“Placing Hope in a God Who Sees”, from L.Willows (trust, faith, encouragement )

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My journey both in prayer and in life continues to rebound back to the theme of Hope and how miraculous God’s encouragement is when I walk forward in faith. If I am tempted to lean into outer sources or anything other than God for reassurance or hope – I falter, there is a struggle. I realize that the message is clear. (was I listening before, where have I been?) In the walk with Christ, we are not meant to lean into the temporal world for hope or take assurance from a source other than God.

When I walk with trust, placing all into God’s capable arms, everything enters a realm that I can only describe as ‘lifted’. I am out of the way. Faith is emboldened. Trust is strengthened. The God who Sees is a great encouragement. (Why didn’t I take this leap before? I thought that I did.)

Affirming Hope. Sharing Trust.

From Strongs Concordance the Biblical definition of “to lean upon” is to affirm confidently. I can clearly affirm that when we lean upon God we are assured of hope that will be encouraging to our hearts and in our lives. Nothing has ever built a lasting sense of confidence in my own heart and mind than feeling seen and loved by God.

Confidence is an important word. It means belief and faith. It measures the level of trust in something. I will honestly share with you that for me, confidence and levels of trust have been things that I do not easily give out. Now, my complete confidence and trust are in God, more than any words could ever describe.

We learn and move forward in our walk with God in degrees as our hearts and mind open up to Him. It is a journey that keeps expanding and growing.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

Our confidence belongs only in God Himself.

As we form the picture of what we hope for and how to put confidence only in God Himself, it is helpful to see where and how we usually fall from this not because we want to but because of our mortal state. We are His precious beloveds, but we do walk the journey in this life wearing blindfolds that can mar our ability to “see” with acuity. Our vision of life and of truth is dimmed. We cannot even see God as he truly is.

We are promised that in 1 Corinthians that when we are face to face with the Lord, and see His Glory in its’ fullness, we will then See Him, we will know him as we have been known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

For now, we see only in part.

We see God’s reality partially. We see only in part. The world that we live in and see and touch is only this world. It is the world of ‘for now’. It is like seeing in a mirror dimly. His beauty and truth are veiled here yet we can experience His Love and Transformative Resurrection Power as we walk in His Love here and now.

That is what we hope for. This is the power of faith in God. Though we cannot see Him, we are convinced (by all evidence, all of His Promises, His Truth) that He is The Eternal Reality that we live in and amidst.

We have hope in a God Who Sees.

I am so grateful that when I pray it is to a God who sees all of my heart and each detail of my life. Often I will be stilled with awe to praise His vastness because He sees every heart and life the same generous mercy and kindness.

I am awed to fathom how a God that is the Creator of the Heavens, the Earth and each of us also has the ability to hear all of our prayers and everything that we utter from the depth of our hearts. Witness that He does. God is greater, vaster and more miraculous than what our mortal hearts and mind can even fathom.

Experiences from scripture describe this:

Psalm 52:2 “God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God.”

Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

Our God is one that Sees. Seeing, when it is from God- is active, creative and embracing. It is more than we can fathom with our mortal ways of conceiving. We can pray that by the power of His Spirit we are given wisdom and faith to increase our ability to absorb the miracles of being seen by God. They are life-altering. Faith strengthens. Hope increases. We are Encouraged.

We begin to see this world in a New Light – call it Gods’ Lense; Hope born in Faith, encouraged by God’s Love.

The Active, Creative and Embracing Power of God alters us.

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

We get distracted when we try to place hope or confidence in what we can see. (When I use the word “see”, I mean notice with our senses including the faculties of the brain; ie thinking; it sees and notates more than the physical eye, but is it a clear vision- who is the notator?)

We live in this world and we have mortal hearts and minds that wake up each day. We absorb, respond and desire what our senses interact with. That means all that we feel and all that we think. Have you ever really watched your thinking? It is like AM, FM and some really interesting satellite programming if you are honest!

We try to get a bit more honest about what we see and may not see, we become self-searchers with a Godly view:

  1. We learn to let go of what we are holding on to and trying to create by our own strength alone and we embrace the strength and love of God instead.
  2. We shift from having faith in what is external and temporal to having faith in the Eternal Truth and Promise of God.
  3. We learn to discern the voices of our senses and desires; the ‘response chatter’ that elicits reactions and replace it with inner quiet that is able to listen for the Voice of God’s Spirit.
  4. . We recognize that our hearts and minds are powerful absorbers of our environment and actively take part in filling them daily with pure sources.
  5. . We become faithful “living Bridges to God” as we build up our own commitment to daily prayer, spiritual resources, fellowship, scripture reading and develop a willingness to review our own hearts with humble honesty about what we do not see.

When we allow ourselves to be open and humble before God, He joins us in generous ways. His Grace is active and creative. Faith is filled with miracles, hope, and encouragement.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

We are encouraged to find that He leads us towards more that we might ever have hoped for with a mortal perspective. The Lord, who is our Shepherd, who sees what we do not see is able to provide the steps and the details of the near and the far future that will give you and me all that we could ever hope for.

