Sharing My Heart

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Assurance of Hope

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

Yesterday, I began to tell you about my call to hope for 2018!  Today, I give you the reason for the hope that I have and why its thrilling.  Real hope comes from faith and faith is a gift from God.  That alone is thrilling!  If you want assurance of hope then ask for and seek out faith in Jesus Christ.

OK, now some of you just about shut down your reading because its about to get personal and “Jesus-y” and you aren’t really into that but stick with me, your life could depend upon it.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”   Hebrews 11:1

Here’s the deal, we all fall short of God’s glory.  We have NO HOPE.  Yep, confusing…first I tell you I have hope and the bible tells me that I have to be ready to give you an answer as to why I have hope and then I say we have NO HOPE.  Its true though. You see, this life you live is not what “its” about.  You could say its not your final destination.  It’s temporary and most of what you think is important, like your bank account or your hairstyle or  the food you eat, is not the main thing.

The main thing is what happens after you die.  Yep, here we go…you will die some day.  I was with my father-in-law this summer when he passed and it was clear that he was no longer on this earth. He had moved on.  He left everything here behind, including his family and went on his merry way.

To where?

Honestly, there are 2 options, Heaven with Jesus and peace and God or hell with yucky stuff and separation from all good and no God.

As I contemplated our dear Jerry leaving to be with Jesus, I did wonder how many of you are confident that when your body stops working, you too will be in the presence of Jesus.  Here’s the thing, you can’t do anything to get there…you are hopelessly without the ability to live a righteous enough life to live eternity with a perfect Holy God.  And either am I, we have no hope without a savior.

Long story short (the long story is found between Genesis and Revelation.  READ IT), God created humans, He knew we’d screw up His perfect plan because for some reason He gave us free will and was determined to show His perfect love for us.  Since you need to be without sin to be in the presence of a perfect God, He realized you needed a savior. You can’t follow the law. Read the 10 commandments and tell me if you pass. No?  Ok, so moving on, you need a savings plan.  Not one with money but one that gives you ASSURED HOPE that when your body stops working you will be in the heaven place not the hell place.

God knew only HE could perfectly satisfy the debt we owed for the sin we sinned because the wages of sin are death(Romans 6:23).  So, God became man, (O’ Holy Night), and lived a perfect life, died a death in your place, to  satisfy a debt He didn’t owe, so that if you put your trust, faith, HOPE in Jesus Christ, you can be saved and welcomed into an eternal relationships with a righteous God because upon trust in that plan, you are covered in the righteousness of Christ and God no longer sees your depravity but the perfect spotless lamb that satisfied your debt.

This is my hope.

There are many things that come from true Hope.  Really great benefits in this world, that I’ll talk about later.  But truthfully, the only HOPE I need is the HOPE that gets me from this world to the next without blemish and into an eternity of peace.  I can’t do that on my own and I’m confident you can’t either (no disrespect to you goodie-two-shoes out there but you can’t do it either).

If you don’t have this hope, please go get it!  God will give to those who ask, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  Hebrews 10:23

If you have it, I’ll leave you with the true HOPE that our God is faithful.  Hold on to Him!

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23


The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 
Fall on your knees, 
Oh, hear the angel voices
O night divine, 
O night when Christ was born
O night divine, 
O night, O night divine, O holy night

In 1847 a small town wine maker/poet in France (Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure) was asked to pen a poem for the Christmas service.  He spent some time in Luke and put himself in the middle of the nativity and viola, the poem, “Cantique de Noel”.  Mr. Placide then asked his Jewish friend to write a little tune to go with the poem.  Adolphe Charles Adams, didn’t share the same passion for the story behind the lyrics.  Being a Jew, this story about how God became Flesh wasn’t yet his truth, but he was moved by the lyrics and made the music that was used to sing the poem in church three weeks later on Christmas.  The story goes on about how the song was banned and then how an American, John Sullivan Dwight, brought it to america because these words echoed his views of slavery in the south.

“Truly he taught us to love one another;his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease.”

Back in France, there was this war and this guy sang this song and you can read about all that HERE.

Each year I spend some time reflecting on the year past and looking toward the year ahead.  Re-dedicating my life to the Gospel of Christ and stamping the new year with a word or idea that I will dance around as each day passes.  This year the word came quickly in late November when I pulled out my Christmas music and heard the words,


YES!  Exactly my heart!  How thrilling HOPE is, how much my weary soul rejoiced in 2017, even amidst the storm and through the death and around the work and in the moments.  I rejoiced not because I particularity enjoyed the difficulties of 2017 but because I ABIDED and because the HOPE I had was thrilling!

So, much to share about HOPE but I’ll leave you with these three questions and this one thought.  What do you HOPE in?  Is it sure? Does it ever disappoint?

I have determined not to put my hope in anything other then that which is sure and does not disappoint.  IF your hope is not that, then you probably have your hope lines crossed and I’d be happy to help you set them straight!  Stay tuned….

Its about to get THRILLING!

When Christmas is different

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7

Mary took a trip with her her fiance to comply with the decree that the entire roman population be counted.  She was great with child and knew that her time was close.  The baby was to be born.  I’m sure, like all moms to be, she had everything she needed at home to be prepared to bring the child into the world in peace and comfort.  She had dreamed about this day and was anticipating the arrival of her first born child.

But it was different then she expected.

She was in a place that wasn’t familiar or clean or normal.  She was in a stable, without her mom or sisters or cousins.  It was just her and Joseph.  No bed, nothing traditional or normal about this day.  She knew what this day was to look like but it was different.

This Christmas was different then all the others for me.  My children were with their father. My parents were in Arizona.  My brother was at his home.  My husbands father was with Jesus.  We were with my mother-in-law.  She didn’t have a tree or lights or “dad’s dip” or Turkey.  We didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve due to the weather and we didn’t wake up to stockings on Christmas Day.  I wasn’t in my own bed, my traditions weren’t present and there didn’t seem to be anything normal about the holiday.  It was different.

I thought about how Christmas may be different for others as well.  Just because this was my first “different Christmas” doesn’t mean that others haven’t had different Christmas’ before me.  What do we do with different?  Is all lost? Does Christmas loose its meaning or should it be less profound?  Is there something wrong with us if our Christmas is different or did we somehow miss out?

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Mary’s example is all that we need to remember during these times of different.  We don’t see her spiral into despair or feel like she was cheated by the “different” birth experience she had.  She didn’t complain or question.  She simply TREASURED and PONDERED.

I know that “where my heart is, there my treasure is also” (Matthew 6:21).  Where I focus my allegiances will be where my treasure is found.  If my heart is in the tradition of Christmas and not on the Savior born on Christmas, my treasure will be seemingly lost and I will feel poor in spirit.

Driving home from Portland after picking up my daughter from the airport gave me time to PONDER.  I gave careful thought (ponder) to the immensity of my God.  How large He is compared to me. How much bigger He is than the silliness of my life. How much more tradition He carries than my feeble traditions.  And then lastly, I pondered how much DIFFERENT He is then our little Christmas celebrations.

I am confident that He wants our holidays to be different.  I’m sure that He is the one that purposed for my Christmas to be different.  He is a God who is not content to keep everything the same but is intent on changing us and to change us He sometimes changes our normal into different.  This is the way it is with God’s economy.  His currency is different then ours and His payout always looks a bit different.

I still don’t know the exact reason why Christmas had to be different this year or even why my entire year of 2017 was so stinkin’ different.  But as I have said before, if My God purposes for things to be in my life, then I shall embrace it and trust Him.

As I think about it, perhaps these times are so that we seek hard to FIND the Holy and with determination bring Him Glory.

Let it be.



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