Hoping Against All Hope

Have you ever been in a situation where you have hoped and hoped, and it was going good, then when you were almost at the finish line, something tore your dreams apart? This is for someone who has been hoping that something great will happen, and who has been hoping for the longest time. This is for anyone who has been hoping that change will come...

Many of us have been there, I for one have been there time and time again. But this morning, God is saying that I must hope against all hope. I must hope even more than before now. I must hope ten thousand times more, because hope keeps the heart alive. Hope strengthens your trust in God. Hope says, "I know that He can do it, I may not know HOW or WHEN, but I know He can do it."

Even the psalmist felt like he had hoped against all hope. He talked about the tears he had cried, "You number my wanderings, Put my tears in a bottle, are they not in your book?" Psalm 56:8. Obviously, he must have cried a billion times, but he still kept hoping. Know that God sees all your tears, and He stores them in a safe box so that when your miracles come, you will see your tears and remember how you hoped. Isn't God the uncreated Creator? Isn't God the one who spoke and said, "Let there be LIGHT," and even till this day light exists every morning we wake up? There must be some hope left somewhere. You must still hope, because "the people who KNOW their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." Daniel 11:32.

Hope is the dividing line between a suicide and life. Hope is the dividing line between depression and happiness. Hope is the thin line between a maniac and a calm soul. Hope is the thin line between a frown and a smile.

Hope is a CHOICE. Hope is not given freely. Paul says we have to practically chase HOPE. Hope is for those who can stretch out their hands to reach for the skies. Have you ever wondered why Jesus told the man with the "withered hand" to stretch out his hand? In Matthew 12:13, we can see that this man had one good hand and his other hand was withered. Jesus did not specifically ask him to stretch out the bad hand, all Jesus said was "stretch out your hand." But this man made an excellent choice, he made a choice to have hope. He knew he could stretch out his good hand, but instead he decided to stretch out his withered hand. No one is supposed to be able to stretch out a hand that cannot stretch, but his hope and his faith caused him to do so, and because of that his withered hand became whole as he exercised faith by stretching it out.

Hope against all hope, and you will get to the finish line.
Stretch out that thing that you think cannot be stretched anymore,
and see if God will not make you whole.

Love, from the blue skies...

Yes, I felt the LOVE...as I traveled in the United Airways aircraft yesterday, I felt it all and I saw it all. The perspective from the deep blue skies.

I sat on the wings of the plane, at my favorite spot~ close to the window. At first, I just slept. And sometime at the middle of the journey, I woke up and began to look outside the window. The clouds were so white, and they made me smile (for no reason at all). I began to quietly sing, "Oh happy day, oh happy dayy, oh happy day, oh happy day...when Jesus washed, when Jesus washed, He washed my sins away!"

But as we were about to land, the plane began to gradually decrease and I started playing my usual game. In this game, I usually try to guess what all the little boxes are...I guess which boxes are schools, office buildings, mansions, apartments, warehouses, farm-yards, swimming pools, estates, e.t.c. I just love doing that. Trust me, I do that every single time I fly. But on this day, it meant something totally different to me. I began to think about God and how He views us from His throne. I don't know where that throne is, but I know that the bible says that "the earth is His footstool," and so I began to think of a mighty God. I thought of a royal figure, adorned with a kingly crown. And then I looked at one of the small boxes below again. And then it really hit me...

"what manner of a God is this? That He would choose to visit every one of us (one by one) in our little boxes. That He chooses to know us by name, and not just by groups. That He chooses to call us "friends," and that He chooses to call us CALLED, CHOSEN, a ROYAL PRISTHOOD."

Who is this mighty God? I looked at the oceans from the airplane, and I asked, "Who is this ARCHITECT?" Look at the way He constructed the landscape to look this good. Look at the way He separated the oceans from the land, and the mountains from the trees. Look at the roads that He gave man the intelligence to build. I was totally awe-struck. But as I decided to take my pen and paper to write about the beauty I could see below, the pilot announced and said, "we are about to land in Dayton, Ohio so fasten your seatbelts and get ready for landing..."

But my life will never be the same again...it was the intensity of the love I felt from the blue skies...

"A Letter to My Son"

So God picked up His golden pen one day, and decided to write to His sons and daughters.

And so He told us to search for wisdom. He told us to beware of things to come, to beware of deceit for it shall come. He told us to flee from those who convince us to go against His word. He told us that the way to start getting wisdom and knowledge is to actually "fear God" FIRST, for when we do that it would be impossible for us to sin.

And this was the letter God wrote to us, found in the book of Proverbs chapter 1 (7-23)

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

My son,
hear the instruction of your Father,
and do not forsake the law of your mother
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
and chains about your neck

My son,
if sinners entice you, do not consent.
If they say, "Come with us,
let us lie in wait to shed blood;
let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
let us swallow them alive like sheol,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
we shall find all kinds of possessions,
we shall fill our houses with spoil"

If they say,
"Cast your lots among us,
let us all have one purse"-
My son do not walk in the way with them,
keep your foot from their path;
for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood,
surely in vain the net is spread
in the sight of any bird;
but they lie in wait for their own blood
they lurk secretly for their own lives,
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
it takes away the life of its owners.

