We Can’t Live Without Hope

by Karen Porter

The human body can survive about 3 weeks without food but not more than a couple of days without water. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we can’t live without hope. Hope that tomorrow the sun will shine and take away the dreary gray clouds. Hope that the doctor will discover the right medicine. Hope that a prodigal child will call. Hope that a strained relationship will be changed to forgiveness and love again.

An ancient Roman saying states, “Where there is life there is hope.” Sounds good, but shouldn’t the statement be as Warren Wiersbe said? “Where there is faith, there is hope.” As believers, our hope is not in sunny days tomorrow or medical technology or the sudden change of heart of a person. Our hope is in Jesus. Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3 ESV, emphasis mine).

A living hope is a great expectation. But Peter is quick to point out that the anticipation is based on the completed work of Jesus. Each of us is born with a sin nature that separates us from God. Jesus provided rescue and redemption from that separation by paying the price for our sins on the cross, and His resurrection offers new life to us. His resurrection means that we may live too. And not simply live, but live with hope.

Our culture does not understand hope in Jesus because we are conditioned that we must do something instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen. Work hard enough and your future is bright. But the Lord said through Isaiah, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT). That’s the difference being a believer makes, because faith fuels hope. Faith is believing even when the evidence says otherwise. Faith is trust in God, not in circumstances, because of who He is.

We will face disappointments and tragedies, but we must never give up on hope in Jesus. Faith is for today…trusting no matter what the doctor or the news said.

One friend’s future changed instantly when her child made a wrong and deadly decision, but faith has sustained her and given her hope for the difficult years that she has faced since then.

One friend’s reputation was destroyed by lies and half-truths. His dreams and opportunities seem ruined forever. But faith gets him through the day and hope assures him that God knows what is in store in the days and weeks to come.

One friend’s daughter was killed in a terrible accident. Yet my friend’s faith was so strong that she shook her fist at the devil and said, “If that’s all you got, you’ve failed. I’ll trust God.”

“Job said, God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him” (Job 13:15 NLT).

Hope is trusting in the character of God even if the worst has happened. God is here today, and He is in tomorrow too. Whatever you face tomorrow, will your response be hope?

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Get Ready, Practical Ideas to Prepare You for Ministry,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: How has holding on to hope helped you in the past?

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

by Karen Porter

We drove through Texas farm country and noticed that some fields were planted and some were lying fallow. We learned that farmers plant their crops on a rotating basis, leaving some fields to rest for a season so the soil can replenish nutrients. The planted fields are filled with lush green plants standing tall and bearing fruit. The unplowed fields grow weeds and stumps in shades of yellow and brown.

According to his crop rotation plan, the farmer will plant the fallow field next season and leave one of this year’s producing fields to rest. When he goes into the fallow field to get started with the new crop, he uses a tractor with a sharp plow to break up the ground, get rid of the weeds, and loosen the soil for the new planting.

Hosea told God’s people, “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord” (Hosea 10:12b NLT). Part of pursuing God is a heart breaking within me. If I long for Him enough to look deep within to discover some behavior or attitude that isn’t pleasing to Him, I can root it out of my life like a plow breaks up ground.

Pursuing Him requires cultivating new habits and routines and preferences. Recently when someone said unkind words, I realized that God’s Spirit was encouraging me to forgive quickly. Normally, I might have wallowed in my pain a while, feeling sorry for myself. But because I felt his urging, I called her for some friendly conversation. My heart was changed dramatically because I dug deep for the godly quality of forgiveness.

Fallow ground is unproductive because it is undisturbed. But once the soil is broken, it will grow abundant crops. Our hearts need to be disturbed because like that fallow ground, we can’t have deep revival. If we allow our hearts to continue unplanted and unagitated, we won’t follow Jesus whole-heartedly.

Jesus allows us to be disturbed so we will grow spiritually. That disappointment or pain might be His tool for breaking up your fallow heart. Losing your job sets you up for a bright new adventure. Breaking a bone forces you to take a much-needed rest. Financial problems allow you trust Him for provisions.

We’d all prefer to be safe and unbothered, living the same as we always have lived. But our Lord prefers for us to grow the lush fruit of the Spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Breaking up the fallow ground of our hearts can sometimes be painful. We feel the sting of the Holy Spirit’s conviction for our actions that have fallen short of the way Jesus taught us to live. But that discomfort can cause us to change our perspective. He is in the process of unsettling our smooth life so we will turn our focus to Him. God is worthy of your trust. He is watching every part of your life, and He never lets you stay fallow and unproductive for long.

