Hope

Hope is very important; it can make a big difference in the way you think, the way you act, the way you feel. If someone doesn’t have hope, things can look pretty dismal. Sometimes it could be a case of life and death to the individual. Everyone needs hope. I bet a lot of people would like me to go on by saying it doesn’t matter where you get your hope as long as you have it. That statement, although contrary to popular belief, is untrue. It  does matter where you get your hope from. If you put your hope in the wrong places you are destined to be let down. Proverbs 11:7 “Hope placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.”

God is where we should put our hope. He is real and true hope. Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” God is a God of hope… Romans 15:13 “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.”

Jesus (God’s son) was killed in a gruesome way so that we could have eternal life with God (even after our earthly bodies give out and die). Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Why? Because Jesus was a man (and God), and he was perfect; he never sinned. That is why he can save us. He had all the sins of everyone past, present, and future, on him as he died. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He died so we can be saved. Jesus is our hope. God is our hope. Jesus is the only way to escape eternal death (hell). Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Friends, put your hope in the true hope, not earthly hopes that will lead to death and disappointment. Jesus did not stay dead, God raised him back to life. 1 Peter 1:21 says, “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” God is the best source of hope that there is. Sometimes, we who know this already still tend to forget, and lose sight of the goal. Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:2: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I want to leave you with this final verse… John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Spring Fever

It’s a snow day today and I want it to be summer or at least spring. Two days ago it was 15 degrees C and I was outside playing sports with my brother in just jeans and sweater. I think I have spring fever. I think even my dog has spring fever, before all this snow got dumped on us, she was outside playing on the deck just like it was spring, or summer… or fall.. or anything but winter. For me, I like the first bit of winter, because, then it is new and fresh, and exciting. I like winter before Christmas, I look forward to Christmas, it is nice to have snow at Christmas, but snow and below freezing weather after Christmas gets old pretty quick. Don’t get me wrong I like living in Canada where there is all the different seasons, but I wish winter was a little shorter and summer a bit longer. So here I am on the second day of march, on a snow day, sitting inside with spring fever. Maybe it will melt quickly and spring will come soon. I can only hope… and a few prayers on that topic couldn’t hurt anything. 😉

SMART Goals

It is important to have goals, no matter what they are, or how small. Actually I find it better to have smaller, more achievable goals, rather than goals that are always out of your reach.Without goals, we aimlessly walk around, our intentions wander and our minds dwindle. Humans need goals. Maybe you have heard of a SMART goal, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based.  SMART goals are a great way to set a goal. You need to have a goal that is within your reach at all times. Goals give you a purpose, a focus, something to strive for, to push yourself towards.

Make your goal specific so that you know when you have reached your goal. For example, if you said your goal was to become more fit, how would you know when you have reached that goal? Whereas if you say It is my goal to walk each day, you would know if you have reached that goal or not.

Make your goal measurable. Instead of just saying “I will walk each day,” say how long you will walk. For example, “I will walk for one hour each day”. 

But remember to make goals that you can achieve. Put it in your reach, but not so close that you don’t have to push for it. You need to work towards, and for your goals, but not have them so far out that you will never get there. It needs to be in that perfect in between spot where it will motivate you to push and try harder to reach it. So going with the previous example of someone wanting to become more fit, If one hour of walking was unrealistic and unattainable because they don’t have enough time in their day, they could shorten the length of their walk to 30 minutes each day. 

Also, make your goal relevant. Is your goal of walking for 30 minutes each day relevant to you reaching your ultimate goal of becoming more fit?  

Another important step to remember when making a goal is to make it Time based. So in this example you could, say I will walk for 30 minutes everyday for a month. Then at the end of that month you can reassess your goal and upgrade it if you have reached that goal. 

Follow those simple steps to have the perfect goal for you.

Treasures In Heaven

Maybe you’re dreaming about that new car or getting your nails done, getting that new t-shirt, or getting that kitten. Maybe all your attention is going into getting that raise at work. Maybe you’re like me, and you’re spending a lot of your time stressing out about things that don’t really matter. Things like losing that few pounds, or going to that appointment next week.

