Hope Renews Strength

I recently found an online deal for a discount on a custom sign. I thought for a while about what to get, and this is what I settled on:

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Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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Forgiveness

One of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your entire life is exercise forgiveness towards someone…yet it can also be one of the most important things you can ever do.

I will be honest, sometimes it is very difficult to say those three words: I forgive you. There have been people in my life who I may not want to forgive, for one reason or another. These are people who have hurt me physically or emotionally, have broken my heart or my body, have changed me in ways I could not have previously imagined…

To these people, I feel called to extend forgiveness. As the songs say, this is very difficult and you often feel like the one loosing when you offer someone forgiveness. However, as the physical and emotional wounds heal, I know that the healing will only be complete once I extend true forgiveness.

I have personal stories of forgiveness, and may share them here at some time. But for now, I encourage you to seek out one of two type of people…first, the people that have wronged you, tell them you forgive them…second, the people you have wronged or hurt in some way-ask them for their forgiveness.

Father- grant me the grace to show these people the forgiveness they deserve. You have forgiven me of all my sins and wrong doings, who am I not to extend this to those who have wronged me? Help too, these people…allow them to learn from their mistakes and work in them to help them be who you want them to be.

I know it will not be easy, but I will do my best to live the words of Matthew 6:14-15For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. And Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

There Is A Plan!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.

Jeremiah 29 11-14

This is the verse that gives me strength each day and helps me hold tight to the promise that God has a plan in store for me, even if I do not fully know what it may be!

True Heroes

So by now I am confident that you have heard the news and stories of the terriable incident from last Thursday night/Friday morning. I am, of course, referring to the shooting that took place during the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado.

However, I am not writing about the horrific event in its entirety. This is because I want to respect the people who fell victim to the act of a single, desperate, seemingly evil individual. Plus, there has been enough press about the event has a whole and I will not continue writing about it and dissecting it, at least for now.

I want to mention three people from this event: Jon, Matt and Alex. These three incredibly brave men paid the ultimate price for the people they cared about. Now I realize there are numerous stories of bravery from that night, but these three young men laid down their lives in order to protect others. When the gunman started firing into the crowd, each of them reacted in a split moment, using their bodies to protect their girlfriends and those around them.

While some of the specific details of what happened may be shrouded in mystery and confusing details, the effects of these brave acts is clear: three young women are alive because these three guys moved in a way devoid of selfishness and full of compassion and care.

Many of us strive to live out the words of the Bible, whether we fully believe in it or not. From the Golden Rule to the Ten Commandments, almost everyone applies these types of ideals in their lives. However, one verse seems to stand above the rest, especially in this situation. It was the first that I heard in my mind as soon as I hear about this story, and it sent shivers through my body.

I want you to think about this for yourself- I am not going to spend time breaking this down further. I will say: these men are true heroes and I know their sacrifice will never be forgotten or their memory diminished.

So think about this, do any of us really know when our time is up, or how our time will end? These guys were not doing anything extraordinary before they were killed…they were going to a midnight release of a movie- something I have done many times with no thought to something like this happening. Then, when the situation drastically changed, they saw only one way to react. Casting aside selfish ambition, they saved someone they loved. We should all be so lucky to have our last act be so courageous.

I want to close with a question: We are called to be courageous…Jon, Matt and Alex answered the call when the moment came: will you? Live in a way that honors them, their memory and the love ones they left behind.

Gentlemen- thank you.

Article about the young men here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/aurora-shooting-boyfriends-died-protecting-girlfriends_n_1695290.html

Identity

Listen first:

Now think about this question: in what do you place your identity?

Do you place your identity in the world…in objects, in stuff…? Do you feel like you will not be accepted if you do not have the latest and greatest the world has to offer?

I, for one, will work to place my identity in something-rather someone- not of this world.

My identity is in Christ. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Words from Romans

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wraththrough him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.