Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter Promises "Promises" Galore!

Ultimate LOVE!
What a price was paid to prove both!!!!!

Frankly, the world doesn't feel very hope-full anymore. 

The world doesn't feel truly loved-much anymore, either.

Two weeks ago, I asked people who were willing to participate to give me their favorite promises found in Scripture. I received some great public answers...and several private messages where friends were encouraged and found themselves looking at life with a much more positive perspective. 

So, this blog is to remember, first, today, just how the cross of Christ on Good Friday spoke LOVE AND HOPE to our souls. And, over the course of the next week or two, I'll promote God's promises, one day at a time through social media...and may we find ourselves course correcting from a downward-spiral of questioning "what is happening to our world?"

There are a plethora of promises to start lifting us up.

Here are just a few of my favorites for this Easter weekend...

I.  God loves me. Nothing I will do makes Him love me any more or any less.

II.  I will never be separated from God's love...

III.  His perfect love casts out all my fear...and He promises to give me a "sound mind." 

IV.  His perfect love quiets my heart...He is in my midst...He is mighty to save...and He dances over me with delight...

V.  His plans for me are perfect - all designed for my good, and those plans will not be thwarted...

As we move toward Easter's Resurrection-Celebration this weekend, let the truths of these promises become the "lifter of your head..."

These are great truths to preach to your soul!!

Have a marvelous day of reflection on the GREATEST LOVE offered to mankind, and the GREATEST PROMISE of salvation and eternal life.

May the Lord fill you up and grant you the most blessed Easter!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Stand on the Promises of Truth

I had an unusual dream the other night, one that I'm sure was a spin off from a news article I had read (you can click on link) recently, albeit the dream came several nights after the fact. In the dream, I was packing up moving boxes for some random person, and, at the same time, having a spiritual discussion, which somehow turned to a reflection on the promises of God (no surprise, since this is where my study on hope has taken me). My dream was a menagerie of a million little bits and bobs of things that had been crossing my mind...

I made this comment in my dream, "You can no more box up God's Promises, than you can box up your dog for this move. To do so, will suffocate HOPE. That's exactly how hope dies."

No one questions this fact:
Hope is greatly needed in our world.

Hope needs room to breathe, so it can thrive.

In order to thrive, HOPE needs FAITH. 

And, faith is so much more than head knowledge.

Head-knowledge has to be transferred to a heart-knowledge...and more...

 HEAD, HEART, and HANDS are required in ACTIVE FAITH. 

Scripture uses two words: believe and receive...

Believing begins with understanding of the TRUTH of God's Promises (head)

However, to receive means that I seize hold of TRUTH for myself (heart).

In other words, I firmly grasp that understanding to myself in order to experience it....I own God's Promises emotionally!

Then, I act on it (hands).

HOPE needs a three legged stool of FAITH in order for us to stand on God's Promises.

This all may seem as confusing as the dream I just shared.

It is simple, however...and all I am trying to say is this:

If I am to be HOPE-FULL, I must KNOW God's promises, take ahold of them as my own (they are for me), and then use them as they are meant to be used.

Promises are gifts of grace.

Gifts given to me from the sweet hands of God.

I take the gift.

Open it.

Use it.

When I do, HOPE thrives:

A thriving hope is a living hope that becomes contagious. 

Just don't put God's Promises in a box...
Or leave them in the Bible and close the cover.

There, confined in darkness, HOPE will suffocate.

But, open up the box, or the cover of your Bible, believe, receive, and act on the promises you find and you will stand firm...rejoicing in hope.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

God's Greatest Promise of Hope Needed Today

On writing, William Wordsworth once said, "To begin, begin." Profound. Sometimes, the hardest part of sharing my thoughts is the beginning. If possible, one wants to find a "hook" to pull a reader into the story. Today, there is no hook. Only a beginning...and, you just read it.

This has been a hard week in our world.

We've lost some dear people in our community far too soon....four in four days.

Some friends.

Some, merely acquaintances.

All of them dearly beloved by family.

We are reeling.

Little Pagosa Springs is, as well.

But, when we are wobbling and staggering following such difficult blows, that is when we need the promises of hope the most.

