Relax, Reflect, Recharge

I Have a Hope!

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message.

In the 1950s, Curt Richter, a Harvard graduate and Johns Hopkins scientist, did a series of experiments that tested how long rats could swim in high-sided buckets of circulating water before drowning. Dr. Richter found that, under normal conditions, a rat could swim for an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off, and let them rest briefly before putting them back into the same buckets of circulating water, the rats could swim an average of 60 hours.

Conclusion: If a rat were saved – even temporarily, it would survive 240 times longer than if it were not saved at all.

Interesting!

How could these rats swim so much longer during the second session, especially after swimming as long as possible to stay alive during the first session? Dr. Richter concluded that the rats were able to swim longer because they were given hope.

Hope can stand beside grief and give us the strength to go on.

Hope can deflect the attacks of the enemy, even when we are wounded and weary of the battle.

Have you ever been so tired, utterly discouraged and in so much pain that you could hardly breathe? That is exactly where we find King David, the author of Psalm 40.

David was a shepherd boy, a giant killer, a general and king, a singer, a husband and father, and a very religious man. David had it all – success, money, power and the favor of God. Men like that are not supposed to commit adultery – right? But David did commit adultery with Bathsheba. And that is not all he did! David then sent Bathsheba’s husband to the front lines of war, knowing he would be killed. David moved in with Bathsheba – but he knew he was swimming in sin.

David realized that he had sinned against God and begged God to forgive him. “Lord, I have sinned” David cried. God’s mercy and love went to work, restoring David to the point that God said “This is a man after my own heart.”

Did you notice the powerful truth that God turned to David? I don’t think David had the energy to turn to God. He had been swimming in his sin far too long. But like a father whose heart and ears are tuned to the cries of His children – even when they have made mistakes – even when they are broken and their lives are a mess, when the children of God cry out for God, He hears and comes running.

If God heard the cry of David, He will hear yours. He knows everything you have done and loves you still. He can see every corner of your pain-filled heart and sees every tear you have cried.

Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

You can count on God to come through. He is your hope.

One of my favorite worship songs says:

I have a hope that will never fade away.
It’s alive in me, living day-to-day.
I have a hope, and my hope has a name – Jesus Christ.

No matter where you are today, lift up your head, open your heart, and listen for the voice of the One who knows you best and loves you most. He is with you and He will deliver you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Do You Ever Feel Unappreciated?

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“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

The Bible is a timeless note expressing God’s interest in us.

And let me tell you, I love a good note.

When I was in high school in the late 1980s, the halls buzzed with everything you would expect, including note passing. When you got a note, you didn’t just let it hang out in the pockets of your Calvin Klein jeans or shove it in your leg warmers — you took it out and devoured it.

And then you wrote back, circling yes or no to the questions. Do you like him? Did you watch Miami Vice last night? Did you kiss him? Are you going to Kelly’s birthday party? Will you go with me?

Notes were a dialogue.

They helped you connect with friends, scope out possible love interests, break up, make up and everything in between. Rarely was just one note passed between two people. (And rarely were teachers happy about them.)

Get this: God made sure we got a note from Him.

A love note to pursue our hearts and connect our hearts to His.

A personal note that’s addressed to each of us and ends with “Love, God.”

His love is poured out in the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, so we might understand and accept that His intentions for us are as unique as a snowflake and as extravagant as an ocean sunset.

When I’m feeling unappreciated, unimportant or rejected, it helps to remember that God’s love speaks. I only need to listen.

Your days may sting with an unfulfilled longing, a perceived inadequacy, a devastating loss or a gaping heart wound. Might I offer a word of encouragement? Whether you’re a mother, grandmother, sister or daughter … single, married, widowed, divorced … whether your loved ones value and cherish you or wound you with broken behavior … no matter what, God loves you, knows you and cherishes you perfectly.

Let His love speak life to you.

The Lord declared to Israel, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself ” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Just as He spoke these words to His children, the Israelites, long ago, God speaks across the universe today to each daughter’s heart:

“I notice you!”
“You are special to Me.”
“You matter.”
“I love you … perfectly … eternally … completely, and I really, really, really mean it.”

He showed us His love through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

His Spirit whispers that love to the hearts of His children continuously.

He speaks it still today through His Word. Are you listening?

Once you open and read God’s love note, the Bible, you’ll want to respond. To go back and forth in conversation, deepening the relationship. To circle yes or no to His questions: “Do you know how much I love you? Are you aware of the distance between My holiness and your sin? Will you let My love meet you in your achy places? Do you know how beautiful you are to Me? Will you trust Me with that roadblock? Will you acknowledge Me as the source of your significance and the validation you are desperate for?”

I want to circle my answers, Yes!

I want to be so deeply rooted and grounded in God’s love that it stabilizes my faith, no matter how unstable other factors of my life might seem or how unappreciated I feel.

Don’t you?

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s post.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!