Summer Hope Whispers

Words from iBibleverses.com

Who God Says We Are

When times are tough, it can be easy for us to slide back into the rut of our insecurities and feelings of worthlessness. But the truth is, that even though we may “feel” insignificant and inadequate, God declares and maintains we are beloved, chosen, and favored!

🦋 What Would You Name Yourself? by Vaneetha Risner

“What we tell ourselves in our suffering powerfully shapes how we experience it.

Are you telling yourself that you are beloved? If you are certain that you are unconditionally and extravagantly loved by God, it will give you courage and hope, convinced that whatever is happening to you cannot be anything but God’s best for you. 

So what would you name yourself today? Would you name yourself by how you feel and the narrative that you subconsciously replay in your head… forgotten, unloved, undone? Or can you name yourself as you truly are… beloved, chosen, favored?”

🦋 Who God Says You Are by Nancy Beach

“One morning I opened my Bible and read today’s key verse: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. Beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 John 3:1a, 2a).

Beloved. Valued. Belonging. Accepted. Wanted.

Regardless of what others say or do, our identity rests secure in who God says we are. He says we are beloved. He says we are cherished for who we are in His eyes, not because of something we’ve done or not done. We are precious in His sight, one-of-a-kind, created for a unique purpose.”

God’s Whispers of Love

When we feel unloved
God whispers His Truth
My child, I love you with an everlasting love!
With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!


When we feel ugly
God whispers His Truth
My child, I have wonderfully created you
And I delight in your beauty!


When we feel dirty,
God whispers His Truth
My child, I have purified you
And made you whiter than the snow!


When we feel defeated,
God whispers His Truth
My child, in spite of everything that happens to you,
You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you!


When we feel rejected and deserted,
God whispers His Truth
My child, I will never ever abandon you
I am with you always even to the end of the world!


When we feel at a loss about what to do,
God whispers His Truth
My child, no matter the situation or the chaos,
I am still in control and will get you through this!
Just keep taking one step at a time.
You don’t need to understand,
You just need to hold My hand.


(Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 139:14, Psalm 45:11, Romans 8:37,
Psalm 51:7, Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20)

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    Your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is Your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
    in the shadow of Your wings.”

Psalm 36:5-7

Nature Retreat

”Go out, go out, I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.”

~ Edna Jacques ~

I love walking along the trail near the river, soaking in the sights and sounds of “the beauty of the wild” as the author of this quote puts it. Every bit of it still fills me with “the wonder of a child.” The heaviness in my heart over all that’s going on in this world seeps away as I remember how God has clothed and preserved the beauty of His creation and He is still in control.

Now for the grand finale of photos… My brother John recently discovered Great Blue Herons cough up pellets of the indigestible parts of the food they eat just as owls do. Okay, so I said “Gross!” when I first saw it. But it still fascinates me how God has equipped some birds to do this. Can you imagine what a belly ache all those indigestible parts would cause otherwise?

God’s Lens of Love and Grace Overcomes Satan’s Vicious Lies That God Doesn’t Care

“See what great love the Father
has lavished on us, that we should
be called children of God! 
And that is what we are!”

1 John 3:1

That is what we are? Children of God? Yes! God is a Father who will never, ever hurt us like earthly fathers sometimes do. He delights in us, so deeply that Jesus came to suffer and die in our place. Willingly. Lovingly. Lavishly.

Do you ever feel like you know this in your head, but your heart sometimes struggles to believe it? Your legs feel too rubbery to get up and move forward and receive this truth He so freely offers? Your hands feel too weak to take hold of His proffered hand of love and grace? Especially in times of vulnerability when Satan pummels us with his vicious lies and stomps us under his feet?

Believe me, Satan knows where we’re most vulnerable. Terminal or chronic illness can sap our energy. Depression and other mental illnesses can suck us down, down, down into a deep, dark hole where we lose hope and can’t see a speck of light anymore to lead us out. Losses of so many kinds can make us wonder where God is. Loss of self and devastation of lives through abuse or other traumas. The death of loved ones. Betrayals. Desertions. Divisions. Loss of jobs and financial means. The pandemic and all its repercussions. And on and on it goes. And Satan stalks as a hungry and determined lion watching, waiting, and pouncing on us when we’re weak and vulnerable.

When we’re discouraged, we become an easy target, and it can be harder to fight off those negative voices of never being enough. Those critical voices that say we’re unlovable, unwanted, and surely not needed in this world. Those vicious voices that say Jesus does not care and there is no hope or help for us.

