Tag Archives: hopeless

Hope

2 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

God gave my friend and I this word last night. It was just one word. A powerful word.
I have realized that Hope is what drives everything; Everything!
We go on dates because we hope for this to be the one.
We flirt, we share, we open our hearts up because we hope for the relationship to be important, we hope for love.
We begin new jobs, plan families, plan vacations, all from hope.
We fight disease from hope.
We stay in jobs because of hope.
We invest energy, resources and time in the hopes of outcomes.
We go on diets, and begin exercising with a hope of achieving a goal.
We look forward to an event, hoping for a fun time.
We pray from hope, and sometimes we pray for hope.
Today, we pray for a hurricane to move away, we hope for safety, for lives to be spared, for change.

Hope is hugely important and drives just about all we do or desire.
The Hebrew root words to describe Hope all stem around the word trust: To trust, or worthy of trust.  To put our trust in God is to put our Hope in Him.

The entire bible is about Hope. Jesus himself was about Hope. One of my favorite scriptures is the epitome of that Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is a hope that comes from knowing that at the end of our time here, at the end of this amazing and turbulent world, we will no longer suffer and there will be joy everlasting. What a hope this is.

There is a hope that comes from trusting that even when we can’t see an outcome, with things out of our control, God is still in charge, still working all things out for our good. There is a hope that when we look back on our lives, we can see that we always came out of hardship. All the pieces made us who we are, gave us our purpose.

When you don’t have that hope, when you are trying to do this all on your own, when you have lost the ability to see hope, find hope, we become desolate and alone. We crumble. Sometimes hope is all that is left when the suffering is great. It can be just a thread, but it is life itself. Without that thread of hope, we have nothing.

Hopelessness is a rampant disease these days. People suffering and taking their lives, because they have lost hope. Our world isn’t becoming more evil, our world is losing hope.

In all that I have gone through, in all I have done, I can only give God that credit. It is because I learned from hopelessness, that He is my hope. And all my hope comes from the Lord. I have learned to trust in His sovereignty. I am grateful to not have to shoulder everything myself and I know this world will have it’s share of suffering and sorrows, but my strength and joy comes from the hope for heaven. For eternity.  I can lean on that when all else falls apart. This life is a vapor and it without the Hope of more, it loses all meaning.
Literally no one will know most of us even lived here 2 generations from now. We are not so important to be remembered like that.
However, we are so important to those people we love and those we encounter. We are also important to God.
We can be the ones that light the fire of hope in this suffering world. One smile at a time. We can be the hope that says to one person or many, every day, “I see you, you matter”. “There is still good here”. “You are loved, even if I don’t know you, I know God and He loves you beyond measure”.

Hope. We talk about being accepting, being love, but what we really need to be is hope spreaders.  We need to share what Hope looks like, feels like, and how we found it, how we find it every day.

That is our calling here. That is our legacy for the future generations. That is our light in the dark.

“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. “- Romans 15:13

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Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

Philadelphia

16 Jan

Weary one, walking this world trying to make your way. Are you tired yet?Lift your eyes, weary one. He is there, making all things work for your good. For His Glory.

This world is dying, quickly.
He is calling to you, do you hear Him?

He says “don’t love the things of this world, love me”
He says to “build our lives on the rock”. Jesus.
He says  “Keep your eyes on me”. “Let my words build you up, restore what this world has stolen from you”.
Don’t spend another moment crying over what Satan took. He say’s “I will restore everything that was stolen from you”
He says “I will make beauty from ashes”.
He says “I have placed every tear you cried, in a jar.”

Tired one, rest in Him, He is restoration. He refreshes us.
As you cry, as you fret, He says I am still here. Unmoved, unchanged.
Seek me. I will answer you.
Turn from your pride, your fear, your anger, your exhaustion, your defeat and find Him.
Trust Him with every bit of this life.

Trust Him in the aloneness, trust Him in the waiting, trust Him in the heartbreak.
Trust Him in the darkness, trust Him when everything is falling apart. Trust Him no matter what your eyes see. He isn’t the world. He is more.

To the sinners; the liars, the judges, the gossips, the prideful, the arrogant, the adulterers, the ones hiding in the dark, He is clear. Aren’t you tired yet? Aren’t you tired of sin that separates you? This world will drag you down if you dwell too long on it. God lifts you up and fills your soul.

Surrender it all. Everything. Attach to Him and let go of every lie this world tells you.
Love Him that loves you more than anything. Give Him all the love your bridegroom desires and would receive if He were flesh.  His love is first. His love is most important. His love lasts forever.

Love, The Church of Philadelphia
Revelations 2-3 NLT.

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.