Huge doses of it.

Bags of hope dropped on our doorstep.

So, yesterday, on Facebook, I asked people, who would be willing, to offer up some of their favorite promises from God's Word. I was overwhelmed by the response...and right there, snap, at my fingertips, I now have a wealth of hope-resources all in one spot. If you need to read a few, I invite you to go take a look. Maybe I'll even print them up on this blog for future reference...

There is one promise, however, from God's mouth to our hearts, that is by far the greatest promise of all.

It's one we need to consider...often!

It's one that should bolster our hope just simply by reflecting on it.

It's one we should be talking about....A LOT!

Sometimes, we casually throw out a mention or two.

The Apostle Paul talked about it so much, he actually went to jail and stood trial for it (Acts 24:14-21).

After pleading his case, in Acts 26 (a second time) before King Agrippa, Paul says, "I stand here on trial because of my HOPE (emphasis mine) in the promises made by God to our fathers..."

King Agrippa's response is worthy of pondering, "Paul, are you out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind (v. 24)!"

If we talk about this PROMISE OF HOPE, we risk others thinking the same of us.

Yet, it's critical.

Life and death hinge on it.

Eternal life and death.

What hope is Paul referring to in his testimony? The RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

Anastasis: a rising up again from death to life.

EVERYONE of us will come back to life following death. 

It's a promise as sure as the coming sunrise and sunset.

Of course, our new dwelling place will not be earth, and, where I eventually dwell depends on what I believe.

I choose to believe in the saving grace of Jesus, who was born to die, that I might have forgiveness from my sins and the promise of living forever in HEAVEN. Oh, that wonderful place!

Daniel reminds us of the choice we make in a book named after him, Chapter 12:

"And may of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (vv. 2-3)."

This reality is what drove Paul (and it should be my mission, as well).

This dear apostle even declared that he would give up heaven for hell (his word was "be accursed") for the salvation of others.

If he could just encourage a belief in the resurrection of the dead, and folks to receive the Lord Jesus Christ's offer of salvation, he'd surrender his place in heaven for hell.

I haven't had that much love in me.

Frankly, it's beyond my scope of imagination. But...

This has been a week that I have been reminded that life ebbs and flows.

It turns on a dime.

We never know what the next moment will bring...will I even be given another breath to take?

So, the greatest hope I can offer to my world is the hope for which Paul went on trial...the HOPE of ETERNITY.

The GREATEST hope I can offer my world is eternity.

It's true, eternity has been set in the heart of all men.

My call (our call), my mission-possible (and, yours) is to extend the hope of a better place to those with whom I share this space of life.

A place without suffering, without shame, without contempt.

A place where life shines brightly and is beyond our imagination.

So, I've asked myself this week:

"If I were put on trial, would it be because of the HOPE I've been offering? Is there enough evidence of doing so that I would be convicted? Would the judge look at me, as I sat on the stand, and say, 'Peg Forrest, are you out of your mind?'"

Oh, but I hope so! 

I really do not want this to be me...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

One of God's BEST Promises

A reminder from last week, these Scriptures assure us that not all of God's Word is as effective in the building of up hope, as God's PROMISES (please read each one slowly and let them soak into your soul):

The "therefore" is simple:

Hope is an anchor for the soul in every season; and, that anchor is solidly fashioned from the concrete of God's Promises.
-P. Forrest-

I don't know what promises you need to hear today, but there have certainly been a few that have touched my heart this week. I needed the reminders. You might want to hear this one I'll share today, as an example...


So, where do I start?

I've hesitated to begin, because then I have to be truthful. Vulnerable. Authentic.

I'll start with what we all know: I am a sinner.

That doesn't surprise anyone.

Nobody is shocked, and no balloons are popped by this statement.

What gives me a sense of safety in saying this is that you are a sinner, too. So hopefully you read with grace.

A few weeks back I made a conscious decision to leave someone out of a conversation, who really should have been included.

I had wrestled with the choice, I really had.

However, I found multiple reasons why I didn't need to include them.

