Reflections: Past, Present, and Future

Looking to the Past, Present, and Future

As I reflect on this past year, often my heart was so deeply troubled about things that are happening in our nation and in this world. The truth that often kept me going is that God is still in control. He always has been and He forever will remain the King of the World. We don’t always see visible evidences of His love and grace, and it sometimes seems that evil prevails. But God will always be the ultimate Victor. He’s got us. He will never abandon us. He is always with us, working towards our good.

As I gaze into the new year, I know God will always remain faithful. He has helped me this far and He will hold me up through whatever happens this year. My desire is to more deeply trust Him and His plan and to fully embrace His unconditional love. The more I embrace His love, the more naturally love will pour out to others around me.

As for the present, I want to embrace every moment. I want to open my eyes more to the blessings right in front of me, the beauty God gives each day.

Past, present, future. No matter what happened or will happen to us, God’s faithful love endures forever. We may not always “feel” like He loves us, but this truth still stands. May we hang onto this hope each day!

“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

Most Visited 2018 Blog Posts

Sometimes when people hear I write blog posts, they ask, “How many followers do you have?” I shrug my shoulders and say I don’t know.

Years ago, I was too concerned about numbers, and I still fall into that trap sometimes. People approval still lurks in my heart far too much. I remain a work in progress…

Though I don’t check anymore how many followers I have, I do once in a while check which posts are read the most. It’s evident there are many hurting souls who need hope in this broken world. Who long to feel like they matter. Who long to feel understood and not feel so alone.

This 2015 post has been the most read post for the past three years. We may feel so broken, like we’re not worth anything, but God loves cracked pots. His love can shine through our brokenness!

God’s Love Can Shine Through Our Brokenness

This next 2014 post has been the second most read post for the past two years. In 2018, it nearly tied for 1st. Questions I still sometimes ask God. It seems I daily need to be reminded of His whispers of reassurance to these doubts and fears that trouble me. I love God’s compassion and patience with us! He invites us to ask Him anything, and He never condemns us! There is no one who knows us and understand us like He does!

God Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

My Hope For Each Of Us
May We Remind Each Other Often

He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands

On New Year’s Day, a song came to my heart – “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I listened to it on YouTube and found another rendition of it. I still love the traditional song, but I love this one even more, because it speaks of how good God is, how His love will never stop, and how every person of every color is wonderfully made and precious in His sight.

I have watched and listened to this song several times since then, and every time it makes me want to dance and sing with these young people. I’d do it if I could without getting short of breath or coughing. 🙂 But I still do it in my heart! And each time, God breathes strength into my soul. Yes! We are in His hands of love this year and always! What better hands could we be in, right?

Because Jesus Came Down, Love Will Never Fail

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Don’t you just love the Christmas movies where love prevails? When a cold heart is melted? When a person’s life is changed for the better?

Sometimes all a person needs is one person in the world who cares. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, one little girl wormed her way into The Grinch’s heart. He hated Christmas and all the Whos down in Whoville who celebrated it. Christmas triggered a bad memory from his childhood when he was bullied and not accepted for who he was. But little Cindy Lou didn’t want him to be left out, and no matter how mean The Grinch was to her, she kept showing him she cared until finally the walls around his heart came tumbling down and his heart grew three sizes bigger. And peace was restored in Whoville.

Then there’s Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. He tried to take the warmth of love out of Christmas. He wanted it to be about him and his honor, not about love and giving. And again a little child leads, because along comes little Lucy Miller whose heart brims over with love. She hugs Jack Frost, and his cold heart melts and he becomes a better person. And peace was restored at the North Pole.

Even though some Christmas movies are make-believe and don’t speak of how love began with Jesus, there can still be an important message of love in them for our real world. Love changes things. One loving person can make an impact on others.

Sometimes we can get discouraged by all the hate, greed, and violence in this world, but love changes hearts, people, and circumstances. Because love came down at Christmas, peace is possible however impossible it seems.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, tragedy both in the nation and in his family shook him to the core of his being. A raging Civil War, a son crippled from war wounds, and his dear wife’s tragic death sunk him into a deep depression. The joyous ringing of Christmas bells seemed to mock his sadness. Hate is so strong. Where is the peace?

And in despair I bowed my head ;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said ;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Don’t we sometimes feel the same way when troubles and losses abound and when we look at everything that is happening in the world around us?

But God poured His love in, and hope revived in the heart of Longfellow. In the final stanza, he penned:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead ; nor doth He sleep !
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Even though it may not seem so, love will prevail. Hope is still alive, because love came down at Christmas. Because Jesus came, love is possible in a world of hate, greed, and violence. Love can melt hardened hearts, change lives, and pour healing and peace into broken hearts and a broken world. Love that Jesus brought, love that can never be taken away, love that will be victorious forever.

Love Came Down
by Kim Walker-Smith

Love came down
Hope was found
A star lit the sky
The angels cried glory
Light broke through
The darkest night
Hope is alive
Hope is alive
Cause love came down
Love came down

May God pour into our hearts
His love, hope, and peace,
and may we pour it
out to others!

The Savior’s Hands Forever Reach Out to Us With Love

A few years ago I saved this picture from a Christmas card. It still fills my heart with awe. The reaching out of Jesus’ Hands forever in love is humbling and amazing at the same time. May our hands also reach out in love to others!

The following poem is on the backside of this photo:

In His Hands

The Hands that made the world
And gave the sun and moon their light
Are the tiny Hands of a baby
Born one cold December night.

 The Hands that still the wind
And tame the fury of the sea

Are the calloused Hands of a carpenter

Who lived in poverty.

 The Hands that held the power
To break the binding chains of sin

Are the gentle Hands that washed the feet

Of tired and dusty men.

 The Hands that cleansed the leper,
Healed the blind, and raised the dead

Are the praying Hands of one who cried,

“Not My will, but Thine instead.”

 The Hands that shaped the universe
And flung the stars in space

Are the nail-pierced Hands of a dying man

Who suffered in our place.

 The Hands of our Creator,
Lord and King of Heaven above,

Are the Savior’s Hands,

Forever r
eaching out to us with love.

 B. J. Hoff

When I searched for Bible verses about God’s hand(s), I was surprised at how many there are. I haven’t begun to find them all and I definitely can’t name them all here, so I’ll just share a few.

“My own hand founded the earth,
and My right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summoned them,
they stood up together.”
Isaiah 48:13 HCSB

“The life of every living thing is in His hand,
as well as the breath of all mankind.”
Job 12:10 HCSB

“Riches and honor come from You,
and You are the ruler of everything.
Power and might are in Your hand,
and it is in Your hand to make great
and to give strength to all.”
1 Chronicles 29:12 HCSB

“Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding
so that I can learn Your commands.”
Psalm 119:73 HCSB

 “For the Lord your God dried up the waters
of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over,
just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea,
which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. 

This is so that all the people of the earth may know
that the Lord’s hand is mighty,
and so that you may always fear
the Lord your God.”

Joshua 4:24 HCSB

“My enemies surround Me like a pack of dogs;
an evil gang closes in on Me.
They have pierced My hands and feet.”
Psalm 22:16 NLT

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands;
your walls are ever before Me.”
Isaiah 49:16 NIV

“Sing a new song to the Lord,
for He has done wonderful deeds.

His right hand has won a mighty victory;
His holy arm has shown His saving power!
Psalm 98:1 NLT

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Your Hands
by JJ Heller

“When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands…”

May God hold you in His loving Hands!