 

“Good Christian”

14 May
I have been meditating on the vertical nature of sin.
More to the point, our relationship to sin and to God and what this means to our outward walk. This has been so freeing and merciful at the same time. Removing years of false ideas of what it meant to be a “Good Christian”.
I have learned the meaning of why all sin is equal in God’s eyes.  Truly, I tell you this;  Any sin, big or small, is ultimately between us and God. Sin erodes our own relationship with Him, we drift apart from Him. When we drift from Him, we stop living within His beautiful, powerful, mercy-filled loved.
How can we walk like a saved, set free from our bondage to sin (meaning we are washed white as snow, because of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection), be the expected “full of light” Christian without staying close to God, eyes on Him? We can’t. We just simply can’t.
When we look away we compare, we judge, the fruits of our relationship to Him, that connection grows dim. We begin to seek other God’s, or we think we are God, and that we control the outcomes; “Look, yes, we did this great thing!”  We try to settle our own scores, we put people in their place, we gossip or tell even the little white lies, we are unforgiving or mean spirited.  Do you see the truth? None  is a fruit of Him within our hearts, and it can’t dwell within the temple (our soul) because it only comes from our closeness to Him. Sadly, robbing us of His merciful gift of grace and peace. What I get hit with deep down, is the ultimate realization that what it really does is robs other’s of seeing the gift of a heart-wrenching, hope-filled, joy-filled beauty of a one on one relationship with Him, our amazing Father, Savior and healer.
It isn’t about being a “better” Christian, or a “good” Christian or a “wiser” Christian, or an evil sinner. It is about dying to self meaning staying eyes focused on Him, seeking after Him first rather than our own pride, hurt, desires, success, busyness, goals, workout, children, etc… Letting go of our own control and self appointed God status. Holier than thou!
Talk to Him. Just talk to Him constantly; About everything. You have no idea how many times I have started a conversation with God, finger pointed at someone who upset me, only to end up seeing how I can be more compassionate or I am also guilty of sin. He leads me, guides me back to humility, grace, acceptance and peace. Every single time. It’s quite powerful. It isn’t always fun, it isn’t always what I want to know, but it’s always true, it’s always good and it’s always healing.

Life hurts and people always mess up. It’s what we do, with or without Christ as our savior. Religion kept you thinking it was about the rules. It’s not! It’s about The Ruler! It isn’t about being “good” or “bad” it’s about being close to the one that gives you grace enough to heal, change, grow, forgive, love through pain and hope. Hope.

I pray to walk a walk that focuses on God, from sun-up til sun-down, to show the world the beauty of surrender. I thank my Father for the grace and mercy He gives because I never achieve that perfection. I pray for humility enough to always be transparent in my journey here, so you know, my heart truly seeks to share His love. My mind, the distractions, the hardships, the ego.. this ego! “My hurts, my offense, my truth, my peace, my wants, my success, my desires, “I deserve it.” Oh dear Lord, please don’t ever give me what I deserve! Please hear my gratitude for not giving me what I deserve, but loving me so much to give me grace I didn’t earn!

Christianity is anyone that believes that Jesus died on that cross and rose from the grave to set us free from our sin. Religion can start to add on to that, but the beginning of that is the truth. If your religion isn’t pointing you to God, to Christ, then it’s not accurate.  God’s word speaks loud and clear to me, and more so the more I spend time in it. He says this to be true. John 3:16.  Christ was born and died for you so you can have a way back to God, even through your sin nature. It’s the only way, because we just simply can’t earn it ourselves! Being saved never said we would never sin again. Seriously, the truth is, if that were true, we would just find a way to mess that up. We need Him always, daily, hourly, minute by minute!

Thank you God! for loving me, just as I am, right where I am at, sinful and goodness, blessed with my own unique gifts, all rolled up in one because of you and for you. Let me be the light that shines in this dark,crazy world. Let me see the finger before it points at others, let me stay close enough to you that I hear “stop, don’t say a word” before my tongue betrays us. Keep my enemy far from me, and give me eyes that see from a place of being so loved, so I can love.  Let me touch other’s by my walk to inspire them to want to know more about this amazing gift of your mercy and grace.  Let me always be humble enough to give you Glory Lord.  I am nothing without you.

 

Right Place, Right Time

18 Oct

This afternoon is just one of many examples in my life of God’s perfect timing bumping up against my ego.

I was busy doing what I do well. I was getting things done. I was on a roll, “in the zone” so to speak. I still had a lot to finish and then…I had an interruption to that rhythm. Truth is, I was kind of put out by it.  To make me sound even worse, it was to meet with a family to discuss end of life options.  Ugh.
I  had to stop what I was doing, alter my plans, only to arrive at bedside to find a nurse has already joined the family.  I was not needed,after all.

Well, as you can imagine, that went over super well in my spirit. Outwardly, I had a smile on my face as I typed the finding in an email, with emphasis.

I, in my “must get back on track”, so important,  hurrying back to my car to get on with my day, nearly passed by an open door; my next interruption.

