We all need a little hope, right?  In this world we live in, there is enough of EVERYTHING else that can take away our hopes and dreams and replace it with fear and doubt.  Just turn on the news on any given day and this world looks pretty bleak.  Which makes me think of what Jesus said, in John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled..."  

That's easier said than done, right?

But then their is this word: HOPE.  

What is hope?  Where does it come from... where should we place our hope.  Let's take a look at that word and what it means....

Here's the dictionary definition:

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Here's a couple of my favorite Bible verses about Hope:

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." Hebrews 6:19

Seems to me there is a difference between the worlds definition of hope and God's hope... so how do we get to the biblical view of hope.

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Romans 15:4 "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."

Hope through the Scriptures, God's Word.  

Well, if you're anything like me you've maybe misplaced your hope, or forgotten where it comes from.  Instead we hope in many "things" of this world...
~ hope that we have a nice weekend or vacation
~ hope we get that job or house we want
~ hope that those test goes well
~ hope that what that person told us was the truth
~ and the list goes on and on...

When we hope in "things" or people, (Like the Webster's definition of the word) we are/or can be disappointed, which leads us back to that troubled heart. And that is NOT what the Lord wants for us. He wants our trust and hope to be in Him. (like that verse above in Jeremiah 29:11)

So where are we placing our hope?  

And wow do we stop this vicious cycle? 

This year has been a doozy of a year so far.  I have felt "STRETCHED" (my #OLW word for the year) in more areas of my life than ever before.  I think I'm not the only one either... I've heard from a lot of friends that are experiencing this stretching.  Are you as well? But as I realize this is happening, the other day I was reminded of my word from LAST year which was:

HOPEFUL.

 

Oh, that's right... a year focused on this word and I forget it so quickly? How easy it is to loose sight of things.  The enemy loves to distract us and keep us from TRUTH.  He wants us to live in the world and not focus on God's Word.  He wants the distractions of this world to pull us away from seeing the Bible as an instruction manual like Romans 15:4 says above.  That's why everywhere you turn, the media and this world mocks the Bible.  "It's not relevant, it's just a book, it's not real... the list goes on and on.

But God is SO good and He lovingly brings us back...

Back to the ONLY place I can point you or anyone to.  To find peace from those question marks in our lives...

and that is directly to God's Word.  

 

It is the only place we can go, to find the true source of HOPE.

Oh dear friends, I've felt ALL those question marks too... just in this last week alone it's been fighting that troubled heart over and over.  So I'm not telling you anything that I don't need to hear just as much!  I think my emotions could have jolted the Richter Scale, believe you, me.   (I think part of that is my 49+ hormones kicking in...) but also just the enemy telling us lies, because he's good at that.  

 

But, God.

 

I love that.  My dear friend Sheila Atchley wrote that in a IG post a little while ago and I thought... Yes.  But, God.  Sure, everything else can feel messed up and wrong, but God can change ANYTHING.  He's the "SWITCH" that turns life around.

The ONLY true place to find REAL hope & REAL peace is close by Jesus' side.  

I am so thankful He is ever SO patient with our ramblings, our rationalizations, our plans, etc. etc...  Then after we've gone through all those annoying "self help talks" to ourselves,  He gently reminds us to come back to REST by His side.  To step into that place of STILLNESS with Him where He has space to speak to our restless hearts and give us His peace and hope.

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“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10

I'm studying a GREAT YouVersion plan called "Spiritual Disciplines & Evangelism" and it's teaching me so much! (Highly recommend this one)  Here's just one little nugget from the day on Silence & Solitude:

"In solitude & silence is where all our cares are pushed to the background and we are able to rediscover what it means that God has NEVER left our side.  We find God's nearness and BIGNESS simultaneously."

Don't we just LONG for that... Oh how we desperately NEED that!

Why is it then that we make our lives so much more complicated?


Oh we are so silly... What we need to remind ourselves of is that He is beckoning us to Him.  To rest in Him.  He wants to calm our hearts, to fight our battles and to SIMPLIFY our lives.  Yesterday after I realized I had cried about 1/2 a dozen times, I was just DONE.  But then I felt His presence just call me to Him.  To take that time to spend in His Word, with Him.  So I stopped crying, went out in my backyard and had some "Silence and Solitude" time.  Journal in hand, this blog post is what came from that time, and it's what I wanted to share with YOU.  

Because He encourages us with His HOPE...  Daily, or sometimes moment by moment.  I promise you, we need to get out of the way and let Him simplify our lives.

He is near... and He is so dear.  

I hope this weekend you feel the Lord's presence as you draw near to Him through His Word and through prayer.  Find peace and rest and the HOPE that only comes from Him.

His HOPE encourages us to then go out and help others find this joy of life that can be had in Him.

Hugs,

Laura

P.S. Next week I want to go deeper into this and talk about how this HOPE from God flows through to our lives and the plans we make.  So this weekend just sit in that silence and solitude for a while.  It's where you can always go to find rest.  But it's not where we can stay.  The Lord does want us to plan and work and have lives FULL...

 

 

 

 

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