Positive Ground

Paths to Hope, #4#4_SolidGround_by David Mark from Pixabay

Life is ever-changing. Our place in time and space fluctuates with vacillating circumstances and relationships. Seismic shifts shake our well-ordered lives and we find ourselves on unfamiliar paths. If we want to walk strong and sure, it’s critical we find ground that is firm and true—no sink holes, shifting sand, or marshy muck—no reliance on wavering emotions or skewed perspectives.

The one foundation that offers consistently stable, rock-hard ground is the Bible. The path it offers is a groundwork of truth—all truth, only truth, nonfluctuating truth, solid truth. The Bible’s words and its Author never shift.

Jesus said that the wise dig down deep and lay a foundation on rock. When floods come (and they always come) the house will be hit, but not shaken. (Luke 6:48)

Unshaken. That’s how I want to walk out my moments, days, and years—not shifting and tripping, mired or entangled, fearful or uncertain.

Let’s pound the road before us on the positive, reliable truth of God’s Word—a rock sure foundation.

He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (Ps 40:2b)

Next week we’ll explore the E Path to H.O.P.E.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

 

Open Ground

Paths to Hope, #3

#3OpenGround_Image by Julio Pablo Vázquez from Pixabay

Flexibility—the quality we encourage in others but struggle to apply ourselves. After all, we thought long and hard about the route we’re on. We prayed to God and sought counsel from others. We weighed the pluses and minuses and searched our hearts to make sure there were no dishonorable motives. We may remember the moment of divine inspiration and be able to cite each God-led step. And yet, the course we were on crashed. The disaster came—the division, the death, the divorce, the disease—and it destroyed everything.

It’s over. But we won’t let go, as if cherishing the dream will resurrect it. If you have been in this place you will object, as I did, to the following advice: Open your heart to new opportunities. 

Step onto open ground. Don’t fear being unfaithful to your past or approaching a new challenge. Understand God’s heart and you will open yours. 

His plans are perfect, though His revelation is partial. We see only one step ahead, our Father sees the end from the beginning and we are wrong to make assumptions based on where our past has led or where we now stand. 

One step—just take one prayerful step in a new direction and see where God will lead, what He will do, and what surprises He has for you.  

Flexible, fluid, pliable—attitudes necessary for that next great thing God has for us. Without those qualities we just may stubbornly, self-righteously miss out on the unexpected. 

Let’s be brave and open our hearts to God’s opportunities.

More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 NRSV

Next week we’ll explore the P Path to H.O.P.E.

Image by Julio Pablo Vázquez from Pixabay

High Ground

Paths to Hope, #2

#2HighGround_Image by O12 from PixabayIt’s hard to walk one direction while looking another—just try striding ahead while looking behind you or walking a straight line while gazing to the right. It’s natural for our feet to follow our eyes, physically and in our journey through life. This is why it’s really important to focus on the direction in which we want to move.

Left on our own, life on earth can be low-level walking. There are lots of attractions (and distractions) that pull our focus from our path. Paul calls us to a higher walk when he says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2). In essence he’s saying, “Look where you want to live,” or “Focus on where you want to go.”

Don’t let life’s sorrows━or joys━become your focus with downcast eyes. The H of H.O.P.E. tells us, “Hold your eyes higher.” Walk the high ground, where the view is clear, faith is fed, and hope is found.

Next week we’ll test the O Path to Hope.

Image by O12 from Pixabay

Common Ground

Paths to Hope, #1

1_CommonGround_Image by Jim Semonik from PixabayWe set out on the journey to hope from common ground—our lives are mutually pocked with pits and scars, unpleasant memories and devastated dreams. Our brokenness marks us, whether it comes from shattered promises, damaged relationships, splintered plans, threatening health, or challenging finances. Whatever our unique challenges may be, we are rendered vulnerable and our hope is assaulted.

We must waste no time rescuing what little hope remains and fan a flame under its smoldering embers.

The problem is, bruised hope has blurred our vision. Our strength is sapped, our motivation maimed. But we must press on and engage in one more battle for hope—the alternative is too dreadful to consider. So we step forward.