Hope, for all, is a trust placed in the Lord alone.

Psalm 71:5-9 “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.”

All Hope is for, from and towards God. As Psalm 71 so eloquently praises, The Lord is our constant hope. God, our Father formed us before birth in our mother’s womb and brought us into this world. Using the word “trust” (biblically) literally mean “a bold, confidence, certain security or action based on that security.”

We have heard of things like a ‘trust fund’, something put away for the security of the benefactor. In this case, trust a way that we benefit (we are the beneficiaries) from having confidence in God. When we lean completely upon the strength of God (and not upon our own) we recognize who we belong to, who has our inheritance, (from what treasure we benefit) and where we need to place our hope.

God is our hope and our trust.

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.

Prayer ~ A God Who Sees

Thank you, Father, that you are with us – that you are a God who Sees.
Thank you for being our eternal hope and our trust.
I praise you for being our security, the source of all belonging and the One that placed us in Your Precious safekeeping, in the womb of Your Creation.
Thank you for the plans that you alone have, I place my heart and my mind in Your protective care now, today for this hour and all time, with You, for You and because of You.
I lift my heart, my life, and my gratitude to you. 

In Jesus Name,
Amen

© 2019 Linda Willows

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“What Shall We Hope For”, Timeless Quotes to Encourage and Inspire

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“Biblical hope is life changing certainty about the future … being certain about the future in a way that affects how you live now.”
–  Tim Keller; A Brick in the Valley

“We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.”
― A. W. Tozer,  The Knowledge of the Holy

“Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.
― Elisabeth Elliot, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

“While God, for the most part, allows this cosmos [creation] to work according to the laws of nature, there is never a time when He is not actively involved in every detail of life.”
― Swindoll Charles R.

“For daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises. But I fear nothing, because of the promises of Heaven; for I have cast myself into the hands of Almighty God, who reigns everywhere. As the prophet says: ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.”
― St. Patrick, The Confessions of St. Patrick

“Now there was only one hope, the sovereign grace of God. God would have to transform my heart to do what a heart cannot make itself do, namely, want what it ought to want. Only God can make the depraved heart desire God. Once when Jesus’ disciples wondered about the salvation of a man who desired money more than God, he said to them, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). Pursuing what we want is possible. It is easy. It is a pleasant kind of freedom. But the only freedom that lasts is pursuing what we want when we want what we ought. And it is devastating to discover we don’t, and we can’t.”
― John Piper,  When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy

Because of Jesus, there is always hope in your life”
– Tim Keller

“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God–the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer,  Letters and Papers from Prison

“We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of heaven. The beauty of heaven is seeing God.”
― Max Lucado, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus: Knowing His Heart, Feeling His Love

“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“We are bidden to ‘put on Christ‘, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“We need a living hope to get through life and endure suffering. A living hope enables us to have both sorrow and joy. Our living hope is an inheritance achieved for us by Christ.”
– Tim Keller

(What a great reading list!)

How great our incomprehensible God is! We are surely ‘loved much’, more than our hearts can fathom by a God that forgives, draws us near and binds us to himself with unceasing Mercy. We can bring every concern and every hope to His Throne with confidence because of his enduring promises to us that will never pass or change. This is our true hope and the gift of His Spirit; the agency by with we have the ability and privilege of faith. Pray that it deepens and strengthen, let us receive encouragement from those that speak hope!

From L.Willows © 2019

“Joy Comes in The Morning”, a worship poem from L.Willows

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Joy Comes in The Morning

Joy comes in the morning.
Faith rises, it deepens, renewed.
We live on with lives ever seeking,
hope in the day of Loves’ view.

Come, walk in the dawning.
Pray – call forth this song.
Life, as stirred in the making.
Hearts, all awakened and strong.

Joy comes in the morning.
Faith rises, it deepens, renewed.
We walk on with lives ever Godward
wrapped full in hope’s glory gratitude.

© 2019 Linda Willows

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

And those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 35:10

“River Bridge that shines like Gold”, a hope poem from LWillows

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When the valley holds the weighted heart,
sloping drifts come in from far.
Starshine nights seem long and bright,
covered wraps can’t still the night.

Silenced woes seem louder in
all the still of wandered lulls.
How we muffle, how we cry
in the broken, yearning sky.

Looking up with hearts that gaze
we grieve upon a sign, a note
that leads the weary one to hope;
set sight above the drift of haze.

Oh, blaze the eye up to behold
The river bridge that shines like gold.
Cast across the valley’s form etched,
Reaching out, like love’s arm stretched.

Lifting, bearing, holding all.
Comforter of all heart and cries
Lord, you live near the valley of nights
Outstretched in mercy, in tenderness Brights.

© 2018 Linda Willows

Psalm 136:12
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Isaiah 40:29
He gives power to the faint and increases the strength of the weak.

Isaiah 50:4
The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of discipleship, to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning; He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.