Among those were these justifications. 1) This individual had made several hurtful choices that had excluded me over the course of several years. 2) I had felt repeatedly ignored on several occasions.
3) Because I'd been excluded, get the

So...with that said I made my decision; and, no justification or rationalization, gets me past what Jesus taught, "You've heard it said, 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...but I tell you... (Matthew 5:38-42)."

As a Jesus follower, I fell short.

As a disciple of Christ, I sinned; and, it caught up with me early this week.

I wasn't confronted.

I wasn't pinned in a corner.

Yet, I felt I had to make an explanation; and, in reality, that explanation, while truthful, wasn't the whole truth. The explanation was, in all honesty, an EXCUSE. So, I covered one sin with another sin...and, eventually had to confess.

God rebuked me.

I felt His sweet conviction, that, obviously, felt more like a hammer to my heart, at the time.

He used two Scriptures with two promises attached.

Here was the first, from Proverbs (1:23):

"If only you will respond to my correction, then I will pour out my thoughts to you and I will make my words known to you."

Oh, sweet Holy Spirit!

Wouldn't you know it, for several days, I'd been having trouble hearing from the Lord in my quiet time. Even God's Manna was falling short of the ears of my heart. No wonder! First, before I could do ANYTHING else, I needed to respond to God's correction, His loving reproof.  Thank you, Lord, for the God-Breathed Truth, along with the promise!

Then, I read this:

"What happened yesterday can't be changed; but, it can be forgiven. Turn to Jesus in repentance. Let Him wash away all the shame and condemnation coating your soul. Receive the sweet miracle of His grace and forgiveness, and let Him fill you with hope again." 
(Thank you, Lysa Terkeurst - italics, my emphasis) 

I fell back, once again, on the PROMISE of 1 John 1:9.

This wonderful PROMISE declares
If / When...

...and, the God-of-Forgiveness bathed my soul, cleansed it til it was pure, removed any shame, and unclogged the pipes that allowed him to "pour out his thoughts and make His words known."

One of God's best promises that fills us with hope anew:


PS. While this is one of God's BEST PROMISES EVER, the BESTEST is yet to come.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Word of God is Not Created Equal When It Comes to Hope

Last week, as we pulled out a small, but important, piece of the hope puzzle, we looked at a very simple lesson.

Like manna on the ground in the freshness of the early morning for the sustaining of physical life, metaphorical "manna" (God's Word) is equally as essential for the sustaining of hope in our spiritual lives.

Yes, it's best gathered daily.

And, truly, the earlier we gather it, the better.

Over the years, I've discovered, when my routine is out of sync, so goes the rest of my day.

Picking up God's measure of manna for my day, along with a cup of coffee, is THE WAY for me to make certain my day begins fully fueled.

Now, while the Word of the Lord is all God-breathed....and useful...not all of it is as beneficial to the building up of my hope.

Does that seem heretical?

Don't get me wrong. You can't "miss" when it comes to filling your mind with TRUTH. There is no right; no wrong.

However, to discover the hope that helps us persevere when life is hard, stream-lining exactly where we focus our minds will make our time in the word much more effective.

This week's thought runs along this line.

The point I'd like you to ponder is simple.

I've reflected on it for a couple of weeks, at least.

Remembering the lessons I'd learned on JOY, when I dug deep into the "what's and wherefore's" a couple of years ago, it was clear that there was One-Way to fill our joy-cup. We found JOY when we spent time in the Presence of the Lord. It couldn't have been clearer in Scripture: " Your presence is fulness of joy (Ps 16:11b)."

However, nothing in Scripture has been so straight-forward where hope is concerned.

It's obvious, we need God's Word; but, just any Word?


Hope is our most needed spiritual commodity, when life is tough. 
When the hard is so difficult that processing what is happening leaves us in a place of STUCK, we desperately want HOPE. 

What I need at times like that, isn't just platitudes.

Nor do I want just any old precept.

What I need is the assurance of a promise. 

I need to hear the words from a  Faithful God, who says what He will work, on my behalf, right there in the midst of my issues.

Because I trust Him, I trust His promise (when others don't, He ALWAYS keeps His Word!)...

Because I trust His promise, I am HOPE-FULL!

I can not separate my hope from the promises of Scripture. 

Neither can you.