Satan knows exactly when our bodies or souls are weary and feeling too weak to hang onto God’s truth. He sometimes convinces us to look through our lens of skewed perspectives because of past or present trauma and hurting words and actions that can drown out the remembrance of our identity in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t want us to look through the lens of truth that we are Jesus’ beloved, that Jesus cares so deeply, and He is with us no matter how difficult our struggles are.

Recently, I was looking through that distorted lens before I even realized it. My heart became so heavy, and I couldn’t understand why. Help me, Jesus! I turned to the One who knows and understands the deepest troubles of our hearts. The One who cries with us and longs for us to release our burdens into His hands.

And He graciously opened one of His promises to me:

“The God of peace will soon
crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you!”

Romans 16:20

Yes, Jesus in His powerful love and grace has already gained the victory over Satan, but as long as we’re on earth, Satan will try his utmost to bring us to doubt that truth. The grace of Jesus will always be with us here and help us through the heaviest trial, but won’t that be a glorious day when Satan will forever be crushed under our feet?!

If we hear condemning or shaming voices, it’s not God. God may sometimes lead us in a way of correction out of love, but He will never condemn us even when we fail or fall. Even though He knows that in our weakness, we sometimes do take up those distorted lens Satan digs up and gives us. He can and will remove those lens and again give us His lens of love and grace. The lens He sees us through. His lovable and wanted child who is needed in this world to spread the same love He gives us to others.

“So now there is no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love;
 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”

Jeremiah 31:3

Anchor of Hope for the Hopeless

hopeanchor

“Hopelessness sucks you dry of any peace or victory in your life. It can be almost suffocating, stealing the Word from your heart and blanketing you with heaviness.” (Guideposts)

Do you ever feel this way? It’s an awful feeling when it seems the life is sucked right out of us. We try to grab and hold onto the promises, but they slip from our grasp. Losing all hope in the mercy of God.

Even when we don’t always feel it, God keeps His promises. Sometimes we have to wait a looong time, but never so long as some of the people in the Old Testament had to wait. After God’s last promise of His Son coming, there were 2,000 years of silence. Can you imagine? They must have felt so hopeless at times. The Savior had not yet come. They had to cling to God’s promises that He would come.

It’s impossible for God to lie. When He gives a promise, it is more than 100% certain He will keep it. We know today the promise of a Savior was kept. Jesus has come. He has paid the price. He has given hope to hopeless souls.

“We who have run for our very lives to God
have every reason to grab the promised hope
with both hands and never let go.
It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline,
reaching past all appearances right to
the very presence of God where Jesus,
running on ahead of us,
has taken up His permanent post as High Priest for us,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

When the storm waves jerk the ships of our souls back and forth, up and down, the rope to the anchor of hope won’t break, because it is made of the unbreakable love of a faithful God.

We may sometimes feel like hope is forever gone from our hearts, and it would be if it were up to us. But even when we cannot see it, Jesus is the unbreakable Lifeline that leads us to salvation, safety, and solace.

We have this hope, this strong and trustworthy anchor, that reaches into the very certainty of the Presence of God. Yes, He’s waiting for us to flee to Him for refuge with all the broken pieces of our lives.

“We see our failures and our lack of faith,
but God sees what we will become
as His Spirit faithfully works through
the broken pieces of our lives.
God’s timing always perfectly matches His plans,
even if sometimes it runs roughshod over ours.”
(Sheila Walsh in The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are)

 

The Reason We Have Hope

“Third Man”
by Loretta Lynn

Last night I dreamed I took a walk up Calvary’s lonely hill,
The things I saw with my own eyes could not have been more real.

I saw upon three crosses three men in agony;
Two cried out for mercy… but the third man just looked at me.

Oh, the pain in this man’s eyes that just broke my heart in two!
It seemed I could hear the third man say: “I’m doing this for you.”

I knelt beneath the third man’s cross and slowly bowed my head,
I reached out to touch His feet and it stained my hands with red.

And when I heard Him cry in pain, I raised my eyes to see;
Blood spilled from the third man’s side… and some of it spilled on me.

The third man wore a crown of thorns, spikes held Him to the tree,
I heard him cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

And there within a mighty crowd the ones who mocked him cried,
“King, save Thyself if Thou art King!” and then the third man died.

I heard the thunder roll and saw the lightning pierce the sky.
The third man was still hanging there and I began to cry.

I saw the boulders fall and heard the breaking of the ground.
Then I awoke and thought I dreamed;
I touched my cheek and found
My eyes were wet where I had cried.

A dream? I wished I knew—
I still can hear the third man say,
“I’m doing this for you.”

hang in there

Praying we will hang onto the Lifeline of Hope,
Signature

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace