will continue to work in their lives, even when they have stopped moving forward with God. You must remember, God loves your friend or family member more than you ever can.
4. God can move mountains
What is impossible for man is never impossible for God. He can move doubt over the cliff in their life in a moment of time. Mighty to Save by Hillsong says this,
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave
5. Finally, my favorite verse that many forget about.
MERCY! Jude 1:22 tells us, “22 And have mercy on those who doubt;” You must never forget that mercy wins over judgment. When you want to give judgement to the one you love…GIVE MERCY
God bless you