Nuggets: Hang Your Hope Up

flicker5-copy-4I’m hanging my hope on …

We’ve all said this at one time or another, or admonished someone else, “Don’t hang your hopes on that!”

Where is it safe to hang your hopes? Are you sometimes afraid to even identify what you hope for, for fear that it will never come to fruition? That if you hang it up, it will dangle precariously and then crash at your feet in a thousand pieces? Another common phrase is “hopes dashed to pieces.” We all know the feeling and the gut-wrenching sound of shattering hope.

So again, where is it safe to hang your hope?

Psalm 62:5 says, “For God alone, Oh my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” That’s the ESV, but KJV words it this way, ” … for my expectation is from Him.”

That word “expectation” in the Hebrew is tiqvah and actually means: cord, expectation, hope.

I can picture a cord with all my hopes swinging from it.

I wrote recently about expectation in marriage and how quickly it can dissolve intimacy. I also read this: It Takes a Lot to Build a Marriage and Only One Thing to Kill It.  I can personally attest to hanging high hopes on my husband–hopes that he often doesn’t even know about since he can’t read my mind. And then, having them hopelessly crushed when he is unable to fulfill my lofty, mysterious expectations.

Do you know why he cannot fulfill them? Because in the end of Psalm 62 it says, ” … power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.”

God alone has the power to meet my expectations. He only knows the desires of my heart (even before I voice them–even before I identify them). He alone is the safe place to hang my hope. 

Where is yours today? Is your hope safe?

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You Remind Me of a Horse

Running Horses Hooves

“I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.” Song of Solomon 1:9

Few of us would swoon if our husbands compared us to a horse. In fact, using today’s connotations and implications that might get your man slapped!

Today, however, I heard an interpretation of this little verse that changed my perspective not only on being horse-like, but on the biblical concept of being a helpmate to the leadership role of my husband.

Gary Thomas, in his book Sacred Marriage offered an explanation that I’d never heard before. Apparently, mares were rarely harnessed to a Pharaohs’ chariot. Generally, because speed and power were desirable, Pharaohs used the brawniest stallions to do this work. But they found that when they harnessed a mare among the stallions, she produced in them such a frenzy that they drove harder than ever.

What do you bring out in your husband? When you spend time with him, work beside him raising your family, speak to him–what character qualities and attitudes do you cultivate? Does he leave your presence more determined than ever to be a servant leader or a committed father?

Does he feel stronger, more confident, more capable than he did before?

Women, we have a lot of power. To listen to the culture, you wouldn’t think so. Collectively, we clamor for more power and equality. But I think this tactic is evidence of the way we often wield our power–manipulatively, subversively.

This calls for extra care–prayer–in our words and deeds.

Next time you are tempted to blame your husband for something or harass him for failing to live up to your expectation in some way, consider first what attitudes, qualities and actions you have cultivated in him.

You are his helpmate, harnessed alongside him for a good purpose. Your mere presence can multiply his power and productivity in life. Don’t take this lightly.

 

“Assent From Darkness” Review, Day 3

Satanism is essentially all about self; it literally forces you to turn inward in such a way that all of your thoughts are dominated by the desire to please the self.

Since the Tower of Babel, actually since Eve ate the fruit in her desire to, “be like God knowing good and evil,” mankind has been tirelessly driven to gain power, to conquer, rule and master his environment. Oh that he would spend as much time working to master and gain control over his own passions.

In his book, Accent From Darkness, Leehan admits that one of the complications that made it so difficult for him to walk away from Satanism is loss of personal power.

I held on to my depression, hate, and anger with a vise-like ferocity. This was the fruit of my satanic harvest, and I refused to surrender it. I was intent on holding onto the dark power I’d gained.

It’s amazing that this Satanist felt more power in his daily life than most Christians feel in a lifetime. How is that possible?

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Eph. 1:18-23

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:1-4

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we are not without power and that the power available to us is infinitely greater than any power leveled against us. So why so weak? (Believe me, I’m preaching to myself here.)

A key difference in the tiny, self-serving power offered by Satan and the limitless power offered by our Father, is that God does not give us power. God remains the sole possessor of His great power.

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Romans 8:29-34

It remains that God is the one who chooses. He is for us, He sacrificed for us, He rescued us, He defends us, He pleads for us, He glorifies us. To know and experience God’s power for and through us we must learn humility, submission, gratitude. But isn’t that more wonderful? In Christ we can rest like a child, fight with courage and win like a warrior – for eternity. 

A Mind Is A Dangerous Place

A mind is a dangerous place.

We tisk when one goes to waste.

But rare we chide one over-wrought

For lo, it might per chance

By excess spinning

Random cast the dice –

And create a universe.

Surely by our heady power

Of worry, intelligence or education

We can extend a tiny fist

Past future’s protective womb

And prevent the cancer, pinch the flame,

Erase the pain.

If we’re aware of frailty, of the finite

We whisper, “All I have is God.”

Heresy! As if by last resort we

Skeptical approach, ask Him to blow upon our dice.

Lest we rightly evoke His wrath

Let us change our sore refain.

copyright 2012, Glenn Patterson

I have God, I have everything!

What is this that He chose me?

Confused, small-minded, ineffectual.

Until I believed – I have God!

I have everything.