She only said “hello Beckie”. I almost just said hello, but backed up and stopped to chat for just a moment. I don’t know why, but I truly felt pulled back to the door. As I stood there, I felt the prompting to really be there, to be completely present. It took a moment for me to hear Him tell me to listen. As the chit chat turned to a heart talk, I realized God tangibly had moved into the room and we were sharing a very important discussion. My being there, to listen, to hear her and to pray with her, was an absolute divine appointment. I know it blessed her, but I cannot tell you how much it blessed me.

I was so grateful and humbled. Believe me when I tell you, I had to fall a good ways, in that moment, to hit my knees in awe of Him.  (Dang!  I really started this day so strong in Him!)

The truth is, we all get busy, we all have interuptions. We get rushed and interruptions do frustrate us in our hurried days. We do tend to take ourselves, and our time, way too seriously.

But, when God says stop, when He says, “feed my sheep”, He will put you there, even if you go kicking and screaming.

Much like my Jonah study, He will make sure you obey, especially when it isn’t about you. Now the choice you have is to do it right away, or from the belly of a big fish.

Happily, I listened. Happily, I was there to hear the pouring out of a heart in need.

Thank you, God for being so wise, so right and so perfect in your plans. One day, I hope I learn that this huge, amazing, wonderful, blessed life isn’t really coordinated by me and most certainly isn’t really about me at all!

  Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”

Hebrews 3:15

Shift Change

3 Sep

 

It took many years for me to understand who Jesus is, who He said He is.  Surrender was difficult and honestly only happened from despair.  Religion had clouded the truth of the cross so completely,  it became about how we appear to the world, not the simple (yet so difficult) act of a sinner accepting Jesus as her savior.

I didn’t understand that Grace is Grace, that I don’t have to earn my salvation. My blessings are not earned. He doesn’t punish me, nor remove His blessings. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and for ever.“ Hebrews 13:8 

He already won the war I was still fighting. How many of us are trying to be good enough?  That belief didn’t do anything but frustrate me, because it meant my imperfection and sin kept me from salvation. I also had this hole, this place of loneliness, of not being enough, of anger at not being able to find joy, or peace. Happiness was fickle.

Until the night I surrendered the heartbreaking, defeating strive to earn His love, to being good enough, to just believing Him when He said, “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 9).

He spent the next few years slowly healing me.  I had to spend that time with Him as well,  but I wanted to. I loved hearing the word in church, but also talking to Him. Learning to just sit and feel His love was healing all in itself. I suddenly began to not feel so alone.

I read the Jesus Calling devotional. It became my daily time to read, to meditate and to look up scripture.  Slowly, I began to be transformed. Slowly, I grew in understanding. Sin fell away as I went deeper. Lies became truths, resentments healed, forgiveness became necessary, and peace settled on my heart. I stopped reacting to the world and began seeking His calm when I didn’t have any, His hope when I felt hopeless, His love when I was feeling unloved.  I wanted to know Him more, I wanted to understand more.

As He healed my broken insides, there came the desire to share this amazing Hope. The hope from Grace is like none other. It became less about me, more about Him. The transformation continued. Even this sharing was still about me and my journey.
Slowly, that stopped being enough, purpose began to come to the surface. My time here on this earth, this time of grace and understanding wasn’t about me. My war had been won. My major transformation time evolved to my purpose here. I felt the need to share my testimony, what he did for me, my journey with Him, in the hopes that those caught between faith and doubt would understand what took me so long to learn and truly unlearn.

There is nothing you can do to earn it, there is nothing you can do to lose it. You are never too far gone to be saved. Never too perfect  to not need Christ to enter Heaven. Religion isn’t Faith. Religion tends to be about doctrine and laws. Christ fulfilled the Law. What the law does is create more sin, our world will show you just how much religion can get in the way of who Christ is.  If you believe in Him, you are saved. But! my gosh!… there is a rich and beautiful calling on your life. Not financial, not health, not perfect. Purpose. Healing. Hope. Joy. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Forgiveness.

What the total surrender to and acceptance of Grace creates is a place for Him to begin His work in you; the Holy Spirit enters and dwells upon your heart and you are never alone again. My cup overflows with the Joy of the Lord just writing this.  You have that calling, if you listen. That longing, that need. That is God. He is waiting on the steps, watching for his prodigal son/daughter to appear on the road a long way off… coming towards Him. He will run to you and embrace you from there.

You do have to surrender to Him. You must grasp that He truly died for you and because He did that, by your faith in the power of the cross, builds the bridge for what you can’t do for your self. Be sinless enough.

“Turning a car on but staying park, doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to put it into gear in order to move forward”. (heard on JoyFM)

John 3:16-20 (NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

Romans 3:20-24 (NLT)

20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Christ Took Our Punishment

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.