Wisdom calls aloud outside;
she raises her voice in the open squares.
she cries out in the chief concourses,
at the openings of the gates in the city
she speaks her words;
"How long you simple ones,
will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning
and fools hate knowledge.
Turn at My rebuke;
surely I will pour out My spirit on you;
I will make My word known to you."

But the turning away of the simple will slay them
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to Me will dwell safely
and will be SECURE, without fear of evil

***What does this letter mean to you?***

***The DIFFERENT flower pot***

*** This post is part of the friday verse series. May you be a different flower pot today, different from that of the last post...growing, nourished, flourishing, but most of all, being beautiful with each passing day.***

"So here she was, a different flower pot. There she was a different person. She thought about an empty flower pot, and then she taught about her life. She wanted her life to be different. She wanted to be brand new. She wanted to be the opposite of an empty flower pot; she wanted to have a stem, many branches, and many flowers. She wanted the sweet-smelling aroma of her flower pot to attract "favor" for her every where she went. But this time, she wanted to be the aroma of God. But she's learning every day that you can only become a fully flourishing beautiful flower pot when you digest the word of God everyday. The Word is the seed, the digestion is what forms the stem, and practicing it produces the branches and the flowers. But she was ready to start NOW, better late than never!"

Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

***And according to your decision of what flower pot to become, whether full or empty, whatever you do shall or shall not prosper.
Do you choose to prosper this friday?***

**The Empty Flower Pot**

An empty flower pot can have a seed but no plant. An empty flower pot can have a talent, but yet can still be useless...

"She had the vision, and she had the dream. She knew the many things she wanted to do and accomplish in her lifetime. She wanted to become the greatest enterpreneur, and she knew just what it took to get there. She had done her research and she memorized the number of steps she would have to take to get there. Apart from professionalism, she also wanted to be more than just a good person. She knew there was something more important than just waking up each morning and going to bed late at night. There was something she had not yet grasped, and she knew she had to get it before it was too late. She didn't know who God was, but it doesn't take an intelligent person to know that no man could have created the mountains and the oceans. It just wasn't possible. It takes only a higher power to do the impossible. She had to find Him now.

But how? She knew how...but she wasn't ready yet. She knew she could go on her knees and ask God for wisdom on how to run her life from here henceforth, but she didn't even want to ask! Instead, she decided to to just sleep back. There must be an easier way out of this. I don't need to work extra hard. I just need to wake up and take my life easy.

But she had a lot of talent. She had like five of them, and she could have taken her time to invest...she could invest in art, music, writing, trading, and medicine simultaneously. But she just wanted to be free as a bird. She wanted to be the girl who was beautiful and who could have her cake and eat it. She wanted to be known as the no-stresser. She wanted to be that popular girl that could swing her charm at the club and get anything she wanted without blinking an eye. So she just took life easy. And she grew older and older. So she hid her talents, and she failed in life. Till the day she died."

In the parable of the talents, the master of the house had three servants, and I know all three were intelligent. To one servant he gave one talent, to another two talents, and to the last servant he gave five talents. The servant with one talent knew how to multiply it but didn't bother, instead he dug up a hole and buried it. But the other two servants multiplied and doubled their talents, and when their master came back he blessed them. (Matthew 25:14-30)

God is waiting for you and I to arise and look at His vast resources and utilize the areas where we are most talented. He wants us to go forth and multiply. He wants us to SHINE as stars. At the end of the story, the master told the servant who had doubled his 5 talents into 10, "well done faithful servant, you were faithful over a FEW things, I will make you a ruler of MANY THINGS." On the day of judgement God will require the multiplication of the seeds that were sown into your life when you were on earth. You may encounter such questions as, "what did you do with your intelligence?" "What did you do with your speech?" "What did you do with the Name of Jesus?" You want your response to be faithful.

***You have to go just one step at a time,
you can't just leap to the top of the mountain
Make your empty flower pot full***

HAI-KU: Who am I?

"At Your Alter I cried

Who am I that You are Mindful?

That I call, You answer!"

***A hai-ku is a poem written in 17 sylabbles (3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 words)***

Invitation: TERC will be having an early morning meeting tomorrow (FRIDAY) @ 5am, and we'd love for you to be there. For instructions on how to get there, visit the TERC blog by clicking on the green link above for INSTRUCTIONS on how to call in tomorrow. Make a hot cup of tea and get ready to come before breakfast, we'll be dissecting how FAITH affects us as youth (part II of the FAITH SERIES we started last week)...everyone is invited...

*The Early Risers Call (TERC)*:
The Conference before Breakfast