in: Food for Thought, Inspiration
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
– The Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. “
-Jesus in John 16:33 (ESV)
Since Adam and Eve were cast from the garden, every generation has been on a desperate search for hope. Hope that there is a cure, that there is a way out, that something ‘I’ can do will make all things right again. For those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus we know that He alone is our hope. It’s only through his saving grace that our desperate search for hope finds an answer.
But, here’s the thing, it’s not yet fully complete. The day of Jesus Christ that the Apostle Paul references in Philippians 1:6 (see above) is yet to come. Our hope begins when we accept the gift of God’s grace and say ‘yes’ to Jesus – and it’s fully and wholly completed on Christ’s return. So what do we do in the meantime? What do we do when health fails, depression overwhelms, and the circumstances of life overwhelm us?
We still cling to hope! We still believe the promises of Jesus (see above verse) and at that moment – as the writer of Hebrews says – hope becomes our anchor. If Jesus isn’t that hope that anchors us down – then just like a ship in a storm – we become lost, aimless, and desperate. Have you ever felt like that? I certainly have and it’s in those seasons of desperation that everything the world has to offer is no more solid than sinking sand. Jesus says, we ‘will have tribulation’ but despite the hardships of life we choose hope. Hope in him and his promises – knowing he is faithful.
This is the good news the world needs to hear and we need build our lives on!
Watch the video below to hear how the reality of Jesus brought hope despite the circumstances of life. If you find yourself in a season that has tried to steal your hope check out the book 365 Days of Hope or check out other great books on hope here.
in: Food for Thought
The other day my two boys – age seven and four – were playing at a playground when they both came up to me with sad and frustrated looks on their faces. They informed me that another boy had called my four year old a ‘chicken’. I could tell that my seven year old wasn’t going to let someone call his little brother a name again. I’ve always taught them that they are to use their strength only to protect and never harm someone – and this wasn’t a situation where I wanted him to clobber a kid over his little brother being called a chicken.
So I looked at my four year old and I said, “If he calls you a chicken again then flap your arms and start making some crazy chicken noises.” With amused smiles they both headed off to play again.
A short time later they returned with big smiles and told me that it had worked. The same boy called my four year old a chicken again and so my son promptly began to sound and act like a deranged playground chicken. Apparently this took any warped joy right out of the name calling and according to my boys he ran off (probably a bit weirded out) to find another kid to pick on.
So let me ask you this question.
Who’s the playground bully calling you a chicken?
It might not actually be a person. Maybe it’s a circumstance or habit. The affect is often the same though. Our reaction to tough situations is often fight or flight but what we really need to do is react in the opposite spirit.
Do you remember when Jesus was taken into the desert to be tempted? Here was Satan – a created being – trying to take down the savior of the world. What did Jesus do? He didn’t fight, he didn’t run, instead he responded in a way that baffled Satan. He used the truth of God’s word and eventually it was Satan who had to leave.
How about when Jesus says, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” Matthew 5:39-40
Talk about acting in the opposite spirit!
So as 2014 starts out what does acting in the opposite spirit look like for you? What’s staring you in the face that would normally cause you to give up or to fight? Maybe it needs a crazy chicken response instead.
Do you have a tough co-worker? Buy them a cup of coffee.
Are you lazy? Get up and go.
Has someone spoken a lie to or about you? Go to God’s word and let His truth work in your life.
Are you spiritually apathetic? Serve at your church or read through the Bible this year.
May the year 2014 be full of opportunities to act in unexpected ways and be amazed at the goodness of God!