“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Barbies and dolls were two of my passions as a young girl. And it was during those years the American Girl Company was created with the original five: Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly. I dreamed of owning Molly. It did not matter that my parents were in full-time ministry and would not be able to afford her. It also did not matter that we did not live close to an American Girl Doll Store. All that mattered was this burning hope and belief within me that somehow I was going to be the proud owner of a Molly doll.
I had to wait a while, but eventually one Christmas morning I opened a box from my grandparents to see Molly’s adorable face staring back at me. Needless to say we had wonderful adventures together and yes, I am still the proud owner of that Molly doll.
During that time of waiting I was not sullen nor angry that Molly did not belong to me immediately. Quite the contrary. My hope gave me a sense of joy and anticipation in one day receiving her. As believers, we have this hope and expectancy for a better future in Jesus! This hope should effect every moment and every circumstance of our lives. God’s desire is for us to make those around us curious about the joyful hope that shines through us. So I ask you: are you a hope giver? Because our world desperately needs it.
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Psalm 141:3 NIV
My family lovingly jokes that my grandfather has never met a stranger. His extroverted, friendly disposition was passed on to my mother and then on to me. I love people. I love observing people, meeting new people, chatting with people… yes, I am a people person. This love can be a wonderful tool for God, but it can also be quite dangerous. Combined with my love for people is my love for words. Too many times I have let my OMIF (open mouth insert foot) syndrome get in the way of God’s work.
Proverbs 18:21 states that “the tongue has the power of life and death.” God has given us profound possibilities within the power of our words. We have the power to speak confidence over our children’s hearts, but we also have the potential to cripple their self-esteem. We can be our spouse’s biggest champion or we can tear them down and make them feel two feet tall. We can bring life into our friend’s day or pull a dark cloud over their sunshine. This power within us effects everyone we come in contact with. What an awesome responsibility!
With such power within us, God wants us to be in constant communication with Him to discern when He wants our thoughts to be spoken aloud or when they should stay buried in the recesses of our minds. Verse three of Psalm 141 has become a dear prayer of mine. An unknown author once said that “A closed mouth gathers no foot.” Let’s keep our feet where they belong and choose to speak life into those around us!
photo credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/BJN-31210
“This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!”
“BEEP-BEEP-BEEP” As I reach over groggily to turn my alarm clock off, I say in a half-awake whisper, “this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” After my bare feet pad their way over to the bathroom sink so I can throw water on my face to help me wake up, I say more confidently with a smile on my face, “this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” As my baby lays on the changing table after waking up I sing to him, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it…”.
Why this morning mantra you ask? The Bible describes our mind as a battlefield (Romans 7:23). As believers we have the Holy Spirit living inside us wanting to transform us through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). Unfortunately there is also a very real enemy out there who is described as the father of lies (John 8:44). He takes great pleasure in trying to make us succumb to the doubt, discouragement and deceit he whispers in our ears.
The Bible places great emphasis on godly knowledge and wisdom. And because I have the knowledge that my mind is a battlefield, I wisely choose to start my day primed for victory! Instead of waking up and dejectedly thinking about how many more hours of sleep your body is craving, or how many household chores await your presence, or how you can keep your little ones entertained at the hospital while their older sibling gets a check-up, I encourage you to instead begin your day rejoicing in the Lord and telling yourself that whatever God requires of you today (and everyday), you can do all things (rejoicing) through Him who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
photo credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/asura-45946