Daily Archives: September 28, 2021

Hope For The Journey

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A Change in Itinerary: Hope for the Journey

senior woman having coffee alone

 

When April was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, her life turned upside down. She took early medical retirement and her family’s financial security abruptly changed. They relocated and changed schools and churches. The unwanted changes were discouraging as family members adjusted in individual ways.

Marilyn woke up one morning married, but by the day’s end, she took on the new status of “widow”. Her unfamiliar path held heavy grief. A clouded brain made navigating new responsibilities and pressing solo decisions difficult. Drinking morning coffee alone now after having the company of her husband for 42 years, compounded loneliness.

April and Marilyn are not alone in life plans going off course. Perhaps you’ve had a front-row seat to altered plans. Life isn’t going as you thought; dreams are shattered.

At one time or another, we walk an unexpected itinerary. Covid-19 proved that to us. Sometimes our changed plans are inconvenient, and we adapt. We move forward and learn contentment in our Plan B.

At other times, life alterations are permanent. We adjust, or we don’t.

What makes the difference between living in disappointment and defeat versus living in and with hope?

When we live in a circumstance and travel an unexpected path we didn’t seek or want, we need to regain our footing and change our focus to move forward. It’s not easy to do when our eyes are filled with tears or we are distracted by thoughts of what could have been. But if we want to thrive, not merely survive, we need to live intentionally with hope. How can we do that?

  • When life doesn’t go as planned, and changes are hard and unexpected, we can trust the sufficiency of “His glorious grace” lavished on us for daily living (Ephesians 1:6-8 NIV). The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians encourages us that God’s power is strong for our weakness, and His sufficient grace equips us for our next step (2 Corinthians 9:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • When the path is disappointing and uncertain, you can trust the words of Ephesians 1:17-19 (NIV) and “ask that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” He promises wisdom when we ask (James 1:5) and insight when we call (Proverbs 2:3-4).
  • When you are tempted to look back and lament, you can pray “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,” and “know His mighty power is active in our lives” (Ephesians 1:20 NIV). We are not traveling alone. He promises guidance over unfamiliar paths (Isaiah 42:16).
  • When we wrestle with shattered dreams, we can rest knowing God is working out His purposes for our best (Ephesians 1:11). The specific trial may not be pleasant or seem good, but God is weaving all together for our good (Romans 8:28). Perhaps that weaving is developing reliance on Him, refining our character, or spending more time in prayer.

Detours, roadblocks, and changes in our life itinerary may be unplanned and disappointing, but we don’t have to be stuck, looking in the rearview mirror. Instead, we can change our focus to God’s perspective.

We can rely on His wisdom, grace, and power to move forward. We may find something different, or more, than what we missed or what we lost. When we trust God, we can live in and with the power of hope.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

September 28

Psalms 19:1-3 1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

David looked up at the night sky and saw a declaration of the glory of God. With the Hubble we can see even more wondrous and amazing sights far beyond the range of David’s eyes. But we have a different response. We have the audacity to think we have figured out God. Even macro-physicists include God in their equations. The more we discover the less we realize we know. Today you will find most astronomers believing there must be a God. One astronomer wrote that to find an argument against the existence of God, he had to go to another department. Yet the average person on the street has the impression that astronomers have creation all figured out as a natural process. Let’s hope that more astronomers will speak up about their lack of understanding of all that they see so that our perceptions will be corrected.

One of the sad byproducts of city life is that the stars can barely be seen. Our skies are so polluted that we have hidden the declaration. To replace that effect, we have the pictures from the Hubble continuing to come in as it shoots picture after picture of wonders full of color, design, and phenomena that cause us to marvel. It doesn’t need to be translated into French or Russian. It speaks in every language. It displays the knowledge of an infinite Creator who makes laws, order, and design. When you see those pictures, listen to God.

Consider: The heavens are still declaring the glory of God. Are you listening?

Streams in the Desert – September 28

  • 202128 Sep

In me… peace (John 16:33).

There is a vast difference between happiness and blessedness. Paul had imprisonments and pains, sacrifice and suffering up to the very limit; but in the midst of it all, he was blessed. All the beatitudes came into his heart and life in the midst of those very conditions.

Paganini, the great violinist, came out before his audience one day and made the discovery just as they ended their applause that there was something wrong with his violin. He looked at it a second and then saw that it was not his famous and valuable one. He felt paralyzed for a moment, then turned to his audience and told them there had been some mistake and he did not have his own violin. He stepped back behind the curtain thinking that it was still where he had left it, but discovered that some one had stolen his and left that old second-hand one in its place.

He remained back of the curtain a moment, then came out before his audience and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen: I will show you that the music is not in the instrument, but in the soul.” And he played as he had never played before; and out of that second-hand instrument, the music poured forth until the audience was enraptured with enthusiasm and the applause almost lifted the ceiling of the building, because the man had revealed to them that music was not in the machine but in his own soul.

It is your mission, tested and tried one, to walk out on the stage of this world and reveal to all earth and Heaven that the music is not in conditions, not in the things, not in externals, but the music of life is in your own soul.

If peace be in the heart,
The wildest winter storm is full of solemn beauty,
The midnight flash but shows the path of duty,
Each living creature tells some new and joyous story,
The very trees and stones all catch a ray of glory,
If peace be in the heart.

–Charles Francis Richardson

The great Supreme

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Ascribe ye greatness unto our God.” Deuteronomy 32:3

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

In Protestant countries there is a very strong tendency to priestcraft still. Though we do not bow down and worship images, and do not professedly put our souls into the hands of priests, yet, I am sorry to say it, there is scarce a congregation that is free from that error of ascribing greatness to their minister. If souls are converted, how very prone we are to think there is something marvellous in the man; and if saints are fed and satisfied with marrow and fatness, how prone we are to suppose that the preacher has something about him by which these wondrous things are done; and if a revival takes place in any part of the vineyard, it matters not in what denomination, there is an aptness in the human mind to ascribe some part of the glory and the praise to the mere human agency. Oh, beloved, I am sure that every right-minded minister will scorn the thought. We are but your servants for Christ’s sake. We speak to you, as God helps us, what we believe to be God’s truth; but ascribe not to us any honour or any glory. If a soul is saved, God from first to last has done it. If your souls are fed, thank the Master; be respectful and grateful to the servant as you will be, but most of all thank him who puts the word into the mouths of his servants, and who applies it to your heart. “Oh, down with priestcraft!” even I myself must down with it. “Down with it!” I cry. If I myself like Samson fall beneath its roof, let me fall myself and be crushed, well content in having pulled down or contributed to remove one solitary brick in that colossal house of Satan. Take care, friends, that you put no honour upon any man that you ought to have ascribed unto his Sovereign. “Ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”

For meditation: Why are you using these daily readings? We should thank God for Spurgeon, but many go too far and venerate Spurgeon himself. He reminds us that he too was a man (Acts 10:26) and that the glory belongs not to him but to his and our God (Psalm 115:1).