February Hope Whispers

Truths that Breathe Hope

❤️ GOD Values Us ❤️

“Look at the birds.
They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns,
for your heavenly Father feeds them.
And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?”
~ Matthew 6:26 NLT ~

❤️ God Doesn’t Merely Tolerate Us; He Delights In Us ❤️

“For the Lord delights in His people.”
~ Psalm 149:4a NLT ~

❤️ Victory Is Already Ours Through Jesus ❤️

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity,
or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger,
or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say,
“For Your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory
is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
~ Romans 8:35-37 NLT ~

Sometimes God Says No

🦋 “What if God’s ‘NO,’ is really a gift? His way to protect us from what we cannot see, provide something better than we can imagine, or be part of the process of growing us closer to Him.” – Lysa TerKeurst

🦋 “The key is you have to trust that God only has the best in store for you. If God says no to something, He says yes to something even greater. It is when you fully surrender all of your desires to His will that His perfect will is done.” – Nick Vujicic

🦋 “I know now, Lord, why You utter no answer. You are Yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answers would suffice?” – C.S. Lewis

Nature Retreat

“How countless are Your works, Lord!
In wisdom You have made them all;
the earth is full of Your creatures.“
~ Psalm 104:24 HCSB ~

Thank you to my brother John
for these spectacular photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Hooded Merganser
Red-Tailed Hawk
American Bittern
Isn’t it amazing how camouflaged this bittern is?
Red-winged Blackbird Doing the Splits 🙂
Botta Pocket Gopher
Western Banded Gecko – This little gecko may have had a close call in life. Do you see a difference at the end of his tail? If a predator snatches these geckos by the tail, they can release that part and regenerate a new one! Amazing, right?
Black Widow
The black widow is one among several spiders whose defense strategy is to play dead.

How Can We Ever Be a Conch Shell to God’s Glory?

Yippee! We’re going to the ocean! I don’t know how often we traveled there, but I do remember my excitement. My big brother took our inner tubes to the gas station to pump air into them, and I tagged along.

I don’t remember everything about it as I probably was younger than 5 since we moved from California to Iowa when I was 6. But I do remember the emotions I felt. I do remember making a sand castle when a wave came in and washed over me. It didn’t even scare me.

Even though I didn’t really know God then, there was something about the ocean that filled my heart with peace and awe. The memories of the sights and sounds still draw my soul.

I love all shells, but conch shells especially remind me of the ocean. Have you ever held one to your ear?

According to scientists, what we hear is just an amplification of the noises surrounding us. Air bounces around inside the shell and produces sound, the pitch depending on how big the conch shell is.

It will always have a deeper, spiritual meaning to me. A few years ago, as I cradled one to my ear, I closed my eyes and listened. Sweet melodies of God’s grace sang peace as they conveyed God’s power to create and preserve. The waves roared as they came in and slapped the shore, then sang a lullaby as they lapped the sand, leaving ripples of God’s voice.

“Are you listening, My child?” God asked.

“OK, Lord, I hear You, but I’m afraid of what You will ask me to do…” was my timid reply.

“You are a conch shell to My glory,” He gently reminded me. “Listen to My voice, follow Me, and make a sound for Me.”

Conch shells were among the first musical instruments and were often used to communicate in ancient cultures. They are still used today.

It is called the Pū in Hawaii and is used to say “goodbye” and “thanks” at sunset. When someone asked Rev. Alalani how she always blows the conch shell right and pure, she answered:

“Because I let God blow through me. I blow for the cause and to open the Heavens to come and Bless. I give thanks. I do not blow the Pū alone.”

Often I feel I can only produce off-tune static that doesn’t honor God. I am afraid, even when I write here, that I toot my own horn more than His. Or that His love for me isn’t pouring out to others. But I know Satan loves to bring all my shame and insecurities to the forefront and dissuade me from writing anything at all.

It is hard sometimes to tune in to God’s voice alone, isn’t it? And when we do, it’s sometimes easy to wonder if it’s actually filtering out of our own wants or if it’s really His voice. But at the name of Jesus, those negative, self-critical voices must stop. He has the power to calm every storm.

“You are from God, little children,
and you have conquered them,
because the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 HCSB

Do you feel full of doubt, shame, and insecurities? You are not alone. Jesus knows and cares about our struggles, and He is available around the clock to give us what we need. Funneled through His cleansing blood, our faltering voices can and will produce wholesome heart melodies to His glory.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 NLT

Greater
by MercyMe

“Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name

You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world…”

When We Long For the Fountain of Living Water To Revive Us

Running and leaping over fences, a deer flees from hunters. Her sides heave and her nostrils quiver. Her heart beats overtime. Her open mouth pants for water. Will her enemy ever stop pursuing her? Where can she get some water to give her strength to keep going?

“As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks,
So my soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.”

Psalm 42:1 AMP

We can identify with a deer’s plight, can’t we? Satan is relentless in pursuing us. Every moment is hunting season for him. He will stop at nothing to devour us. He knows where we are the most vulnerable. He batters us with lies: God doesn’t care about you. You’re insignificant to Him and to everyone. You have no purpose in this life. And on and on… He will stop at nothing to discourage us and keep us away from the Fountain of living water we so need to refresh us, energize us, and revive our fainting spirits.

As a deer pants longingly for water brooks, every fiber of our being can long for a refreshing and reviving drink from Jesus, the Fountain of life. Without His life-giving strength, we can’t go on. We try to keep replacing Satan’s lies with God’s truth, but we can become so battle-weary. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Jesus knows when we are too weary to keep going. He constantly invites us, “Come, My child, come. You don’t have to do this alone.” His longing for us is infinitely greater than ours. He is the Fountain of living water that longs to quench our thirsty souls. He is the Fountain of love and mercy that never runs dry. He is the Fountain of sufficient grace that is available every second of day or night.

All Who Are Thirsty
by Kutless

“All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Just come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of His mercy
As the deep cries out to deep, we sing…”