He knows we must break up before we can break out.

“But in their distress, they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.” 2 Chronicles 15:4 NLT

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  I’ll Bring the Chocolate,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-

Join the conversation: What are things in your life that God has disturbed to bring you deeper with Him?

The Living Word

by Karen Porter

Someone asked me, “What are you reading right now?” I laughed because my answer consisted of the titles of five different books. I keep several books going at one time, strategically placing them in various places around my house. One in the bedroom to read before I fall asleep. One in the den so I can multitask while my husband watches a football game. One next to the back door so I can take it to the patio with my morning cup of coffee. I read literature, fiction, non-fiction, and classics. Many I treasure and often re-read. But no book, poetry, or story has affected me in the same way as reading the Bible.

No matter how many times I read a passage in the Bible, I find a new thought or new insight—and another new blessing when I read it again! I’ve heard this idea expressed from other believers too. They usually say something like, “the words jumped off the page.” I always chuckle when I think of the words leaping around. But it is a good way to express the surprise we feel when we see a new principle or application in familiar verses.

The author of Hebrews wrote about the power of Scripture when he said, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) The Bible is a living book, wrapping itself around our current life situation and speaking the truth of God into our worries, anxieties, and fears. I believe the living nature of the Bible is one of the major reasons for us to believe that it is, in fact, the Word of God. While there may be interesting quotes and creative use of language in the classic works of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, nothing penetrates my soul and challenges me to life-change like the Word.

One of the reasons the Word speaks to us in a deeper way today than it did a year ago is because our needs are constantly changing. For example, in the weeks after my mother passed away, I needed God to speak words of comfort and peace. I read, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT) As I read those words, His peace (His gift) washed over me. My beautiful mother was with Him and no longer ill or crippled. He sent peace in a fresh and tangible way as He promised He would in Psalm 94:19, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (NLT)

Because His Word is living the Holy Spirit uses the language to fill my empty places and confront the dark places in my heart.

Today, you and I may need to be challenged and inspired to take on a new task or stand strong in a tough situation. Perhaps you need to take control of your choices so you will be healthy. Perhaps you need to strengthen your emotions so you can forgive someone. His Word is the place to find what you need.

Warren Wiersbe once said, “The Gospel is simple enough for an illiterate pagan to understand, believe and be saved. But it is so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths.”

Have you ready your powerful, living Word today?

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 NLT

karen-porter-About the author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. Most days she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Speak Like Jesus,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What words have “jumped off the page” for you lately?

 

 

 

Keep Running

by Karen Porter

We attend a lot of cross-country running events to support our grandsons and the local high school team. We often shout encouragement, “Go past that guy in front of you” because one of the ways the boys do well in a race is to concentrate on the runner in front of them. When they overtake that runner, then they focus on the next one. Soon they have moved up in the race enough to come in first.

Lately I’ve read several Bible verses that remind me of those cross-country races.

Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy, “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you” (2 Timothy 1:6 NLT). Paul understood the great spiritual future available to the young Timothy. But he also knew that it wouldn’t happen unless the young man pursued every opportunity to grow in the knowledge of God and to develop the gift of God. When I discover and run after God’s plan, I am moving closer to His purpose for my life.

God wants us to go after Him like a runner running from behind. Chasing the target of becoming more like Jesus. How is that goal working out for me? Am I more like Him than I was ten years ago? In some ways, I am more like Him. I have developed some of His traits such as my desire for spiritual growth, and I’m better at reading the Bible and talking to others about my faith. And while I’ve grown in other areas too, I still need more patience and kindness along with other Christ-like traits such as being quick to forgive and thinking less of myself and more of others.

Are you running after the Lord like a runner in a race?  Paul encourages us from the sidelines, “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:14 NLT). Pressing on means we don’t quit when we feel tired or discouraged. If you are like me, you wake up some mornings with no desire to run. It’s on those days that we should take deliberate steps to pursue him such as read His Word or listen to praise music.

And if I’m honest, I admit that I sometimes pursue God for the wrong reasons. Sometimes chasing Jesus for some elusive reward, as author Lori Roeleveld wrote, “we are not turning to God to be with God. We’re turning to God hoping for a big payout.” Chasing God means we want to be in His presence more than we want anything else.

And as we run, he runs along beside us saying, “You can do it! Keep moving!”

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” Psalm 105:4

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Get Ready, Practical Ideas to Prepare You for Ministry,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: What opportunities has God given you that you have responded to with a “yes”?