“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
by Victory Worship
“You are never far away Always reaching out to save My weakness covered by Your strength And I am found forever safe I found my fortress in You And my soul is anchored with You My resting place is in Your name Forever safe”
“I know the world is crazy right now, but I’m so thankful that God knows our names, understands our emotions and is intimately involved with the development of our faith.” ~ Lois Flowers
“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.” ~ John Piper
“Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky, words of comfort in the intensive care unit, the first spring bird perched on a snow-covered twig, and the finish line in sight. It is a rainbow, a song, a loving touch. Hope is knowing God and resting in His love.” ~ NLT Life Application Study Bible: Zephaniah introduction
Nature is a Retreat of Hope
““Be as a bird perched on a
frail branch that she feels
bending beneath her,
still she sings away
all the same,
knowing she has wings.” Victor Hugo
Thank you to my brother John for these beautiful bird photos.
(🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂)
“But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:24 NLT
Their hearts heave with unshed tears and their heads hang with grief, but their feet trudge on with purpose. Their Master is dead. Their hopes and joys are shattered and buried with Him. But they will still remember the love this Man gave to them.
These women of courage head for the tomb. Their spices and their tears will mingle together to anoint the body, to slow down the decay of their precious Jesus, the one they thought would save them. But now? A dead one can’t deliver them from their enemies.
“Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” they cry. The stone, like their despair, is far too heavy for these women to move. And besides, how will they ever get past the guards? Impossibilities loom ahead of them, but they can’t stop. The love of Jesus draws them on like bees to honey. Their hearts still cry out to Him in desperation.
Their heads bowed, they are intent on reaching the grave. Then they look up… What?!
“Looking up, they saw that
the stone had been rolled away,
although it was extremely large.”
Mark 16:4 NASB
The stone is already rolled away! And no guards. They enter the tomb and see a young man dressed in a sweeping robe as white as snow. Terror and confusion attack their already troubled hearts as they tremble at the sight of this angel whose appearance is like lightning.
“The angel said to the women,
‘Do not be afraid;
for I know that you are
looking for Jesus
who has been crucified.
He is not here,
for He has risen,
just as He said.
Come, see the place
where He was lying.’”
Matthew 28:5-6 NASB
Their eyes round with wonder, they remember the words Jesus had spoken – that He would be crucified but would rise again the third day. Afraid, yet filled with joy, they hurry to tell the disciples the best news anyone could ever tell. JESUS IS ALIVE!
Sometimes we believe this great news in our heads, but we can’t seem to grasp it fully in our hearts. It may feel like Jesus is still dead. Like our hopes and joys are still buried in that tomb. Like our hearts are so downcast that we cannot even see the stone is already rolled away.
Troubles may threaten to crush and smother us, but there is still hope. Why?
HE IS RISEN! He is still alive. Today. Forever. He was crucified, but He is glorified. For each of us. Our hopes and joys are not in that tomb but alive in Him. He conquered death and hell and left our sins in the tomb. Because He lives, sin’s power is broken. Because He lives, no enemy will triumph over us. Because He lives, nothing and no one can separate us from His love.
Precious Jesus, Like these women Your love draws us. We cannot live without You.
Sometimes our hearts are so heavy; We cannot feel You really are alive. Please shed the blinding gloom from our eyes That we may truly see You have already removed the stone And You truly are alive Yesterday, today, and forever.
Death could not hold You. Hell could not keep You. The sins of this whole world Could not destroy You.
O please, Lord, Dispel the darkness in our hearts With Your everlasting light. Shatter the despair we are buried in And fill us with the joy You gave those women at the tomb. Joy so full and free That it spills out to others.
When depression saps the life from us, Fill us with Your life. May our hearts leap with joy Because You are alive And here with us Always and forever.
No matter what we go through You hold our hand. Even when it’s dark Even when we can’t feel You You are alive Beside us Within us.
The caterpillar certainly identifies with the feeling of loss and lack of control as his body slowly scrunches into a pupa or chrysalis. Darkness engulfs him, and he can no longer move.
His old self slowly dies but transforms into a beautiful butterfly that slowly emerges from captivity through a tiny opening. A struggle is necessary to push the fluid out of his body into his wings. If the struggle is hurried, the result will be shriveled wings and no ability to fly. After he stretches and dries his wings in a world of light, he is freed to fly.
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Chang Tzu –
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him.” John 12:46 VOICE
Nothing Is Wasted
by Jason Gray
“The hurt that broke your heart And left you trembling in the dark Feeling lost and alone Will tell you hope’s a lie But what if every tear you cry Will seed the ground where joy will grow
And nothing is wasted Nothing is wasted In the hands of our Redeemer Nothing is wasted…”