The thing I”m learning is, none of those things really matter in the long run. Things rust, thieves steal, weight comes and goes, life happens. Matthew 6:19-24 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

The world tries to sell you so much stuff that you don’t need, and things that are actually not important. The things that really matter, are the things that last into eternity after death. Everyone lives forever; it is where you will live that is the question. God want us all to spend eternity with him, but he leaves that decision up to us.

How much time do I spend worrying about earthly things when none of it will last into eternity? I bet no one is going to be fat in heaven, so why stress so much about it? I’m recovering from anorexia, so this new thought is like totally mind blowing for me. Why do I worry so much about weight when it doesn’t really matter? Yes, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit if we are God’s children, and God wants us to take care of our bodies. However, I’m sure he doesn’t want us to go to the extreme, and unhealthily obsess about our looks and weight. It is not the outward appearance that really matters; more importantly, it is who we are in the inside.

What do we spend out time doing and thinking about? Is it honoring to God? We should be asking ourselves if we will bring whatever it is, with us into eternity. I’m not saying we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves if it is honoring to God, I’m just saying for me anyway, I want to turn my focus toward the things that really matter, and things that will last.

It is my heart’s desire to follow God, but the world and its desires, and advertisements, sometimes sidetrack me, and I get caught up in the latest thing that I think I need. 1 John 2:17 says, ” The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” And Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I want to try to seek God’s kingdom and store up my treasures in heaven, rather than on earth? Is anyone with me?

Get Back Up

I recently have been going ice skating. Now I’m not an expert in skating, I have never played hockey, and I have not skated a lot. I can skate going forward and that is about it. But recently, I have been trying to learn new things while skating, such as spinning around fast, and stopping. But trying those new things led to me falling down more than once. Does that mean I quit trying? No. Falling down is a part of trying. You learn more by making mistakes or falling, than you might otherwise if you didn’t fall.

I like Batman, and there is a quote from Batman we could learn all learn something from. Here it is: “Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Batman    I like that quote from Batman. It reminds us that falling is OK, and  it is sometimes essential to learning new things. But every time you fall, you must pick yourself back up. Also, when you fail at something it can build character, if you have the right attitude and get back up.

There is another saying that goes something like this: “Always get back up one more time than you have fallen.”  Do you want to know what the really cool thing is? We don’t have to get back up on our own strength. Sometimes it is too hard to get back up on our own…. impossible even. God is there ready to pick us up when we fall. I like to think of it like this – when I fall I never hit the ground, God catches me in his hands and sets me upright again.

God is our Daddy; He wants us to come to him for help. God is our helper. Hebrews 13:6 says, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” God is our strength; He helps us to keep on going. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, our ever present help in trouble.” And Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through  him who gives me strength.” Psalm 37:23-24 says,” The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again, but the wicked stumble into calamity.”

So don’t be afraid to try new things in case you fall; be more afraid of not getting back up again when you fall.

A Fish Called Life

Last week I posted my sermon notes from Rev Dave Collins. This week is the continuation of Jonah, chapter two. All credit goes to Rev Dave Collins; all I did was write down what he said and shared it with you all. 🙂 It was a great message that we can all learn from, so please read it! I didn’t catch every single point he made, so I  apologize, but I tried.

Have you ever been swallowed by anything? Maybe you and Jonah have a lot in common. Does it feel like the world just ended? What do you do when this kind of overwhelming thing happens to you? What you should do is pray! Cry out to God when life has swallowed you whole…pray! We tend to cry out to God in that moment of need and desperation. Have you ever been in despair? Maybe you felt crushed or overwhelmed, or that all was lost and life would never be the same again. Do you know what I am talking about? Can you relate? Then this message is for you!

The life of a believer is a life of tension: such as how do you explain the sovereignty of God and the free will of man?  There is also tension around prayer. If God already knows what we are going to say, why pray? Common sense says to give up, no one is listening. Faith says trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

At this point, read Jonah 2, if you haven’t already. There are 4 different truths we can learn about prayer from Jonah 2. The first one is, Prayer can overcome despair when it recognizes our circumstances for what they are. Jonah saw it for what it was. He recognized God’s hand in his situation. Sometimes stuff happens that is totally out of our control. For example, you’re driving down the street and someone hits you even though you did nothing wrong. When you try to control that kind of situation it ends in frustration. The more we try to control the more you realize you’re out of control. The only way to turn the downward spiral is to to give it to God, to say he is in control, not you. (For example, instead of lying awake at night worrying, give it to God) What is it in your life that you need to give to God?

What about when we have chosen to ignore God? Afterward, do you find yourself saying, “if only… if only I had listened to God..”  Jonah and David are both biblical examples of this. If you find yourself in this situation, confess it to God. Say ,”God, I blew it; I thought I could control it … but I couldn’t. See the hand of God in your circumstance.

Sometimes God wants to use a situation to teach us (vs.8). We would rather learn life’s lessons without paying, but it doesn’t work that way. When we say, God what is it you want me learn from this? we are handing it over to God.

Point 2. Prayer overcomes despair when it acknowledges our need for God. God wants us to know that we value and need him. Of course God knows everything, but he wants us to know that we need him. When we come to him, it shows that we need him (vs 2).  “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” Jonah understood that he needed God desperately. 

Point 3. Prayer can overcome despair when it affirms our belief in a gracious God. He wants to lift us out of despair. You may think that you have failed and no one could love you again or forgive you again. That is despair, but we have a gracious loving God, he wants to lift us out of these places.  Read 1 John 1:9 (Click on link to read.) God turns our failures into victories. God died for our failures. Even though we may feel like a failure that is not who we are. We need to share with God in prayer, like a child shares with their father.

Point 4. Prayer can overcome despair when it reaffirms our commitment to God (vs.9). Prayer that takes us out of the pit of despair, is prayer that reaffirms our commitment to God. Jonah came to the place we should all come to in those situations, he said yes to God no matter the outcome. God will lift you out of despair. He will assure you that it is OK. It is OK because God is in control. God is a gracious God who loves you and is committed to you. We don’t have to wait until life swallows us to turn to God. We can go to Him anytime. God loves it when you call.

 

Keep on going!

Some days I feel like quitting. I don’t feel like doing anything, or maybe I just want to give up, on whatever I am going through, because it seems too hard. I’m writing this blog as a reminder to me and to you to not quit, but to keep on going.

I’ve given up many times, but God has not given up on me. It’s like God was saying hang in there, I know its tough, but I have plans for you. God wants me to do those plans that he has for me and not someone else, just like he wants you to do the plans he has for you. So for that reason alone, we have to try to keep on going. I can’t do it alone, I need God’s help. He can help you too if you ask him. God does know I try but I always fail without him One of my favorite passages is Hebrews 13:5-6 it says:  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  I love these verses for two reasons, one because it says he will never leave me or forsake me. The second reason is because it says, “So we say with confidence the Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid.” Sometimes I need a lot of help, and maybe you do too. It is important to remember that God is the best help that there is.

It’s important to just start, but it is also very important to keep on going, even when the going gets tough. Remember, God has plans for you, that he wants you to do, so don’t give up, keep on going. With Gods help you and I can do it!

 

Man Overboard!

Today I am posting a sermon summery from Jonah 1. The original sermon was preached today by Rev Dave Collins at my  church. I didn’t think of this up on my own I just took notes on the sermon and it was really good so I though i would share it with you all. it is a little longer than some posts but I learned from it so I encourage you all to read it all- not just skim over it. 🙂

Running From God- You Can’t Run From God- From Jonah 1

We don’t run from God we run from what God wants of us. Running away takes all shapes and forms. We have all run away from something at sometime. But there is another kind of running away, it is running away from God. Jonah, Adam and Eave, Elijah, and Peter are all biblical examples of people who have run away. Our first instinct is often flight when there is a tough situation. But you can not run away from God. We are not really running from God we are running from the things he wants us to do. Jonah ran away from what God wanted him to do, he tried to get far away from Ninevah.  He went in the opposite direction. You can try to run away from what God wants, maybe your running away from a tough conversation with a family member or an apology you should make. God is everywhere he is omnipresent. We think we can run away from obedience to him, but its not the way it works you cant run away from God.