Yes, step. There is no energy for a surge so we put one foot in front of the other and haltingly limp down a path that promises to renew our hope. But we don’t limp alone—before us we have the Spirit of God [1], beside us are fellow travelers [2], above us is a cloud of cheering witnesses [3], and beneath us is the well-trodden path they walked.

Don’t give up. Brokenness and pain do not end your story. There is more to be written, so let us press on.

Join me next week to embark on the H Path of Hope.

[1]  Isaiah 31:8, [2]  Romans 12:4,5, [3]  Hebrews 12:1
Image by Jim Semonik from Pixabay

I Was Broken, Too – launch party

I Was Broken, Too #5

Written to Celebrate

Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayNow, there’s an oxymoron━brokenness and party. These words should not be uttered in the same sentence, unless you read the subtitle: Four Paths to Restore Hope━because this party celebrates hope that rises out of brokenness.

Hope can be restored, regardless of your struggle and it’s threatening finality. I invite you to change the punctuation. Erase that period and insert a semicolon. Periods are from a lying enemy who is destructive by nature. God sprinkles semicolons throughout our lives because there are chapters not yet written, purposes we can’t imagine, episodes we cannot dream. 

Hebrews tells us “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). Reading to the end of the chapter we realize it’s not the “what” we hope for, but the “Who” we hope inHe is together with us, making better plans perfect (11:40). We can trust Him and celebrate what we cannot see. 

Join me at the party━if not with your presence on Saturday, in spirit with faith in our God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20-21).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Copy of I Was Broken, Too

I WAS Broken, Too

I Was Broken, Too #4

Written to Ignite HopeImage by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Note the operative word in my title: was, past tense. I Was Broken, Too is not a book about pain and disappointment, but hope that grew in spite of it. It’s a story of restored hope that resurrected from a place of darkness and despair.  

Let me state the obvious: brokenness does not disappear. We are not restored to our former place, but to a new place. The scars remain and, really, would you want it any other way? Would you want your pain completely erased, as if it had never happened? As if that person, dream, or place never existed? 

Of course not. That’s why you, me, we will never be the same.

“I will never be the same” is not a statement of despair but of truth. In many ways I am better, deeper, and more grounded.

“I will never be the same” is also a statement of faith when it relies on God’s promise to take all the aspects of my mess and work them together for blessing. (Rom. 8:28) 

“I will never be the same” is even a statement of hope because it acknowledges that something new has happened. Something new is happening. We will never be the same when we agree with the psalmist that our times are in God’s hands and He has great goodness stored up for us. (Ps. 31:15, 19)

I pray that you can (or soon will) say with me, “I was broken, too,” and attest to God’s mending mercy in your life.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Please drop in at my Book Launch Party!

Copy of I Was Broken, Too

I Was Broken, Too is now available

I Was Broken, Too #3

Written from a Place of Brokenness 

book_Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I never wanted to be defined by the death of my daughter, but it wasn’t my choice. I am forever marked by a sunny day in October that became the darkest day of my life. 

Everyone says a child isn’t supposed to precede a parent to the grave, but it happens, every day. October 11, 2004, was my day. Stacey wasn’t ill, so we were completely unprepared for her death… although, I doubt a parent can ever be prepared.

One simply cannot anticipate how hollow life can become, how effervescent joy can become a threatening hole, how silence can scream, feelings become numb, and loss be unfathomable, incomprehensible…bottomless. I wrote I Was Broken, Too from this place of brokenness.

Previous losses in my life were not as devastating but, unknowingly, they prepared me to endure the unthinkable and, step by step, through paralyzing sorrow and unstoppable tears, the unexpected happened━out of the blackest darkness I began to catch a glimpse of hope. I Was Broken, Too describes four paths I walked that restored my hope. 

I don’t know what losses you have suffered or what holes exist in your life, but I do know that the God who brought me through will do the same for you. You are precious and loved by Him. There is a purpose for your life, redemption for your pain, and hope for your future. 

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

coverCroppedIf my blog encourages you, I trust my book will do the same. You can find I Was Broken, Too on Amazon, goodreads, and through Barnes & Noble.

Please drop in at my Book Launch Party on July 27 at Cornerstone Christian Church in Wyckoff, NJ.

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