Devotional

So, my connect group this week are sharing daily devotionals with each other, and they’ve been really inspiring.  I though I would share mine with you all…

The Joy of Hope!

Romans 15:13 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.

I have been reading the Psalms lots recently as I have been doing my ‘Bible in a Year’ and I just love the sense of sheer joy and hope in David’s life, despite his often testing and tragic circumstances!

I began this year at Church looking at the woman in Proverbs 31 v 25 who “Laughs without fear of the future” and I so want to be like that!  Not because I know things will be easy or without problems (because life isn’t like that), but because I have the joy of God in my heart that overwhelms, and gives me hope in all circumstances.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.  Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joyPsalm 5: 11. 

“I will be filled with joy because of You.  I will sing praises to your name O Most High” Psalm 9:2

In some situations it can be so hard to grasp hold of God’s joy.  When I am suffering, lonely, worried, or stressed the last thing I can think about is being happy.  But joy, true joy isn’t about being ‘happy’ or even content.  It’s about having that feeling and knowledge deep in your heart of God’s love, hope and mercy.  It’s why David could sing that God is his joy, alongside his cries of despair.  It’s why Christians can say ‘The Joy of the Lord is my strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10) in the darkest times.  It’s why I can say I am full of God’s joy even when I am grieving or struggling with something really difficult in my life.

Joy in the truest meaning of the word, is why this verse can make sense to us;

Hebrews 12:12 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God’s joy is an amazing gift because of reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus!!

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

God knows the hopes of the hopeless.  He hears our cries, and He wants to pour out his Hope and Joy upon us so that we can live fully for Him, reflecting his joy and glory.

 

What can you be truly joyful for today?  

What things are you hoping  or praying for that you need God’s peace about, to be joyful in?

How can you spread some of God’s joy into someone else’s life today? 

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Just a Minute…

Recently we received a book at work written by the amazing CEO of Compassion International Wes Stafford called ‘ Just a Minute’.  It speaks wonderfully of how in one moment you can change a child’s life forever.  I know this to be the case in my own life and thought I would share about how my life was changed in a minute…

Just a Minute…

Moments can impact for a lifetime.  One second, one minute, one hour.   Sadly my childhood was filled with few good moments, and many heart breaking ones.  In one hour, when I was 15 years old, I was asked to pack up all my belongings, as I would be going to live with a foster family.  In one moment, my world changed.  I wasn’t sure how long we would be there- at first we were told days.  My life changed in each of those passing minutes.  Minutes turned to hours, to days, to weeks, to months and years, and in each minute my foster family lavished upon me grace, mercy and LOVE.  The type of un-selfish, un-ending, un-reciprocated love that softened my heart and showed me who Jesus is.  It wasn’t just the first minute they decided to take us in, or the many minutes they forgave my offenses, or the minutes they comforted me as I cried looking at myself in the changing room mirror- but every minute after for all these years that they have given me a home, a family, a new start, and in the most practical and sacrificial ways shown me who God is. 

Because I have experienced this; others stepping into my life, it has meant I now have the pleasure of impacting the lives of the children I encounter in the most positive way.  Whether it has been in kids clubs I have run, discipleship groups I’ve lead (where I could tell the kids based on my experience that despite any circumstance God loves them so much), or in writing to my sponsored children and showing them through Compassion how valued they are; I love the idea that I could change a child’s life forever through small simple moments.

It got me thinking about a poem I love by Rob Lacey written a few years ago about what can happen in just One Hour in the UK …

In an hour we make a fifth of a double decker bus, and the tax man takes four million from us.

In an hour 1 million goes to charity, and double that to VAT,

In an hour we’re all another hour old, and the OAP’s are feeling the cold,

In an hour a hundred tonnes of chocolate sold, and the zit attack is taking hold,

In an hour there are 3 accused of rape, We spend a hundred grand trying to get in shape,

We spend the same amount on changing our hair, and over a million on what to wear,

In an hour we smoke 12 million fags, spend 700 grand on books and mags,

Save 600 grand for a rainy day, and much the same amount is gambled away,

Five million people talking on the phone, but no official figures for those without a home,

A hundred people join the dole, we buy 200 grands worth of toilet roll

Seventeen marriages join them down the pan, man blames woman, woman blames man,

That’s 34 people now divorcee, a third on the grounds of adultery,

500 ‘Mayfairs’ leave the shelf, Thirty-One abortions on the National Health,

Two more people amputees, and 100 unwanted pregnancies,

In an hour seventy three meet their final hour

seventy three meet their final hour

seventy three meet their final hour

And here we are

With God’s great power,

Living in

An Ivory Tower. 

I never want to live in an ivory tower.  If all of that can happen in just one hour, imagine the impact all the Christians in the UK could make in that time.  But even if we spare just one minute, just one moment of our time to speak into someones life, we could change the course of their life forever!

What could you do in just one minute, or one hour this week to impact someones life for the better and use your God- given power, influence and love?

xxx