Archives For July 2017

In my last post I talked about needing hope. Fortunately hope is available.

In the Bible. So let’s get started, using the acrostic H.O.P.E.

History.

Romans 15:4
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Which means we need to go back to the Old Testament and read some Bible stories. And you thought Bible stories were for kids.

Hang with me. One of the great treasures in the Old Testament are the stories. Stories of hope. Many who lost hope experienced miraculous turning points. And chances are if you need hope, you need a miracle.

We will come back to that thought, but for now let’s go back some 3,000 years. 1 Samuel chapter 1 gives us the details. Hannah is married with no financial worries. Her husband attends church with her, and to top it off he loves her unquestionably.

Now you may be thinking, “Must be nice. So what could possibly be her problem?”

In spite of all this, she was deeply depressed.

In her culture it was not uncommon for a man to have two wives. The other wife had no problem getting pregnant and flaunted all of her kids.

Hannah could not get pregnant. She is not the first barren woman in the Bible, but you need to feel her deep emotions.

Get the picture. The husband loved Hannah, which no doubt did not sit well with the second wife, Penninah. So you can imagine how Penninah¬† loved to talk about all her kids. And how many times did Hannah have to hear “I’m pregnant again!” Or “Look at all the kids running around the house.”

Hannah felt hopeless.

She lived under a continual cloud of depression.

Now what? Things looked bleak. Can you identify?

Utterly helpless.

No answers.

No resources.

History is helpful especially when you think your situation is unique. Perhaps.

In my next post we’ll get to the last three letters O.P.E., because Hannah did find hope, and so will you.

 

It’s been well said that hope never goes out of style. Who doesn’t need hope? I’ll bet you wonder about that at times. Because all of us sure need it.

You even wonder what it would be like to not need hope.

While all may need hope, some are in desperate need of it.

What’s the difference?

You desperately need hope when you feel…

Helpless. You don’t have the answers or the resources to alleviate your current pain.

Overwhelmed. You feel like you are drowning in debt, emotional pain, or on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Paralyzed. How many times have you sat and thought for hours only to realize that you have not accomplished anything? Pain affects our productivity.

Exhausted. You are at the end of your rope and you know it.

You are not alone. In my next post I want to share a story from the Old Testament where we will meet a woman who was in need of hope. Her pain was about to do her in. She wondered if life would ever change.

It did.

spiritual growthLet’s face it. We all get busy. Too busy. It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. Life has been a little hectic as Carol and I are building our fourth house. And I have finally moved my study into the basement even though it is unfinished. The house is nowhere near complete. But I needed to use my extra time to get the house under roof.

At any rate, I have been busy just like you. Which means that just like you I would like to be able to find simpler ways to do things.

My guess is most believers could not readily identify their spiritual growth plan. While the 7 steps I am offering are not a complete list, this is like Personal Spiritual Growth 101.

But let’s move on to the 7 steps.

  1. Bible reading. With so many plans and ideas available, you should be able to find one you like. What I like may be vastly different from what you like. However, you could simply start by reading two chapters a day from the New Testament.
  2. Prayer. I suggest you start with just 15 minutes a day. Yes, that sounds like a lot. But a very helpful way to pray is use the acrostic, ACTS. A is for adoration, C is for confession, T is for thanksgiving, and S is for supplications or specific requests.
  3. Journal. You may not want to write down your thoughts or prayers every day, but you could journal once a week. Trust me, years later you will enjoy reading what you wrote.
  4. Exercise. Yes, this needs to be a part of your spiritual growth. Your physical fitness will impact your spiritual growth.
  5. Study. This goes beyond reading to observation, interpretation, and ultimately application because we want to DO what the Bible teaches. Perhaps you can study with someone else over a cup of coffee or in a small group. If that’s not possible right now you can also study alone with some good Bible study books. Some authors to check out may be John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, or Kay Arthur.
  6. Fast. Most have never tried fasting. I assure you it will make a difference in your life. You could simply make it a habit to fast at the beginning of every year. The point is you make this a part of your spiritual growth plan.
  7. Read good books. Start with shorter books as most never finish books that are longer than 250 pages. Plus you will feel a sense of accomplishment after you finish your first book. There are many to chose from. Start with a topic or book of the Bible that interests you.

That’s it. Not complicated. But you do have to start.

Why not start today?