We never run alone. There is always those around us who are effected. When Jonah got on bored that ship he took the whole crew with him. You don’t just disobey to yourself you do it to others around you too. They also pay for the consequences as well, just like the crew also suffered in the storm because of Jonah’s disobedience. When you make that decision to turn your back on what God want’s it effects others and will never be the same. When we run from God there is always consequences, in Jonahs case it was getting thrown into the sea.  No matter what we try to do the reality of the consequences is always their, Jonah tried to escape it by going below deck to sleep. But that didn’t work, the storm still raged on. Even if we try to ‘sleep’ like Jonah the storm still rages on around us.

When it comes to running from God sooner or later you have to stop and face God. Better sooner than later, because later is eternal. Jonah told them to throw him into the sea, he could have just jumped in. But we often need the extra push from others to help us step over bored. Sometime it takes someone else to help push you to take the net step. Is there someone in you life that maybe you need to thank for throwing you into the sea?

God will take control. God created a big fish big enough to swallow Jonah and keep him alive in the fish. God wants to take control of your life too. It’s time to step overboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas 101

I love Christmas time! The whole Christmas season is enjoyable. I love the Christmas lights, snow, the preparation for Christmas day, and fun Christmas traditions. But despite all of that I don’t want to forget the real meaning of Christmas, This year, I want to do something to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. I want to do something extra to help others in need this year and not just think about myself. I will brainstorm some of my ideas in this post; if you guys have any other ideas I would be happy to hear from you in the comments, or just by email.
However, first of all I want to remind you of what the real meaning of Christmas is. Here is the real meaning of Christmas 101: We are sinners. Everyone is, so God devised a plan to save us sinners. Do you know what it was? I will give you a hint; it had to do with his son Jesus.
The only person who has lived a sinless life is Jesus. Jesus is God’s son – Jesus is God. God sent his son, Jesus, to be born as a human on earth. Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary; Mary was promised to become Joseph’s wife.
Mary and Joseph went on a trip to Bethlehem, because the guy in charge at the time, Caesar Augustus, said that everyone had to go to their hometown to be counted in a census. So pregnant Mary, along with Joseph, traveled to his hometown, Bethlehem, to be counted. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Jesus to be born. They tried to check into a place to stay (an Inn) but they were all filled up. So they found somewhere else to stay. It might have been a stable, or a cave or even the lobby of a house; the Bible doesn’t say where exactly they stayed, just that when Jesus was born he was wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid in a manger. A manger is a trough from which animals eat, which is why people tend to think he was born in a stable, which could be true. Shepherds came to see Jesus, and later when Jesus was older, Magi from the east came to give him gifts. People call these guys the wise men. They think there were three of them, but there may have been more or fewer than that. Who knows? They gave three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh. They didn’t come until later, when Mary and Joseph were living in a house.
So Christmastime is when we celebrate Jesus being born on earth as a human. Jesus came to earth so that when he was older he could die for us, so we could be saved. If you have more questions about this you can email me or leave a comment below. So that is my Christmas 101. The continuation of the story is at Eastertime. I might write a post about that when it rolls around.
So here are some of my ideas to get back to the real meaning of Christmas this year and also to help those in need this Christmas season:

 

-Write a post about Christmas. (check! lol)
-Read the Christmas story in the Bible.
-Write a story from the point of view of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
-Make a gift basket for someone.
-Give to the homeless.
-Make a card to encourage someone.
-Thank Jesus for coming to earth.
-Invite Jesus to Christmas as I celebrate his birth.
-Make a birthday cake as a fun way to celebrate his birthday!
-Thank Jesus for coming to earth to save us